“The Horizon Leans Forward” is a meticulously crafted episode that delivers the outcomes of this season’s major plot points. In last week’s episode, the Bordelons dealt with uncomfortable truths. This week, the family learns the fate of the prison and some secrets about each other.
“I sold the mill,” Charley tells a shocked Prosper. Prosper is visibly shaken, and soon the word reaches every black farmer in St. Josephine. For the black farmers, news that Charley sold Queen Sugar mill to the Landrys is proof enough that she is a traitor.
The parish council vote meeting is shrouded in an air of indifference by everyone but the black farmers. It’s clear that the support for the prison falls down to racial lines in St. Josephine: Black residents are against and white residents support the project. The prison rep makes generic promises to improve the lives of St. Josephine: “We already have lives, you’re trying to take them away,” a black farmer shoots back. Charley decides to stand tall for her community, despite detractors who question her allegiance. “I gave up my mill to leverage fair rates. For you! To keep you in business,” Charley tells her detractors. “I did it so we could all live to fight another day, but this prison, if they build it, that day will never come.” Her speech at the parish board meeting resets her image in the eyes of the black farmers in St. Josephine. However, Charley’s powerful speech is all for naught as the parish vote narrowly passes. For now, it looks like the prison will be built in St. Josephine.
Violet is still on a high from Vi’s Prize Pie’s TV spotlight. Her interview has sent an increase of business to Violet and her team. At her home, Violet’s innocuous question to Nova about about a potential wedding date brings the drama between Charley, Nova, and Remy to the light. “I’m not sure I know you at all right now,” a disappointed Violet tells Nova before she heads to her bakery kitchen. At her kitchen, Violet has an episode that sends her to the hospital. This hospitalization and Hollywood’s nudging encourage Violet to finally tell her family about her Lupus diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Micah is dealing with the guilt of watching his friend Anthony take the fall for a group mistake. For now, his crew has gone radio silent — no texting or social-media communication to prevent the police from pinning anything on them. They’ve been cleared but there’s still a risk that more than Anthony will serve time. KJ tells Micah that their friend group must do whatever they have to do to survive and stay out of juvenile detention. KJ is clear with Micah that even if Micah feels like they’re all in it together, Micah’s class background gives him a different set of stakes than the rest of the group. “For you, surviving is taking this picture instead of being in it, ” KJ tells a ruffled Micah. Even amongst friends, he is an outsider. Micah must contend with how his class background affords him a level of privileges that his friends don’t have.
Micah has a touching moment with Anthony at his home — despite Charley telling him to avoid his new friends. “If it was me that got caught, you’d be outing every kid that was there,” Micah says to a defensive Charley. At Anthony’s home, the boys talk about the future and what Anthony’s juvenile-detention term may mean for him and the others. Micah has no plans to cut his political awakening short — he’s researching best practices for rallies after his visit with Anthony. Micah is clear about his convictions, and now he plans to be a leader.
Blue is embarking on a childhood rite of passage — learning to ride a bike. Blue gives up his bike-riding dreams with Darla and she calls in Ralph Angel to help Blue overcome his fear of falling off. Together, they watch Blue ride by himself for the first time and the two share a spontaneous hug. On the porch, Darla suggest that they split custody 50-50. No more fighting. Ralph Angel shares his plans to take Blue up the Gulf Coast, to California, and to Disleyland and Disney World after his parole is up. “That will be a beautiful day,” Darla remarks.
For the first time this season, Darla and Ralph Angel are able to have a pleasant, extended conversation. It seems like they’re closer to burying the bad blood between them. The episode ends with Darla, Ralph Angel, and Blue, united as a family if only for the evening.