Recap: True Colors Emerge in Queen Sugar’s “The Tree And The Stone Were One”
Season 3, Episode 9 | Grade: 8.9/10
Writer(s): Kat Candler & Anthony Sparks | Director: Nijla Mu’min
Tonight’s episode of Queen Sugar, “The Tree And The Stone Were One” amplified the drama between Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) and Darla (Bianca Lawson), Charley (Dawn Lyen Gardner) receives unexpected support, and Nova (Rutina Wesley) finally comes clean about her secret relationship with Remy (Dondre L. Whitfield).
Charley has a sit down with a lawyer about the possibility of the Bordelons having their land taken from them from the government if push comes down to shove. She’s seething at the idea of judges getting privately compensated by Sam Landry and his family in exchange for taking black farmers’ land in St. Josephine. “This family. They cheat, and steal, and bleed black people dry. They take everything and I’ll be damned as I sit by while they do it again.”
Just then Boudreaux (Lea Coco) calls her and she snaps him up the moment she answered. He reveals he’s well aware of Charley discovering Landry’s plan to build a jail on the acres of farmland and that his mother Frances Boudreaux wants to have a one-on-one with her. He begs her to hear her out, saying, “We’re not who you think.”
When Charley later comes face-to-face with Frances, she is cautious of the trap she feels she may fall in. Frances, however is impressed with Charley for her toughness and intelligence: “My kind of girl.”
“I’m not your girl,” Charley responds. “Why am I here?” Frances makes it clear that she wants to “wipe the smug grin off my brother’s face and take control of Landry Enterprises,” believing that Charley can help her push him out for tarnishing their family’s legacy for years. She believes that they want the same thing: defeat Landry.
“The same day I let Sam contaminate our land by housing criminals, thugs, murderers, and thieves is the day our father turns in his grave.” — Frances Boudreaux
“Criminals and thugs? You sound like your brother.” — Charley
Charley sees the flaws in Boudreaux as he apologizes for withholding the secret but his feelings for her are still crystal clear. When Frances returns, she further explains how their father leaned on her for help yet gave more of the company to her brother Sam. She’s committed to preventing the jail from breaking ground but Charley is wary of siding with her but reluctantly takes an envelope with information on her nephew Colton Landry to pouch his shares. She’s literally handing Charley the ammo.
Darla and Ralph Angel continues to be at odds over their custody of Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) as she has presented paperwork for a 70/30 custody split that would provide him more stability at her home. Changing her initial 50/50 custody split, she reminds Ralph Angel of his instability for their son as he’s holding down two jobs while she can give him a structured routine. Iv’e already witness a split reaction from Queen Sugar fans online with one-half siding with Darla for wanting to be a better mother while others are critical of her past of leaving and coming back. I knew this moment Ralph Angel would fight against it but Darla is standing her ground.
“I’ll do whatever I have to do, Ralph Angel.” — Darla
Sitting with his sisters, he regrets how he missed four years of his life while he was in prison and he feels as if she’s trying to take more from him. With his sisters assuring him despite of his fears, they vow to stand with him as he battles Darla. Something in me feels a greater obstacle will come between the Bordelons and Darla with the support of her parents and lawyers. Plus Charley made a call (and paid) for a lawyer she knows. So, it’s going to get ugly.
“Please don’t hate me.” — Nova
“I could never hate you, Nova.” — Charley
Just as Nova is flourishing again in her professional life as her upcoming book about her family’s story as a publisher is interested in publishing the chapter on Ernest’s depression — her personal is messy. I’ll be frank, I’m not in support of the Remy-Nova relationship story line but I understand it’s a necessary element to shake up the series. Though there’s sound reasons to scold Nova, my side-eye and deep level shade is directed towards Remy for pursuing Nova especially the way things ended with Charley at the end of season two.
Even if he smokes a joint with Nova and opens up about his troubled past as an angry teen before he got his act together, I still deeply question his intentions. Nova finally tells her sister the truth about her and Remy after Ralph Angel leaves and Charley’s seething as she calls out Nova for being so self righteous.
“You lied to me for weeks or however long this has been going on,” she says, grasping onto the news. “When I told you about the mill you let me know how wrong I was. You were unrelenting. It wasn’t the first time but it will be the last.”
Nova is willing to walk away in order to salvage their sisterhood but she didn’t when it was happening. When Remy unexpectedly arrives on Charley’s doorstep he holds his head down expressing how him and Nova were unexpected but as much as he wanted things to work with them he knew it wouldn’t. I was happy that she also called him out on his self righteous ways that he even displayed towards her when she was running her mill. I can tell that Candler and Sparks read the viewers tweets and ran across the #RighteousRemy hashtag.
With the direction that the writers have been going with this show, I truly want Charley to have some happiness in her life. Davis has betrayed her repeatedly and humiliated her publicly with his sexual escapades and secret child now Remy pursues her sister after he broke up with her over the direction of her mill. Even her brief moment with Boudreaux and his secrecy. It’s apparent that she is hardening as she admits that she can trust no one, not even family.
“I know I don’t trust you. And I wonder, truly, I wonder how much you value honesty? Walking around here with your head so high always judging but I know now I can’t trust anyone. Not even your own blood.” — Charley
She adds with a warning him to not hurt Nova the way he has hurt her in this moment with a stinging truth, “Nova and I are forever. We’re family. But you, you’ll always be fleeting.”
Did you notice his body language the whole time? Shoulders slumping, head all over the place, rubbing his face. Everything came off as guilty. He could do nothing but walk away with his tail tucked between his legs and drive off. I think we’ll see Charley come to a personal crossroads in her life and the people who exists within it. What are your thoughts about what has happened in this episode?
Other Episode Notes:
- Just as quickly as Ralph Angel and Trinh started to be more than “work friends” they quickly hit a snag. The weight of his baggage may be too much to begin a relationship.
- I’m happy to see that Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford) got her wish by finally having her pie shop and that Rawlings still wants to support her dream but is still concerned about her health. I thought it was a small yet sincere moment to moment between her and Hollywood about his dreams.
- The mention of how Too Sweet (the teenager Nova helped in season 1) is positively progressing since departing the show was a nice moment to revisit as Nova is greeted by his mother at a community party.
- I knew deep in my shondo (as well as many viewers I’ve tweeted with) that Micah would soon get into some mess. Micah and his friends’ protest plan to vandalize a plantation tour site by spray painting the names of slaves in memoriam turned for the worst as one of them left a backpack full of spray cans next to a candle which started a fire. Luckily, they escaped before getting caught but all of them are visibly shaken and we know if Charley finds out Micah is back in private school in a heartbeat. When keeping it real goes wrong.
- Nova’s gets a video call from her book editor revealing that The New Yorker is now interested in publishing her chapter on her father’s depression to build anticipation for her upcoming book. With two days to complete it the pressure is on but a satisfying high for her.