The Storm Is Over Now in ‘Queen Sugar’ Series Finale
Episode 713 — “For They Existed” | Written & Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Six years of the critically acclaimed series and longest-running Black family drama in television history, Queen Sugar viewers have witnessed the trials, triumphs, battles, and awakenings of the Bordelon family.
Ava DuVernay beautifully ended the show as intentionally as she started it in 2016. Written and directed by DuVernay, the 90-minute finale allowed the pieces shaken in season seven finally fall in place.
Off the high of victory, Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey) celebrates winning his seat on the St. Josephine school board at the casino with the family as they toast his new opportunity. Clearly, the brown liquor had everyone stirred as each couple went to their homes for some very grown and sexy time. That look Darla (Bianca Lawson) gave Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) in the dark as Sade was singing in the background? Aunt Vi (Tina Lifford) prompts Hollywood to come outside “under the moonlight.” I’ll choose “aww sookie sookie now for $1,000 Alex!”
Not to be left out, Nova (Rutina Wesley) is alone and in need of her own passion session making a phone call. That phone call. We get a visual of Nova’s tattooed back in motion right in the middle of lovemaking. Is she sending Dominic to Africa as a happy man? The camera pans over her head to reveal none other than her longtime flame Calvin (Greg Vaughan). I knew it!
Mirroring the opening sequence from season one as Nova awakens the next morning after a night of passion with Calvin to “Faithful” by Meshell Ndegeocello as he intimately dresses her. This time feels different, she feels different as she gets up and sits in the corner with her mother’s book. During their last time together in episode seven, she convinced Calvin to move on as she did was raw. Yet, she’s a free woman now after Dominic left for Africa. Though Calvin dotes on her, she is distant as she gives him 20 minutes to get ready before she leaves for her late aunt’s home. Does he feel used by her? What does she really want?
He later confronts Nova on where she stands and she expresses that she can’t give him what he wants: a relationship.
“You can but you just don’t want to. I’m not a cop anymore Nova. I’m not married anymore, there’s no more secrets between us. I mean, we’ve both met each other’s families, we’ve lived together. We’re meant to be. This is not the way this story is supposed to end. I won’t accept it.” — Calvin
Ernest’s death in season one trickled a domino effect as the family fought against opposing forces to protect his life’s work — his land — while navigating their lives with their grief. Prosper (Henry Sanders), Ernest’s best friend and sage father figure to his children, realized that he needed to be a vessel to share the wisdom of their father to help them. In flashback, we see Glynn Turman return as the patriarch as he shares the hope he has for his son to be his ideal self and go further than him.
“He wants you to keep doing what you’re doing on the land: work it, grow it, fight for it but he also wants you to have love on it. To have family on it.” — Prosper
Ralph Angel follows Darla, who angrily left with their infant daughter Tru to Washington D.C. after Ralph Angel disclosed to their son Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) about his biological father Chase after Prosper pushes him to fight for her. As they talk through (intensely) their issues, he stands firm on not wanting secrets between them because it nearly destroyed the family. It’s evident that Ralph Angel and Darla are often on the same side of the stubborn coin when they communicate their displeasure or criticism to one another.
Remy Newell (Dondre Whitfield) returns as the secret weapon for the Bordelons for the auction with financial backing from his university department. He asks Nova a question that sets her wheels in motion after she acknowledges he’s more grown now after getting married again and becoming a father. Has she found what settles her? She hasn’t and wonders what to make of the people from her past showing up.
Prosper shares another memory of Ernest during his wife’s funeral where they discussed losing the loves of their lives and the fears they have for their daughters, Nova and Billie (Tammy Townsend). Ernest worried about Nova’s direction in life without her mother Trudy to guide her and give her the motherly wisdom she needed.
“When me and Trudy finally broke up that last time, she said to me, she said, ‘Ernest, love goes its own way just like a river. You can’t force it and make it go your way. If you’re smart you’ll just flow with it.’ Our daughters will be wise one day too when they come to understand that it doesn’t matter how love comes. Rich, poor, man, woman, Black, white. Here and the hereafter, it flows its own way and you gotta flow with it.” — Ernest
The camera zoomed in on Ernest, Ralph Angel, and Nova’s faces to capture the emotion and emphasize the weight of their father’s words in spirit that they’ve longed for.
When it’s revealed by a family friend that the church that her Aunt Martha’s home was given to was Trudy’s, he passes the deeds and keys to the church to Nova saying that everything is hers. Overwhelmed, she opened the door to her mother’s room and the void she carried with longing to fill it was full the moment she stepped in.
(Note how she had the wrong key when Dominic was there in a previous episode and said she wasn’t ready. This all spoke volumes!) Her mother’s energy, essence, and a memory waiting on her daughter to behold. “I’ve wanted this, I’ve wanted her all my life. I wanted to feel this feeling and not outside of me, inside. Inside, finally, I feel it. I’m home. In this room, in this house, in this community,” she said.
With that feeling she feared was lost forever restored, she finally declared her love to Calvin:
“…with you. I’ve loved you for so long. I tried to hide it, to ignore it, I second guessed it, I fought it, cursed it. I did everything to it but accept it with no conditions. No ideas of what should or could be or what others will say or think. I never just let it be. To just go with its flow…let us flow.” — Nova
“We have something that you’ll never have”
The Landrys and Boudreauxs have been the storm clouds over the Bordelons for generations in the fight to take the 800-acre farm. Everything has come to this moment as Ralph Angel, his Black farmer co-op, and his family has gathered $750,000 to win their land back plus Remy as reinforcement. After Remy bids $1 million, Jacob Boudreaux (Lea Coco) comes out of nowhere bidding $1.1 million, proclaiming, “Gotta keep it in the family.” (Did Hollywood and Prosper telling Jacob that his name was listed in the auction backfire on them? Even after he claimed to keep his distance from this family?)
Then the satisfying plot twist of the season we didn’t expect: Jacob was working with them all along!
After Sam Landry (David Jensen) mocks his nephew on his ability to pull it off (and that comment about his mother being a felon. Yikes!), Jacob happily introduces him to his partners: the Black farmers co-op.
The scream I let out as Jacob went around the table announcing that the farmers got their land back, Prosper getting a promotion to oversee the sugar cane fields in St. Josephine for his distillery and Billie serving as his “specialized legal advice.” And the cherry on top of this karma-drizzled sundae? Before the day of her election, Charley reached out to Jacob to persuade him in joining forces.
“I didn’t want the land. I wanted the satisfaction of besting you. My partners have integrity and vision for our hometown. They’re the only ones who really care about St. Joe. That process just happened to right the wrongs done by you, your father, his father, who knows how long this has gone on.” Jacob to Sam Landry
“Too long but it’s over now.” — Ralph Angel
Not only did Jacob purchase Sam’s land but now we know that the look of defeat on Ralph Angel’s face at the auction when Jacob appeared was that of relief. It worked. The plan worked! (That wink Jacob gave was so petty! Ha!)
“With their friend Remy’s bid as a distraction, the Bordelons provided the funds and the strategy. Right after Prosper and Hollywood came to my distillery, the transfer was set. We just waited out for the good ol’ boys to hit their threshold,” Jacob revealed.
With all that he has endured at the hands of Sam Landry, Ralph Angel made sure that he got the last word, rightfully so.
“One of the best moments of my life. You lost Sam. That’s right, it’s over now but by the looks of this big old fancy house, you’ll be fine. See you and your kind, y’all have been stealing from my people for generations. It’s a hell of a headstart don’t ya think? But we have something that you’ll never have cause we got love. We got each other. We got our land back.” — Ralph Angel
God’s Property and Kirk Franklin’s “The Storm is Over Now” play in the background during Ralph Angel’s monologue perfectly sealing the sweet victory and carried throughout the final moments.
We see Ernest — there in spirit — watching over his family now that the biggest burden has been lifted from them. He visits which each of his loved ones in their tender moments, pleased that they’re at peace and prospering. He visits Nova, who now lives in her aunt’s refurbished home with Calvin, revealing that she’s pregnant. He looks on with a glow at Charley and Davis as they sit together over breakfast. He sits and watches the glow in Micah who’s thriving in his purpose in his new leadership role with LEAP. He looks on at his sister Violet and Hollywood in the new joy of parenthood with their foster daughter Paulie.
Ava saves the best and heartstring-pulling visit for last with Ernest walking through his sugarcane fields with Blue and Ralph Angel — the first time the three of them have appeared onscreen since the emotional hospital scene in season one. Blue runs off towards the house as father and son stand side-by-side.
Taking it all in his silent reflection, he smiles as if he can feel his father standing beside him. Ernest looks on with pride as Ralph Angel leaves to join his family as he sees that his wish for his beloved son has come true. He’s become the man he knew he could be, he’s not alone and the land will move forward. As he walks back into the sugarcane fields, he leaves with joy. With closure that his family is okay.
DuVernay’s dedication appears in the frame: “For my father, Murray Maye.”
- Micah’s talk with Charley after he arrives in California following her loss in the senate race was long overdue. The absence of Dawn Lyen Gardner, who announced in September that she didn’t participate in the filming, was felt in this season. The creative team edited old footage of her in to give viewers some sense of closure with her character but it didn’t feel the same without her.
- Aunt Vi and Hollywood finally have the family they’ve been longing for after becoming the foster parents to a 9-year-old girl named Paulie who is literally “perfect” for them. The way she turned to them and asked innocently, “I get my own room?” was so precious. After bouncing to different foster homes, it’s clear that she’s safe and can see what kind of love she’ll receive.
- I couldn’t help but say, “Thank God” that Nova didn’t accompany Dominic to Africa or else she would’ve missed what was for her and the connection with her mother. To think that Ernest and his sugarcane farm were thought to be the only piece of land in the family when Trudy had her own all along!
- The start of Calvin’s dream of them on the front porch “old and in love” (episode 7) is coming true.
- Jacob challenging Sam Landry was a surprising yet satisfying twist in the episode and the series as he often led the charge in harassing the Bordelons over their land but he has clearly changed. I couldn’t help but think about Betty calling Sam a coward for running with his father (and the money) instead of with her and their daughter Parker to “fight the good fight” and stand up to this family. Jacob has done that very thing and has taken a stand to right the wrongs his family has caused.