Wrapping Your Heart Around the Good in Queen Sugar’s Season Finale

Ashley Gail Terrell
10 min readAug 23, 2018

Season 3, Episode 13 | Grade: 9.4/10

Writer(s):Anthony Sparks, Erika L. Johnson, and Kat Candler| Director: Kat Candler

Frances Boudreaux (Annalee Jefferies) and Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) | Photo by Skip Bolen © 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. / Courtesy of OWN.

Disclaimer: To the writers of this episode, please DM me your addresses so I can ship you each a small bottle of my tears to place on your mantles.

“From On The Pulse of Morning” was a stirring and heartfelt end to what has been an vulnerable season three of Queen Sugar.

The opening shot of Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) walking with two officers behind prison bars was a sobering site as his energy was uneasy. Immediately after, which much relief, he’s been invited by his probation officer Kevin(Nicoye Banks) to speak to inmates. A far cry from the struggling parolee who robbed a liquor store in the series premiere, he bared his heart, but reminded them of their worth by giving them encouragment.

“Find something good and wrap your heart around it, and don’t let go.” — Ralph Angel

Outside, Kevin receives a call confirming that Ralph Angel’s request for an early parole has been approved. He’ll be a free man in one month. (Ralph Angel watching a group of new prisoners thoughtfully knowing what trauma will lie ahead).

Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe) is preparing for his rally in protest of a correctional facility soon to be built in St. Josephine since it was voted in favor in the previous episode. Nova (Rutina Wesley) encourages her nephew of the good he’s done and assures that despite his friends being a no show that leaders often have to stand alone. When he tries to take the lead with the auditorium of volunteers, he stumbles over himself until Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) steps in and takes over. Micah steps back to Nova embarrassed.

Nova’s novel has been a work in progress for the entire season that has been met with bumps, praise, and resistance (i.e. Aunt Vi’s anger over the chapter about Ernest’s depression and suicide attempt). Her good friend Sierra (Deja Dee) returns after reading a copy of the book and gets her entire life for how stirring, powerful, and bold it is. BUT. She asks Nova if she has told her family about what she has written but she argues that the stories will serve the black community. Sierra calls the details “explosive,” adding, “You’re playing with fire.”

Let’s be honest, Nova has been doing that all season but from Sierra’s criticism of what she has addressed in her book, she’s going to cause a backlash in the Bordelon family. Just from Aunt Vi’s (Tina Lifford) reaction alone from her essay makes me believe she’ll be uneasy with reading the rest of Nova’s novel. Later in the episode, she finally comes up with a name: “Blessing And Blood.” Sending it off to her book agent Debra, we’re left into the unknown of what ripple effect this will cause in season four.

Charley and Romero share a kiss. | Courtesy of OWN

Let me just say that I’ve been on the same side as viewers wanting Charley to experience a personal win. She has taken Romero (Walter Perez) up on his offer for him to cook her dinner. The two of them sit together drinking wine and getting to know each other. She opens up on how the death of her father and moving back to Louisiana has opened her eyes to reality and he shares an embarrassing story of his childhood. It ends with the two of them dancing and laughing with lighthearted banter and a little flirtation. He stares at her in wonder and says, “I love your joy.” The two then share a tender kiss. Alexa, play “Tender Love” by Force M.D.s.

Micah’s rally receives a great turnout with notable figures from the community. When it comes time for Micah to speak he’s nervous and tripping over himself to the point that the crowd cheers him on. Charley looks as if she wants to step in…again but he tosses the paper and speaks from his heart and of being violated. His awakening as a young black man since moving to Louisiana from California has been an enjoyable arc throughout the series.

Charley crying and Darla holding Blue after Micah shares his experience with racial profiling. | Courtesy of OWN

Ashe’s performance was heartfelt and endearing as the rally was used to bravely tell his story of being racially profiled. The shot of Darla (Bianca Lawson) pulling Blue (Ethan Hutchinson) close to her and Charley quietly crying at Micah’s revelation motioned towards the fears of being the mother of a black son in America. Even the heartbreaking and horrified looks from Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey) and Aunt Vi: “I didn’t know that.”

Asha, KJ, and Malik arrives to Micah’s rally. | Courtesy of OWN

His girlfriend Keke (Tanyell Waivers) and his friends standing in the crowd gave him the courage to speak boldly on the repercussions a prison will have on the St. Josephine community. He also bravely revealed the name of the officer: Officer Randall Orson.

“Last year, I was driving and a cop here pulled me over but instead of giving me a ticket and letting me go he put a gun in my mouth. It was empty but I didn’t know that until he pulled the trigger and just laughed. Since then I’ve been wondering, ‘Why this officer felt that he could abuse me and just walk away?’ And the only answer I could think of is this cop felt his dignity, his life was worth more than mine.” — Micah

Off the heels of the rally, Charley has another sit down with Frances Boudreaux (Annalee Jefferies) who says she has “MPTE on the ropes” how she wants an “outright knockout punch.” Charley has a tactic to kill two birds with one stone by defeating the prison plan and take out Sam Landry (David Jensen) which excites Boudreaux. Charley insists on getting her hands on the real financial books but Boudreaux says if they existed they would damage Landry and her family’s business that she would try to get control of. Exposing this information will throw a monkey wrench into his plan to have the prison built.

“The whole thing will fall like a row of dominoes and then you could swoop in and be the hero. Clean up the good ol’ boys club and save your family name.” — Charley

The two businesswomen continue a tense back-and-forth when the topic of Charley’s 11 percent shares — 10 of it which she pouched from Colton Landry — comes up for her to protect herself. “That’s a major ask,” Charley says. Boudreaux wants more than one percent in exchange of giving her back the Queen Sugar mill and allowing the black farmers to move back on their land at fair rates. It’s definitely a battle of control and Boudreaux wants to be the one to pull the trigger. Charley being open in her opposition of the prison will come off as an “agenda being served,” Boudreaux says. Will either budge? That’s the question.

Charley hands Prosper the keys and deed to his home. | Courtesy of OWN

Prosper (Henry G. Saunders) prepares his goodbyes as he’ll be heading to a hotel out of town before moving with his daughter back to Chicago. First, him and Charley make a stop to his home to his confusion. She hands him an envelope to read and from his expression she says it’s a deed to his house and land. She lays his keys in his hands and assures that it’s his. Stunned and overwhelmed at how she made it happen, he begins walking around in order to feel his land under his feet. [Writer’s note: This is the part where I started sobbing.]

This only proves that her heart has always been with doing her best by the farmers. Most importantly, keeping her promise to her father at the bonfire ceremony to protect Prosper as she looks up towards the sky and smiles.

Charley. | Courtesy of OWN

The Wedding

In an episode full of drama, shock, and “oh hell” moments, Hollywood and Aunt Vi gave the most tender moments that makes you believe in love. And when you’re in love you deserve to give each other whatever you want.

The family arrives to their house to see it decorated with lights, flowers, and tables much to their confusion. Six chairs are placed in front of the stairs as they’re greeted by a priest. Then, Aunt Vi and Hollywood steps out dressed in white, as they’ve decided to get married now because they couldn’t wait any longer.

Aunt Vi and Hollywood surprises their family with a wedding ceremony. | Courtesy of OWN

Sparks, Candler, and Johnson made their vows sparkle with so much tenderness and Earth moving affection that the actors wrapped their hearts around it — which made it so sweet. I, like Charley, was a weeping mess.

Aunt Vi: “You are good, kind, safe, and so perfectly flawed that even your jagged parts fit mine just right. On your worst day your spirit flies so high that it makes everything around you better. So I commit to you, to us, and I have learned the difference between a love that liberates and a love that feels like it’s always been free.”

Hollywood then tells the story of the day he met Aunt Vi after a fishing trip and how she changed the energy of a sad day forever.

Hollywood: “I tripped and fell into some bushes but it wasn’t no bushes. Nah, it was a bunch of pretty flowers. Pretty purple African violets and they made me smile. Later that day I met you. You know that day at The High Yellow? You said, ‘Hi. My name is Violet, and how can I make you happy today?’ And just like that my whole life changed because I found what I’ve been looking for since the day that I was born. I found a woman my soul was meant to love.”

It was so moving they even had Ralph Angel shedding tears. The couple celebrates dancing and laughing with family and friends, and ending the season with joy.

Other Episode Notes:

  • Nova starts removing some sticky notes off her wall after submitting her book. One of them reads, “Melina Galoudian,” the name of the woman who accused Davis and his teammates of rape in season 1. Oh, Lord.
  • Charley’s sit down with Landry reveals that he suffered a setback of MPTE to build the prison by revealing his private affairs. Charley plays hardball that his time is up and he reminds her that she made a deal with the devil: his sister. Charley makes it clear that neither of them scares her as a black woman she can conquers those devils. Bad ass.
  • Charley staring at Sheriff Guidry (Adam Vernier) during the rally — the same one who attended the parish council meeting — gave an energy that he was going to be a problem somehow.
  • Ralph Angel pulling up to his home to see Sheriff Guidry from the rally sitting with another officer made me go, “Aw, hell. What now?” The officers tries to coax him to come down to the station to answer questions but never specifies for what. He mentions Ralph Angel’s month left of parole and how he can jeopardize it. Quick on his feet, Ralph Angel tells them that his has cameras on his property that captured them coming on his land and even now while they talk. You see how quickly they got their asses back in the car and rolled away. Mmhmm. I also think the cop’s action stemmed from Micah’s rally and him speaking out on the officer that abused him.
  • Ralph Angel and Darla slowly making grounds to mend their relationship is big of them particularly when they both wished the best for one another.
  • Prosper gifting Micah with the vinyl record of Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and empowering him that he’s born to lead was a touching gesture.
  • Jarrett Rawlings (Dave Maldonado) has been such a blessing. He is literal pure with goodness of not only believing in Aunt Vi but sticking by her through her health issues. Him sitting down with her to discuss locations and mentioning that The High Yellow restaurant could potentially house her pie business was one of the special moments of the episode. “Now this can all be yours.”
  • Hollywood and Aunt Vi are so beautiful and this episode amplified that. I’ve loved them since their introduction in season one with the two of them lovingly naming soul food dishes to one another.
  • Hollywood covering her eyes and saying, “Just remember. Everything you see when you open your eyes belongs to you” to open them to see that he has bought her The High Yellow with his settlement money. Plus, her name is on the deed so it’s all hers. Look! I need him to buy some land and plant a whole field of him because my God!



Ashley Gail Terrell

Creator of ASH LEMONADE. Entertainment Writer: Ebony, Essence, VIBE, The Root, Black Girl Nerds, HuffPost, Paste Magazine, & more.