Category Archives: Viewing Pleasures

Television, movies, web series… all my guilty pleasures, yo!

Vultures, rejection & tension stew: Queen Sugar Episode 2

Now that Ernest Bordelon is dead…

  1. Stank Vultures circle around his farm.  Feather-free ones with two legs, no beaks, wearing pants. Some slithering man came sniffing over the Bordelon land and Ernest wuddunt even in the groun(d).  Mr. Landry and his crew don’t call themselves Stank Vultures.  I do.  I’m sure they’ll show up again in this tale.
  2. Journalistic vultures circle around the decaying marriage of Charley and Davis West. Nova’s journalistic virtues shoo away those marital carrion nippers at her newspaper workplace.
  3. Two men want to be there for their women to help them grieve. One woman, Nova, does not want her man to meet her family. I wonder why some reason their relationship a secret. She’s black, he appears white. Appears, I say, because we roll in all skin shades. We still don’t know his life, but we get snippets here and there. Another woman, Charley, is grieving the loss of what she thought was a pristine marriage. Davis wants to grieve with his family, but his family wants him to Get Gone.
  4.  Ralph Angel attempts to shield Blue from hard reality… The folks in your life gone DIE. Auntie Vi disagrees and says Blue needs closure just like the adults.

    Blue’s mom was supposed to watch him during the funeral. Vi doesn’t really like Darla… call her a “No-account girl.” Not sure what that means, but I know it ain’t nothing sweet. So Ms. No Account was supposed to watch Blue during the service, but her boss said she couldn’t leave work early even though she had someone to cover for her. He pretty much told her if she left she wouldn’t have a job to return to. She was trying to be a one-account-having girl… but sometimes those circumstances
  5. Charley and Nova don’t agree how to honor their dad at the repast. And this happens:

Family ties, lingering questions
So why is there a simmering tension between Nova and Charley?

What else is there to Ralph Angel’s story? And the story of his relationship with Darla? She’s a recovering addict? From what substance, I don’t know. But I pray for that child. Not real me. My fictitious self prays for her. The same fictitious self who cooks seven days a week, eats hamburgers for lunch every day and drinks hooch .

#thatisall

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Ava, you had me at the locks: Queen Sugar pilot recap

OK, so the first scene of the pilot sells me cold. It opens with a shot of dreadlocks. Thank you Ava. I should just end this recap here. I’m so satisfied.


The first scene of the pilot sells me cold. 


Character first impressions

This is based on the TV show.  I haven’t read the book… yet.

Nova behaves like the most socially conscious and spiritual sibling. She seems as if she could put a root on somebody, or contact some ancestors to make sure folks get healed right-proper of whatever ails ‘em. Appears this journalist also has the herb to help folks cope with illness. Or sell. I think she’s the social-justice minded neighborhood weed woman. A business woman who might have a knack for growing things from the Earth. she’s also sleeping with some white man… Who I think might be a cop…

The opening scene with Nova and her lover, a white man (at least he looks white…never can tell with all the varied hues of black folks) with a scrumptious looking salt and pepper beard. He’s also a detective. So what I’m wondering is why is Nova encouraging one of her customers to attend a rally against police brutality or against some injustice. It wasn’t stated outright, but implied. Meanwhile, Nova is sleeping with a detective. Can’t help but wonder what kind of dissonance that creates in her mind.

Ralph Angel, six months out of prison. (Why the young brotha gotta be fresh from incarceration?!) Not sure what made him a ne’er do well (or even if he is actually a ne’er do well or just caught a case for something he didn’t do), but he has a son named Blue who he’s trying to teach about discipline. Ralph Angel asks Blue to wait on a bench… And count every five plays before he eats the last churros. (Ralph Angel gets points for feeding his kid churros and letting him play with a girl-doll with matted hair) While Blue is counting plays, Ralph Angel—beacon of discipline—robs a store right across the street from the park… And tries to give the cash to *aunt* for keeping his son. My guess is he wants to feel like he’s making a contribution to those around him. It appears he can’t seem to find work. Not sure if he’s really looking, though. No scenes depict that.

Mom is not in the picture… Early on it seemed she might be a ne’er do well as well. Turns out she is a recovering addict. Now she wants more visits with her son… She says she did really well on a test which will allow her to get a job with the city. She can even make $15.15 or so an hour.

Charley Bordelon-West, is living the glamorous life in California with her husband, Davis, a basketball player for the Los Angeles Gladiators. I’m all ready to high-five the sista, but remember Queen Sugar is a drama, I know some mess ain’t too far away.

Five team members get caught up in a scandal. They’re accused of raping a woman with whom they’ve had previous sexual contact. *There was surveillance video showing the five team members with the accuser, but Davis wasn’t among them. Charley’s husband is the Gladiators’ team captain. First reports said he was not involved in this alleged rape… But it turns out surveillance video shows him with the rest of the accused… old boy takes the passed out accuser, throws her over his shoulder, gropes her bootie then enters a room where the victim says they raped her. Thing is, this video went viral during the middle of a basketball game… and yes Charley took the court to call him out! LAMF [That means Lying @$$… mo-fo]. More video ops to feed TROTS (Them Reporters on the Story) and the ever-thirsty news cycle. But go figure… While Charley’s dad is having a stroke… She’s finding out about her husbands possible indiscretion.

According to the storyline, she’s been telling her dad that she will come back to Louisiana to fix whatever issues he is having with the farm… Sounds like they might be financial ones. But Charley’s promised to help him fix what is ailing the sugarcane farm near New Orleans.

So little Blue has a birthday party… Complete with the cake… His teacher, who all the students love, brought some tidbits for the party. One little girl was fascinated with Ernest Bordelon, Blue’s grandpa, as he played a card trick with her. He was doing fine, even sang happy birthday over cake.

Speaking of cake, one of my favorite shots in this episode… when Ralph Angel was carrying the cake toward a table, slowly placed it down and slid it toward his son. The closeup shots of loving looks between a father who wants the best for his son, and a son who knows he’s loved by his father was priceless. Thank you Ava… for the dreadlocks and those lovely face shots.

So back to the little girl who liked Grandpa Bordelon’s card trick. Homegirl went to say goodbye after the party. Ernest was asleep in the same chair, but she couldn’t wake him up. That’s when she figured something was wrong. Turns out he had a stroke…

There’s the *aunt…* Violet Bordelon…. She and her man Hollywood Desonier seem to be the solid couple in the mix. Hollywood even “complains” she breaks his back something’ tough. Vi was the one who called Charley’s son, Micah, asked him to take charge, and get his mamma to Louisiana. Turns out Charley was too late… Because I think Ernest Bordelon died just before she got to the hospital.

Closing scene… Charley is walking in the fields of her dad’s farm… and apologizes to the sky for not coming home sooner. I must say, she looked an awful lot like Olivia Pope and she said “I’m sorry daddy… I’ll fix it.”

Bottom Line
This episode tells how these three estranged siblings reunite.

Lingering Questions

  • Why does Ralph Angel detest Blue’s mom? Seems like there was once love there, which has since morphed into “girl, bye.”
  • What’s the story behind Blue’s doll? One brief look told a whole story while Ralph Angel and Blue were in the park. Daddy tolerates his son’s doll… I believe the rest of that story is forthcoming.
  • Ernest Bordelon hasn’t planted on his farm in years. What will become of it? By virtue of the family name, I’m guessing they’ll do something. According to houseofnames.com, Bordelon means dweller on the farm. Not sure how accurate that is, but it sounds good and makes sense because, after all, the story centers around a farm.

The music
Opening scene with Michelle Ndegocello’s voice. Soothing sultry calm voice. I’ve always liked her warm vocal vibe. Captured my most appreciative ears, just like those dreadlocks captured my eyes. Thank you Ava.

Jidenna’s “Long Live the Chief” during the basketball scene, and the I have no explanation about the music except *LOVE*.

#thatisall

#igotthesugar

#sugarlove

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Hope, sickness, prayer, reality & the secret sit-down in Greenleaf episode 5

God is good… All the time.
All the time…God is good…


The saying is part of the Calvary Church culture, that finds its reality outside the television world and in, I’m sure, enough congregations to make it seem like home. At least it did to me.

So… what happens when God’s goodness competes with persistent sickness of a believer? Is God good all that time, too?

Turns out a couple at Calvary Church is navigating this idea—God’s goodness, illness, and the “God has a plan” mentality.  They are split between what I call brute faith—which has nothing violent or savage about it–and the reality and drudgery of persistent sickness. One half of the couple still believes God is good, the other doesn’t deny that, but thinks letting go would be good for their son, and realistic.

This episode touches on the idea that churchly positivity can seem insensitive and trite in the face of incessant, insistent, persistent, and painful sickness. In this case, it’s the couple’s young son. So how does one figure out God’s will for a young child who has never seen a good stretch of health—ever?

His name is Joshua, born premature with excessive and persistent health problems. Doctors warned them ahead of time that their boy would have health challenges. The husband was willing to let him go, because he didn’t want his child to suffer. The wife wanted to give it a chance because they had failed in previous attempts to have a kid.

After he was born, Joshua had a surgery that almost took him out, so the wife called Bishop… And decided to keep pressing toward health because Bishop told them God had a plan for the little boy’s life.

Only health didn’t come.

Grace seemed bothered by the excessive positivity that, in this case, didn’t seem realistic. So she told her dad not to give the couple false hope, but to pray for God’s will to be done instead.

The boy died.

But not before his mom vocalized that she just wanted her boy to be okay… whatever the outcome of yet another surgery.

Meanwhile in the Greenleaf mansion, another couple got good news, while another is struggling to hold on. Continue reading Hope, sickness, prayer, reality & the secret sit-down in Greenleaf episode 5

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No matter what’s visible, there’s always another story

If something happens in public, best believe there is another story that’s playing out… behind closed doors.


Episode 4 figures a way to address current events such as reactions to police shootings of unarmed black people and the Black Lives Matter movement.


The mayors office approaches Bishop Greenleaf about hosting a “Back the Blue” tribute during church one Sunday. Bishop isn’t inclined to speak out for or against the shooting of an unarmed teen boy, so the mayor’s rep sweetened the deal. With land…

Episode 4 figures a way to address and weave current events such as police shootings of unarmed black people and the Black Lives Matter movement and weaves it into the fabric of the Greenleaf family’s lives and political dealings.

So back to the land, which could be on the table for Calvary…  If they publicly show support for the local police department, it’s implied the land would be made available for purchase.  Bishop hasn’t seen enough of a compelling reason to jump into the controversy surrounding Officer David Nelson, even though Nelson is one of his congregants. But adding land to expand and build a community center? That’s a different story, so Bishop considers being the one black church in Memphis to declare support for the police department. Basie Skanks of Triumph church has outspoken against the shooting and police brutality while Calvary church remains silent.  Should they or shouldn’t they back the blue? Uncle Mac reminds Bishop “Basie Skanks ain’t got no pool.”


So therapy dollars aren’t being wasted, exactly. Jacob is being more open. Just not with his wife.


Cheater and the Shrew

Kerissa and Jacob go to therapy… Kerissa doesn’t want a divorce. Jacob doesn’t answer that question when the therapist asked him if he wants a divorce. A communicative one, he is. Therapist gathers Jacob still wants to stay married but they need to figure out how they will relate to each other. So they start getting to the nitty-gritty… Jacob’s other women.  But Jacob’s expressive words are all folded and put away deep in his mental drawers.  The therapist asked why he cheats… that fool don’t even know. Or maybe he does, but we sure don’t find out.

Continue reading No matter what’s visible, there’s always another story

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Dinner & realizations, drunkenness & pregnancy tests, denial, threats & revelations unsealed in Greenleaf episode 3

So the season finale has come and gone, but I’m still writing these episode recaps… because I want to… and because I have to get them all done before Queen Sugar starts in a couple of weeks!  You can also get episode recaps straight from OWN.

Noah invites Grace to dinner. Isabel asked him to ask Gigi. It’s Izzy’s effort to get know her fiancee’s old flame. Interesting scene. It’s evident Izzy ain’t having Grace, even though she’s properly proper. Her shade seeps through admiration’s guise when she learns Grace quit her TV job to move back to Memphis. “I wish I could be that recklessly impulsive…” she starts. If Isabel actually liked Grace, maybe she would have said “I admire your spontaneity! I wish I were more like that!” Izzy’s eye is on that sparrow… and I knooooowww she’ll-be-watch-ing-Grace like a hawk.in.the.sky…

Spidey sense says…
Charity and Kevin go to karaoke.  Two men who appear gay sent over two drinks to their table after Kevin sang a warble-laden version of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour.” I think the two dudes spotted a kindred spirit who don’t yet know he’s kindred.

Charity downs too many drinks and when she stumbles home with Kevin she insists on taking a pregnancy test with her drunk tail. Kevin even holds the stick while she pees… What a cute couple!

And guess what? It’s positive. They’z pregnant now!

Unreal moments…
Zora and Sophia attend this lock-in at Calvary church.Here’s what struck me as unrealistic. After Zora conferred with a friend while the other kids kept watching a movie, then came back and asked Sophia if she wanted to get high. Puhhhlease! Who, outside of a 1980s sitcom character, is really going to ask that? It seems far-fetched… not the fact that some teens actually got high at this church lock-in… That doesn’t surprise me one bit. The fact Zora didn’t say “Hey, old-boy got some weed…you coming?” or even “We’re going outside for some fresh air… you coming?” She was all straight up about it… but then again, these are supposed to be truthful churchy kids honoring their maker in all they do. They’re not supposed to lie, so I guess it’s reasonable for Zora to be upfront when inviting her cousin to smoke what came from their maker’s earth. (Sidebar disclosure: I’ve never been high, and I don’t recall anyone ever asking me if I wanted to get high… So my knowledge base on weed invites isn’t expansive.)

Continue reading Dinner & realizations, drunkenness & pregnancy tests, denial, threats & revelations unsealed in Greenleaf episode 3

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Memphis with a Mission: Grace Greenleaf decides to stay!

So I can’t wait for the season 1 finale of Greenleaf, which airs Wednesday (TONIGHT) on OWN.  For folks with the day off, they’re even going air all prior episodes until tonight’s pilot at 10 p.m.

I’ve seen most episodes at least twice… the first time to catch up with the latest happenings on Planet Greenleaf, the second time to watch and discuss, the third and all subsequent views… usually more like a cozy blankey, that I use to fall asleep . Not that the show is boring. Not.at.all.

No plans here to bore my two readers (of which I am one) with the minutiae of each episode, I’ll keep it to five or so things you MUST KNOW.

First of all, an observation:  Lady Mae is a such a prim-proper one… A true lady—with a scythe tongue:

That’s the kindest way I’ve heard someone say STFU.

Continue reading Memphis with a Mission: Grace Greenleaf decides to stay!

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Sin sizzles in new OWN mega-church drama

Okay, so I’ve been watching this new TV show, Greenleaf, on OWN Network. I’m weeks late with all of this, and the season finale is this Wednesday, but I don’t care.

I’m so hooked.  And from my real life perch, I gots plenty of judgments about them church folks.

I was first drawn to the show because it was about a mega church family and all of their goings-ons, some which I figured would be semi-sordid for a church family…  But then again, they’re a bunch of frail humans, so I guess it’s not so sordid after all.  These folks just happen to tote Bibles.

Quick-fast pilot overview

Grace Greenleaf, the drama’s central character. She traveled home to Memphis for her sister’s funeral.

Faith Greenleaf committed suicide.

Grace believes her mother’s brother, Robert “Mac” McReady molested Faith.  Grace also thinks that violation or series of violations was why Faith killed herself at the serene-looking lake on the Greenleaf family estate.   Grace was only coming to Memphis to bury Faith but decided to stay, hell-bent on getting that perv Uncle Mac in jail.

Then there’s Grace’s brother, Jacob, who doubles as a cheating husband to Kerissa… his ultra-ambitious and ultra, no-plank-having-in-the eye judgmental wife who wants him to rise up the ranks at Calvary, his daddy’s church.  Kerissa is annoying, and had me wanting to smack her in this dinner table scene which, by the way, felt all to familiar to my church-bred tail.

Kerissa knows her Jacob has a side piece who keeps texting his phone. But she doesn’t know it’s Bishop Greenleaf’s admin assistant, Alexa the Trollop.   But she isn’t a trollop on her own…

Continue reading Sin sizzles in new OWN mega-church drama

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