by Nichole Perkins | via Vulture
As expected, the late Ernest Bordelon left his children his land. Queen Sugar could have drawn out the dilemma of what to do with 800 acres of sugarcane farm, but thankfully, that question is answered by the conclusion of “Thy Will Be Done.”
This first season is a mere 13 episodes, so it’s important to get to the heart of the story without much filler. With a sensible pace set, we’re able to learn about Charley, Nova, and Ralph Angel without sacrificing any of the family drama we’ve tuned in to see.
Shortly after Ralph Angel was born, Ernest wrote out the will that’s now being executed in his name. Charley and Nova both agree that their father did not expect them to honor it, but Ralph Angel knows that’s not the case. When Charley tells them about Landry wanting to buy the land, Ralph Angel gets upset. In last week’s episode, Charley was the one left out, but now it’s Ralph Angel who’s getting overlooked. He wants to keep the land, if only to give him and Blue a fresh start. Nova isn’t interested in being a farmer, and Charley wants to get back to Los Angeles to deal with Davis’s legal troubles.
In the midst of grieving, Ralph Angel also misses a job interview. It’s a costly error: According to the terms of his parole, he must find a full-time job or else risk being sent back to jail. He tells his parole officer that he may have the option of farming, but that’s not good enough. He has to present a pay stub that reflects a 40-hour work week. When some men come to repossess a tractor for lack of payment, Ralph Angel can barely contain his anger. He aims a pistol at the group, and one of them levels a rifle right back. Ralph Angel invokes Omar from The Wire, warning the men they “best know how to use” their weapon. Blue appears on the porch, yells for his dad, and Ralph Angel lets Nova take the gun from him, avoiding a potentially disastrous stand-off. Ralph Angel’s love for Blue saves him from making a huge mistake.
Ralph Angel feels like he can’t get ahead, that he’s losing the little stability he had. His father is dead. Charley and Nova are sorting through Ernest’s belongings without him. And they want to sell the family land — land that even if he could farm, it wouldn’t fulfill the obligations of his parole. Ralph Angel is willing to do the work, but it’s ironic that the only jobs he’s able to get as a parolee are back-breaking manual labor, like working at a crawfish plant or a warehouse. Instead of using his hands to rebuild his family’s legacy, he is building a stranger’s. Ralph Angel’s struggle shows us how former prisoners continue to suffer, even after paying their debts to society. How much punishment is required once they regain their freedom?
Ralph Angel’s situation frustrates him so much, he turns to his ex, Darla. He stands outside her trailer home, drinking, before walking to her door. In one look, Darla knows why he’s there. In a recent interview with Another Round, Queen Sugar creator Ava DuVernay spoke about how she approaches sex scenes: She’s more interested in the before and after than the clichéd thrust-and-grunt of the middle. Episode director Neema Barnette faithfully carries out DuVernay’s philosophy, lighting Ralph Angel in a sensuous yet lonely blue as he stands silently in front of Darla, the Alabama Shakes’ “Gemini” heating up the moment. (Also: Kofi Siriboe used to model, and he knows how to work that beautiful face.) Darla steps briefly into Ralph Angel’s blue light; now they can be lonely together. Eventually the door closes behind them both. We don’t get to see what happens next, but we don’t need to. Watching Ralph Angel seduce Darla with silence and need is enough to make anybody reach for a cigarette.
To read the rest of the recap, “Thy Will Be Done,” click HERE!!!