by Nichole Perkins | via Vulture
The men of Queen Sugar are more than meets the eye. We’ve already seen how Ralph Angel struggles to move beyond his criminal past. Davis’s rape accusation has marred his image as a perfect husband and father. Calvin is a straight-up unfaithful spouse. It all leads one to wonder: What might be wrong with the show’s other male characters? In “By Any Chance,” we learn about Hollywood’s past. And it’s a doozy.
Violet is having trouble with the new manager at the High Yellow Diner. After he embarrasses her in front of friends by demanding she return to work after her shift ended, she reaches out to Hollywood. Hollywood pretends he’s on the rigs, but he’s really in a psychiatric ward, signing out his bipolar wife, LeeAnne (Erika Alexander). LeeAnne is on suicide watch and Hollywood has no choice but to be her caretaker. Shortly after trying to seduce him, LeeAnne becomes violent when she sees that a woman (Violet) is calling him. Hollywood eventually leaves LeeAnne behind with her cousin, reminding her that they agreed to move on. They remain married so LeeAnne can be included in Hollywood’s insurance plan, but as far as he is concerned, that’s the only thing left between them.
A hidden wife is quite a significant secret. What else is Hollywood hiding? When LeeAnne tries to kiss him, she claims she wants to have another baby. Another one? Do they already have a child? Even stranger, LeeAnne looks like a younger version of Violet — expressive large eyes, a curly hair cut in a similar style, plus they both met Hollywood while they worked at diners. He definitely has a type, and with so many things going poorly for Violet, she won’t be happy to learn about it.
After Violet’s rough day at work (which eventually leads her to quit), she comes home to engage in some much-needed down time with the Bordelon women. Nova pulls out a joint, Violet gives up way too much information about Hollywood’s prowess, and the women start asking Nova who she’s been secretly dating. Charley asks if she’s seeing a man or a woman, and Violet suggests that was just a college phase. Nova quickly corrects them. It’s not a phase. She doesn’t care about the package; it’s what’s inside that matters to her. We’re learning so much about everybody tonight!
Nova doesn’t describe herself as bisexual or pansexual, so I hesitate to assign either term to her. Regardless, it’s meaningful that her family accepts her as she is — that’s a rarity in small Southern towns. The revelation about Nova’s sexuality is simply dropped in the conversation, and then the women go back to teasing each other and having a good time. Maybe it’s a bit too on the nose to give Nova — a voodoo-practicing, weed-selling, creative talent — a queer identity. We get it: She and Charley are complete opposites. But if this episode helps anyone see how easy it is to love someone so unlike themselves, it will be well worth that lack of subtlety.
In the meantime, Nova doesn’t want to share her relationship with Calvin. It’s an ominous sign for the couple, and by episode’s end, it’s over between them. Calvin doesn’t appreciate the way she used him to get access to Too Sweet, the teenager she’d been visiting in prison, and he tries to explain why it’s bad that her front-page article on police corruption launched an internal investigation. Of course, Nova is proud of that. He tells her that police officers’ families constantly worry if they’ll come home safe. She counters that black mothers and fathers have harbored the same worry for over 300 years. He calls her a hypocrite for selling drugs to the people she claims to want to protect. It doesn’t matter if it’s just weed; it’s illegal. Nova kicks him out, demanding he leave his key behind.
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