Queen Sugar (Recap) | Fruit of the Flower (S2 E11)

by Angelica Jade Bastién | via Vulture

Much of this season has been rooted in Charley’s interior life. Her struggle to redefine herself in the wake of her divorce, her search for respect as a businesswoman in St. Josephine, and of course, her relationship with Lorna all work to create a rich portrait of a woman reborn. Charley’s identity has provided television a character I feel we haven’t quite seen before. But Wednesday’s episode, “Fruit of the Flower,” while still exploring Charley, brings Nova further into the spotlight by detailing her animosity with Lorna and how much her conception of her parents’ relationship affects how she approaches romance.

I love Rutina Wesley’s performance — she brings a fierceness to the role I admire — but I’ve felt for a while that Nova is a bit too disconnected from her siblings. As much as I like her with Robert, their dynamic has become too much of the focus of her story when that isn’t the most interesting aspect of her arc. I’ve longed to see Nova and Charley interact more so Queen Sugar could explore the rich divides between these women — class, skin color, and of course, Lorna. As much as I think this episode should have simmered on the issues between Lorna and Nova, I appreciate how the sisterly bond between Nova and Charley is put into focus. The episode opens with Charley coming over to Nova’s home in order to help her figure out what she should wear for her on-camera appearance. Looking through Nova’s wardrobe, Charley bluntly says she needs to go shopping. This gives way to a scene full of light humor and camaraderie. (Nova: “You’re right.” Charley: “I usually am.”)

Charley also provides Nova with advice about a far more important dilemma: her relationship with Robert. Nova was visibly uncomfortable when Robert gave her a key to his home. “It’s less about the speed than where it’s going,” she explains to Charley, noting that she’s uncomfortable because she can’t quite see the end of the relationship. Charley advises her to be open and honest, especially since her professional life is intertwined with Robert. But what’s most fascinating to me is the ways Lorna’s emergence in St. Josephine affects both Charley and Nova.

It was only a matter of time until Nova was in the same room with Lorna. The most tense and profound scene this week is when Nova rushes into Charley’s home with more outfit options from her shopping trip, only to find Lorna in the room as well. The moment Nova sees Lorna, she tenses up. Rutina Wesley plays this scene immaculately: The chilliness of her voice and tension that marks her body communicates how impactful Lorna’s presence is for Nova. Lorna of course can’t leave the problems between them unspoken, leading Nova to admit, “Lorna, I could stand here and try to wade through all the pain you caused my family with your personal affairs but I choose not to.” Despite the anger simmering beneath the surface of Nova’s words, Lorna continues saying that what Nova has been told all her life hasn’t exactly been the truth. She says that it was Nova and Ralph Angel’s mother, Trudy, who wanted to have an open relationship while Ernest yearned for a more traditional domestic life. Trudy pushed him away and Ernest connected with Lorna in San Diego. While their relationship was still nascent, Ernest found out Trudy was pregnant with Lorna. She insists she didn’t tear their family apart and she could never take something that Trudy didn’t want to give away, especially since Ernest still loved her. I think Lorna is very bold to put all this on Nova. It’s less about helping Nova see the truth than it is about alleviating her own conscience. What’s surprising is that Lorna turns out to be telling the truth, which Nova learns when she confronts Violet.

Click HERE to read the rest of the recap, “Fruit of the Flower.”