Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar follows the Bordelons, a black family who owns a sugarcane company in Louisiana. As some of the members are experiencing a higher profile, it seems like the entire family is seeing the repercussions of their success.
The season has highlighted how middle daughter Nova (Rutina Wesley) wrote a memoir revealing family secrets—unbeknownst to her family. The tension grows by the episode.
Darla (Bianca Lawson), the ex-fiancee of Nova’s brother Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe), arrives at her job to find Nova’s book facedown on her seat. The way the book is flipped open, it looks like it’s on the pages describing Darla’s journey in and out of drug addiction. She’s embarrassed that her past life has been made public and has followed her to work.
Nova runs into her police officer ex, Calvin (Greg Vaughan), who now owns a security company, and tells him over lunch how he’s mentioned in her book. Another ex now appears on the book tour since she was sleeping with her professor-mentor for the last two episodes.
There are bookmarks of destruction: The vandalism of Aunt Violet (Tina Lifford)’s restaurant in the beginning and the family-owned mill on fire in the end.
The second episode starts with Nova running to Charley and Ralph Angel as they watch the firefighters contain the mill fire. But her siblings are still unhappy to see her. After learning the fire most likely was caused by arson, Charley and Ralph Angel storm off to approach the nemesis sugarcane business family matriarch, Frances Boudreaux (Annalee Jefferies).
“They looked at me like I wasn’t one of them. They looked like I was a stranger. Not even a stranger, like an enemy,” Nova cries into the phone to Calvin. “I lost my family.”
Calvin runs over to Nova’s house to check on her. Micah comes over at the same time. Once Calvin goes into another room to take a call, Micah questions Nova on how she’s comfortable being with a white ex-cop who could’ve beaten the black and brown residents of St. Josephine. Last season, Micah had been mistreated by a cop during a traffic stop, creating distrust for him and his family over police presence. During that time, Nova’s profile rose as a result of her coverage on cops targeting unarmed black men, which led to her book deal. Nova later asks Calvin if he ever saw another police officer “abuse black people.” He says he looked the other way and he left the force since he had lost his relationship with Nova over the racial tensions in their town.
Nova’s book alone has destroyed her relationship with her family, but as she copes with that loss, she’s been gravitating to her toxic relationships from the past. The college professor she had an affair with turned up on the tour and now it’s her married cop boyfriend returning as divorced and retired from the force.
With her tour, Nova hasn’t really had the chance to mend the relationships at home like she thinks she has. She returns home over the mill fire, but it’s reminiscent of a few weeks ago when she ran to Violet’s home after noticing her aunt’s ex-husband, whom she had interviewed for her book, terrorizing her aunt.
The impact of the memoir is weaved brilliantly into the season with Nova enjoying the success of her book but feeling the fire of burning bridges.
“Queen Sugar” has new episodes on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on OWN.