The OWN series Queen Sugar has been knee-deep this season in driving storylines around the memoir by Nova, the middle daughter of the sugar mill-owning Bordelon family in Louisiana. In this episode, Nova’s biological sister and former sister-in-law of sorts are dealing with the aftermath of Nova’s memoir with controlled substances.
Nova (Rutina Wesley) helps her real sister, Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), off a barstool in New Orleans, miles away from their hometown of St. Josephine. Charley had been drinking throughout the night at the bar with her sunglasses on, so her potential constituents won’t notice her since she’s running for office. Nova takes her sister to the hotel room and dresses Charley in her pajamas. The tender moment shows the distance they’ve been dealing with can be reduced so quickly. Under the blankets, Charley asks why Nova wrote her book and told the Bordelon family secrets. Nova says she thought it would help the family but now realizes it only helped her career. Charley begins crying, and Nova comforts her sister.
Once Charley returns home, she notices the front page of the local newspaper with the headline, “Charley Bordelon Is My Role Model.” It’s an op-ed by Nova about why her sister would make a great city councilwoman who will defend their farmer community. Nova adds in the op-ed that she regrets what she wrote about her sister in the best-selling memoir.
Charley’s son Micah (Nicholas L. Ashe) then brings his mother out to a get-together where family, friends, and mill workers have gathered to uplift each other after the mill’s fire from last week’s episode.
As the festivities are taking place under garden lights, Darla (Bianca Lawson) is at home taunted by a bottle of alcohol. Since she’s broken up with Nova’s brother Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) and lied about their son Blue (Ethan Hutchison)’s paternity, it’s striking to see her suffering no longer a concern for the Bordelons. She’s not considered family anymore. Nobody is checking on her as she deals with the impact of Nova’s memoir.
Darla’s depression in the episode starts with her visiting the musician she is dating at a practice. He approaches Darla to let her know he’s worried about what he read in Nova’s book. Since he’s working on his sobriety, he picks up on Darla’s slip. Darla becomes hard to contact like Charley.
The contrasting moments with Charley and Darla succumbing to their vices because of Nova’s book are eye-opening to the deeper impact the book has had on the family. The storyline keeps evolving every episode, where the pivotal moments are connected to the pain caused by Nova’s book. This week, the book didn’t seem to earn more awards as it seemed to in previous episodes while a character is having a breakdown. It’d be interesting to see how these characters will keep reacting to the book and how the book will keep rising on the charts.