Nova is always hungry to obtain more memories of her deceased father Ernest Bordelon. She sits on the porch of her father’s close friend Mr. Prosper to learn more than she already knew about her father. Mr. Prosper explains to Nova that her father had many dark days trying raise two kids after he became a widow. He explains a time when Ernest was so bogged down with money issues and pad crop that he went into he fields with a gun one night with the intention to kill himself. This disturbing revelation takes Nova’s breath away, as well as mine! She denies the information being fed to her by Mr Prosper. She tells him that situation can’t be possible because her father was a strong person. Her response is understandable and parallel to life. So many among us suffer from depression and we don’t see it because they are able to mask. Some choose to mask it because they believe it protect their loved ones from worry. Ernest was a black man from an older generation and that generation was and still is not known to openly discuss or even accept that fact they may be suffering from a mental health issue. The word “crazy” was and in some cases still is attached to individuals who are living with mental health issues. He dealt with all of that coupled with the fact that eh was mourning his wife and had the proverbial heavy shoe of the Landry family on his neck daily and Jim Crow era, which I’m sure caused some amount of PTSD is enough to drive the sanest person insane; but I digress. We then see NOVA at Aunt Vi’s 60th birthday party sitting far away from the festivities and very deep in thought. The information Mr. Prosper shared with her has clearly taken a toll on her and could very well lead her down the a path of depression.
Micah and Keke in the house being young and “fast” while everyone else is outside celebrating Aunt Vi’s 60th birthday. Micah receives a phone call from one of the friends in his new clique and it’s clear that Keke, who was once cool with them, has no interest in hanging out with them. The entire time I watch this scene,i cringes because I all I could think was the first line Drake’s new single “In My Feelings”; it’s an ear worm. Wouldn’t it have been funny if Micah would have jumped up and started doing the #ShiggyChallenge?!
Hollywood’s mother arrives in town for Aunt Vi’s birthday party unbeknownst to Hollywood and Aunt Vi. She pulls Hollywood aside like any good mother would and reminds him that he must remember who he is and what is dreams and goals are even after marrying Vi. I speak for myself when I say that the advice she gave him was priceless. She wanted to make sure that Vi’s dreams did not simmer or overshadow Hollywood’s dream. So many people enter into a marriage and forget that they can still support their spouse’s and goals while; achieving their own Sometimes the most difficult part of that is the “how to”, but once you find that balance, life is grand!
Bless her heart. Hollywood gives the birthday toast at Aunt Vi’s birthday party. in his speech he mentions that he looks forward to Aunt Vi taking his last name. The look on Aunt Vi’s face confused me. I thought she was having a Lupus flare up, but later we learn the look is a result of her not wanting to take Hollywood’s last name. This hurt him to his core and he expresses it by telling her that he feels as though she is so independent that she has no need for him. In that moment, I wondered if Vi loved Hollywood or wanted to keep him around to take care of her if the Lupus causes her health to decline in such a way that she cannot take care of herself. You’ve got to give it to Aunt Vi for being honest. She told him though tears, “I don’t need you” which made me clutch my pearls, chile! She goes on to let him know that she wants him and when I thought about what she said later it made so much sense. Is it okay to be with someone who wants you and not needs you? If they are with you, it’s because they choose to be and not out of obligation. That’s pretty deep and something to ponder! Also, Aunt Vi is 60 years old. She has lived! She has experienced so many ups and downs that she is well versed on how to cope with the emotional rollercoaster life puts us on without needing a helpmate. I get it.
Darla and Ralph Angel
Ice is running low at Aunt Vi’s party. Ralph Angel volunteers to make an run to the nearest gas station to make the purchase. Trinh and Blue go with him and as they exit the store looking like and communicating like a happy family, we see Darla peering at them while pumping gas and she is all in her feelings and looks as though she is about to cry. She seems shocked that Ralph Angel has moved on without her. She was already in her feelings because Ralph Angel declined creating a custody schedule with her, which, had he done that would not have caused her to have to cancel big plans that she made for Blue the day of Aunt Vi’s party. Later, she questions Ralph Angel about where he met Thinh and seems hurt when he refers to her as a friend from work. Did she not think this man would move on from her selfish, non-maternal ways? Does she expect him to be at her beck and call now that she is “clean”? Does she expect to not have to deal with the consequences of telling him 7 years later that the child he thought was his, really isn’t? Bye girl! I sense from her new fancy house and her new job that she will soon be hiring a family attorney so that she can either try to take Blue away or split custody allowing the courts to make their parenting schedule. This entire situation is a complete mess and a ball of confusion!
Charley was very low key throughout this episode until she learns from the private investigator that the Landry’s are working with the government to build a private prison on the their land which surrounds the Bordelon’s land. And we all know that is if the government wants land that you live on, even if you own the land, you have to remove yourself. What I want you to catch is that THE LANDRY’S ARE PLANNING TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT TO BUILD A PRIVATE PRISON THAT WILL BE ON THE BORDELON PROPERTY! That is a double slap in the face to the Bordelon family and their blackness. This scene made my stomach turn; I was so disgusted I didn’t even want to finish watching this episode. Thankfully, this was the last scene.
If you don’t understand why I reacted in such a way or why this new revelation about the Landry’s family latest antic is such a big deal, please read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness and I guarantee the answer will be revealed. And let’s not forget that Ralph Angel has still not been sought or caught for that armed robbery he did in episode 1 of season 1, so imagine if he is caught, and tried and found guilty and locked up in a prison on his father’s property! The thought is too hideous too comprehend!
The title of this episode was so fitting. It derives from an old Negro spiritual called “Down by the Riverside“. One stanza of the song reads as followed:
“I’m gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside…and study war no more”
What that basically means is, I have done all I can. There is nothing else I can give. This fight is bigger than me. I can’t study it (worry about it) anymore. Is the title of this episode foreshadowing of the Bordelon’s giving up the fight against the Landry’s? We shall see.