Keep your enemies close may be good strategy but it can be difficult to pull off when they burn down your house, or in the case of Queen Sugar Season 4 Episode 8, your mill.
Charley Bordelon has gotten knocked down more times than I can recall, but to her credit, she never fails to get back up.
This time, someone set the Queen Sugar mill on fire, putting it out of business for the foreseeable future.
Although no one was willing to take direct credit for the arson, there was no shortage of possible suspects, with Francis Boudreaux at the top of that list.
The old woman's perfect makeup and polite but phony smile have always barely hidden her disdain for Charley, but this time, the truth came spewing forward.
Francis: I don’t know who burned your mill because I did not burn your mill but whoever did it, I’m glad for it. You needed to be put in your place.
Charley: My place is wherever I decide to be.
Francis: Coming down here infecting St. Jo with your nouveau riche sports money and a tawdry sex scandal. You’re nothing more than an upstart Mulato gal trying to be white but I guess that’s your mother’s fault.
Charley: Now you’d do best to keep my mother out of your mouth because deep down you know you’re just insecure, lying trash who try as she might, will never be more than what she’s always been. Irrelevant.
As Francis told Charley, she loves her sugar cane because the end product is pure white. That someone with Charley's skin color could ever think of being on equal footing with her and the power of her old money was beyond impertinent.
I'm sure the thought that Charley could both outclass and outsmart Francis was so brazen that it never even crossed her mind.
You’re outdated, Francis, and too blind and basic to even see it. I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.Charley
Ralph Angel had Charley's back without making a fuss or getting in her way. He knows how fierce his sister is and knew she didn't need him in the room but outside of it, recording her conversation with Francis.
Will that recording prove useful?
It's difficult to say. Deesha was correct in that it didn't prove Francis had anything to do with the arson, only that she's racist and deceitful.
The recording could be used during the campaign to show how hateful and untrustworthy Jacob and his family are, but it doesn't do much to further the arson investigation.
Deesha was not only offering sound advice to Charley, but she was right by Ralph Angel's side as he fought to save his re-entry program.
You can either let fear stall you or drive you. Let it drive you.Deesha
Deesha is a strong, intelligent woman, and I like her, but I'm still not certain that she and Ralph Angel have a future.
It was clear that Deesha didn't appreciate it when Ralph Angel failed to introduce her to Darla as his girlfriend.
Ralph Angel may not have noticed that possessive and intimate way that Deesha touched his shoulder, but Darla definitely caught the gesture.
I doubt Deesha will be thrilled to find out that Ralph Angel crept out of bed with her to chat with his ex in the middle of the night.
Besides Charley briefly telling Nova off at the mill, Nova's return to St. Jo's was somewhat lackluster.
Nova: Charley, wait. Please. I know you don’t want to hear from me but let’s just talk through things first before we do anything rash.
Charley: You don’t get to say that to me, to us, and there is no we.
I don't believe that Nova has any idea of the damage and pain she's caused her family with that book. As Violet said in her prayer, I hope she comes to realize what she's done soon.
It was Nova's conversations with Calvin that were the most compelling.
Even though I believe that Calvin is a good man at heart, it didn't surprise me that he'd witnesses other cops harassing or abusing people of color and did nothing.
He was a man who became a cop because it's what his family expected of him, and remained in an unhappy marriage because he felt resigned to it. That doesn't sound like someone who would have the guts to stand up to power or take on the status quo, even if he truly felt it was wrong.
But it does seem as though Calvin has found his backbone in the last year and I'm curious to see where that takes he and Nova.
I don't doubt that Nova loves him, but is she only diving back into a relationship with Calvin because she's feeling vulnerable and has lost her family?
If she and Calvin start this when Nova is at her lowest, will it thrive when she's feeling strong and secure once again?
Only time will tell.
One of the most unanticipated moments was when Violet summoned Sam Landry to her diner, and he obediently showed up.
Violet: Sam, I did not summon you here for pleasantries or to talk old times. Have you lost your damn mind? Now I held off calling you even when my shop was trashed because I can handle my own things but this is my family. You crossed a line.
Sam: You know that’s not my style. I bark loud to protect my business and my land but I would never do something like this. You know that, Violet.
Violet: Then you tell that to Charley who just had the heaven knocked out of her. It may not be your style but it’s your people. Put a stop to it.
Sam: This is bigger than me. It’s out of my hands now.
Violet: Sam Landry, I’m calling in that favor. You find a way to put the dogs you lying with back on the leash.
Sam: I’ll try my best.
Violet: Don’t try. Do it.
What is this favor that Sam owes Violet, and what is their history together?
Violet has some sort of power over Sam Landry, some chip she's been holding on to for years that she just cashed in.
This newly seen dynamic between these characters is fascinating. There's obviously a much larger story here and I can't wait to find out about it.
Violet's family dinner served to highlight just how shaken Charley was by the fire at the mill.
She put her heart and soul into building that business and seeing it in ashes brought her to her knees.
As if the despair she was already feeling wasn't enough, Romero came storming over with the realization that Charley was the farm owner that caused the death of those two migrant workers.
Although Romero had every reason to be upset and question Charley's moral character, it still seemed unfair to hit her with this at a time when she was depressed and devastated.
Charley was so despondent that she could barely come up with a response. She just stood there and endured his rage.
I do not doubt that Charley will get back up and fight because that's who she is. Will she be able to rebuild the mill, stop Old World Energy, and win back Romero?
That's a tall order, even for Charley Bordelon.
Check back in for my review of Queen Sugar Season 4 Episode 9 and until then, you can watch Queen Sugar online here at TV Fanatic.
C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.