Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1 Review: Late-February 2020

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Seeing the Bordelon family once again on Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1 has been one of the highlights of 2021.

Despite their current ongoing challenges, the family experienced so much hope and joy; it was uplifting.

Unfortunately, as viewers, we know the tidal wave of pain and chaos is on the way.

The Queen Sugar Mill

This is "Late-February 2020," and Covid-19 is just taking hold in other parts of the world. The virus is barely a story on the news in Louisiana, but that's going to change quickly and with devastating results. 

Queen Sugar Season 5 was delayed because of Covid-19. Ava DuVernay had filmed two episodes when production was shut down, but the entire season had already been written.

And then our perception of the world changed with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, massive protests across the country and the world, and of course, the ravages of Covid. 

So they scrapped the season and rewrote it all because not having the Bordelon family face what was really happening in our world felt inauthentic, and that's not what we've come to expect from Queen Sugar. 

But as the season opens, the Bordelon family is riding a high even if there are a few bumps in the road. 

The Bordelon Family Gathers - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

Frances Boudreaux was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to commit arson. I'm trying to picture Frances, a woman who has lived with extreme privilege her entire life, surviving in prison, and I can't quite wrap my mind around it. 

Charley is St. Josephine's first black Councilwoman. As she continues to fight the highway threatening to tear through their parish, she also sparks the celebration for the actual St. Josephine, the once enslaved black woman for which the parish was named. 

St. Josephine was born enslaved but she became an inspiration and a Saint. So I honor St. Josephine the woman, and I thank you for making me the first black councilwoman in the history of her parish.


I don't think they could have made the Feast of St. Josephine any more beautiful. Between everyone in their finest purple attire and Louisiana's beauty on display, the entire event was visually stunning.

But in the middle of this glorious celebration, Charley got blindsided. That seems to happen a lot to Charley. 

Parker Turns the Tables - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

When Parker seemingly held out a weak olive branch during her meeting with Charley at the Queen Sugar Mill, it was clear that she had something else up her sleeve.

Are cemeteries subject to eminent domain? If the state must pay "just compensation" for the property, how do you even calculate that when talking about land where generations of people are buried? The entire premise sounds insane.

Yet, it would not surprise me if it's already been done somewhere in the real world. Parker did her best to blame Charley, but can she and the Beckington Group really believe they can push this through without backlash?

Charley was furious. You could feel the anger coming off of her in waves. Parker managed to ruin an event she probably spent months planning and then threatened their ancestors' final resting place. 

If Parker was going for maximum impact, she definitely succeeded. 

Charley Won't Quit - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

Has Charley met her match? Well, she may have met her equal, but we know Charley Bordelon doesn't back down for anyone, so this could end up being a proverbial blood bath between these two intelligent, resilient women.

Violet: How are you going to respond to all this?
Charley: I know what I’m not going to do. I am not going to lose. I can’t. I won’t.

Through all of this, it was good to see Nova by Charley's side. The sisters are stronger when they work together, and I hope they remain a team moving forward. They're going to need one another. 

Nova and Calvin live together, and he seems to be finding his place in Nova's community, but will Nova find her place in his? Calvin seems concerned, so I'd guess there will be plenty of drama for his grandfather's birthday. 

Nova's Tru Papers is the perfect venture for her. She can write exactly what she wants without answering to anyone because now she can fund it independently. It almost makes the misery she put her family through worth it. 

Nova Goes For a New Look - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

Almost. Okay, not really, but it is an upside.

Hollywood and Violet are as hot as ever, and Violet is going to have to hold on to her new motto with both hands, given what's headed their way.

No more sitting around waiting for things to get good.


It was fantastic to see this couple happy, sexy, and supporting each other's projects and aspirations. These two are couple goals for us all. 

Violet: All this time and people are just realizing that St. Jo was named after a black woman.
Hollywood: Well, you know, I think everything should be named after black women.
Violet: You see, now you just trying to get some.
Hollywood: I sure am.

Happier Than Ever - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

Finally, we have Darla and Ralph Angel.

Every day’s a big day now that mom lives here.


There was such joy in their home, and after the hell they've been through the last couple of years, it felt like my heart grew three sizes just watching them. 

Ralph Angel and Darla have learned so much, grown so much, and appear steadier than ever. 

It says a lot about how far Ralph Angel has come that he could be grateful for all of the love in his life even as his farm and community were being threatened.

Ralph Angel Proposes - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

That's what made his proposal to Darla all the more heartening.

Ralph Angel: I realize it never really feels right unless it’s you and me. You give me strength. You give me purpose. Your love is like my superpower; it helps me create more love. I just want a chance to do for you what you do for me. Darla Sutton, would you give me the privilege of becoming your husband? Will you take my last name?
Darla: Yes.

There was a lot to love in this season opener. Here are a few more tidbits...

  • That Ralph Angel is a man who reads books about the best ways to help his son in school.
  • Blue is a Star Wars fan!
  • What did you think of Micah's new fraternity? As a general rule, any organization that encourages you to wear a mask (and not one for Covid) is suspect, as is the fact that Micah is avoiding telling his mother.

Calvin's In Trouble - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1
  • Will Frances be released early from prison due to her age and Covid-19?
  • What was Calvin thinking when he was eating on Nova's pillow? That's just gross.

Now it's your turn, TV Fanatics. Hit that big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button down below and tell us what you thought of Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1. 

What are you looking forward to this season? Is there anything you're dreading? And are you just happy to be back in the gorgeous state of Louisiana with the Bordelons once again?

St. Josephine's Celebration - Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1

Late-February 2020 Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (21 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 1 Quotes

Violet: All this time and people are just realizing that St. Jo was named after a black woman.
Hollywood: Well, you know, I think everything should be named after black women.
Violet: You see, now you just trying to get some.
Hollywood: I sure am.

Every day’s a big day now that mom lives here.