We knew it was coming.
Although Covid-19 dominated much of our lives in 2020, there was so much more that we saw, experienced, and endured. So many events that rocked our collective belief in one another.
The killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer was one of those events, and it hits the Bordelon family hard on Queen Sugar Season 5 Episode 6.
Although all of the Bordelons were tormented as they watched the video of a black man begging for his life while a white officer held a knee on his neck for nine long minutes, each member felt and reacted to it differently.
Ralph Angel and Darla were in the middle of a blissful and much-deserved honeymoon when things unfolded.
That they wouldn't get their dream trip to New York City due to the pandemic didn't deter them from making the best of a long weekend on the gulf coast.
The two were enjoying every moment of their newfound roles as husband and wife, and it was a joy to see them so happy and wrapped up, literally, in one another. It made me wish Hollywood hadn't felt the need to call and disturb their beautiful little bubble.
That Darla wanted to get home to Blue as quickly as possible was understandable. When the world feels like it's on fire, you want to hug your kid to remind yourself that they're safe and pretend that you'll be able to keep them that way.
Despite the turmoil surrounding Blue, he's still so very innocent because he's had a loving family who has protected and cared for him.
But Blue's teacher was very wrong; bad people exist in this world, and it was time that Blue knew that and was prepared.
The conversation that Ralph Angel and Darla had with their son was heartbreaking because it robbed him of that innocence, but it was necessary. Despite all of their best efforts, they couldn't shield Blue from what was happening in the world, and the boy had questions.
As Ralph Angel said, it was time.
Blue's confusion made it all the more poignant. Why would he be stopped by the police if he hadn't done anything wrong? If only the world were that fair.
Micah had learned that lesson years earlier; that despite his wealth, his parents' status, and the privilege that came with it, it wasn't enough to protect him from someone in power which saw him as less than.
Less than worthy of respect. Less than worthy of compassion. Less than equal. Less than human.
Charley knew it would affect her son the moment the news broke, and she went to him. To her credit, she wouldn't let Micah put up a brave front in an attempt to ignore his own past trauma.
Charley: Please, don’t do that to yourself.
Micah: Do what?
Charley: Push it down. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried it.
Micah was horrified, not only by what he saw but that there was no attempt to conceal it. This wasn't a killing hidden by darkness; it was done out in the light.
Charley: It’s murder. It’s unacceptable.
Micah: Is it? This didn’t happen on some dirt path on the side of the road. This didn’t happen in the middle of the night. They didn’t take him on a drive to some dark alley so they could put a gun in his mouth. This was broad daylight. There were people across the street begging him to stop but he didn’t.
Charley: I know.
Micah: The murder of black people is very acceptable. The fact that it is is the whole point.
It was disturbing that Micah cheered as the police department was set on fire, but it was understandable, even if it was, in many ways, unacceptable.
Micah now viewed the people in that building as enemies and thus not worthy of empathy.
That's the road that leads to hell.
Charley: Love isn’t a weakness. Love isn’t something to be mocked. You can be enraged and still lead with love, with light. Ella Baker said, “Give light, and the people will find the way.” Dr. King said, and you know this, Micah, “Darkness can’t drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can’t drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Micah: Dr. King also said that a riot is the language of the unheard.
Indeed, not everyone in that police department was responsible for what happened to George Floyd, but more than just the man with the knee on his neck was culpable in Floyd's death.
You hear the term "one bad apple" tossed around a lot, but so often, the rest of the saying is forgotten. "One bad apple spoils the barrel."
Because as Nova pointed out, although Floyd's death came from the pressure of one man's knee, it also happened due to the indifference of three other officers who looked on and allowed it to happen.
All of those officers worked within a system that likely made them feel as though this behavior would be tolerated, or worse, was outright acceptable.
This brings us to Nova and Calvin. Pain and fury radiated off of Nova, and kudos to Rutina Wesley for such a powerful performance. Nova never raised her voice, yet the anger rolled off of her in waves.
She struggled to understand Calvin's perspective on these events because they were so different from her own.
Calvin: I felt disgust watching a human life being taken but no, I wasn’t embarrassed by it personally because I had nothing to do with it.
Nova: Right. But if it were a black cop who killed him, I’d feel embarrassed personally. I'd feel shame.
Courtney: But why, you didn’t do it?
Nova: Every black person’s actions are seen as a collective endeavor; every action besides success, of course. Every bad thing that one of us may experience or cause reflects on all of us in the eyes of American society. One robbery, they are inherently criminal. One drug deal, they inherently lack restraint. One person does something trifle on the job, they all lack discipline.
Courtney: I see what you mean. It’s like black people have a collective conscience in the eyes of white America.
Nova pushed Calvin to share the details of an experience he had as a rookie officer in which his veteran counterparts beat up a black boy for stealing a candy bar.
I was unsure if she pushed was because she was trying to gain context for the article she was writing or if she was trying to punish Calvin by making him reveal those events to Courtney.
Calvin: I know I should have done more, and I should have been stronger, better, and I am. It was one of the worst days of my life.
Nova: Yeah, I’m sure it wasn’t a red-letter day for the kid either.
Growing up, I had a friend who stole a candy bar from a local store and got caught. He was told to give it back and forced to apologize, not beaten up by grown men in uniform.
Think about how different the perspective of both those kids must be when they see a police vehicle drive by with the words "To Protect and Serve" written on the side. Talk about living in two very different worlds.
The events in Minneapolis hit Violet and Hollywood equally as hard and yet differently.
Where Violet railed at the injustice, Hollywood seemed almost resigned to it. He was boarding up the diner, expecting the worst, and he'd given up on ever opening The Spot.
And then Vi found his gun.
Apparently, they had an agreement about no guns in their home, but it turns out that Hollywood was only placating her.
When Violet said that a gun only brings violence and death with it, and she didn't want that spilling over onto Hollywood, he unapologetically refused to give up his weapon.
Well, if I’ve got to take a bullet to keep a bullet off of those I’m charged with protecting and providing for, then that’s just how it’s gotta be.Hollywood
Before this, I was concerned about Micah getting hurt during a protest, but now I'm equally worried about Hollywood. Having so recently lost his own mother, it was even more distressing for Hollywood to witness a grown man die while calling out for his mother.
I fear Hollywood is in a darker place than anyone close to him may realize.
Writers Ava DuVernay and Anthony Sparks and director Cierra Glaude did a fantastic job taking these horrifying real-world events and realistically showing us how each of these characters would react to them.
In doing so, they showed us points of view we may or may not have otherwise been exposed to in our own worlds. Even if it makes some uncomfortable, that is a gift, and this episode is easily the best installment of the series.
It makes me proud to say I'm a fan of Queen Sugar.
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C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.