Update: Life got in the way so I didn’t get this up earlier but hope you enjoy the recap below!
And we’re back! New Year. New Episode. More Drama! The Queens came back this past Tuesday, and as usual, they brought the heat! Based on several events during last week’s show, I am even more excited to see the characters’ shifts and storylines. So, let’s get into a recap below.
Bars brought everything that I have come to expect in a Queens episode. Drama. Laughter. Seriousness. Swag and Emotion. After the emotional cliffhanger from the mid-season finale, I was waiting with bated breath to see what Brianna and the remaining Queens fate would be. Naturally, I had to watch the show after it aired due to typical motherly duties on a school night. However, when I did get a chance to watch the episode in peace, I was at the edge of my seat the entire show. So much so, I went back and watched a few times to catch plot points I missed from being worried and wound up the first viewing.
I resisted the urge to view specific clips and snippets on social media all day. But I was hurt when there was a tease for what would later be revealed as the show’s opening scene. Seeing the Queen’s crew in the cemetery was just too much. The waterworks started earlier because I thought, no! My baby didn’t make it even though we heard the heartbeat at the end of the last episode. The dialogue during the opener was heartbreaking, but their group handshake’s gesture took the prize for me.
All seemed to end as they quickly proclaimed that the Queens were dead since Bree was “gone.” The ladies parted ways with Jill leaving the most heartbroken due to her connection with Brianna’s passing through her deranged ex-husband Darren’s actions. After attempting to settle with the reality of Brianna being gone, the episode took a turn in showing the lives of the remaining ladies and members three months post the tragedy.
New House…Who Dis.
After the title card, Naomi takes a sold yard sign out of the ground and walks into the front door of a new home. The new house happened to be Brianna’s old family home. (FEELS) (Sidenote: I loved the transition between the recorded version of Until My Final Breath and Brandy (Naomi) humming the melody of the song. Great production transition and an excellent way to show that the character still felt Brianna’s presence.
Soon after, JoJo comes running up exclaiming that she loved the new home, while Naomi was stated that she felt Brianna would be pleased that the house stayed in the family. And then, the real shining moment of the scene was Eric cooking away in the kitchen. Apparently, the newly reformed family of Naomi/Eric/JoJo decided it would serve as a better foundation to co-parent JoJo while exploring the complexities of their relationship. (Sidenote: I love to see it!) Between the playful banter, lighting, and overall mood of the scene, the sadness that initially occupied my face slowly subsided.
And when Lil Muffin came down the stairs after a long study night (more on that in a moment), the light-heartedness took over. After announcing that they were all out of ice cream, Muffin and Naomi made a grocery run, leading them both to an unexpected encounter. While Naomi loaded the newly purchased goods into the trunk, Muffin talked about how she felt she needed to do more with her life after Brianna’s incident. Declaring that she’s officially retired from the rap game, she’s excited to begin her journey into law as a public defender. Just as Naomi laughs off her statements, she turns to recognize a former rival named Zadie approaching her about taking her cart.
After exchanging some uncomfortable dialogue, Naomi is left to wonder how Zadie’s life turned that direction despite her talent and skill. Attempting to make amends and begin anew, Naomi offered Zadie an opportunity to come in the booth to inspire them both. Zadie was initially reluctant, but she soon joined in for old times. After the magical recording session, Naomi shared a few drinks with her, ultimately finding out that Zadie was blackballed from the industry due to another scenario than what was rumored. (Sidenote: I love that the show is tackling the issues of sexual assault present within the music industry. It’s not a recent issue, but rather it’s BEEN an issue that needs more attention and more advocacy. I also like the layers of victim advocacy that they can showcase with the women and men behind the cause.)
After talking with Zadie, Naomi shared her passion for getting Zadie the justice she deserved to Eric. Later, I will discuss my thoughts on the women empowerment venture created based on Zadie’s story. For now, I would like to discuss Eric and Naomi’s exchanges this week.
Based on the new arrangement and the newer ventures they have decided to take on, I believe this is where we are going to see the character development between Naomi and Eric. Eric clearly wants that old thing back, but Naomi is still apprehensive about blurring the lines even further than they have already. I agree that being together and working together for JoJo is the best thing they could do. However, come on! The close proximity and the apparent flame that has not yet been extinguished are still there.
It’s clear that Naomi is the sensible glue out of all of the situations she’s presented in. However, I feel like Eric may not be done with his old ways of dishonesty. She’s aware of his dealings with Jada (as it was mentioned); however, for some reason, I have an inkling that Eric may not fully side with Naomi, Zadie, and the women’s movement wholeheartedly. Eric has shown that he’s loyal to the cause that gets him the “best” outcome, and I don’t think taking a firm stance on calling out industry predators is what he’s signing up for. As for Naomi, I hope to see more of her personal journey develop alongside Zadie’s story and the new venture. I feel like her personal story has been topical at most, but it’s definitely more to her story than what meets the eye.
First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Love?
Three months post the tragedy, Valeria has taken more interest in developing her solo sound. Her opening scene features her lyrically vibing in the booth while an unknown sound engineer mixes away at her vocals. As V continues through her rap, the sound engineer and I notice the narration behind the flow. Just as Naomi did earlier, V raps about how she wishes she’d been able to stop the bullet that night and that she could still feel Brianna’s presence in the booth.
V continues sharing how each Queen helped her develop into the person she’s becoming while also revealing her regrets and realities. As she poured her feelings into the song, the engineer seemed intrigued. Perhaps a little more intrigued than we all first expected. V questions the engineer’s personality when she questions why he wasn’t very expressive or talkative after almost three weeks of working alongside each other.
But her questions quickly quailed as he began to lay on the debonair rap. (Sidenote: The series of “I Know A Place” statements were both brilliant and hilarious. I believe it was due to the simplicity of the message juxtaposed to the significantly layered outcomes.)
Midway through their “late-night date night,” we finally learn the smooth-talking engineer’s name is Thomas. Throughout the remainder of the episode, Thomas and V spend their time working in reverse regarding their new relationship. Although V excitedly shares with Naomi, Muffin, and Eric that she’s newly married and ready for this journey, she hadn’t precisely weighed the consequences and conversations that would arise after he questioned her about her family. (Sidenote: It took me a minute to realize that the burial site scene from the beginning was actually about Valeria’s mother, but it was directed towards Bree’s storyline as a distraction. (plot twist) This is why I go back and watch a few times after the initial airing and search around for the Easter Eggs.)
So, what’s my verdict on Thomas and Valeria? Well, I believe Thomas will be someone who will serve as a positive influence for her in this moment of her life. However, I have to also say that I feel like Thomas has some questionable connections. Although it was funny with I know a place references, seriously, how did he HAVE all of those hookups? Something is not fully jiving here. Not saying that a sound engineer can’t be the plug, but really? I mean, everywhere they went, the red carpet was laid out. (Insert Cardi B’s “That’s Suspicious meme here)
I’m A Survivor.
Jill took her thrills to what appeared to be the soap-opera world by becoming an actress. However, even though she was involved in a romantic on-screen moment, she was anything but relaxed. Considering her impulsive and compulsive behavior, she was not getting rest and demanding much of herself. Based on the previews during the mid-season finale, Jill was stopped during a traffic stop and questioned regarding possible possession of cocaine.
Due to the guilt and PTSD that stemmed from the attack on Brianna and the ladies from her deranged ex-husband, Jill was simply not functioning correctly. She initially considered seeking “help” in the form of drugs again, but I’m glad she ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it. After isolating herself from the girls long enough and needing their assistance to get released from jail, Jill finally came around her sisters again.
With Jill this season, we’ve seen many sides and layers to her character’s life. I’m happy that she was resilient in not giving in to the drugs control again. Now that she’s gotten over this minor hurdle, I really hope that she gets help. Jill has gone through it from divorce to near tragedy, and through it all, she’s seemed the most sensitive. I don’t know how much more Jill can go through this season, to be honest. My sister NEEDS some rest. Lol But, we all know that’s not going to be the case. (smirks)
These Bars Will Cost You.
Muffin, aka Lauren, decides to take her talents from behind the booth to inside the courtroom by studying to pass her Bar exam and heading towards a newfound interest in being a public defender.
However, one of her first defendants was not in the typical courtroom. It was right at the place where she vowed to be done for good. (Cue up the Iggy Wannabe of Queens, Cash Mermaid to the scene.) (Sidenote: I.AM.DONE. The cackle that left my body when Becky (the shade of it all) tried to do the diss tracks WITH Muffin’s old crew SENT me.)
Though Becky tried to pull Muffin in her clout chasing schemes, it didn’t work out the way she’d hoped. I absolutely adored Lauren’s clap-back response to C-Merm (BAHAHAHA). It was sassy, bougie, and classy. Let’s just face it, Lauren is about to be a savage behind both references of bars.
And once again, this moment also brings to mind the legacy of Brianna and her studies as a salute. We love an intelligent and creative Queen! I also think it will be wonderful to see that Lauren really is more than the fluff she initially portrayed, a typical plight for women in the industry to conform and become famous as least controversially as possible.
Zadie Is Such an F’n Lady.
(Hums Conceited: There’s Something About Remy while typing this portion of the recap). Okay, so if you didn’t know before the show aired (which was impossible due to promo and announcement, Naomi’s unexpected encounter featured an old rap rival named Zadie or Lady Z, portrayed by raptress Remy Ma. According to Naomi, Zadie was once one of hip-hop’s most prolific femcees in the game. However, she was driven out of the industry after being accused of physically assaulting a high-profile industry producer. As her storyline progresses, we quickly realize that her incident and story were turned against her to punish her for fighting back.
After contemplating rejoining her old rival in the recording booth, Zadie finally agreed and showed up and showed out by freestyling lyrics reflective of the past and her journey. In an inspirational anthem fashion, Zadie and Naomi expressed that they were unstoppable. That unstoppable momentum kept going with the women as they each found a new venture for their group: Nasty Girl Records. (Sidenote: The pitch they each gave Zadie during this moment made me want to sign with them.)
Nasty Girl Records. It’s definitely catchy, and I love the play on both the group’s old image and the freedom against stereotypes and inequalities women face in the industry. In a sense, it sounds like it should be the anthesis of being able to help, but it’s far from the truth. I’m really excited about this new direction because it shows that women can be both fires in the booth, in front of the curtain, and behind the stage. Plus, the storylines and material that will come from this are just limitless!
Welcome to Paradise.
So, first, I would like to say, HATS OFF to the writers of Queens. You honestly had me going with the possibility of Brianna having not survived. However, at the end of the episode, Naomi announces that she needs to call Brianna to share the news. We then see a very relaxed and carefree Brianna soaking up rays and, most importantly, peace in Costa Rica with her kids. (Sidenote: The place where Jeff told her to go in the posthumous video)
My first thought was: They got me! Second thought: YES! Brianna, get this peace, honey! Third thought: I can’t believe Queens just Punk’d us! Lol, But I’m glad it was a prank. Now that that’s behind us, I am excited to see what’s remaining for the crew this season. And I also want to know when it’s going to be renewed. Like, come on! The show and its stars trend every week! Well, tonight, we will witness the beginnings of Nasty Girl Records and see the ladies navigate the influential forces of the industry about the artists and personal rights. Be sure to tune in either live tonight 10/9c or catch the following day stream on HULU!