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Queen Sugar - (S01E04)


The Bordelon siblings return to their everyday lives: Ralph Angel struggles to run the family farm; Charley resumes managing her husband's basketball career; and Nova seeks justice for a friend's son who she believes was wrongfully imprisoned.

Episode Title: The Darker Sooner
Airs: 2016-09-21 at 22:00
  • Caroline Framke

    The show draws you close physically and emotionally, letting you witness its characters’ most vulnerable moments--the better to help you understand exactly what’s going on in their heads even when they try desperately to keep their thoughts to themselves. Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    There are moments where Sugar's twists are too easily spotted, but there are far more times when the show, and the spirit, soar.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Joshua Alston

    [Ava DuVerna has] figured out how to turn a quiet, emotional story about a black family in flux into one of the year’s most beautiful and challenging series, one that suggests black America’s best days may still be ahead of it.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Queen Sugar feels like a show built to last--albeit the sort that will frequently inspire its viewers to get choked up, shake their fists at the sky, and wonder why they keep letting Ava DuVernay and friends so expertly control their emotions like this.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    Queen Sugar takes its sweet time moving through a moment, lingering where other series tend to sprint, and it is generous with its searching close-ups of faces and hands and its images of the Louisiana countryside at dawn and dusk, an enchanted-seeming landscape of furrowed fields and gnarled, kudzu-covered trees. At its most navel-gazing, the show feels like Parenthood by way of Eugene O'Neill. But tell me you don't want to watch something like that.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    Queen Sugar, which was created by “Selma” director Ava DuVernay based on Natalie Baszile’s novel, is a different kind of soap, one that moves slowly through each plot point and adds artistic and intimate flourishes whenever possible.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    A languidly-paced hour that ultimately comes together in a satisfying manner. But have patience because it takes a while to get there.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    From the opening scene on, the “Selma” director lends her creative strengths to the story, saturating every scene with the sumptuous visuals afforded by the story’s Louisiana setting.

    Salon Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Created by Ava DuVernay, Queen Sugar is an intelligent and atmospheric family drama about the Louisiana Bordelon family.

    Slate Full Review
  • Bethonie Butler

    The show’s depiction of loss feels universal, but at the heart of Queen Sugar is a rich and powerful portrait of a black American family.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    There’s a potent anger within the luminous world that DuVernay has created here, and yet the series moves with a grace that is unique to its creators’ empathy, curiosity, and devastating intellect.

    Collider Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    With DuVernay leading the charge, Queen Sugar boasts a promising cast, heavily populated by black actors in their first series-regular roles, and an all-female directing team, some established but many still launching their careers--meaningful footnotes to the quality of the show, which is high.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    There is a lot to admire about Queen Sugar. But the premiere, which airs without commercials, is as slow as, well, molasses.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    The acting ranges from intensely solid to intensely shallow, and the dialogue is often cliché and tinny. But the characters resonate, and DuVernay finds scenarios and images that suffuse the show with exceptional emotional power.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Good newcomer, good cast and star showrunner. What’s missing, at least in the early episodes, is a propulsive story and pace to match.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Tom Long

    It could all be so cheesy, but somehow it’s not. Credit DuVernay for giving us a sense of Louisiana--and black--life that rises above mere plot manipulations. You believe these people; you care for them. And that’s sweet enough.

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Although Queen Sugar looks beautiful and introduces some great characters--including the Bordelon siblings' Aunt Violet (Tina Lifford, Scandal) and her much younger boyfriend, Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey, Ray Donovan)--the three episodes made available to critics are scene-setters. The seeds for good drama (or at least quality soap) are there. We'll just have to see what grows.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Mary McNamara

    The pacing seems, at times, at odds with the narrative’s overabundance of conflict. Universally fine performances keep the Job-like series of events from overwhelming things, but DuVernay is so focused on her main characters that the secondary narratives, including lovely scenes between Ernest’s sister Violet (Tina Lifford) and her husband, Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey), often feel like afterthoughts. ... Even with these distractions, Queen Sugar is an undeniably beautiful series.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    It’s a great-looking show, and one that doles out its drama at a stately pace that is unusual at a time when Shonda Rhimes and Lee Daniels have amped up the pace of family-strife storytelling in shows such as Scandal and Empire.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Chuck Barney

    Queen Sugar is deliberately paced--almost annoyingly so at times--and the opening scenes of Tuesday's pilot episode have a disjointed feel to them. But the show eventually finds its footing and packs an emotional wallop as you get to know and care for its characters.

    San Jose Mercury News/Contra Costa Times Full Review
  • Bernard Boo

    After three episodes of Queen Sugar, there’s an overriding sense that the show has yet to take off in a big way, and doesn’t show signs that it will for at least a few more episodes, but it most definitely has potential to be a big winner when and if it finds its rhythm.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    This grab-bag approach has certainly worked well enough for other prime-time soap operas, and it will no doubt find an audience here, but the strands interweave awkwardly in the early going. Some genuinely lazy scene-making saps the show of credibility.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Though the glacial pace is more akin to molasses, and the plotting offers few surprises in the first three episodes, there's a powerful contrast between these untended fields and the glittery L.A. skylines visible from the swank home of Charley. [5-18 Sep 2016, p.23]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • John Anderson

    It’s certainly energetic TV, but requires a strenuous suspension of disbelief.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Ben Travers

    Queen Sugar, at its best, finds quiet moments to contemplate the demands of having siblings as well as being someone’s son or daughter. Those fleeting scenes are few and far between in the first three episodes, and they’re often overwhelmed by unbelievable, exaggerated moments of crises.

    Indiewire Full Review