‘Single Ladies’: Episode 4 Review

A review of Episode 4 of VH1's Single Ladies after the jump.

There are interesting issues at play in tonight's episode of Single Ladies – well-rendered in one case and poorly executed in another.

LisaRaye does incredibly subtle work in tonight's good storyline, which puts Keisha among Atlanta's pretentious "intellectual elite." The storyline interestingly forces her to confront the limits of conspicuous consumption of expensive things as a marker of class. So much of Keisha's self-image is built around the belief that being able to buy enough things and look rich means that she really is rich.

But when Keisha is sitting at that table with Isaiah Washington and his friends, struggling to get her bearings and show up the snobs, her discomfort is palpable. Her worldview really is shattered in that moment. It's an incredibly effective scene and LisaRaye rises to the challenge, nailing the emotion perfectly. Her reaction to Washington patronizingly kisses her on the head after she attempts to maintain her dignity was magnificent. We really do feel Keisha's pain in that moment and so we feel just as good as she does when she finally gets to tell Washington off later.

If the show is smart it will treat this episode's developments as a real turning point for Keisha as a character. Keisha is the kind of character who will never want to be in a position like that again and she's smart enough to know that just avoiding certain people of Atlanta's nouveau riche will not cut it. After all, she still wants that life. Hopefully, subsequent episodes will build on Keisha's newfound vulnerability.

On the bad side, the show is clearly going full-on melodrama with April and Darryl's divorce – with disastrous consequences. Poor Anthony Montgomery is terribly undercut by a character that is a different individual with each episode. Nothing Darryl does makes a damn lick of sense. There is no reason for him to turn into a raging asshole the way he does in those final minutes other than to create drama for the show. 

That final scene completely trivializes April's legitimate concerns as expressed in the therapy scene and makes Darryl into a one-dimensional villain. It would have been nice for the show to spend a little more time in those therapy scenes, both because we need to know more about this relationship and because these two people clearly need to know more about one another.

The show should treat seriously the fact that April is a woman who married too young to a man who clearly just wanted someone to control. There is already sufficient drama in that. There is no need for him to come for her money in the way he did in the show's final scene.

Some other thoughts:

  • April is 25 and inheriting Powerball money? Ummm, whatever.
  • The show has got to stop putting Val in sitcom stories with random men. It's tonally inconsistent with the rest of the show and just makes Val look like a 45-year-old woman with the mind of a 22-year-old co-ed. It is deeply unflattering and poorly executed. 
  • And wasting an actor like Lamann Rucker? Criminal
  • What was on top of Malcolm's girl's head in that random ass fly-by after Keisha walks away from Washington's character in the park?
  • Still loving everything about Omar but he really needs a storyline.

 

What did y'all think? 

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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4 Responses to ‘Single Ladies’: Episode 4 Review

  1. chanda says:

    Another good blog! Though I feel like the dinner scene with Keisha was spot on … but the break-up scene was a tad choppy to me. I doubt Keisha’s character had any idea who Arthur Miller was, much less the relationship with M. Monroe. And yes, I wish that they allow Val to assume a more mature role. I mean – she looks amazing for 45… but act like it. There are plenty of 40-something single black ladies struggling with some of these same issues.

  2. tigger500 says:

    I actually was willing to believe she knew about Marilyn, if only because Marilyn’s life is pretty well-known in America across the board I think. But I could be wrong. I just thought LisaRaye really nailed every beat of last night’s episode and Keisha felt like a real human being for the first time, as a result.

  3. nasarene says:

    What Darryl did was brilliant, make her feel part of his pain. She cheated on him with someone he idolised and the whole city knows about it, she has her photo all over the media.
    She literally wasted 7 yrs of his life, no matter how he controlled her, she choose to be with him….she could have made her feelings known not cheat on him. Obviously she likes to be controlled bcos she also let the Mayor control her.
    How can you say he has no reason to do what he did, you are a bit too concerned with April’s plight, when Darryl is the real victim here.

  4. tigger500 says:

    Here’s my thing: The show didn’t earn his anger in quite the way it played. It was over the top. It was purely mean-spirited what he did. It was not written to be about his hurt. His ego – “all the things I do for you a sane woman would call being a good husband” or some such nonsense he spewed – suggested that this was just about being vindictive. But nothing we’ve seen in the previous three episodes indicated that he’d be so callous in such a melodramatic way.
    Further, his behavior and your response discounts the legitimacy of what April was saying. She turned 25 in that episode and had been married for 7 years. She was a CHILD! Are you really telling me that you don’t think it is possible that she could have felt smothered and are you saying it doesn’t matter because she cheated? Umm, ok.
    I would just prefer that the show tell the story in a way that allows for the humanity of both of these people. Right now, it does not.
    Thanks for commenting!

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