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?