The not-so-secret word of this week’s show is…
For real, let’s round up all the things from this episode that are…
We’ll start with Darkchild’s decrees.
Rodney Jerkins, who’s producing the project we’re watching Ray J work on, says he doesn’t want Ray “wilding out” when he’s not in the studio. Clearly, Darkchild is out to orchestrate more than Ray’s beats. Trying to control VH1’s wildchild?
You can’t keep a good partier down. Ray says that the club is like his office, “because that’s where the money’s at.” His job description includes: networking, partying and making sure the club pops. Kind of vague job demands, but he seems at terms with them. For the completion of his tasks, he is able to claim the title “West Coast Party King.” That?
Clearly, there are plenty of people out West who’d want to stake that claim (Hugh Hefner isn’t dead yet!), so if it is true, Ray is more like the West Coast Party Dictator.
And actually, his ever-present harem (seen above snuggling up with Shorty Mac) suggests he’s more of a sheik than a king.
By the way, per the editing, Ray’s partying it up at Bare in Vegas while his inherited business awaits.
Not that there are repercussions for his tardiness! Sonja gives him as stern a talking to as we’ve seen thus far (no baby voice or anything!), but this becomes an opportunity to receive one of the King’s proclamations…
Sonja tells him to remove his sunglasses but he will not: “When I’m wearing these shades in these meetings and when I’m walking in places, I’m setting trends.” Yes, yes. Ray J is to inside what Corey Hart was to at night. Let’s call the whole thing…
Oh, also Sonja misuses the term “smashing the homies” (she charges Ray with such, but duh, he’s not capable of committing that or any crime). You know what I’m about to say…
…and you know what I’m sayin’.
The interaction with Ray and Sonja is key, because this episode further explores Brandy’s internal crisis regarding what she sees as the favoritism Sonja shows to Ray.
“Favoritism” doesn’t make sense to Ray, probably because he’s on the winning side of it. To him, it’s just existence. He also calls Brandy out for “taking shots” at him for saying that she shouldn’t have taken the fall for the stripper he gladly invited into his office and lap last episode and that he should have. I think you see where this is going:
This leads to an argument between Brandy and Sonja. When Brandy approaches her mother, she asks her daughter if she wants to play piano.
Things devolve from there.
There is clearly a lot of resentment regarding Brandy’s upbringing — she felt like she didn’t have a mom, but Sonja consciously put motherhood aside to be her daughter’s manager. The word “business box” is said a lot. Sonja also kind of sweeps it all under the rug as the tension is igniting: “Sometimes you are as chilly as an iceberg. I’m gonna go get water, you want some?” she says to her daughter, not even taking a beat. Brandy may be “chilly,” but here she’s left cold:
That isn’t reeeee-diculous so much as it’s just sad. There’s a bit more discussion, but none of it is encouraging. Sonja says she’ll alter, but not change. Above all else, she’ll experiment in the field of synonyms and connotation, apparently. She says that she set Brandy “free” from her, but she’ll always be there for her daughter (now antonyms and connotation). Brandy leaves, saying she’s going to stare at herself. Hopefully, she’ll be thinking while she’s staring.
While Ray sweats and struggles in the studio…
…Brandy has a one-on-one with her dad, who is clearly the most level-headed, impartial Norwood family member.
Seriously, if you want to be told how it is gently and with insight, stop by and talk to Willie (“I don’t take sides, I just try to keep them from killing each other,” a quote of his, is at least worthy of being plastered on a T-shirt). Brandy deserves a fiefdom just for her wise decision to visit him. Willie agrees that Sonja shows some favoritism but he also concedes, “I don’t care what mothers and daughters go through, I know they’re going to work it out.”
In the interest of working things out, he talks to Sonja.
Sonja concedes that there are some situations she stepped in the middle of that she shouldn’t have. I didn’t know that Sonja knew she had the capacity to be wrong so this is news to me! Willie says she shows partiality to Ray. “You think?” she asks. “I know,” he counters gently. Are they seriously just getting around to talking about this now?
Willie distills the situation like this: “Ray J talks to me the same way [Brandy] talks to you. And Brandy talks to me the way she wants to talk to you.” We end the episode without a Sonja-Brandy resolution, probably because there are plenty more episodes left in the season, in which that can play out. Still: the lack of resolution is preeeee-dictable.