It’s been too long since we’ve caught up with our Single Ladies and big changes are under foot.
Before we do anything else, let’s meet Raquel:
We’re introduced to Raquel mid-tango. She’s insanely beautiful, insanely talented (just look at that footwork), newly engaged to Victor, a doctor, and she’s successful at work. On paper, she’s perfect and it would be obnoxious if she weren’t so sweet to boot.
Raquel and Keisha are lifelong friends, they go way back, but haven’t seen one another in years, and when they see one another they can’t be happier. Keisha has a sixth sense though and can tell that something’s amiss with Raquel. This is not the girl she knew from their days back in Inglewood, this Raquel is polished and perfect, and it clearly shows the influence that her mother has had on her. Victor is smart, rich, and he’ll be a great dad, Raquel tells Keisha. “What more could I ask for in a man?” “How ’bout a reason to change your panties?” Keisha deadpans.
Raquel does need to change her outfit, for a family photo not for reasons any filthier than that, and when she goes up to her room to slip into anther dress, she sees Victor screwing someone else. Devastated, she walks away, and when she and Victor take the stage to announce their engagement, she shakes things up a bit, telling the crowd “While we were all down here celebrating, my proud fiance was upstairs screwing another woman.” Gasp.
“There is nothing you could say now that could ever make me marry you,” Raquel tells Victor, the crowd, and all of us. No one is more disappointed by this turn of events than her oh-so-proper mother, who is almost literally clutching her pearls. Raquel takes her engagement ring and throws it into the air, and Keisha catches the ring, telling her “Oh no. You earned this bitch. Let’s go.”
Welcome to the world of Single Ladies, Raquel.
Back at the party, we weren’t just focused on Raquel’s life changing breakup. There was a lot of back story going on, first with April, who entered the ball with Keisha, but her newly-single instincts kick in and she goes into flirt mode with a random, but presumable wealthy, stranger. She explains to him that she left her record label and is now doing club promotions which catches us up nicely on her career, but she spots Jerry, the man who proposed to Val and left us all wondering what happens when the man you really love finds you in a bedsheet, at the door, feet away from the man you once loved and just screwed.
Together they tango, and April begs Jerry to give Val a second chance. Oh yeah, hey, where’s Val?
In Milan. And she’s never coming back. More on that later.
Keisha cuts in on April and Jerry’s dance to also beg for Val’s forgiveness and another second chance. Jerry’s mind is made up, there’s no room in his heart for Valerie, and that’s that. Which leaves a nice opening for Agent Winston to cut in and tell Keisha he’s been searching for Malcolm, who’s been on the run. “This is a friendly warning. If you don’t tell the FBI where Malcolm is, we’re going to start looking into your background.”
The next day, after Raquel has spent the night at Keisha’s apartment, Keisha tells her she’s glad she realized that Victor was no good. “Sleeping Beauty finally woke up,” she says. “Isn’t she supposed to be awakened by a kiss? Not by finding her fiance plowing another woman?” Touche.
Keisha catches Raquel up on the Malcolm/FBI situation and tells her she hasn’t heard from Malcolm for two weeks. “For all I know he could be somewhere curled up with his ex wife,” Keisha says. She’s hurt, but she’s been tasked with managing V, Val’s boutique, while Val hides out in Milan, so at least she’s being kept busy. And she’ll be busier now that she’s found out that Val is not coming back, ever, to Atlanta and she plans to sell the store. Omar, whose livelihood is directly affected by this, is tormented. “Whyyyyyyy?” he screams.
“We’re gonna be all right,” Keisha assures them all. Later at the store, they hold a memorial service for Val, featuring one of her signature dresses, and they pour some champagne out onto it for their fallen homie.
Speaking of things getting wet, April falls asleep on the couch at V, only to wake up and realize she’s been having erotic dreams about mystery men because she’s really hard up in the love department. Meanwhile, Kesha gets a special delivery at the store, which starts to ring when it arrives.
Inside the gift basket is a phone, with Malcolm on the other end of the line.
Up to this point, Malcolm’s kept Keisha in the dark about all his personal business, so when they meet, her first order of business is to make him her coat rack.
Malcolm offers her a sincere apology and explains himself. He tells Keisha the FBI isn’t really looking for him, they’re looking for the Mayor (yes, the Mayor that April got to know in the Biblical sense on top of the Bible at the courthouse that one time). The Mayor has been extorting local businesses for years, and Malcolm had been paying the bribes, using Ashley, his ex-wife, as messenger. But they were caught recently, so Ashley hightailed it out of the country (leaving Keisha and Malcolm alone, together, finally), but Malcolm still needs to make sure his name is cleared with the FBI and Ashley is safely in the Ivory Coast. If all of that sounds complicated, just allow yourself to be confused and look at this instead.
April continues to fantasize about a mystery man, even while she’s on dates with other men, she’s just that hard up for some physical action.
But all that seems to come easily to Raquel, despite her newly single status. She’s invited out for tea by Leonardo, a photographer with an intriguing accent, and ends up posing seductively for him. We knew she had a naughty side…
At April’s first big club gig, everything seems to be going great for her, she’s landed Big Boi to perform,
but as soon as he starts playing, the fun ends for Keisha, who’s handcuffed by Agent Winston who tells her she’s under arrest for tax evasion.
Agent Winston tells her he’s still after Malcolm, and all she has to do is tell him where Malcolm’s been hiding and her tax problems will disappear. Before she can say another word in the interrogation room they borrowed from Law And Order: SVU, a figure from Keisha’s past enters and advises her not to say another word. Sean Clark is a lawyer, but more importantly, he’s Keisha’s ex, called by Raquel to sort out this situation. Though they dated for six years, Sean cheated and had a son with another woman, so Keisha’s not exactly thrilled he’s there.
Sean tells Keisha she owes the government $200,000 in back taxes, or else she faces three to five years in prison. He plans to help her, pro-bono, but the situation forces me to ask if eventually it won’t become more like pro-boner. Right, guys? I mean, it’s already starting.
When Leonardo stops by V to drop off the sexy photos he took of Raquel, it’s not so much that they’re sexy that shocks Raquel, it’s that she allowed herself to be so free.
Where has all that freedom and joie de vivre gone from her life?
Leonardo leaves her with the photos and the memory of him, because he tells her he doesn’t want to take her now, he’s not rebound material. Maybe one day he’ll return, but for now, he’s just a very sexy Fotomat, delivering her pictures in under an hour.
As Keisha arrives with Sean to the FBI building, ready to stall or negotiate or do something that could mess with her finances and future, all to save Malcolm, she’s stunned to see Malcolm himself arrive. He’s been clued into Keisha’s situation by Raquel, so he sweeps in to give himself up. But what he doesn’t expect to see is Sean.
And proving that nothing, absolutely nothing, on this show is uncomplicated, as Raquel is ready to chill in the apartment later, Victor, her ex, shows up to ask for her back. They take a drive and Raquel thwarts his attempts to get back together, telling him they might love each other but it’s not a marrying kind of love. “I can’t ever go back,” she tells him.
She gets out of his car, alone and lost. And just in the nick of time, her friends pick her up to help her find herself.