“Don’t hand it to him. Give it to him,” Omar advises Raquel on her first ever outing to the strip club and she looks for a way to slip some singles to one of the male strippers. Raquel has never thrown dollar bills at oiled up men before, nor has she ever gotten a table dance from buff, semi-nude cowboys named Darkness, so the entire evening is a night of firsts.
Keisha is the one who enjoys her own table dance the most though,
but that’s because instead of appreciating Darkness for who he is (probably a charity worker with a heart of gold working his way through grad school, as all the best strippers are), she gets distracted imagining that he’s Malcolm and proves that she’s clearly not over him.
When she comes to, she realizes it’s not Malcolm at all it’s…Sean?
So maybe she’s not quite over him yet, either.
April, in the meantime, has set her eyes on a different dancer who she compliments on his moves, and as a thank you, he asks her out for drinks. I think that violates the rules of stripping, but in the case of April, she’s going through such a drought that I’ll allow it.
Over at V, Raquel’s father visits the shop to see how she’s holding up now in light of the serious tension between her and her mother.
He offers her an invitation to the Kappa Boule Ball, an Atlanta institution, and even though she knows it’ll be a minefield, full of judgmental family, friends, and her ex, Victor, she agrees to make him happy. But she also recruits Keisha and April to go with her for back up.
April might be going on a date with Jack The (st)Ripper but she’s trying to keep that fact away from her friends. So when she ducks out of the boutique to go to …um, the gym, yeah that’s it, the gym, everyone’s suspicious and spies to see where she’s going.
They’re completely confused when she hops on the back of Jack’s motorcycle, and Raquel chides “Look who’s trying to creep!” And doing a terrible job at it.
When they all arrive at the ball together, the girls tease April for trying to hide things.
Keisha and Raquel can’t imagine dating a sex worker of any kind (even though technically he’s not having sex with the ladies), so Raquel takes it upon herself to introduce April to Reggie, one of her friends at the ball. April is smitten.
Unfortunately the next person April meets, Raquel’s old friend Taylor Tilton, is a lot worse. She’s a snob of the highest degree, and refuses to shake April’s hand after she extends it, she makes fun of where Keisha grew up, in Inglewood, and tries to force Raquel to reunite with Victor.
“So beautiful, and yet so bitchy,” April says after Taylor leaves. “That’s classic Taylor,” Raquel explains. April gets the cold shoulder from several of the party-goers, which is suspicious, but when she spots Shelly, Jerry’s daughter and her old friend, she finally finds someone to connect with.
Shelly’s engaged to the next Barack and is playing the part of Michelle nicely. The girls are all happy to see her and in spite of Val’s history with her father, they all see no reason not be be friends.
But for every relationship gained at the ball, another one bites the dust. Case in point, when Raquel chats up her ex, Victor, he tells her how upset he was about their breakup, but not a minute later, his date saunters over and she’s all like “Waahhh, babe, I’m, like, boreddd.” Raquel kicks him to the curb once and for all, rescinding the “let’s just be friends” card she just extended.
This ball gets so much worse though in the ex department because no sooner has Victor walked away, but the women watch as the queen of the ball is announced, and it’s bitchy Taylor Tilton…escorted by her date, Malcolm Franks. Keisha’s reaction?
And since the best form of revenge on this show is showing up somewhere with a hot date on your arm, Keisha instantly starts scanning the room to find a man to make Malcolm jealous and finds one in Randall Smith. Before long, they exchange numbers and Keisha is on her way to being single no more.
When Taylor and Malcolm confront Keisha to say hello, Taylor turns up the bitch-factor by asking Keisha if she plans to make a donation to the Boule Foundation, where the average donation is $10k. Not to be outdone, Keisha volunteers to give $15,000. Malcolm is stunned and knows Keisha doesn’t have the money, but since her pride is wounded seeing the two of them together, it’s the only thing she has to trump them with.
She is outdone when Taylor announces that the charity has raised over $750,000 at the ball, and $100,000 came from “her boyfriend, Malcolm Franks.” Keisha might have been cool up till now, but now she’s burning with anger.
Raquel’s mother is still trying to force Raquel to get back with Victor in spite of all of his bad behavior, and Raquel gets a rude awakening from her mother. Even though Raquel wont tolerate being cheated on, her mother has certainly learned to adapt, because it turns out that Raquel’s father hasn’t been a perfect husband. “All men cheat,” Evelyn says. “So you might as well have one who can afford to buy you diamonds after he does…I am just trying to get you to face reality.” Raquel is devastated to hear what her mother is telling her, and she says “That shouldn’t have to be anyone’s reality, Mom.”
The night continues to not go well for anyone and we finally learn why everyone is treating April like a black (er, white?) sheep. When Reggie approaches her again to do some flirting, his mother instantly makes a scene and yells at him for consorting with a homewrecker. All of Atlanta’s high society only thinks of April as the women who slept with the Mayor, and that’s why no one wants to be seen with her. No one except for Josephine, the only woman to come to April’s defense and take a shine to her all night.
Josephine’s not a fan of hypocrites and tells April’s detractors where they can go. Together they bond over girl talk and April tells her the Mayor scandal is not something she’s proud of, and she’s also not proud of her new stripper boyfriend. Josephine is older and wiser and tells her that life is not about regret or shame. “Don’t just have a dream, do the dream!”
Raquel finally gets something positive out of the ball too when she meets Charles and they bond over their mutual interest in meditation.
Though she hits it off with Charles, she’s promised her father the first dance of the night so she excuses herself to find him. As they slow dance, she confronts her dad about what her mother shared with her. “Some men make mistakes they regret and spend their whole lives trying to make up for them,” he tells Raquel.
But some men, he says “Don’t learn their lessons, and those men don’t deserve you.” Men like Victor.
Raquel runs off to find Keisha to talk, and when she finds her, Keisha is a mess. “Please get me out of here,” she cries.
Along with April, they flee the ball, and Keisha starts to feel better about things after receiving a bouquet from Sean. She realized a Stepford Wife-type like Taylor is perfect for Malcolm because she won’t ask too many questions the way Keisha did. It’s a surprise when Malcolm rings the bell the next night to apologize to Keisha for her finding out about the relationship that way, but Keisha’s recovered from her emotional meltdown, and in a jolt of good timing, Sean shows up right behind Malcolm.
Even though Sean’s arrival is good timing, after Malcolm leaves Keisha gets mad and wonders why Sean was showing up unannounced. “I thought you could use a friend,” he tells her. And actually, she can.
Back at the boutique, Shelly’s dropped by to get some politician’s-wife-appropriate clothing and as she heads into the fitting room, Keisha points out that Shelly should be more concerned with her alleged sex tape than with her wardrobe.
Raquel tells Shelly that the word about the tape is spreading and Shelly flees in a panic, but who else enters but Taylor, ready to pick up Keisha’s $15,000 check for the charity. Keisha hands the money off, and overhears as Taylor tells Raquel that she’s got a change of address to update her contacts. And the address she tells Raquel happens to be Malcolm’s.
Dun dun duuuunn!