This week’s episode of STAR is a weird one. It’s not inherently bad, but it’s not good either. It follows into some of its same trappings, but much less blatant than in the past. Like always though, Star manages to avoid any real character growth or conflict for the girl-group-to-be-named, and instead focuses most its efforts on either investing in side characters or bizarre plots. This episode has both, and there is a good amount to talk about.
Let’s start with Eva. Midway through watching her dance on what looked like a gymnastics bar, it dawned on me – what a ridiculous journey. Like we think Simone’s journey is crazy (and it is), but Eva’s is right there with her. She went from sex slave in the back of a van, to sneaking into Jahil’s house, to Jahil introducing her as his niece, to everyone cool with the idea of Jahil screwing his “niece,” to Eva effectively kicking Star out the group, to now. All of it is crazy, the most underrated part is how everyone is like “Oh yeah Jahil is that kinda guy who would have sex with his niece.” I feel like this isn’t a bigger deal because the audience is privy to the truth, but the cast doesn’t know she’s a would-be-sex-slave. Anyways Eva schemes some more and it’s clear that Star’s decision to leave the group stands. What’s not clear is why. At first I thought it’s because Star is jealous, or simply annoyed at the idea of Jahil adding to the group that Star created. But then I thought maybe it’s because Eva tends to sing lead. But then there begot a whole new angle when Star said, “If J-Lo’s in, I’m out.” That’s a racist statement. Could Star be racist? It’s somewhat interesting, it’s very ridiculous, and it’s something that will probably be a plotline if the show gets picked up for a second season.
Speaking of Star, she is uncomfortably cool with Hunter after he smacked the hell out of her last episode. They even go so far as to laugh about it. I don’t get it. What’s this supposed to show? What’s the growth (or decline) from this? Are we supposed to believe that Star is naïve? The tone of the moment doesn’t play serious, it plays fun and lighthearted, like when all is forgiven between two feuding friends. I kind of hope they revisit this, because if nothing else, Hunter sucks. Anyways Star, angry at Eva, plays away from events until she suddenly chooses not to. When she gets back to the salon she’s shocked to see police, homicide detectives and, worst of all CPS.
You see Otis, my least favorite storyline of all time, has resurfaced again. And this time there are some real consequences (or so we think). Simone is taken by CPS, Miss Carlotta is held in jail, and Alex and Star are left trying to pick up the pieces. Obviously, any group tension is thrown aside and Star makes us deal with the crazy moment at hand instead. Simone tells the CPS lady from episode one, Juanita, that she killed Otis, the same man that raped her. Simone even insinuates that Otis is not the only foster father to rape her, which is as insane as it is sad. As Juanita is turning in Simone’s testimony, Simone imagines a poorly timed prison-themed music video. But don’t worry, it’s not as bad as last week’s. Nothing could be that bad.
Speaking of last week, we should talk about the real focal point of this episode, Cotton. Cotton has gone through a lot, including almost killing herself last week. Cotton decides that to avoid further “KYS” moments, she will move the hell out of her evangelical mother’s home. It’s a good decision, but a financially tough one. Budgeting the cash she’s saved up for the last of her surgery doesn’t mix well with impromptu moving costs. But Elliot, her amazing boyfriend, stays amazing. The guy is a rock for her and truly excited to begin a serious relationship with Cotton. The only thing he asks of her is that she stop hooking. Cotton agrees to stop being a prostitute, but it’s not that simple, and so… she continues to be a prostitute. Obviously, this ends bad, but the interesting thing is the conversation that this brings Carlotta and Cotton to have.
You see, Carlotta is sitting in jail and worried about her daughter, whom she has finally accepted as a daughter. We see flashbacks and learn the whole story, Carlotta wanted an abortion, attempted armed robbery for the money, was thrown in jail and had to live apart from her (then) son for the first 2-3 years of his life. It took a toll on her and there are clearly still mental scars. When the homicide detectives play “Who killed Otis” and figure out the murder weapon was never fired (please don’t let this plotline continue), they free Carlotta, Simone and Star. Carlotta immediately goes to Cotton’s new place and begs her to come home. The conversation doesn’t end as Carlotta wished it had, with Cotton informing Carlotta that she’s been prostituting herself since the age of 12. It’s a major blow everything Carlotta believed about her daughter, herself and her faith. I think a big journey for Star is to show that Carlotta WAS a horrible mother. We are now in the midst of her trying to repair that, but it’s impossible to repair if you don’t know HOW horrible you were to begin with.
The show leaves us with an interesting end. Star arrives at Jahil’s house in the middle of the night demanding Eva leave the group and allowing Jahil to make that choice. It’s an egotistical play, but one Star knows Jahil can’t screw up. If there’s anything we learned in this episode it’s that Star and Simone and Alex are a package deal. Even Jahil picked up on that, and he knows if he sides with Eva, Simone and Alex will leave the group. So he sides with Star. What this means for Eva, I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see play out. I would not be surprised if in these last two episodes Eva is either completely out of the picture or Eva gets something of a last laugh on the girl-group-to-be-named.
Season 1, Episode 9 (S01E09)
Star airs Wednesdays at 9PM on Fox
Arman is a Seattle-based writer who often lives in LA and wants to be in New York. He has worked on Billy on The Street and Black-ish. He also loves sandwiches.
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Arman Mohazzabfar | Contributor