Being Mary Jane picks up shortly after where we left her at the end of Season 2 in April. It’s the night of the accident, and she arrives at the hospital in an ambulance and the theme music is Alanis Morrisette's "Mary Jane", which was one of my favorite songs when I was in like, tenth grade. Mary Jane's condition is “conscious, but disoriented.”
MJ’s parents are there, of course. And so is Kara, her bestie and show producer, who is covering up the mirror so MJ won’t see her face.
Depending on which version of the Season 2 finale you watched—yes, there were two— you may know already what MJ’s face looks like. In one version of the finale, the show closes with the wheels of the car spinning and viewers overhear a man calling 911. In the extended version, viewers see Mary Jane stumble from her car, walk around aimlessly, then collapse in the street. Her face is already is swollen from the impact of the crash.
At the hospital in tonight's episode, as MJ’s being scanned for internal injuries, viewers get a glimpse of her face. It’s different from what we saw in the finale, but equally bad. There’s less swelling, but more gashes.
The good news tonight is that MJ is expected to make a “full recovery”.
The bad news is that Kara’s heard that MJ was at fault in the accident. Her blood alcohol level is .07. The legal limit is .08.
David and Lisa showed up to the hospital as well, likely called by the parents as they are considered “like family.” MJ is being wheeled down the hall when she spots David and tries to fight him from her wheelchair. He (and Lisa) were unsure how much of their conversation about their betrayal that MJ overheard on the phone. I guess they know now that she heard enough. Lisa runs down the hall to hide.
Dad sees MJ’s reaction to David and wants to know what’s going on. David tries to duck the answer with, “it’s complicated”. Um, you think? But Dad won’t let him off that easy. "Explain it to me so I can understand," he demands. David starts talking about Lisa and his damn dead dog* again… Look, I like animals, and pets. I completely get the emotional attachment. But what you want do is talk about your sorrow over a pet to a man whose daughter is laid up in the emergency room. People > animals.
Anyway, David says Lisa came by to console him about his pet, and MJ may have overheard their conversation, discussing,”some things about us.” Daddy ain’t no fool. He reads between the lines and incensed on his daughter’s behalf, he sucker punches David. I cheered, then rewound the DVR, and laughed. David deserved that sh--.
Kara is waiting for MJ in her hospital room. Her face is f---ed. Geez Louise. MJ sees the covered mirror and if she didn’t know how bad it was before, she does now. She demands Kara remove the paper from the mirror. Kara refuses, explaining that she should wait for the plastic surgeon to arrive and explain the injuries and what can be done about them “in context”.
“My face needs context?” MJ asks. Yeah, boo. Yeah, it does.
Later, Kara gets a call from her ex-husband, who has custody of their children. He needs her to come right away. When she leaves, MJ checks her face in the mirror. Her face looks worse even than the last time we saw her.
Back at SNC, the network where MJ works, the bosses are trying to figure out what to do about MJ. She had liquor in her system, but was not drunk. The Big Boss isn’t really feeling MJ right now. “Your ugly Black woman is starting to make us all look bad”, she says to MJ’s immediate boss, the white guy.
In the cafeteria, Mom and Lisa sit across from each other. Lisa looks sooo pretty and her hair is laid.
Mom has questions, like WTF happened. Lisa explains that she wanted to tell MJ the truth and she wanted David to have her back. She leaves out the part about showing up with David’s favorite meal, a fresh blow out, and wearing a freak’ um dress.
Mom is not buying Lisa’s bullsh--. “So let me be clear,” she begins, using my favorite line. “You needed permission from David to be honest with Mary Jane?” As Lisa starts explaining, she has more questions: “You couldn’t say no to one penis?”, “Did his penis enter any hole in your body?"
Lisa has no words. Mama bangs her hand on the table demanding that Lisa “say something!” but Lisa, silent and ashamed, is out of words. Disgusted, Mama gets up and walks off (in a fierce pink coat).
The plastic surgeon stops by to evaluate MJ’s face. He’s “optimistic” about her face being fixed. When he’s gone, MJ asks Kara to level with her about the situation she’s in: “you need to call your lawyer”, Kara says.
MJ is feeling guilty and pays a visit to Loretta Devine aka “Cece”, who has been typecast in countless TV and film roles as the “mature Black mama figure” role. Admittedly, Devine is good at it. But the woman is criminally underutilized as an actress. In this part, she’s the other driver, laid up with a dislocated shoulder and no insurance.
Fast forward: MJ’s going home. Someone, likely Kara, brought her a fierce hat to hide her face as she exits the hospital. MJ is giving Diana Ross in Mahogany fierce realness as she climbs in the awaiting SUV. She hands her attendant a letter to pass on to CC.
It’s a check for 5k, and a note that says, “I’m sorry.” Cece cries... with gratitude? Ehh… I know MJ means well and it might even be the “right” thing to do, but I know this is going to come back to bite her in the ass. Read the not-even-fine print on the back of your insurance card. The first directive is to call “911”. The second is to not admit fault. An apology can count as “admitting fault” in a court of law. Oh, MJ.
MJ meets with her attorney to discuss the situation. He’s not sure where the network stands, but has a meeting in the works. He notes that they brought up her alcohol level, so it could be tricky. MJ says it’s because “they want to get rid of me.”
Because attorneys are widely known for having the worst sense of humor ever and limited social skills, he jokes that she’s officially “an ugly black woman”, a joke harkening back to the catchphrase that made MJ famous. Um… that ain’t funny, my dude. MJ spontaneously either burps or upchucks, a result of her medication that gives her “sour stomach”. The attorney “jokes” that she is “ugly on the inside” too, and bounces because of the smell. I laughed, not because he’s so funny, but because he’s soooo socially awkward.
MJ is laid up in bed at home as her mother keeps her company. I can tell you now, this doesn’t end well.
The make up person is working overtime for this episode. MJ looks worse. I know the swelling and bruising are part of the healing process, but…. damn, boo.
Mom starts off well. “I hate to see you go through this,” she says.
MJ tells her “it’s a minor setback.”
Mom was talking about David. Um, now? This is the conversation she wants to have today? Mom says she always thought MJ and David would work things out. “I was so busy trying to make you his wife, I couldn’t see how much I was hurting you. All I could see was how pretty you would be on your wedding day…. I’m sorry.”
Wow. I didn’t expect that. This is an important convo (and quite cathartic as it’s something I wish my mother had said to me about an obviously unrelated topic).
Mom continues, offering unsolicited and well-meaning advice about how to move on. MJ isn’t in the place to receive it. “You make it sound like I’m in a slave narrative,” MJ says.
This is a very important conversation and everything Mom said needed to be said, but it’s all bad timing, as MJ points out. “I just wrecked my face.”
Mom gets upset at MJ for being upset with her. She turns herself into a victim and wanders out the room, then outside. This is a mother thing, right? My mom does this too. She’s attempting to come back in MJ’s room, walks right into the glass wall and knocks herself down. Oh, dear. Mom is shaken up, but fine. Dad shows up to pick up Mom. MJ will note later that is the kind of love she wants. “Dad was there within 30 minutes. He didn’t look for his daughter. He needed to put his eyes on her. I want that…. I want to be told that I am beautiful and cannot be lived without.”
Oh, Lisa calls. Unsurprisingly, MJ doesn’t answer.
MJ’s housekeeper is also leaving, and thus, MJ will be alone. She says she will “enjoy the quiet.” Everything we know about MJ means that’s a lie.
At SNC, the team, including the lawyers, have pulled in CeCe to offer a settlement. This is another move that I know won’t go well. Lawyers can be quite helpful, but their emotionless approach is where a lot of negotiations that could have otherwise gone fairly well fall apart. There’s a tendency to treat people like problems that need to be solved instead of, well, people.
CeCe’s insulted by the offer. She has no insurance, medical bills adding up, out of pain meds, and her Cadillac is totaled. She asks for double their offer, $90k. I can’t be mad of her.
The lawyers balk, cry broke, and point out that CeCe was also found to be at fault in the accident. They’re trying to strong arm her. It’s like they can’t help themselves. Sheesh. CeCe won’t be deterred. In fact, their treatment puts a battery in her back.
“You don’t like me anymore than you like MJ, but you tolerate her because she’s good for business," CeCe says.
Welp. That is true.
She hits the room with some cold, hard facts about their company, showing them that she understands their position and her own. Big Boss peeps her game and offers an extra $10k from her personal money, which ups CeCe’s takeaway to $100k. She signs the confidentiality agreement and takes her check.
MJ is in bed scrolling through her many text messages. Andre, her married ex, texts to check on her and she lies twice and says she’s good. Sheldon aka “Shazah” hits her to say, “let me now if you need me.” It strikes me as weird phrasing. Nothing you can take action about, but it’s like, not offering help, not asking if help is needed, it’s like, “hey injured person, let me put this one extra thing you have to do in your lap while you’re trying to recover.” It’s putting the onus on her to ask for help, and then he’ll do something. But in the meantime, nothing.
MJ responds from her empty house where she keeps a bat nearby for protection, saying she has lots of people fawning over her and she’s fine. Oh, MJ. She’s used to being the “helper”, not the “helped”, so she doesn’t want to ask for any. That or, she knows that allowing Andre or Sheldon back in her life isn’t healthy for her. If that’s the motivation, I applaud her for brushing him off. That would be progress.
Someone’s at the door. MJ hoped it was David, but it’s PJ, instead. The pair settle on the bed for a sibling chat.
PJ’s obviously been talking to his parents who’ve filled him a bit in on David. He asks his sister, “what is it about him?”, meaning David.
MJ: “I believed him when he told me he ‘I love you’.”
Damn. Gut punch. I’ve been there too, Baby Girl.
The other reason? She’d invested in him, but it was “too hard to start over.”
Done that too.
PJ has shown up tonight with a sermon for MJ. I won’t quote the whole thing, but the highlights:
On David: “Men like David don’t know how to show up… that’s the type of guy that’s been coddled his whole life. That’s a bitch made man… the brothers with the silver spoons? Those are the worst… when everything comes easy to a man the last thing he’s cut out to do is fight for a difficult woman.”
*hmmm*. This requires more thought. Mostly because I’m wondering what the ideal guy is then. Are women better off seeking men who struggled, or had to “work hard for it?” Cause I dated those types to and that’s another set of issues.
On men: “Ya’ll are letting [men] run on ya’ll. Stop. Stay “no” to us.
*Waves church fan*
On women: “You deserve more than the words I love you.”
The doorbell is ringing, but MJ and PJ don’t hear it. Now there’s banging. This better be an emergency.
It’s Big Brother Patrick. Lisa wants to talk to MJ, and had been by MJ’s Mama’s house worrying her about MJ being mad at Lisa. This is an emergency?
Patrick explains, that what Lisa did was “messed up, but I don’t want the girl to kill herself. Just hear what she has to say and be done with her.”
Lisa got a lot of damn nerve. A LOT. Your childhood friend is laid up in the house, off work with a f---ed up face recovering from a major accident that you are partially to blame for. And while said friend is trying to recover, you make it all about YOU? GTFOH.
MJ walks to the car and despite PJ trying to stop her, takes her ever-handy bat with her. MJ goes first, and apologizes. “I’m sorry,” she says. Wha…?
But MJ is like her mama. You think she’s saying one thing, but she’s setting you up for another. She eviscerates Lisa, apologizing to her for all of her many shortcomings. On the list: the guys who don’t return your calls, and never noticed you, and all the times you weren’t invited to the party, that I allowed you to be the third wheel to me and David’s relationship, that you couldn’t find a man to love you, and my life is somehow an insult to yours.
MJ ain’t done: “Would we really be friends if we met today? We haven’t been ture friends in years. This is like an obligation."
Not even joking: Lisa should not go home alone tonight. Call her therapist and/or drive her to a hospital and institutionalize her for a few days. Lisa is fragile on a good day. Like Patrick, I acknowledge that she messed up, but I don’t want her to die either.
Or not. MJ says all that, and Lisa just wants to know from MJ, “what did you hear? I’m ready to tell you all about us.”
Ma’am! This is about YOUR guilt, not being honest.
MJ ain’t trying to hear her. She tells Lisa she loves her despite being betrayed by her, and that she needs time. “I’ve earned the luxury of thinking about me for once,” she says. “Can I get a little space to deal with the fact that I’ve been betrayed and I almost died?”
She adds, “I hope you find what you need, but I promise you it is not here at my house.” MJ walks off.
Lisa yells after her, “I love you.
What did you think of the Season 3, Episode 1 of Being Mary Jane?
NOTE: Episode 2 will be recapped tomorrow. Yes, I've watched it. :-)