Pauletta “Mary Jane” Patterson is finally double-Dutching out of family drama that doesn’t involve her. Being Superwoman all these years has only made her come off as the “ferocious bitch” raining on everybody’s parade.
M.J. steps in as the super-cool auntie by having D’Asia over for a sleepover. This includes reading I Am Malala. And because kids aren’t stupid, D’Asia wants to know if her daddy is back on drugs. M.J. lies to protect her and tells P.J. to come home, since there’s a lot going on.
M.J. is venting to Kara about her parents’ overreaction to Patrick using drugs again. It’s not like he was snorting cocaine or anything. It’s just pills. Kara has heard it all before and tells her friend to smarten up and stop being her parents’ guard dog. Kara gets really real and tells M.J. she’s been the family’s “ferocious bitch” for years and it’s time for her to lean in to the goodness that’s happening in her life right now.
Marisol wants in on Talk Back. Unfortunately for her, M.J. is loyal to Kara. M.J.’s hand-picked choice, Nina from CNN, is ruffling a few feathers because, well … young, gifted and black. After M.J.’s think tank is demoted from the conference room to the break room, they head to M.J.’s house, where they come up with ideas for the show. After a hearty debate between Nina and the Asian guy over assumptions about people on welfare versus his immigrant family never taking handouts, they decide to pitch Greg on welfare as the comeback show.
Cece, always the one to show up unannounced, wants to book M.J. for a reading at her bookstore. M.J. is like, girl, nah. Plus, you have to go through the network to book the almighty M.J.P. Cece is like, kill that noise. You’ll gain some street cred if you do this. M.J. finally agrees. Before she leaves, Cece gives the think tank some advice on picking the next show: It’s too predictable; they should book living legends like Harry Belafonte while they’re still here to share their knowledge.
Patrick goes to D’Asia’s school, but his dad already has her in the car. The assistant principal has had enough of this personal drama being brought to her school. That doesn’t stop her from offering to take Patrick home, where he spills all the tea. He rushes over to pick up D’Asia from his parents’ house because he wants his baby to know he fought for her.
Back at home, P.J. and Niecy are listening to Mr. and Mrs. Patterson talk about the chaos. Overhearing his parents’ conversation has P.J. annoyed. He tells Niecy she does not get a parade for working 20 hours a week at minimum wage when she has two kids. Listen, somebody had to say it. P.J. says it’s time for her to get out of his parents’ house and stop looking for somebody to save her. Niecy breaks down in tears, so P.J. says he’ll help her go to cosmetology school and pay for day care. Niecy needed this tough love speech two seasons ago, if we’re being honest.
Kara has a battery in her back after M.J. tells her to use her own advice at home. John is working on an essay for another person’s book instead of his own book. He done drank up Kara’s wine, so she’s really fired up. “How did you get here?” she asks. Kara knows how she got to where she is: She worked her way up from the Bronx in New York City while watching her mom work three jobs to support her gambling dad. Her mom is her hero, so she vowed to make sure she had everything her mom never did. Got her kids into the best schools, bought a house in the best neighborhood and married a white guy (John) because that was more acceptable. But for the life of her, she cannot understand John being OK with her being the breadwinner.
“You are a white man in America. You can do anything; you can be whatever,” Kara says. John is not here for Kara’s mind games. He tells her she should be happy he is able to stay home because it allows her to have her career and be a “part-time mother.” Kara tells him his ambition wasn’t enough for her. Then she drops the mic and says she’ll leave him to write his essay that she prays gets published because their kids need electricity. Whoooooo! Kara deserved to get read had John clapped back. But that was a hell of a scene.
Cece ain’t never gonna change. When she hears the news about Talk Back’s return, she pops up wanting her piece of the pie for her input. She’s dead serious. M.J. is left speechless, unable to believe that Cece the extortionist is back again.