Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) and Justin (Michael Ealy) finally do the deed. (BET Networks)

The midseason finale is here, and Mary Jane just might finally have what she’s being working so hard for: Ronda’s anchor chair. Or at least that’s what it’s been twisted into, since Mary Jane was forced to play dirty with the woman who was once her supreme idol.

Oh, but it can never be so simple. This entire season, Mary Jane has not been allowed any gratification without serious fallout lurking around the corner, and her biggest win seems to have unleashed the most collateral damage.

Advertisement

It’s slightly serendipitous that all this movement is happening around M.J.’s 40th birthday. The conveniently placed birthday allows us to catch up with her family back in Atlanta, who have largely been overlooked this season with M.J.’s move to New York City. Put a bow on one of the most valuable layers that was lost this season—the Patterson family. At the very least, it’s nice to see everyone doing well.

Lee—oh, dear Lee. Has a consensus been formed on whether we love him with Mary Jane or find him to be annoying? Is this all Mary Jane’s self-destruction or has Lee been playing a game of mental gymnastics, too? First, he places Mary Jane’s sex toy in her hand as he leaves her hotel room because he has to prepare for something two days away? If you’re in a committed relationship, when you have to put a pause on the coitus, is this not something discussed in advance, not in the heat of the moment?

Then the walls coming tumbling down when Lee cannot acknowledge that he wants a child with M.J. He wants to give her what she wants, but the desire to have a child with her is not his own. That is devastating to M.J., who made it over the hurdle of that super-awkward closeness between Lee and his ex-wife—the ex-wife who asked Lee to be a sperm donor for her and her girlfriend, which Lee gave serious consideration. Just pile it on, Lee.

Advertisement

Lee’s oscillating antics create fertile ground for the Justin-M.J. hookup we saw coming from 5, 10, 20 miles away. It is a bit incredible how easy it is for Justin to get M.J.’s hopes up, and how easy it is for her to have unwavering faith in his words, setting high expectations that leave plenty of wind below for her to come crashing down when Ronda pulls the rug out from under her.

For two months, Justin’s been working on this game play in which he uncovers an incident when Ronda broke a news story with false claims. It’s a dirty game, even for Mary Jane, who previously was able to break down barriers with her talent as a news anchor. This season’s need for kitschy high drama meant that M.J. had to play dirty with Ronda. And Ronda’s eventual suspension ends up dragging Kara down with her.

Poor Kara, caught between Justin’s master plan and Ronda’s master chess moves. Kara’s suspension from Great Day USA doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that Ronda’s story predated her, but it is indeed good to see Kara reconnect with Orlando. Yes, sis, let us see your complex, vulnerable side shine through; get that man back! Kara isn’t just a ride-or-die friend; she is the perfect ride, survive and help-you-thrive friend whom M.J. needs. She has been that ally from beginning to end, and now M.J.’s blooming relationship with Justin makes everything exceptionally sticky.

Did Justin and Mary Jane really have to hook up in the newsroom? Discretion has entirely been missing this season for such highly visible characters. Why is Lee always able to pop up at M.J.’s job? Does the building not have security? Can I stroll into the Today show like that?

Why are all these adults who once showed such constraint in their career paths so damn messy at precisely the wrong moment? How long will the Justin-and-M.J. partnership stay sweet? Will it ever turn back to sour? So many questions that need answers, and maybe they’ll be answered when the season picks up again in July. Also, can M.J. move out of that hotel and finally get a home?