Being Mary Jane
BET Screenshot

First things first: Pauletta “Mary Jane” Patterson needs to get her key back from David.

David drops by M.J.’s unannounced (again!) to vent about his baby-mama woes. He feels trapped with a woman he barely knows for the sake of the baby-to-be. M.J. doesn’t want to participate in his pity-party therapy session because what woman would want to hear the man she loves go on and on about his problems with another woman? “I want you to tell me it’s not too late for us.” But it kind of is, bruh. At least, it should be.

Prominent attorney Brian Ellis commits suicide on live TV outside his law firm. The company reveals that he had a mild case of schizophrenia. M.J. comes up with the bomb news angle of suicide rates of successful black men. She rattles off a list of names—her good friend Terrence Porter (who was played by Ludacris last season), along with the real-life Chris Lighty, Shakir Stewart, Kenny McKinley and Capital Steez—to Kara’s approval. Sheldon calls with an exclusive scoop on the breaking story but won’t talk business over the phone. “Come to my house to talk business after hours” is code for “I’m trying to see you naked.”

Sheldon’s house is more fly than those luxury homes that HGTV loves showing off. He has the mood set with candles, wine and food. He cooks. Intelligent. Rich. David who? The chitchat leads to Sheldon offering his take on the black man’s plight. He makes salient points about black men like Brian being smothered by corporate greed, racism, oppression, fear and a system that never wanted them to succeed. To him, black men represent freedom, so that’s what “they” want to squash. The conversation escalates into the “black man vs. the black woman” oppression Olympics.

M.J. doesn’t let him off the hook when he says black men have it harder. Mary Jane reads like no other. However—how-freaking-ever—this was her best read yet. Society dumps on black women, and so do the black men who claim to defend our honor. “Who is left to love the black woman?” And let the church say amen.

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Round of applause for Mara Brock Akil, who wrote her tush off with this dialogue. It’s a much-needed conversation in which both parties actually listen. M.J. almost ruins a good thing by going on another diatribe about being minimized to her ass and tits after Sheldon calls her sexy. Except that’s not what the man finds sexy. He really digs her passion and outlook on life.

M.J. has an orgasm from Sheldon’s inner nerd and compliments. She rushes into the bathroom to call her doctor to see if this is normal. It is, apparently. She takes off her soiled panties to finish dinner with her potential new beau. Sheldon hands her a jump drive with all the info she’ll need for her story and then makes it clear he wants to date her.

Kara runs into Gael at the grocery store, and he speaks to her in Spanish. “When you decide to speak English, I’ll be over in the assimilation aisle.” Oh, Kara. Give it a rest already. You’re Latina. Get into it. When he texts her later, in Spanish, she agrees to a second date, which goes significantly better than the first hell date. Maybe if Kara gets some, she’ll have less time to argue with M.J. over work.

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After M.J. exposes the law firm for knowing that Brian was struggling with his mental illness before he committed suicide, Kara thinks that the way M.J. obtained the info was too easy. The two argue, as they typically do. M.J. drops a bomb by telling Kara that she knows about the secret focus group the company had to evaluate her ratings.

M.J. gets a call from her friend Valerie that Lisa isn’t picking up the phone. All M.J. can think about is suicide, so she rushes over to her bestie’s house despite their recent argument. M.J. admits to Valerie that Lisa may need help. Lisa walks in to hear her two friends talking about her and lashes out at M.J. Lisa’s jealousy and M.J.’s callousness are a disastrous combination. We need some functional black-girl relationships on this show.

M.J. calls David to come over while she’s waiting on extraction for the egg-freezing process. She’s decided that she wants to have David’s baby. “I don’t want just anyone’s baby, I want your baby.” He has another baby on the way! This is not a good idea. Do not pass Go. Don’t collect $200.

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Bad decisions have never stopped M.J., so she makes love to her ex to “Nirvana” by Sam Smith to get knocked up. All the British soul singing in the world won’t make this situation less messy than a Love & Hip Hop love triangle.