(The Root) — Eye candy at first glance on Single Ladies? Last night the show gave us the goodies early on in the season's fifth episode, "The Fabric of Our Lives." Just the way we like it. Raquel (Denise Vasi) is enamored of a "6-foot-3, cock-diesel," three-time Super Bowl champion, Tony Crawford, who's looking for a suit to wear to one of first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move shindigs. She wows him with her beauty and football knowledge, and he promptly asks her to dinner.
April's (Charity Shea) still dating Jack the Stripper (Josh Sole), amid the girls' and Omar's disapproval. And it leads to a conversation about fantasies. Raquel has eyes for Daniel Craig. Keisha (LisaRaye McCoy) would bend it with David Beckham. Travis would steal Enrique Iglesias from his girlfriend. And April is living for the sexual chocolate that is Idris Elba. (Nice picks!)
As Raquel gears up for a relaunch party of the boutique, she gets a visit from Anthony L. Williams (Project Runway), a designer she wants exclusive fashion rights to in Atlanta.
Keisha is back to her poker-playing ways when she goes a few rounds with Luke (Clifford "T.I." Harris) in a game so full of double entendres that we couldn't keep up. She loses her Aston Martin, a gift from Malcolm (D.B. Woodside) in the first season, despite having what she thinks is a winning hand.
On her date with Tony, Raquel finds out that he's done his research on her, knowing all her favorite things and taking her to the perfect restaurant. (A bit stalkerish? Or no?) But she quickly finds out that as thoughtful as he may be in trying to woo her, they're very much not in tune when it comes to gender politics. They talk sports; he's not exactly on this side of the 40th anniversary of Title IX. But she laughs it off. To be continued …
April and Jack have a surprisingly PG date in her bedroom. They roll around in the sheets — fully clothed — and then enjoy gourmet fried bologna sandwiches and Kool-Aid while watching a Family Guy marathon.
Omar's sister (LaLa Vazquez) stops by the boutique to borrow a few dollars, you know, for just rent and grocery money, and walks out with that and a job to DJ at Raquel's party. She raves about her new boyfriend. "Marcus is the sweetest, most giving, honest person I know. I never been in love like this." But more on that later.
Tony shows up at the boutique and invites Raquel to the White House as his date. Then he drops another bomb. He's not down for "Obamacare" — or the Obama camp at all, for that matter. Raquel's obviously shook, but she can't stop staring while he undresses, softening his blow with, "Barack has occasionally pissed me off, too."
Keisha's back at Raquel's apartment trying to figure out a way to win back her Aston Martin. But she's cash-strapped and can't find her Tupperware full of benjamins. Who will show up as her Superman this time?
Now, when there's a party on Single Ladies, we all know that something is bound to pop off, especially if Malcolm is involved. He and his girlfriend, Taylor, show up to support Raquel and the boutique. And despite her breakdown on the last episode, Keisha doesn't seem to break a sweat.
Taylor tells Raquel that Malcolm has started to hint at marriage. Shocked, she asks Taylor if she has a problem with the fact that Malcolm obviously still has feelings for Keisha. But ever the debutante, searching for her (rich) man to sweep her off her feet, she counters with, "The benefits of being with a powerful man far outweigh the drawbacks." Well, alrighty, then, Taylor, but it sounds like a recipe for trouble.
Tony shows up with his lawyer and friend, who happens to be Sean (Terrell Tilford). Malcolm gets stirred up when he sees Sean with Keisha, but he's even more shook when he sees Luke drive up in the Aston Martin he paid for. He pulls Keisha aside to confront her, finds out what happened and is relieved to find out that Luke is not her new beau. This is something he can handle.
Later at the party, Keisha easily convinces Sean to loan her $20,000 so she can win back her car. They hug, and once again Sean and Malcolm exchange menacing glances as they vie for Keisha's heart.
Parties and politics often don't mix. And Tony again turns off Raquel when he says he believes that it's poor folks' fault for being poor. And that it's not the responsibility of the rich to pay higher taxes. They continue their argument all the way back to Raquel's apartment. ("We're talking about societal responsibility to the collective whole," Raquel boasts. Who talks like this? But that's another story.) Their political argument quickly dissolves into a lovemaking session. We guess his chiseled chest trumps his bad gender politics and thoughts on the distribution of wealth in America.
Raquel's party proves to be a success, and she lands the Project Runway star's designs for the boutique, which she has renamed Indulgence. "I think of my gowns as my babies. But I think they just found a new nanny," Anthony tells her.
But just as things are looking up for the boutique, the drama continues for April. She breaks it off with Jack after seeing one of his potential clients feel him up right in front of her. "I don't want to be with someone who's eligible to anyone who is paying,” she says. She wants to take a break and think things through. However, it seems like it won't be the last we see of Jack the Stripper.
Everyone convenes at Raquel's apartment to watch football, and Omar invites his sister and her boyfriend. After an uncomfortable introduction at the door, it's clear that Marcus (Omar Gooding) isn't comfortable with Omar being gay. "The men are over here. I think you'd be more comfortable with the women," he says as Tony snickers. They almost come to blows before, surprisingly, Tony steps in to say it's time for him to leave.
Tony stays to help clean up, and then, as expected, he chimes in with his thoughts about Marcus' homophobic comments. "Whatever happened to 'Don't ask, don't tell'? That's another thing I can blame Obama for."
Yes, he really said that. And finally, Raquel kicks him to the curb. He tries to woo her with his physique, but clearly, there's not enough chisel in the world for his ridiculous remarks.
With Sean's $20,000, Keisha is set to win back her car. After going all in, Luke throws down his cards, hands over the keys and leaves Keisha with a few words that make her pause: "Word in our circle is you're off limits." As she looks at his cards, she realizes he had a better hand and thinks twice about his words to her. Clearly, Malcolm's been working behind the scenes and carving a lane for her.
Sean loans her the $20,000, but Malcolm pays for her Aston Martin — twice. Who's Superman now?
Erin E. Evans is a writer in New York. Follow her on Twitter.