(The Root) — Last night's Single Ladies episode, "Deuces," opens up at Raquel's boutique, Indulgence, as April brings in 2012's bad boy of R&B, Bobby Mornay (Tony Rock), who looks like a Bobby Brown knockoff, or even a K-Ci Hailey from his Jodeci days. April's baby-sitting him for the next few days to ensure that he shows up at a club she promotes. She's about business only — helping him find a few new outfits in hopes that his appearance will guarantee her a regular Thursday-night gig at a hot local club.
While Bobby's trying on clothes, Raquel goes next door to hush her new neighbor. She meets Scotty (Romeo Miller), who's the barely 20-year-old owner of a skateboarding shop. He gets really flirty with Raquel. (Cue Beyoncé! He may be young, but he's ready!) And she manages to bust her butt on a skateboard while trying to prove that she's not just a girl who likes to wear silk and stilettos.
Malcolm meets Keisha at the shop after she called and said she needed a favor. To verify that he paid off Luke (Clifford "T.I." Harris) for her Aston Martin, she makes up a lie, saying that she needed money to win back her car. She thanks him again for stepping in to save her, and they trade a few long, lusty looks before they hug goodbye.
Shelley (Lauren London) also stops by to pick up a few things for her wannabe politician boo. Then things get a little juicy and drama-filled as she tells Keisha that Malcolm's new boo, Taylor, and her family are nearly broke. Taylor's in the process of planning a winter wedding so that she can latch onto his money and help rescue the family.
While all this goes down, Bobby slips out the back door — with thousands of dollars' worth of merchandise on him. It's day 1, and April's already slacking! April finds Bobby the next morning in the boutique. (Apparently bad boys get hungry in the middle of trying on clothes.) She chastises him and seems fed up, but she also knows how important he is to making April Goldberg Entertainment a success.
Keisha's getting her business in order, too. Her boss buys her a billboard — er, a bench in front of one of their properties — and plasters her face on it to help get more real estate clients. Unfortunately, it leads to her receiving several R-rated phone calls from prospective clients who have other "business" they'd like to handle with Ms. Green.
Back at the boutique, Raquel confronts Shelley about a sex tape again. She promises Raquel that she'll track down the man she made the sex tape with, hoping to resolve the issue sooner rather than later. Scotty comes over to give Raquel some mail that ended up at his store. He lays down his mack again and asks her out for a pretzel. And surprisingly, Raquel takes the bait.
"Does Malcolm know your family is broke?" Keisha asks Taylor, who has shown up to the boutique to buy a few cocktail dresses. Stunned that Keisha knew of her family business, Taylor walks out of the boutique with the stank face.
While on their way to sound check, Bobby makes a stop at his hotel because he left his cellphone in his room. After tearing up the hotel room, he finds the phone — and his girlfriend discovers him and April in there, too. ("Looks like she's your jump-off and you didn't expect me to be here. I know what kind of woman handles her profession in the bedroom," she says.) When it seems like April will have no choice but to put up her dukes, Bobby makes up a lie and says that April is a masseuse, there to surprise his girl with a foot massage. Awkward!
Raquel has her date with Scotty, and instead of pretzels, he cooks up a vegan meal for two, and she's pleasantly shocked by his maturity. But Keisha busts up their date right in the middle of their first kiss, and Raquel quickly ushers him out the door. The next morning, the ladies have a powwow about Raquel and her young tenderoni. April and Keisha give Raquel a hard time for robbing the cradle. But after hearing the pros and cons, she decides that she's going to date him anyway. YOLO, right?
Back at Indulgence, Marcus (Omar Gooding) shows up to exchange a few words with Omar (Travis Winfrey). While his intentions seem good at first — he apologizes for his homophobic remarks — the conversation quickly turns sour after he requests Omar's blessing to marry Presley (La La Anthony). Omar was fine with the proposal; he wants to see his sister happy. However, Marcus' next request about Presley's son is unforgivable.
"Your lifestyle is a bad influence," Marcus says. "I'm asking you to stay away. Give me a chance to raise him to be a man. Just think about it. This way your nephew can finally have a real daddy."
Taylor and Malcolm go out to dinner, and Taylor reveals that her father's investments have "put the family in a very precarious position." And to her surprise, Malcolm already knows the details and is perfectly fine with it.
"We were meant to build a dynasty. There will be doors that your money and charm won't open. That's when my family, our network, will be there," Taylor tells him. This sounds more like a business deal than a loving relationship. But as we know, Malcolm is always looking out for his own best interests. But then Taylor drops a real bomb: If they want to go forward, Malcolm must cut off all contact with Keisha.
While Keisha is hammering in one of her real estate benches, Terrance, Malcolm's brother, shows up to convince Keisha to fight for her relationship. Terrance, ever the man down with the streets, appreciated Keisha's "down" personality. He gives her a little background on how his big brother has always been looking for a way in to the high-society life of Atlanta. Growing up, they were always just on the outskirts of that life, and now he wants all the way in.
And then out of nowhere, Shelley shows up and hops in Terrance's car, asking about their sex tape. It looks like Miss Priss was once into bad boys. Terrance explains that when he went to jail, his place was robbed, so he doesn't have the tape. He promises to find the guys and take care of it. And he delivers one of the funniest and best-delivered lines of the night: "Man, you better calm your lil' light-skinned ass down!"
April finally figures out how to control bad boy Bobby. She calls his mama. "No, please don't tell big mama I'm stressin' out white people," Bobby pleads. Needless to say, he quickly straightens up.
As they're closing up the boutique, Presley shows up to talk to Omar. Apparently Presley never heard the phrase "blood is thicker than water," because she chooses to stand by her man rather than tell him off. "He works, he comes home, he doesn't run the streets," she says. She's clearly caught up. (Where was he when she needed money to pay rent and buy groceries last week?)
Raquel runs into Charles, the (fine) man she met at the Boule ball. She had been calling him for a couple weeks but had the wrong number. Just as they were talking about the possibility of connecting, she mentions that she's in a "situation," and on cue, Scotty shows up, puckering up for a kiss like a little kid.
On Thursday night, April — and Bobby's mother — successfully got Bobby to perform at Club Elegance. But the night didn't go too smoothly for Raquel and her date. After he attempts to order a beer from the club's owner, the security roughs him up and kicks him out because he's underage. Raquel runs after him to scrape his jaw off the sidewalk. Scotty wasn't the only one getting roughed up that night. As they exit, we see Terrance yoking up the man he expects has the sex tape. Mission accomplished? Perhaps.
Another unexpected visit from Malcolm closes out the episode. And he makes good on the promise he made to Taylor. "I'm cutting off all communication with you,” he tells Keisha.
Keisha's not cool with this at all. And for good reason. (Remember Ashley, the ex-wife he wouldn't stop supporting in the Ivory Coast?) "What you wouldn't do for me, you're now doing for your new bitch of two months?"
As they linger at the closed door, Graffiti6's "Over You" plays in the background: "I'm over you/This time is the last time."
But is it?
Erin E. Evans is a writer in New York. Follow her on Twitter.