The latest installment of the Star saga was an ideal example of the show's split personality.
It was part political statement against police brutality and the system's bias against black men, part sexy and suspenseful soap opera, and all insanity.
On Star Season 1 Episode 8, Alex was released from jail thanks to the intervention of her mother, Rose, who showed up to pay her bail and chew her out. Derek wasn't so lucky, though.
Despite Derek's lack of a prior criminal record, and the fact that, you know, he was innocent of any crime, his bail was set at a seemingly insurmountable $250,000.
As Miss Bruce points out, they only need to raise ten percent of that amount for the bail bondsman. But where to get $25,000?
Do you think Destiny's Child ever went through something like this?Simone
Despite Alex's anger towards Star over her absence from the protest performance, she couldn't help but admit that Star's idea of holding a block party to raise money for Derek was a good idea.
Star might seem like a complete narcissist most of the time, but when it came to Derek, her heart was definitely in the right place. Perhaps it was because, as she confessed to Simone, she had been locked up a few times before herself.
Star, full of sympathy for Derek's situation and under pressure from Alex and Simone, even goes so far as to ask Hunter to donate a significant chunk of change to the cause. Big mistake!
I know all about loving a messed-up man. Like your father.Rose [to Alex]
This episode provided yet more proof that Hunter is nothing but hard abs and bad news. The former quality is understandably an appealing one, but it still shouldn't blind Star to his incredible faults, which become more apparent all the time.
This is a man who has bullied Star, slapped her and called her a gold-digging slut. He is utterly disrespectful to any woman that isn't his control-freak mother, who he allows to also bully Star, in his presence, without a word in Star's defense.
Oh, and he's been using performance-enhancing drugs for years. He's altogether terrible.
Alex, stop it. It's me up against a bunch of pissed-off cops. I'm not going to have a fair trial. They've been after me for months.Derek [to Alex]
A guilt-stricken Hunter ended up coming to the block party to show his support for the cause after all. He even brought a superstar in the form of a glitter-lipsticked Missy Elliott along with him, helping the party raise close to $15,000.
But these charitable actions weren't enough to earn Star's forgiveness. I wanted to clap when she stormed away from him at the end of the episode. And if I were her, I wouldn't change my mind about him anytime soon. Not even for those abs.
Also, can we take a moment to talk about the fact that Missy Elliott was not playing herself, but rather an artist named Pumpkin? Why would the woman behind "Get Ur Freak On" take the name of a gourd as her stage name? A GOURD.
Alex: Derek, look at all you've fought for. You'd give that up now?
Derek: It's already been decided, baby girl. It's how the system works.
This is even more unbelievable than the murder mystery storyline, which did gain some traction as Otis' body was found and identified. No further clues were given as to the identity of the killer, but hopefully, those will be coming soon.
In the meantime, let us all praise the television gods for bringing Naomi Campbell back to us. Soaked in vodka from her wig down to her Louboutins, and with snobbery to spare, her performance as Rose was once again a delight.
Rose: I trusted you, Carol!
Carlotta: My name is Carlotta.
Alex showed she could be just as manipulative as her mother by tricking Rose into thinking she was coming home so she would pay off the rest of Derek's bail. Needless to say, Rose was not pleased.
Now Derek is out on bail until his trial, though I am not sure how the show can fit a trial into the five remaining episodes along with everything else that is going on. You know, like that murder mystery I mentioned earlier.
This episode, as you can probably guess from the title, was all about mothers. Alex tricked hers, Hunter pushed back against his, Star was once again compared to hers, and Cotton...well, Cotton was betrayed by hers.
Girl, you in jail? I ain't even been there yet.Cotton [to Alex]
This episode started off great for Cotton. She confessed to new boyfriend Elliott that, not only was she transgender, she was also still sporting male sex organs from the waist down. And Elliott, while surprised, was altogether pretty cool with it.
I was pleasantly surprised myself at Elliott's reaction to Cotton's revelation and impressed that the show avoided going the stereotypical route with this scene.
I had expected Elliott to lash out and break Cotton's heart, but he showed an openness that was refreshing and reflective of a more modern, tolerant attitude towards gender and sexuality. If everyone felt the way Elliott did, the world would be a much better place.
Unfortunately, Cotton's mother is much less tolerant. She tricked Cotton into thinking Pastor Harris was coming over for a peaceful prayer session and instead stood by while he attempted some form of freaky exorcism on her daughter.
Cotton: That was a real date, Mama. He likes me.
Carlotta: Yeah? All of you? Does he know what you got between your legs?
Cotton: He does know and he likes all of it.
My heart broke watching Cotton dissolve into panicked, frantic tears under Pastor Harris' hands as he ranted and raved about the demons he believed were responsible for a boy named Arnold becoming a woman named Cotton.
It was a sickening, disturbing scene, made all the more so by the knowledge that there are plenty of other transgender men and women out there whose families have put them through similar experiences and worse, all due to intolerance.
Jahil: I'm going to add you to the group.
Eva: Star's not going to like that.
Jahil: She better suck it up.
Two good things came out of this awful moment. First, Carlotta had a fantastically retro fantasy sequence, including a musical number about being yourself.
It was Queen Latifah at her best and boldest, sporting bright leggings and a ponytail as she strutted around the yard with a team of belly-baring backup dancers throwing themselves around a chain-link fence. It was both visually and sonically awesome.
The second good thing was that, upon coming out of this reverie, Carlotta realized that she was in the wrong and kicked Pastor Harris out of her house.
It seems that Carlotta now realizes how much her lack of understanding has hurt her daughter. Hopefully, this means they can make amends.
I enjoyed the sweet moment between Star and Cotton when Star walked in on Cotton holding a gun to her head and convinced her to put it down. Star's affection and support for Cotton was another reminder that Star's not all bad.
Do you know how nasty your room would've looked if you'd pulled that stunt? We'd be cleaning blood out of these glitter curtains.Star [to Cotton]
Jahil announcing that Eva was joining the group, and Star promptly quitting it was quite the ending. Will Alex and Simone remain loyal to Star, or will they embrace Jahil's attempt to court the Latin demographic? Only time will tell.
What did you think of "Mama's Boy"? Do you think the traumatic episode with Pastor Harris will push Carlotta and Cotton further apart, or finally bring them together? Is Star bluffing about quitting the group?
Remember, you can watch Star online via TV Fanatic.
Lee Jutton was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She went into retirement in July of 2017. Follow her on Twitter.