Simone's foster father shows up in Atlanta and the girls perform at a showcase.
This week, Simone’s fears finally come to a head and Jahil’s human trafficking situation gets murkier. But on a lighter note, Gladys Knight is here!
The ladies of Carlotta’s salon — which is apparently called God’s Blessings — are preparing for a massive local event called the Taylor Brothers Hair Show, which Miss Bruce and Carlotta are determined to win this year. One of the tricks up their sleeve? A performance from their resident girl group, of course.
Before the event, Simone wakes up to the sound of an unwelcome voice piping up from downstairs. It sounds like her foster father, Otis, is meeting with Miss Carlotta (he is). He’s asking her for a job, and she seems to be considering it. Upstairs, Simone freaks out and wakes up Star, trying to convince her. Star, as usual, doesn’t believe her — even after they go downstairs and Carlotta says there was a man there earlier. “Otis isn’t alive. Because he’s dead. Because I killed him,” Star reminds her.
Jahil, on the other hand, is trying to figure out what to do about the trafficked woman who showed up at his apartment and is now staying with him. She says she could tell he was a good man since he freed them; she also tells him she has no family and was trying to come here for a fresh start. He goes into his safe, pulls out a stack of fake IDs, and hands her one. “There’s your new life,” he says. Did we miss a step here? Why does he have these IDs? And what’s the rest of her story?
Later, he goes to watch the girls (do they still not have a name yet?) rehearse, and breaks the happy news that they’ve advanced to the next level in the music festival competition. Now, in the next two weeks, they need to send a video performance. They throw out performing at a Black Lives Matter event and at a church benefit until Star states the glaringly obvious. “Why don’t we just do it at the hair show where we’re already performing?” she asks. DUH, you guys. This scene was useless.
After rehearsal, Star is getting steamy with her NFL beau Hunter, but she pauses the action because of her “rules” — rule no. 1 being “No sex before a performance.” She doesn’t explain why, but also doesn’t stop him when he decides it’s not against the rules for him to pleasure her. Innovative!
Time for the hair show, all glitz and glamour and sky-high hairdos. It’s cute to watch Miss Bruce feud with the twins from the Scissor Siblings beauty salon, but we’re really here for the girls. Everyone tries to tell Star that maybe this isn’t the best thing for Simone since she literally just waltzed out of the hospital, but Star just tells her to get ready. Is this tough love, or is Star being straight-up stupid?
Their prep time is interrupted, though, when one of the girls from the salon strolls over to introduce her aunt: GLADYS KNIGHT. To whom, it just so happens, the girls’ entire performance is an homage. She knows Alexandra through Roland, of course. Honestly, these girls are just rolling in music biz connections. Do they really have to perform at hair shows and record demos in hospital closets?
Anyway, Star is never one to pass up an opportunity, so she asks Gladys Knight to introduce their performance. Alexandra sings lead and sounds amazing (better than Star?) and everyone in the audience is bopping along and enjoying themselves: Gladys, the trafficked woman, Hunter, and … Otis. Yeah — he showed up. But the good thing is, Star sees him with her own eyes and finally believes her sister.
After they head offstage, Star tries to get Alexandra to take Simone home while she searches for Otis to head him off. He finds her in the bathroom, and Star fights back with spit and words as he taunts and grabs her. He threatens to call the police and she says she’ll tell him about the years of raping Simone, but he seems to think Star stabbing him is the trump card. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but wouldn’t her stabbing be excused as some sort of a defense, seeing as how Otis was raping her sister? This show is suffering from Pretty Little Liars “let’s not call the cops and here’s why” syndrome. Anyway, he tells her to meet him at his car and then leaves the bathroom, running into Carlotta on the way out.
Carlotta sees Star crying and the whole story comes out, along with the “we can’t call the cops” bit. Carlotta goes to Jahil and tells him the story and that her gun is missing, so she and Jahil — with his own gun in his pants — go searching for him.
NEXT: Simone and Otis come face-to-face
But in the parking garage, it’s a standoff between Otis and Simone. She’s got the gun (presumably Carlotta’s) pointed straight at him, and yet he’s still taunting her, calling her baby and asking “You aren’t happy to see me? Not even just a little bit?” Is it unrealistic this guy is not only that evil (I know there some really horrible people out there), but that he’d go to these lengths to get to Simone even when he’s extremely guilty himself? Anyway, he makes a pretty cliché villain speech: “No matter where you hide, I’m always gonna find you. You belong to me,” etc. Yet Simone still isn’t pulling the freaking trigger. She’s about to, though … and the scene changes.
Star is on the hunt with a switchblade, but by the time she gets to his car in the parking garage, Otis is sitting in the driver’s seat, bleeding from his chest and presumably much deader than usual this time.
Star, Alex, and Carlotta realize Simone is missing and start looking for her. Meanwhile, Carlotta asks which one of them has her gun, and they both act confused. Alex says, “What about Otis?” and at the same time, Carlotta and Star both say, “Otis is dead.” Hmm — does that mean Carlotta had a hand in it? She tells Star and Alex “It’s being handled” in her best Olivia Pope voice, and then we cut to Jahil, wrapping the body in plastic and putting it in his trunk.
They find Simone crying with the gun, and Carlotta tells her this chapter of her life with Otis is finally, finally over. Star asks for a minute alone with Simone and says her memories of Otis and what he did to her will eventually fade, but that she needs to find something else to focus on in the meantime. I can’t tell if this is good or bad advice. Is it purely self-serving, like “focus on our music so I can be a star?” Or does Star have her own awful memories that have faded? Are we ever going to get more of Star’s own foster-care backstory, or was washing dishes for cruel women pretty much it?
Anyway, God’s Blessings wins the hair competition (unclear whether it’s because of the girls’ Gladys Knight performance or because of Miss Bruce’s actual styling). They have to perform an encore, but it works because it essentially serves as their alibi (or so they hope).
Meanwhile, in a cold patch of dirt that’s hopefully far, far away, Jahil is burying the body — while trafficked woman looks on in shock. Is she someone we can actually trust? Is he really this stupid? He didn’t want to bring her home because someone had broken into his apartment earlier, but still. There had to have been a better plan than bringing a strange woman along when you’re burying a body. “Now we both have secrets,” he tells her when he gets back in the car. I think I missed her exact secret, unless it’s just … trying to come to America?
Later, at Jahil’s apartment, she comes out of the shower and drops her towel for him, but he gives the towel back and says, “You don’t have to do that.” Strangely, I’m liking him more and more. Unfortunately, he’s not going to have an easy time of it in the future: The big burly man is still trying to figure out why one “shipment” randomly got hijacked when all the others were fine. He tells creepy old Maggie he thinks Jahil’s lying, and they’re just going to wait for him to slip up. Slip up like keep the woman with you and also bring her to witness your crime? Maybe like that?!
Back at Carlotta’s, Carlotta, Star, Alex, Simone, and Cotton are sitting around the table trying to process what happened that evening. They agree to act like nothing ever happened, then Simone pipes up. “I didn’t do it,” she says. “I didn’t kill Otis. I wanted to kill him but I couldn’t pull the trigger.” As usual, Star doesn’t believe her until Simone repeats it over and over. Did the events of that morning and the day seriously not convince you to believe your traumatized little sister, Star?
Finally, when she agrees to believe Simone, Star says, “Well if Simone didn’t kill him, then who did?” Carlotta, Alex, and Cotton silently leave the room. We saw Cotton with scissors earlier, moving in slow motion after Star either pocket-dialed or really dialed her from the bathroom with Otis. Alex shared an elevator with him … and Carlotta is just full of secrets. I think my money’s on Cotton, with Carlotta protecting her since her children and “children” are officially involved.
But what do you think? Who killed Otis? And what is the deal with the mystery woman staying with Jahil?