Everything important on Single Ladies takes place at the boutique, doesn’t it? Which is why this week, the boutique gets an episode all its own. Raquel decides now that she’s the owner to rebrand and rename the store that bore Val’s initial, V, to something more neutral and more representative of her. And with that, Indulgence is born.
But before any of that happens, we have a lot of relationship stuff to discuss. Right off the bat, football star Tony Crawford swings by the store looking for an outfit worthy of a meeting with Michelle Obama. Raquel, a longtime fan, impresses Tony with her knowledge of the game and he asks her out.
Outside the store, Raquel, Keisha and Omar notice some heavy petting between April and her stripper boyfriend Jack. Raquel is usually down for PDAs but only when she’s the one D-ing the A.
Unfortunately for April, everyone is still acting all Judge Judy on her because they don’t like that Jack is a stripper and they don’t plan to get over that fact any time soon. “His profession makes me a little nervous. Guys are already slutty. A guy who dances around naked for a living might be even more so,” Raquel explains. April calls out Raquel for being attracted to a pro athlete who is probably just as slutty, but Raquel won’t hear it. April is tired of hearing all of the judgment, so off she goes to get her hair cut instead of listen to her friends cut her down. Sadly this means she misses out on the grand entrance of Anthony L. Williams, stylist and designer extraordinaire of Project Runway fame.
Anthony has agreed to be one of the featured designers for the V/Indulgence relaunch party, but Raquel wants Anthony to also agree to let Indulgence sell his clothes exclusively. As always, he’s a man in demand but won’t give himself over just yet.
Keisha is once again embroiled in the world of high-stakes poker and this week she finds herself in a game against Luke, a.k.a. T.I.
She wins big in the first hand, but Luke is a hustler and by their last hand, they’re the only ones left at the table and he keeps raising the stakes higher and higher until she bets all the money she has, plus her signature white Aston Martin. Four kings beat her two aces, and Luke gleefully drives off in her baby.
That’s not how she hoped the night would turn out. When she shows up to work driving a wind-up car (sorry, a Prius), no one can believe their eyes.
No one believes her when she says she traded in cars because she’s decided to go green, so she fesses up, but she’s convinced she’ll win her car back so hey, no big thang.
On Raquel’s date with Tony, she learns the hard truth about him: he may be handsome, sweet, and not whorish or ‘roided-up (his words), but he’s really misogynistic. He thinks women’s athletics are a joke, first of all, and to boot, he’s a staunch conservative who’s anti-Obama, which might fly in some circles but not this one. “Don’t mess with my Obama,” Keisha says as Tony comes to the boutique to try on some outfits. He may not be bipartisan, but he does have biceps that make up for that.
(Are these fitting rooms just wide open to the public like that??)
Presley (La La Anthony) is Omar’s big sister and up until now, she’s relied on him for support, both financially and fashion-wise. When she shows up to the shop, she goes on and on about her new relationship with her boyfriend, Marcus, and it’s pretty serious.
Presley was hired to DJ the big party for the boutique, which April planned and promoted, and the guest list is a who’s who of who’s been on the show. Malcolm and Taylor are there, and Taylor confides in Raquel that Malcolm’s been hinting at marriage.
Seems a little fast.
Tony also shows up with his lawyer and another friend…who happens to be Sean. Small world, isn’t it?
Anthony is there too, and he finally agrees to let Raquel be the exclusive seller of his designs.
But the trouble starts when Luke pulls up in Keisha’s Aston Martin. Malcolm notices, because he’s the one who bought it for her, and he can tell something fishy is going on immediately. So while Taylor is blah blah blahing about her love for the Kona Coast, Malcolm excuses himself to find out why some strange, handsome man is driving Keisha’s car. “What’s up with that joker who just pulled up in the car that I bought you?” Malcolm asks Keisha. She tells him about the poker game and her plans to win the car back, but Malcolm can’t help but give Luke the stinkeye for the rest of the night.
It’s obvious to Raquel that Malcolm’s keeping his eye on Keisha and she points that out to Taylor, asking her if it bothers her that he’s so obvious about it. Taylor, like Raquel’s mother, comes from the school of turning a blind eye, says that “the benefits of being with a powerful man outweigh the drawbacks,” even when the drawbacks include having your man lust after another woman.
Tony continues on his conservative tirade and makes unpopular statements about government and social issues all night which is mildly upsetting to Raquel, and she admits “I know he’s wrong, and I know I’m wrong for not caring, but the man makes me so damn horny!”
As much as Raquel wants to change Tony’s mind about social issues and the 99%, she also just wants to get it on. So that’s what they do.
The next day at the boutique, Raquel tells Keisha what she’s learned, about how Taylor and Malcolm might be getting married. Keisha isn’t happy to hear that, but it’s obvious that Malcolm isn’t over her, so she finds some solace in that. April excuses herself from the conversation when she see’s a woman slip Jack her number, and when she confronts Jack, he explains that the woman just wanted to hire him to strip at a bachelorette party. April flips out on Jack, upset that he’s willing to get touched, groped and fondled by anyone willing to pay, and the floodgate of her insecurities about him being a stripper are opened.
Looks like all the judgment caught up to her and she’s breaks up with Stripper Jack who sadly walks out of the store like a little lost puppy. A puppy who wears a belt full of singles.
Even though Jack is gone the judgment hasn’t stopped, unfortunately. When Marcus, Presley’s boyfriend shows up to the apartment to watch the big game with everyone, he gives Omar the cold shulder when they meet (despite embracing Tony, his fellow macho, hetero brethren).
As they’re all watching the game and Omar makes jokes about balls (and why wouldn’t he?), Marcus tells Omar “The men are over here. I think you’d be more comfortable with the women…We don’t need all your little gay commentary, all right?” The tension escalates and Tony throws Marcus out. Presley apologizes profusely, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s dating a giant, homophobic a—hole. And even though Tony helped break up the fight, he later tells Raquel he thinks Omar was throwing his lifestyle in their faces. And that’s when Raquel finally throws Tony out. No amount of good loving can make up for his ignorance. He takes his shirt off, since that’s worked before to get back on Raquel’s good side, but not this time. “Put your shirt on, leave my house,” she tells him.
In a last ditch attempt to win her car back, Keisha goes head to head with Luke one last time, and she triumphs.
Luke throws his cards off to the side in defeat, and Keisha offers to buy him dinner to cut his losses. It wouldn’t look right, he tells her, because “word in our circle is that you’re off limits.” “What circle and what limits?” she asks, confused at what new moral code he’s living by. When Luke leaves, she checks out his hand and realizes he threw the game away.
Clearly someone is pulling some strings here. Someone named Malcolm.