The main point of penultimate episodes is bringing running storylines to a head before the denouement. That episode for 'Sisterhood of Hip Hop' may have been a good one if most of the plots it accentuated had been developed properly instead of sporadically. The seventh entry of the series falls flat not because of any sort of pettiness or over-focus on drama. It simply just wasn't a very entertaining hour of television.

It's no coincidence this was the episode that saw the least involvement from Siya and Diamond, arguably the show's best characters. Siya had the most odds stacked against her, but managed to have an affable, down-to-earth personality without filling an archetype. The tough girl actually cried the most tears in the series. Part of what made Diamond's last episode a bit of a thrill was how she cut the bland "new me" mantra and became a humorous character who took responsibility for herself. The women here -- with the slight exception of Nyemiah Supreme -- are flat circles.

Brianna Perry possibly didn't have a whole lot of screen time because of her college courses -- and it shows. She isn't portrayed much more in 'Sisterhood of Hip Hop' than an ambitious college woman with momager issues that should've been solved earlier in the series. Even when she faces them here, she's seen sort of just going through the motions. Basically, Perry finds out she misses Kiki being beside her and decides to make up with her. It's a bland series of events with a decent payoff as Kiki tears up when she remembers hearing that Perry went ahead and shot that video. This is finally a show of vulnerability from someone who's been presented only as an overbearing caricature. That ego is poked, and Kiki tears up at the idea that there are possibilities outside of her.

On the other hand, Bia started out the series on top with Pharrell appearing to give some nice on-screen advice. This couldn't be "Bia and Pharrell" though; Pharrell has Pharrell things to do. Bia doesn't, and besides some sisterly pep talk and a family issue, she's been the most inconsequential character of the five. So you don't feel too much weight when she's tasked with making a decision between two record labels: RCA, who wants to get her material out quickly, and Columbia, who apparently still believes in the under-appreciated art of A&Ring. Although Pharrell is signed to Columbia, Bia chooses RCA as if she knew the broadcasted edit wouldn't showcase that. Turns out she's right.

And that leaves Ice Queen Nyemiah Supreme, who has to go through therapy because of her coldness. During the session, her tears fall instead of stream down her face, so you can even say her cries are icy. But anyways, it turns out a rough relationship with her mother during childhood is the cause of her blocking people out. So, of course, it's time to have a little sit-down with mom. The expected waterworks come, but what makes for some decent television is how the emotion comes from her mother. There was that groan-inducing, "You gotta let that s--- go," when she first reacted to Supreme's childhood trauma. The emotion didn't come until she opened up and admitted that she did make some mistakes. That wall came down right before the viewers eyes: Yes, Supreme's mother is kind of like the older version of her.

Also, c'mon guys. Wasn't seeing Supreme's huge smile at the end of the conversation a great sight?

So with three storylines neatly resolved, we need something heading into the season finale. To solve this problem, four of the five girls meet up and decided to do a showcase featuring the sisterhood. Oxygen is not even going to try to not make this look like a written setup, huh?

Side Notes:

  • The MVP award for best character of the episode is Perry's hair for not wildly changing colors during those camera interviews. You've come a long way, hair.
  • Renaye has a bit too much to drink next episode. Welp.
  • Ja Rule appears in the next episode. Siya is leading Murder Inc., into the new decade. Bless her.

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