‘Star’ Season 1 Episode 2 Recap: ‘The Devil You Know’

Star_S1E2_Recap Lee Daniels’ newest drama-fest, Star, officially premiered on FOX (following a test run of the pilot back in December) and while it’s no Empire (yet), it definitely has some compelling storylines and characters that, if developed correctly throughout the season, could equal another big hit for the director.

This week’s episode centered on Star (Jude Demorest), Simone (Brittany O’Grady) and Alexandra (Ryan Destiny)’s quest to secure money to record a demo so that they can enter a contest-where the prize is being able to perform at a huge music festival in Atlanta. The catch? The girls are not only broke (because recording a demo costs money), but they also only have 2 days to get it done.

Jahil (Benjamin Bratt), the girls’ manager, is doing what he can to procure the money for the demo, but he has his own problems-he’s known for sniffing up most of his money and can’t find anyone to back him. While he’s on the phone with his mother arguing with her about the $200,000 he’s missing and doing a couple of lines, Carlotta, Star and Simone’s godmother played wonderfully by Queen Latifah, knocks on his door and enters Jahil’s house with a punch right in his face. Carlotta doesn’t want the girls to sing and definitely not under the tutelage of Jahil, who also managed she and Star and Simone’s mother, Mary, when they were younger. Carlotta blames him for getting Mary hooked on drugs, which were ultimately her undoing, and says she’ll tell the girls all about it. Jahil then reminds her that she lost the girls when they were little after their mom’s death and he’ll tell them she’s the reason they both ended up in foster care. Duh-rah-maaaa!

Elsewhere, Alexandra is spending some quality time in bed with her new boo Derek (Quincy Jones). The two cuddle post-sex and reveal a little bit about themselves to each other because we’re only two episodes in and they still don’t know one another that well. He and Alexandra bond because she tells him her mother is dead and that she ran away from her father. Derek’s story is a sad one also: His parents are both dead- but as he tells his story, Alexandra clearly looks guilty because she made her tragedy up.

After her little rendezvous, Alexandra heads back to the salon and gets caught up in the groove when she hears an old song she loved (but was never allowed to dance to, as a brief flashback shows us- the same flashback shows us Alexandra’s mom Rose is being portrayed by none other than Naomi Campbell, who is killing yet another bitchy role thanks to Daniels’ casting). We’re then segued into a dream sequence performance (which apparently will be a consistent thing in the series) of her, Star and Simone performing the song, with the salon employees as backup dancers.

Everyone’s parents have the gift of showing up during the exact wrong times (or right, depending on whose perspective you look at it from)- Alexandra’s are no different. Just as she’s finished her hair salon performance, in walk Lenny and Naomi ready to blow her entire cover story. Now everyone knows that Alexandra isn’t only a rich kid, but the rich kid of rockstar Roland Crane (aka Lenny Kravitz). Star is pissed because of everything she went through to find Jahil when they had a valuable resource under their nose the entire time, and Derek is pissed because his parents are actually dead and Alexandra lied to him. Poor little rich girl.

Star, who we’ve already gathered from the pilot is willing to do any and everything she can to achieve fame, decides to use Alexandra’s now-outed identity to get what she wants. After failing to talk some sense into Jahil and telling him the truth about Alexandra, she decides to talk to Alexandra’s dad face-to-face and sets off to find him at the W.

Once she catches up with Roland, she turns on her charm and tries to get him to help the group with their demo. After sitting at the bar together for a few minutes, other patrons begin to notice Roland and the young blonde he’s sitting with, so Star suggests they head up to his room- cut to the next scene where we see her taking a bubble bath and him shirtless. Yup, Star is definitely willing to do anything, everything and apparently everyone to get what she wants. As Star is soaking in the bath and we’re wondering what the hell just happened, Rose storms in, sees Star (who is unbothered), and screams at Roland (who is also unbothered), before breaking a glass and leaving.

By the time Star gets back to Carlotta’s salon, Rose has already told Alexandra what she walked in on back at the hotel, which causes Alexandra to go off as soon as she sees Star (as one would if a friend tried to sleep with your dad). Star admits that while she was totally going to sleep with Alexandra’s dad, she didn’t because Rose walked in before anything happened. Star was only enjoying the bubble bath because she’d never had one, let alone at the W. Either way, this is too much for Alex who decides to go back home with her parents.

Carlotta takes Alexandra to her parents, who are busy being dysfunctional at a restaurant, and after a short exchange between the four of them, Carlotta realizes that Alexandra is actually better off with her because her parents, while rich, are total hot messes.

As the episode comes to a close, Derek and Alexandra make up and the girls all make up as well. Simone goes to church with Carlotta and we’re treated to one last dream-sing-sequence, when Simone agrees to sing in church and, at home, Star and Alex sing the same song. The sequence ends with the very real situation of Simone passing out and seizing, due to the pills and booze she downed to calm her nerves before going to church.

Oh and to make matters worse? Simone’s foster father, who Star “killed” in the pilot after she caught him raping her sister, isn’t actually dead- and he’s looking for his daughter.

Catch the next episode of Star when it airs, Wednesday, Jan 11 at 9pm ET/PT on Fox.

Photo Credit: Wilford Harewood/FOX