I still can’t believe we have seen the season finale for Shuga Down South. I guess it is true, time really does fly. Sincerely, it feels just like yesterday that I was writing about how excited I was for Shuga Down South Premiere. Making overt how eager I was to discover what the experience of the fifth installment of the series would look like. And, just like that, twelve weeks have passed and twelve episodes of Shuga have aired.
Some have said this installment of the show is the best in the series. Well. Whether they are right or not is not left for me to decide. I am not the arbiter of truth here. But I do know that a lot of things worked in the favor of this season. One of which is the longer number of episodes in the season. For the first time, the show ran for twelve episodes. Double what the previous two seasons came packed with.
Once again, kudos to the creators of the show for a job well done. Now, to my takeaways from the just-concluded season of the show billed as Shuga Down South.
Why was Leo on the show at all?
Honestly, I don’t see why he was on the show. He did not have any considerable contribution towards the progress of the plot. Save for the time he rescued Zamo from being abused. And trust me, that could have been anybody, even Spoonkie could have done that – just kidding. All I’m trying to say is he did nothing really impactful for the rest of the show. I’m guessing he just had to make an appearance because, alongside Femi, he is the poster boy for the show. His consistent appearance in all prior seasons just had to count for something. And, considering how season four ended on a low for him, the creators felt like offering him a shot at redemption. But, if you ask me, I’ll say his presence was not really necessary and sometimes felt forced.
Storm Teased More Intrigue Than She Delivered.
Following the first episode of the season, I made some guesses about how some plotlines would likely turn out. One of those guesses included Femi and Sheila’s relationship being put under serious pressure by the storm character. It turned out I guessed correctly. But, even at that, I was not satisfied with how the storyline played out. I feel like the writers only scratched the surface of this plotline. The Sheila, Femi and Storm triangle had everything it needed to bring the intrigue and intensity imagined. But for reasons best known to the creators, we only got to see the tip.
Honestly, you need to watch the first episode again to grasp what I’m talking about here. Storm with her ravenous and seductive side glances looked like trouble personified at first glance. I thought it was only right her character name, Storm. But sadly, that storm never really happened. Compared to what was teased, what we got did not feel a bit close to a storm. Imagine what putting Femi and Sheila’s enviable ‘magnetic relationship’ under some serious pressure, pushing it to the brink of collapse, would have done to the thousands –if not millions – of Shuga fans rooting for them. I believe this story line could have been exploited more for the entertainment factor. But, I guess that is what you get with a half-hour dramedy that follows the lives of multiple characters. Maybe if the show were an hour long, we would have seen experienced an extremely “Stormy” situation.
Ipeleng Is Bae!
From the very first episode of the show, I knew beyond a doubt that Ipeleng would be my favorite character. Thuso Mbedu, If you are reading this, know that I’ve got a huge crush on you. One of the guesses I made upfront about Shuga Down south included the shameless Rakim wanting to take advantage of Ipeleng. And, yes, he did try. But, man! The maturity with which Ipeleng handled the situation made me so proud of her. Ipeleng is woman crush everyday. She didn’t use the responsibilities that prematurely fell on her shoulders as an excuse to misbehave. Standing up to Rakim and refusing to be taken advantage of. Dauntless, driven and determined, Ipeleng is daughter goals. Throughout the show, she kept reiterating that maturity doesn’t come with age.
I Was Wrong About Reggie
One of the times I goofed with my guesses was with Reggie and Bongi. I had expected they were going to end up being more than just ‘friends.’ Turned out there was no chance of them getting to be more. They were only ever going to remain platonic friends. A result of Reggie’s queerness which at the initial stages of the show, he kept a secret. We find out later on, to mixed reactions from various characters on the show, about Reggie’s queer nature.
This begs the questions. How do you handle the news of your ward confessing to being queer? Do you just pull him into an embrace, pat him on the back and life continues? Trust me, these questions are easier to answer hypothetically. Finding yourself in such a situation is a whole different ballgame. I can make up my mind about graffiti on a whim, but, an issue of difference in sexuality…
Shuga Fearlessly Tackles Relevant And “Sacred” Issues
You might be wondering how Shuga has managed to remain relevant over the span of five seasons. Repeatedly gaining widespread reception and critical acclaim among its target age demographic. It is simply by tackling those issues many others find difficult to tackle. By boldly volunteering to start those difficult conversations others are scared of starting or be a part of. That is how they have been doing it. That has been their recipe for repeated success.
Shuga Down South does well not to deviate from that tradition of intrepidity. Undauntedly touching on the issues of sex and sexuality. Generational differences. Naive and impressionable teenagers falling victims of abuse by pedophiles. Sexual molestations in relationships. Shuga talks about it all.