Watching the Patterson women being taken advantage of makes for a difficult hour of television.
After the strained events of Being Mary Jane Season 4 Episode 2, though, I have a lot of hope for Mary Jane Paul. She saw the light that is Lee Truitt for what he really is and her walls fell away before him and his friends.
And despite the harrowing developments between Mary Jane and Rhonda Sales, Mary Jane does her best work when pushed to her limits. She excels on the professional battlefield. Rhonda thinks she did her homework, but she ain't seen nothin' yet.
Mary Jane has been thrust into this new world, and she loves it. But I cannot imagine her staying afloat without Kara by her side.
The last year has been terrible for MJ. She had an accident, was blackmailed, fought for Niecy's rights after a terrible run-in with the police and was ultimately fired. That's only the tip of the iceberg.
Being in these untested New York City waters, she's hoping to reshape her life and become someone different. Successful, loved and family oriented.
The thing is, Mary Jane has always been successful, loved and family oriented. She may not be the anchor on the most successful morning network broadcast in the country, or married with children, but her life and heart are full.
So she's taken this whole New York thing a little too seriously. As much as she's tried to focus herself, she's actually lost touch with herself. Only Kara has been there by her side to veer her back onto course.
Kara has continued to remind MJ it's into Rhonda's seat MJ wants to go. Sure, it's great to be working with your idol, but she's beyond that now.
She also knows herself well enough to trust when a grown man with a good job, caring for his family and showing genuine affection for her comes around. Don't run away!
But, still, it's Mary Jane. She needs to figure these things out in her own time, and it can be unbearable watching her be hurt in the process.
Rhonda Sales is a piece of work. But she's not so good as to be undetectable if you're paying attention.
Kara wanted MJ to dig into the woman's past. The moment Rhonda told MJ she requested MJ cover her acceptance of the award at the gala and get involved with the director of her charity by interviewing him, it was pretty obvious Mary Jane was being manipulated by a master.
With stars in her eyes, Mary Jane was accepted into Rhonda's world. She has been worshipping Rhonda since high school.
Mary Jane was being introduced to the family (how much did the hubby oversell that introduction?) and was loving every minute of it.
Instead of getting dirt, she was giving it.
She forgot where she was and who she was, even if only briefly. Rhonda set up the situation so Mary Jane started to question her interest in Lee and her friendship with Kara.
MJ shared one deep secret after another and almost took to her suite the very man assigned to assemble the dossier on Mary Jane. I can't imagine what could have come of that.
Lee being at the hotel shook some of the dust out of Mary Jane's ears, and reading his portfolio made her realize what a grave mistake she could have made by ruining things with him.
Mary Jane: Look at your cute little nekkid ass.
Lee: Nekkid. Don't you mean naked?
Mary Jane: No. Naked is when you don't have any clothes on. Nekkid is when you don't have any clothes on and you're up to no good.
There's nothing scarier for Mary Jane that someone who really sees her. She's far better at getting nekkid than she is at getting naked.
From his first scene this hour, Lee was practically inside of Mary Jane; not her body, but her soul.
He can sense when she's upset and making a move that's putting another brick in her wall instead of letting him in. Lee is a letting him in kind of guy.
Taking her to the movie for the popcorn she wanted and a debriefing was beautiful.
He's a stand-up guy in more ways than one. His honesty is so refreshing, so when Mary Jane went to club to find him, and he shut down a private conversation, it wasn't a surprise.
Rhonda could have ruined that. She was trying to ruin Mary Jane even as Mary Jane was trying to feel close to that evil woman she admired.
Whether Rhonda saw the loneliness of a rising star new to the city or has just always been evil is hard to ascertain, but given what she did with her own charity and the lengths she went to expose and then cover it up, she's not winning any points from me.
Now that Mary Jane is building up her support group again, she'll have Lee and Kara to bolster her professional confidence. She won't have to fight fire with fire, because nobody wants to climb to the top over a rotting carcass.
And what is Rhonda Sales, really, other than dying inside?
She's in a fake marriage, running a corrupt charity for personal gain. She buys people and steps all over them to better herself. No, she doesn't see in Mary Jane someone who is lonely and easy to manipulate, but someone she wants to be, someone she will never be.
The people you take under your wing are those you can mold into what you want. The people you try to tear down are those you know can ruin what you have and become more than you have ever been.
Mary Jane trumps Rhonda Sales and Rhonda knows if MJ gets her chance in the spotlight, her own star is going to crash and burn.
So welcome to the fold, Jason Talbott. You can become a good guy and get on board with Mary Jane, or you can watch your star crash with Rhonda's, because there may be room for to black women at "Great Day USA," but there's no more room for a manipulating bitch like Rhonda Sales.
I feel better now.
But that still doesn't help Niecy, to whom I say this: It's better your children grow up with their grandparents and other family as role models than a father who is going to talk you out of making the best financial decision of your life.
Every decision Dante makes is terrible. Niecy using the, "but he's a good father to both the kids," excuse is like making excuses for any other criminal on the street. He just robbed her of a hefty portion of her settlement.
He may not have taken the cash and run, but first he sweet talked her out of $13k for a car, then made it into $45k. That's a third of the entire settlement. I give her a week and it will all be gone.
I was proud of her for standing up to him as the hour began, but she fell hard and fast as it progressed. I'd much rather see her stand on her own than need saving by her family, so how will this swing around in her favor?
OK guys. What did you think of "Getting Naked"? Don't be shy! Even if you disagree, let's talk. I want to know what you think.
If you have missed any of the series so far, you can watch Being Mary Jane online to see what all the fuss is about!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.