Kenya brings Lettie Mae into Tara's cell, and things go from bad to awfully worse. "What took you so damn long to show?" Lettie Mae sits and explains that she first called Mabel, of the Fucked Up Church Hat brigade, and prayed with her. "Pray? While I'm locked up waiting? Cut this bullshit. Y'all can pray after you post my bail!" Tara has sort of had it. Lettie Mae explains she's not there to pay Tara's bail, and Tara gets real: "Momma, I'm tired. I hurt all over. I want to go home. Don't play with me." She's not playing. For the first time she's not playing. Even seeing Tara all strung out in the jail cell is killing her, with memories of how many nights she spent here, crazy with liquor, lost to herself and the Lord: "Not many," Tara spits, "Because I bailed you out." And then Lettie Mae says a thing that surprisingly put me on her side for the duration: "Maybe you shouldn't have."
And I mean, there are things that are true and things that are not true. The thing that is true here is that Tara could take away her salvation with one word, "Nancy," and even as her heart is breaking in her fragile chest she refuses to do that, to strip her mother of her sanity again. But the other true thing is that Tara is twenty-five, and needs to get a damn life. Whether or not her mother is drunk on Jesus or the real stuff, whether Lettie Mae is possessed by a demon or her own self-obsession, Tara was right to leave the night she knocked her head in, or any of the nights we didn't see before that. It's obnoxious and annoying that Lettie Mae's doing this now, but it's not wrong. She explains that Tara no longer has a home, and that she's watching her change before her eyes, and it's terrifying. "I am committed to salvation and you're on the road to hell. I would save you if I could, baby, nobody loves you more. But you're a danger to my soul and I can't have you in my house."
Which is harsh, sure, but less harsh than the twenty-five years of physical and emotional abuse leading up to this moment. Does it really fucking matter what Lettie Mae thinks, or what she does, at this point? Who's writing this story? Who's Tara letting drive? That little black-eyed girl didn't die, she went inside. That's her talking now: "I'm the only reason you have a house. After all the times I cleaned you up, all the times you beat me and stole my money, then sent me to school..." She nearly chokes on saying it, this deepest hurt, "...Dirty. In dirty clothes. So people laughed at me, and called me names. My whole life is shit because of you!"