Self Made episode 3 recap – what happened in “The Walker Girl”

By Daniel Hart
Published: March 20, 2020 (Last updated: February 7, 2024)
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Netflix Series Self Made episode 3 - The Walker Girl


There are highs and lows in Self Made episode 3, “The Walker Girl” as Sarah has a lot of personal and professional problems to deal with.

This recap of Netflix Series Self Made episode 3, “The Walker Girl” contains significant spoilers.

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker is a Netflix limited series based on the true story of African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker who built a haircare empire that made her America’s first female self-made millionaire.

It’s difficult to understand if its a good or a bad chapter for Sarah in Self Made episode 3, “The Walker Girl”. It opens up with Sarah’s factory as lively as ever. There are hundreds of saleswomen and factory workers in Indianapolis. Sarah makes a speech about making it better for all coloured women. She plans to open more salons to be operated by her top saleswomen.

And then it kind of goes downhill from here. CJ introduces Sarah to a new advertising idea — “The most beautiful coloured girl in the world: The Walker Girl”. Sarah debates this in her head and it is clear she disagrees with the message but tells CJ it’s a good campaign. Sarah tells CJ they are going to New York regarding business expansion. CJ questions how big do they want this business to be, clearly frustrated by the success and all the work. Sarah says she will be bringing Lelia instead to New York and CJ agrees — CJ wants her to take his advertising idea.

CJ is clearly still struggling with the fact that he’s a man but allowing his wife to run a business in divided times.

It’s 1913 and Lelia and Sarah head to Harlem, New York to attend a business meeting at a fancy restaurant. They want their products in the 10 Cents and Less stores. Sarah’s reputation gets her the deal. Afterwards, Sarah tells CJ she didn’t show the advertising idea of the “coloured beautiful woman”. CJ gets mad and says she only cares about money.

Back in Indianapolis, Dora tells the saleswomen how to sell more and that they don’t have to work for Sarah.  Addie enters the room. When Sarah returns, Ransom tells her Addie has poached her best saleswomen. Ransom also reveals a banker has shares in her business.

Everything for Sarah is falling apart.

But it gets worse in Episode 3, The Walker Girl”. Sarah heads over to Dora’s house to take her back off Addie. CJ was having sex with Dora as Sarah knocks on the door. He tries to hide but Sarah sees CJ all ruffled up with no shoes on. Sarah knows what has happened and walks out. CJ runs after her and they have an intense argument. Sarah asks CJ if Dora makes him feel like a man. CJ says he is a man and Dora knows it and that’s why he slept with her. Sarah locks CJ out of the house.

This scene was indicative of how frustrated CJ felt — his displaced and failed masculinity got the better of him.

Investors arrive at the factory so Sarah does her best to sell her business to get more money. A drunk CJ arrives and embarrasses Sarah and the investors leave without a deal. Lelia finds out from Pops that John and Addie have been sneaking around. Lelia finds out John has been spying on her mother’s business and is very excited to divorce him, dancing on the street as John gets excited. This was a typical Tifanny Haddish scene — funny and highly infectious.

Esther tells Lelia that they need to move to Harlem now — they can finally be together.

The next morning Lelia checks on her mother who seems to be in a low mood. Lelia tells Sarah she wants to move to New York and open a salon in Harlem. When they head to church, Addie shows up with her new sales team.

This sends Sarah’s head spinning and she walks off. Sarah tells Lelia that they like Addie better and people like her and Lelia need to work harder in life and become rich. Sarah tells Lelia she is sending her to Harlem so she can open a salon and set the place on fire. Unfortunately, Esther does not show up to the station before setting off to New York.

Self Made episode 3, “The Walker Girl” closes with CJ telling Sarah that he has missed her terribly. Sarah tells CJ that he was meant to be different and on her side — “You are just like every other man. You want a Walker girl. That ain’t me”. CJ explains that he bought her a new ring, but Sarah closes the ring case — “Never run back to what broke you // pack your s*** and go”.

Additional Notes

  • Lelia and Esther continue to flirt with each other. Lelia tells her that New York feels like home.
  • Addie’s business is struggling and she’s thinking about opening a beauty school.
  • CJ and Dora are still having an affair.
  • CJ tells his pops that Sarah is way too busy for marriage and he needs a little fun. Pops say true love is hard to find and regret hurts worse.

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