Wednesday, October 31, 2018

REVIEW: 'Black-ish' - Dre and Bow Try to Help Jack and Diane with Their Middle-School Problems in 'Scarred for Life'

ABC's Black-ish - Episode 5.03 "Scarred for Life"

The twins opt out of the family Halloween costume for fear it will hurt their social status in middle school. Dre and Bow take it upon themselves to protect them from bullies by putting together the best haunted house and invite the whole seventh grade. Junior starts spending time with a girl from Ruby's choir and Ruby doesn't know how to feel about it.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of ABC's Black-ish.

"Scarred for Life" was written by Yamara Taylor and directed by Linda Mendoza

The family growing up and becoming more independent appears to be a huge theme for the season. Dre and Bow are accepting that the twins are getting older and need to start making more of the decisions in their respective lives. They have the impulse to protect their children no matter what. And yet, the twins are middle schoolers now which invokes a whole new social standing. Dre and Bow wish to do whatever it takes to ensure that their children are popular and not bullied. Their hearts break when they see the twins ridiculed on the playground. That's not cool at all. It's horrible. Dre and Bow seemingly get their revenge by making their haunted house too scary for these children. They are still children after all. Even though they are forming more independence and being mean, it's still a perilous time where any mistake could linger for much longer than it reasonably should. Dre still holds the shame of going to school with a backpack that looked like a purse. Bow is still embarrassed about the helmet hair that she had simply for wearing it the natural way. They want to spare their children of this same shame. But they also have to admit that it's the burden that the twins will have to bear and find a way to get through it. This is a difficult transition in their lives. They were able to make decisions with lasting repercussions earlier this season. They no longer wanted to share a bedroom. They are going out on first dates. They are capable of calling the police on the neighbors. As such, they are no longer babies. It's an awkward transition for Dre and Bow as well. They believe they know how to get through all of this because they have already done so with Zoey and Junior. But it's also a potent reminder for them that the best action they can take is simply be supportive when the twins need it. They can't fix these problems for them. They try with this elaborate haunted house. Instead, it just leads to more dysfunction. They inadvertently lead to the ridicule of another kid in the seventh grade. The kid who was once at the top is now the one being laughed at. That shows just how quickly this world can change. That means there really is no use dwelling on the past because everyone has that embarrassing moment from school that stands out for much longer than it should. That's a part of growing up as well. That's the message this episode ultimately delivers. The same quality is also on display with the subplot of Junior hooking up with someone from Ruby's church choir. He's still learning how to have fulfillment in his life when he doesn't have the structure of school to keep him busy. He is helpful to Ruby in the moment. And yet, she's surprised by the actions he takes after she makes that initial introduction. She doesn't want to be the gossip of her church for the actions her grandson did to their star soloist. However, she also has to realize that he's not a kid who can simply be punished for what he did. Instead, everyone is learning how to cope with this ever-changing dynamic amongst the family. Junior is finding his way forward in life. Right now, it's just a simple hookup. That may lead to something more. Or it may not. The family still has to allow him the freedom to explore what he wants. And finally, those Black Panther costumes were very impressive.