Tuesday, November 27, 2018

REVIEW: 'Black-ish' - Junior Experiences What Dre Has to Deal With at Work in 'Stand Up, Fall Down'

ABC's Black-ish - Episode 5.06 "Stand Up, Fall Down"

Junior hasn't been doing much at home during his gap year, so Dre decides to put him to work as an intern at Stevens & Lido. Junior is astonished to see Dre's co-workers say offensive things and Dre letting it slide. Bow lets Ruby watch Devante after the nanny quits, and Ruby has a hard time following Bow's rules.

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.

"Stand Up, Fall Down" was written by Laura Gutin Peterson and directed by Ryan Case

Dre was never going to have a ton of patience when it came to Junior's gap year. He was going to expect his son to start doing something meaningful with his life. That's what the audience should have been expecting as well. There has to be some active part of his story this season. He has to remain a part of this show for some reason beyond the creative team not wanting to send him to the East Coast for college. There has to be a reason for him to stay. Now, the search for purpose and passion is also very understandable and compelling. Junior wants the opportunity to explore many different things before making that college commitment. He wants the freedom of this year to see what he is capable of doing. Dre just gets frustrated to the point that he has to take him to work with him as a new intern. Now, this is a story the show has already told before. Dre took Zoey to work as an intern. That was a story confined to just one episode though. It proved that she had direction in her life and the skills to actually create something. With Junior, that direction isn't immediately apparent. The audience and Dre have been a part of this work environment for five years now. We understand how the characters in this office will act. It's not always appropriate. In fact, it's mostly awful to see what they are willing to say and do. They are mostly just cutaways to help Dre articulate the larger point of any given story. However, Junior challenges his father because of the racism on display throughout this workplace and needing to step up to change it. Dre believes he is doing so by steering the conversation away from those sensitive and inappropriate comments and views. He welcomes being at the table as a part of the discussion in the hopes of being able to make a difference on the inside. That's a position that Junior has to respect as well. When Dre listens to his son and says something, it leads to consequences that could lead to him being fired. That would be absolutely devastating to the family. As such, it's all about finding the right balance in these situations that can balance activism with the potential consequences. Of course, it's a story that has been told slightly better on this show before. That means there isn't a whole lot new added to the conversation here. Elsewhere, the focus is even more divided with two other stories of note. Jack and Diane's story is inessential because it basically only comprises two or three short scenes. Sure, it tells a complete story about how children will try to get around parental locks to see what is forbidden. However, it's not a plot with a ton of laugh out loud moments. The same is also true of the latest clash between Bow and Ruby. The nanny quits because of Bow's incredibly high standards when it comes to caring for Devonte. Ruby doesn't quite meet those standards either but is able to keep the job because she's family. It's a story that shows that Bow is being a little too overprotective of her youngest child even though she knows it's not a big deal when he falls and hurts his head later on. She has been through all of this before. Sure, she is right to be horrified by some of the things Ruby does while caring for a child. But she's still a competent guardian who will ultimately do what's best too.