Friday, October 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'Raising Dion' - Nicole Is Surprised by Dion's Sudden New Powers in 'ISSUE #101: How Do You Raise a Superhero?'

Netflix's Raising Dion - Episode 1.01 "ISSUE #101: How Do You Raise a Superhero?"

Widowed mom Nicole struggles to raise her only child Dion, not knowing the second-grader possesses powers beyond anyone's comprehension.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Netflix's Raising Dion.

"ISSUE #101: How Do You Raise a Superhero?" was written by Carol Barbee and directed by Seith Mann

There are some supernatural aspects at play in this world. But the show wants the audience to embrace the same mindset as Nicole. She doesn't know how to make sense of any of it. It's mystifying to her. Her attempts to explain it only make her sound crazy as well. It's terrifying because she is trying to do right by her son Dion after her husband Mark's sudden and mysterious death. She wants to protect Dion from whatever is out there in the world. But she is also struggling as a single parent. She is more annoyed by Pat's presence than appreciative of the relief Dion's godfather provides for her. And yet, she also recognizes that Pat and Dion speak the same language. They are both really into comic books. Pat was also very close with Mark. They were best friends from a young age. He wasn't there when Mark died though. He too feels he has to tentatively walk around that specific subject. This premiere mostly highlights Mark as a storm chaser who actually wanted to be struck by lightning. He thought he had created a device that would allow him to play with it. That wasn't a scary prospect for Nicole though. She simply had to learn how to trust this man knowing that he worked the science and thought through everything that could potentially go wrong. She wants to remember him as a hero. That was the story given to her. During a hurricane in New Orleans, he risked his life to save another. He was heroic. He just died doing so. His body was never recovered. That may give some keen viewers the hope that he is still alive. Of course, that seems to dissipate quickly with the closing twist of this premiere. Mark presents as this mythic figure who could provide answers as to what's going on in this world. He just isn't in the position to be very forthcoming with his family. Nicole needs that clarity. She is overwhelmed. She is raising Dion all by herself. She loses her job here because she's late. She knew this was possible but it's absolutely devastating when it actually occurs. Her son doesn't seem to be listening to her either. But he's also acting like a kid pushing the boundaries of what he can do in this world. At times, it is infuriating. Nicole has to leave a mess on the floor for an entire day before she can get home to clean. She is terrified when he jumps into the lake and decides to fool her by refusing to come up for air for a moment. But it's also relatable that he is trying to make friends by pretending to be something he's not. He has a friend in Esperanza. He doesn't think that's good enough though. Nicole understands that searching for such connections is a lifelong journey. She has friends and family who offer her so much support. It still feels like everything is mounting for her. She still gets emotional thinking about Mark. She does let Dion in a little bit. It's meaningful for him to see the message Mark left behind when he hit the road chasing storms. It is charming. But it's still mystifying when Dion can make objects move with his mind. He has no real control over it either. That can be very terrifying. It means that Nicole can get hurt when he is simply trying to impress her and make her feel better. That too is a natural and relatable impulse. It can just be dangerous as well. Of course, this premiere highlights the simplicities of life. It's Nicole and Dion taking on the world together. It's not until the very end when ghosts surround them at the lake house that the narrative states that their lives are physically in danger. That will likely accelerate the plot into motion moving forward. Nicole has always had an instinct to protect Dion no matter what. But now, she must do so knowing that he has superpowers. It's not clear why he is special. He too can be a hero like his father. Right now though, he is just a young boy. This needs to be kept a secret as the world tries to figure itself out. Nicole needs that clarity right now. It's just unclear whether she'll get any of those answers anytime soon.