Friday, October 4, 2019

REVIEW: 'Raising Dion' - Nicole Worries About the Sporadic Nature of Dion's Abilities in 'ISSUE #102: Fortress of Solitude'

Netflix's Raising Dion - Episode 1.02 "ISSUE #102: Fortress of Solitude"

Dion's powers continue to perplex an increasingly on-edge Nicole. Pat volunteers to investigate a possible lead into Mark's past.

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 next episode of Netflix's Raising Dion.

"ISSUE #102: Fortress of Solitude" was written by Joshua Sternin & Jennifer Ventimilia and directed by Seith Mann

In superhero stories, it can be frustrating when the narrative chooses to focus on the normal and mundane. It feels like a deflection of what is capable in this specific genre. With this show though, it fundamentally wants to be a family story. It highlights how this crazy thing appears to be happening with Dion that is slowly consuming Nicole's life. There is the aspiration for normalcy because that provides a certain level of comfort in the world. To people who don't know better, it seems like Nicole is paranoid for no reason. Her sister, Kat, is growing increasingly concerned. She believes that Nicole is self-sabotaging her own life because she is holding on too tight to Dion in the wake of Mark's death. The audience knows that's not true at all. Nicole wants to do the sensible thing of testing Dion's powers to see what exactly he can do and if he can control it. She knows it's dangerous for him to be out in the world with no understanding of how any of this works. But Dion fundamentally wants to be a child. It's normal for children to have active imaginations. When Dion dresses up as a superhero and looks out his window for any potential crimes, it's not simply scenarios he can act out in his own head. Instead, they can immediately throw him into dangerous situations. Him chasing a squirrel by the lake is such harmless fun. But it leads to the revelation that he can teleport as well. That is yet another superpower he possesses. He didn't know that before that moment. Once it happens though, he is absolutely terrified. Nothing continues to go wrong while he's having an asthma attack. His emotions seem closely connected to his display of powers. Overwhelmingly though, the show articulates how Dion wants to explore the world like any child his age but faces much more severe consequences because of the powers he has just developed. It makes Nicole feel like she has to be constantly monitoring him at all times. She knows that this isn't something he should be caught doing in public. More people would suddenly have questions about him. She wants to be in charge of what happens to him. That is her responsibility in this world. It just presents as a regression of sorts because she has to baby proof her new apartment. She needs to take precautions knowing that objects could be flying around at any moment in time. This family is still forming new friendships though. Nicole meets her new neighbors while Esperanza brings Dion the homework he missed while at the lake. Dion may be hoping that his father is still alive and actively searching for the family. But Nicole only has more questions about what happened to him during that tragic event. It presents as a mystery that needs to be solved. A mystery that is incredibly commonplace. She allows her mind to wander to the worst possible situation about Mark having Charlotte's phone number. Pat isn't seen as someone trustworthy enough to do the investigation either. He latches onto it though. He too wants answers because he wants to better understand his best friend. But he too is mystified by Dion's sudden display of powers. They have long talked about Dion being special and Pat being his Yoda. But it all takes a new context when it's confirmed that Dion actually does have these powers. He's in the middle of the street and teleports himself into his mother's arms when he's about to be hit by a car. That is life-saving but it fundamentally changes things as well. Dion should still be allowed to be innocent in the world. But now, he has to be aware of the dangers that could take place because there are clearly forces at work that should concern everyone. The show isn't quick to articulate some kind of larger mystery or mythology. It's focus remains on this specific family. That is perfectly fine. It should just be interesting to see how long that remains true in a genre that demands urgency and tension at every possible turn.