Thursday, December 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'For Life' - Aaron Continues to Clash with Spencer Which May Complicate Their New Partnership in 'The Necessity Defense'

ABC's For Life - Episode 2.03 "The Necessity Defense"

At the urging of Spencer Richardson, Aaron defends a woman charged with holding hospital workers at gunpoint to secure lifesaving treatment for her son. Aaron and Marie navigate their newly intimate relationship. A young social justice warrior joins Aaron and Roswell's firm.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 ABC's For Life.

"The Necessity Defense" was written by Hank Steinberg and directed by Marisol Adler

Aaron had to embrace certain characteristics in order to survive in prison. That behavior became it's own version of trauma. He is paranoid. He jumps at any sudden noise happening over his shoulder. He cuts himself off from embracing other people because he only sees the potential perils of trusting the wrong person. This is the way he had to survive for nine years. He regrets how much time he spent away from his family. He has been reunited with them. But he knows how much of a struggle it was for them as well. They too don't trust that he is here for the long run. They fear that anything could potentially send him back to prison. The system is trying its best to make that a reality. He is being closely monitored for any potential slip-up. Aaron is right to be paranoid and always put forward his best self. However, the narrative wants to deliver his issue with trust in the same way over and over again. In referring to his partnership with Spencer Richardson, Aaron continually says that he can't be in business with someone he can't trust. That is the statement. That demonstrates his feelings in the moment. And yet, saying that same phrase several times doesn't do a great job in allowing the audience into the emotional process. Aaron is upset whenever Spencer makes his presence known in this particular case. This influential man wants to attack the disparities in the system. It's a just and noble cause. Aaron sees that and respects it. However, he doesn't want that pursuit of systemic change to come at the expense of the individual. He doesn't want one person to spend more time in prison than they deserve. As such, Aaron continues to go his own way. He is a rogue when it comes to practicing the law. He can get up and make a convincing argument about how the systemic issues in the medical system pertaining to race contributed in this case. He knows that he can persuade the judge to rule in his favor. He doubts the jury of his client's peers having the same reaction because they come from a different socioeconomic background. He is very pragmatic in that regard. He practices the law his way. That clashes with the agenda Spencer wants to set. Now, Spencer is a wise and capable businessman who understands the bigger picture. He knows when people are being used. It took him awhile to see the error of his ways regarding Aaron's arrest. He is trying to atone for that. He also has the rational response of not wanting to destroy this dynamic simply over a difference of opinion in this one case. Aaron has the more extreme reaction. He can't ever allow himself to be vulnerable or have someone else control his fate. He had to fight for his exoneration. And yet, he isn't the only one who had to make sacrifices. He wants to believe in the ideal of what his family can be now. But he still has to ration with the reality that Marie did move on. She found happiness with Darius. That was a life she was willing to embrace. And now, she is falling back into this routine with Aaron because it feels so good. They still need to have serious conversations though. Aaron's life was removed from Marie's. She had to pack it up and store it elsewhere in order to focus on what was important. She never stopped believing in Aaron. He simply couldn't be there for his family in the ways they needed. That concern is still real too. Jazz gives so much to portraying her father as perfect and incredible. His story is impressive. But their relationship is so much more than that. She puts on a happy face and presents the idea that everyone is fine in her world. She is scared too though. Everyone is. The future may be bright. But again, all it takes is the perception of a mistake for all of this to come tumbling down. Aaron feels that pressure. Whenever he gets a hint of it, he feels the urge to run away. He has to resist that in order to build something genuine even when so many want him to fail. His methods can alienate and provoke some. He is still doing good in the world. He makes a difference even if the impact is smaller and more personal than others would like. Roswell can see that pain clearly. He recognizes it through his own struggle. At times, the supporting ensemble acts just to uplift Aaron and his character journey. His life has taken the priority for a long time. It would probably benefit the narrative to find more complexity elsewhere now that he enjoys his freedom. And yet, his story is still compelling enough to captivate and ground the series overall.