Thursday, December 10, 2020

REVIEW: 'For Life' - Aaron Finally Lets Out His Frustrated Emotions Towards Marie and Darius in 'Time to Move Forward'

ABC's For Life - Episode 2.04 "Time to Move Forward"

As a favor to Jamal, Aaron defends a man in a witness tampering case, while tensions rise at home in the run-up to the Wallace family Thanksgiving.

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.

"Time to Move Forward" was written by Kirk A. Moore and directed by Russell Fine

Aaron had certain expectations of what his life would be like after being released from prison. It was always the ideal that he was working towards. The reality is much more complicated. He wants to be a family with Marie and Jazz again. He wants to return to that routine without really talking about everything that happened since he was imprisoned. He wants to accept his mother into his life once more without needing her to apologize for never visiting him in prison. He is essentially bottling up all of his emotions. He believes that things can be perfect once more if he simply learns to embrace what always kept him going on the inside. In doing so though, he is only ensuring that he explodes once these issues finally break free. He still feels betrayed by Marie. He is angry with her for not waiting for him. He is angry with Darius for breaking the bond they had since they were kids. He holds up his friendship with Jamal as the new ideal of brotherhood. Darius used to be that person for him. And now, that illusion has been shattered. Aaron makes all these arguments for how he would act if the roles were reversed. That isn't the situation though. He blames others for the issues that plague his life. He believes that moving out of the house and sleeping at his new office is the only viable option moving forward. He is essentially breaking this family apart. Marie wants to work on these issues. She feels torn about Aaron because he refuses to be vulnerable with her. She acknowledges that it will take time for him to open up once more. She just has to be patient with him. And yet, he explodes at her too. It means she is once again left behind having to deal with a lot. She isn't given the emotional burden of having to tell Jazz what has happened. However, Aaron certainly makes her feel as if this is all a direct consequence of her not being faithful to him. Aaron carries these personal burdens. He has to get Jamal out of prison as well. He has to be loyal to his best friend. It means taking on a case with no questions asked simply because it can help Jamal survive on the inside. Roswell is at the office ensuring the team has the necessary testimony to potentially help exonerate Jamal as well. Aaron has allies in his fight. He was never totally on his own either. He feels betrayed because his family was allowed to move forward without him. He has returned to them as a changed man though. He has new purpose and direction. And now, he struggles whenever he has to prove himself to someone else. He feels belittled by a system that wants to disregard his own accomplishes. His story is incredible. He deserves all the praise that he has gotten. But people in his orbit feel the need to walk on eggshells around him. Meanwhile, the criminal justice system mostly wants to knock him down to prove that he isn't all that special. He can't do much to change the way that things have always worked. That makes the system a daunting enemy. So many are energized in trying to take it on or even reform it. That is a necessary and vital battle. But this is a personal story for Aaron. He helps his client here. That is a success for him. It's about him fighting for a client without having an ulterior motive that would help himself. That has the potential to make him feel good. But it also releases these pent-up emotions. It means that honest conversation are allowed to occur. That too is necessary for him to adapt back to the world after nine years in prison. It just has devastating consequences for the family because they all had expectations of life with him again. They too wanted to believe in this idea. It was easier to do that than admit that things are incredibly different now. And yet, it takes working together to actually overcome these psychological hurdles. It's not a burden that Aaron can defeat on his own. That's where he is right now though. He is obsessed with Jamal's case and not much else. That makes him personally destructive. But that's what creates a flawed hero at the center of the series. It goes through the highs and lows of this emotional journey for the family. Aaron lashes out. That energy helps him confront the injustices of the system. It also carries personal consequences for him because he doesn't know how to trust other people. Roswell is a good sounding board for support. It's all about Aaron accepting his personal fate and finding happiness with what he has. He built up certain relationships. That explains why he feels so betrayed and defeated. That trust can be earned back. It simply takes time and a willingness to do so. It can't be solved if he shuts himself off completely. That seems like a viable option for him right now though.