Wednesday, December 16, 2020

REVIEW: 'For Life' - Aaron and Roswell Find a Case to Go After Police Corruption in a New Way in 'Collars for Dollars'

ABC's For Life - Episode 2.05 "Collars for Dollars"

After Aaron and Roswell agree to help a young woman facing deportation for a minor crime, they realize her case could be a key to exposing a broad pattern of police corruption. Meanwhile, Jasmine begins to spend more time at Ronnie's house and Marie grapples with the first signs of an empty nest.

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.

"Collars for Dollars" was written by Terri Kopp and directed by Jono Oliver

Aaron questions how committed the people around him are to fighting. He has absolute clarity with his new client. She is willing to fight the system. She will even risk deportation in order to do so. With everyone else in his life, he questions their commitment. He does so mostly as a way to deflect from his own issues. He left Marie and Jazz. He is always worried about them. But he chose not to fight. It was easier for him to walk away instead of living in the memories of what his family once had without him. He didn't want to put in the work to see if this family was still capable of being together. Jazz clearly wants that. She yearns for the simplicity that comes from Ronnie's home life. She enjoys spending time there. It isn't complicated. With her parents, she never knows where they stand. She fells betrayed by them because their actions don't line up with the promises they have always made to her. That is devastating too. She wants to prioritize herself and her son. Her motives are questioned as well. They aren't done entirely out of spite. She expected more. To be fair, everyone did. They had these fantasies about what life would be like after Aaron was exonerated. It just proved to be more difficult than any of them expected. And yet, it takes true determination and grit to stay and figure those things out. Aaron wasn't willing to have those vulnerable conversations. He had closed off that part of his life. He didn't want to challenge the choices Marie made when he was still in prison. Now, he can only analyze those and fear that her love is no longer genuine. It's just a performance to reclaim what they once had together. And yes, those fears are real too. They extend kindness to one another by the close of this episode. They are both essentially asked to check their expectations. Others believe that Aaron isn't fighting hard for his family after saying for years that's all that he was working towards in prison. Meanwhile, Marie is told that the reality of this life for Aaron is much different than the fantasy. They feel this constant pressure. Most of the blame should fall squarely on Aaron because Marie has been incredibly patient with him. She has had to navigate so much. She has to care for the emotional well-being of so many people. She deserves to prioritize herself as well. It's just difficult to do so. The family can form happy memories together by celebrating the holidays. That's an uplifting note that suggests happiness is still within their grasps. Again, it will take hard work to ensure that these bonds are strengthened moving forward. They can't skip over things either. Aaron has to deal with the consequences of breaking his probation. He was out late in order to help Georgia. It was an act of kindness as well. It could have ruined everything he was trying to build too. He has to carefully navigate all of this. It's reasonable that more protections will now be placed on him. It's true he has been scrutinized more than the average citizen in this program. People are waiting for him to fail. They make a big display of it as well. And yet, Aaron's fight has still motivated others to take action. Roswell is paralyzed when he steps into court as a practicing lawyer again. This is his first time arguing a case while sober. It's time for him to atone for the mistakes of his past. That's difficult for him to do as well. He was in a position of power and authority. He didn't make the world better. He simply used his influence for his personal benefit until he got caught. Aaron telling him to dig deep may not be the rousing pep talk he needs in order to overcome these issues either. Their struggles are incredibly different. What works as motivation for one may not have the same desired effect for the other. Roswell fails to see how complicated Aaron's family life is. His partner has simply made a choice and is now agonizing over having made it. Roswell's sobriety is important though. He compromises the anonymity of the program in order to gain access to more police files as evidence of a systemic pattern of abuse across the department. It's a huge attack on the systems that have always maintained control in the city. He emerges victoriously even though he is bluffing during it. It's a risk. He prevails. That too is validating. It proves that he is just as deserving of redemption as Aaron. Their lives have these parallel journeys to them. They inspire each other. They help the other see things clearly. They are still taking on these daunting systems though. They won't always succeed. They will clash. Their lives still feel out of control. They are working to prove themselves to the world as noble and honorable people. It's simply a struggle because the past defines so much for them that they can't forget just yet.