Thursday, May 27, 2021

REVIEW: 'Station 19' - A Destructive Fire Forces Vic and Her Parents to Have an Emotional Conversation About Race in 'Say Her Name'

ABC's Station 19 - Episode 4.15 "Say Her Name"

When Vic helps her parents through a devastating loss, they have a long overdue conversation about the anguish of being Black in America.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 Station 19.

"Say Her Name" was written by Zaiver Sinnett & Rochelle Zimmerman and directed by Oliver Bokelberg

It's incredibly frustrating when people use bad faith arguments to prevent others from acknowledging heinous abuses and the need for true accountability. This season has focused on the activism of its first responders. They serve in these jobs no matter whether they are on shift or not. It's important to them that they save whomever they can. They fight to protect lives. They partner with police. And yet, they see this separate group as being destructive to their overall goals because of the rampant discrimination and corruption. It's sick. Moreover, a reporter just wants to cover the property damage associated with the protests for racial justice. That shouldn't be the priority of this moment. So many people become fixated on it though. It provides them with an outlet to avoid talking about the true issues at hand. Instead, they have something to be outraged over. It basically states they care more about property than human lives. It's not right. It's still incredibly prevalent. Station 19 is told that it can't operate a medical tent during a scheduled protest. That doesn't deter them though. Instead, they simply act as paramedics in their civilian lives. Their training doesn't turn off when they are no longer on call. They respond to people in need no matter what. Right now, the world needs that determination and drive. So much agony and trauma is happening. It seems like some new story of police killing an unarmed person of color appears every day. The names of the innocent victims can never be forgotten. Power comes from saying their names. It keeps their stories in the headlines. The sheer weight of it is profound too. Vic and her family can each rattle off a list of people who have been killed by the police. Each of their stories grabbed national attention at some point. Some were more energized than others. Not a lot of justice or accountability has been found. As such, saying those names is all that people have to honor the lives taken too soon. The murder of George Floyd sparked a movement. People are still being killed by the police. The same rationale is being used to try to help the officers get away with it. Society is now asking itself to reimagine how we think about public safety. The conversation can be exhausting. It's crucial to have these discussions though. We can't just shy away from them because they are difficult to talk about. Vic would love to have the freedom of not dealing with the weight of all of this for one day. She doesn't think that's too much to ask. And then, the station responds to a fire at her parents' restaurant. The entire building is going up in flames. It's personal to Vic. It's more personal to her parents. She has always believed that they loved the restaurant more than her. They have devoted their lives to this business. As such, they never had the time to process all of these complex emotions with their daughter. Those feelings still exist though. They reside within each of them. It's personal to them. They try their best to cope. Vic needs an open dialogue. Her parents are reluctant to give her that. They still care though. They still love her. They are proud of her accomplishments. They acknowledge the rage simmering within all of them. None of this is right. No justice seems to be present in the world. But the loss of the restaurant isn't the most traumatic thing going on. No one is killed as a result of this fire. Businesses can be brought back. A life must be cherished because death cannot be reversed. When people are mistreated, they deserve to speak out and demand better. They shouldn't also have to contend with people who want to minimize their pain and experiences. All too frequently that is what communities of color must face. Jack is forcefully trying to prove just how aware he is about the systemic issues of racism in this country. It's performative activism. He is doing this research to show off. It's also masking his own internal struggle of feeling safe and secure. He is coopting a movement to feel chaos when he can never relate to what it means to be Black in this country. He is a good ally. People appreciate him speaking up. It's based around his own issues. Vic has those as well. And yet, hers can be enhanced and addressed based on the collective grief the world is experiencing. It's personal while being universal. Jack is in contrast to that because it's mostly a personal burden to carry. He still must face it. It's just a different process altogether.