Thursday, July 8, 2021

REVIEW: 'Generation' - Delilah Takes Ownership Over Her Story as Chester Lashes Out During a Heartbreaking Night in 'V-Day'

HBO Max's Generation - Episode 1.16 "V-Day"

After the party relocates to her house, Riley struggles to put out all of the fires around her. As secrets abound, Cooper pushes Delilah towards honesty, Chester and Nathan's relationship comes full circle, and communication crumbles between Megan and Mark.

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 season finale of HBO Max's Generation.

"V-Day" was written by Zelda Barnz & Daniel Barnz and directed by Daniel Barnz

This season started with a party at Riley's house. It ends with a party there too. These characters have grown so much in the months between these two events. And yet, they are still reckless teenagers whose self-destructive actions hurt others as well. This series set out to portray the new generation navigating high school life alongside explorations of sexual identity and social issues. It has been very blunt in how it has confronted certain dynamics. It offers no easy resolutions either. Things are more complicated than a couple getting together or breaking up. It's all informed by a season of development and drama. It may end on a hopeful note. A place where Chester feels inspired by the face he sees on the rooftop. That's also treated as a mystery. It comes as the finale really features him going hard with reckless abandon as a result of Bo breaking up with him. These last few episodes have done a phenomenal job in establishing this relationship. It's had more depth and true connection than any other relationship in the show. Most of the time, it's simply these teens pining after each other and falling in love with a fantasy of what could be. That is beneficial and healthy for many of them. It can be toxic as well due to the realities never lining up perfectly. That causes heartbreak. And yet, relationships take ongoing and consistent work to maintain. Chester sees no tension through his friendship with Nathan. Bo only sees the dysfunction of Nathan's home life and how it reflects in Chester's desire to be a savior who pronounces everything is fine. It's a burden that some characters don't have to carry. Chester and Bo have the potential to be happy in their own bubble. They don't live like that though. Chester has flourished because of the friendships he has developed over the course of this season. At the start of his sessions with Sam, he noted how he didn't want to feel so alone. He projected so much of that security onto Sam. He was rejected because that relationship was incredibly inappropriate. However, he also formed strong bonds with Riley, Greta, Nathan and the rest of their friends. They pushed him to be the better version of himself. The one who cares about others. And now, Chester is all about blacking out to forget this heartbreaking night. He is still responsible for his ultimate actions. Bo leaves him and Chester essentially forces Nathan to care for him. It's something Nathan is willing to do. He is caught up in his own drama too. That means he doesn't have the ability to process his mother demanding to know why he lied or Riley inadvertently revealing the truth. Instead, he finds himself with a naked Chester showing genuine romantic affection. It's something he has always wanted even though he continually professed being friends was enough. Bo could read more into the situation. The connection is there. It's not the right moment. Of course, Chester also views that as a profound rejection. One that propels him back to the comfort of rooftopping. There, he reaches out to Sam. It's a statement that this moment is different for him. He may only be brought back to life because of the physical connection of someone else on the roof. Now, J is the only person who knows this specific location already. Meanwhile, Sam knows this is an activity Chester partakes in. As such, it would be more random if Bo, Nathan or even Riley show up for him. Whomever it is though will basically serve as a conduit for Chester's well-being because they serve in that role of providing comfort when he needs it. That presence is significant. It's not all that will be required though.

Similarly, it's not good enough for all the truth and betrayals to be released onto the world. It demands ownership of those actions and accountability for the consequences. These friends hurt each other. These big pronouncements have the potential to offer lingering repercussions. Everything can change so quickly as well. That's the rapid pace of life for them. They have extreme reactions. That also allows them to move on from certainly things easily too. It doesn't change who they are or the conflicts they have with others. Some dynamics are too well-defined at this moment for one apology or admission of the truth to change things. Megan is terrified for her children and the poor decisions they are making. She wants to protect them. She doesn't respect their autonomy though. She pushes Mark away as a result too. He wants to know that his kids are good people. He doesn't need to know everything. He wants a more open and honest relationship with everyone in this family. Megan may be causing the most tension. However, everyone leaves this night feeling defeated and isolated. That's seemingly because their needs aren't given the priority and focus they believe they deserve. It doesn't have to be about them all the time. They have to stay mindful and present though. In that reality, it's difficult for them to ever move out of these established patterns. Delilah tells Naomi that Cooper doesn't want to date her as a way to attack her. She feels betrayed by Naomi telling Cooper about the baby and then not sharing that with her. As such, a new narrative is placed on Delilah that she doesn't want. It makes her feel out of control. She can take ownership of her story. People's perceptions of her in association with that may be racist. She has friends willing to help her every step of the way though. That was apparent a long time ago. Cooper can be added to that group as well. He is so caring and loving. He gives her strength. Delilah apologizing to Arianna and backing that up with actions in support of their friendship is also the necessary development to suggest improvement for everyone involved. It's not always as simple as that. Riley and Greta have always wanted to be together. It has been frustrating to see the entire season devoted to their intimate attraction without speaking more fully on it. It has also taken time for Greta to express how she loves so fiercely but gains no arousal from sexual contact. Meanwhile, hook ups have always been a crutch for Riley to avoid dealing with the devastating emotions of her life. As such, this coupling still doesn't have everything figured out. They can't end the season in celebration of being together. Riley still hasn't told Greta about hooking up with Luz after what happened between them at the motel. That means not all of the secrets are revealed in this finale despite that inherent promise. Again, that sets up intrigue and drama for the stories to come. These teenagers desperately want their lives figured out and to be happy already. They feel the drive to achieve that fantasy. They frequently crash into the realities of life. Love is complicated. It's still worth fighting for. It also demands respect for how everyone expresses this concept and navigates the world as a result. It's worth pursuing and demanding. It's important to acknowledge and respect all these different expressions of love. It's tough for some. It's confusing for others. It's still powerful for the audience who craves these stories even when they are complicated and messy.