Thursday, February 16, 2023

REVIEW: 'The Upshaws' - Regina Scrambles to Find a Way to Pay Bennie's Bail After His Arrest in 'The Unforgiven'

Netflix's The Upshaws - Episode 2.09 "The Unforgiven"

With Bennie and Lucretia in a pinch, a jobless Regina must drum up cash fast - and try to hide the situation from the kids.

"The Unforgiven" was written by Regina Y. Hicks and directed by Lynda Tarryk

Regina doesn't have the luxury to make an impulsive decision. She quit her job after being belittled and mistreated for far too many years. The company never appreciated her despite how excellent her work has always been. She hit her breaking point. It's natural. She could only endure so much. She was forced to suffer through a lot. And now, she's faced with the prospect of Bennie remaining in jail because she doesn't have proof of employment. That's not how the situation ultimately turns out. In fact, Bennie and Lucretia's arrest is dealt with largely in this episode. It's enough to showcase how irresponsible Bennie still is without putting his family through the same dysfunction he always does. It was a new way to craft a story. He made a reckless decision in accepting stolen car points. He just wanted to see the business as doing well for once. He wanted that economic prosperity for his family. He believed he could fight to support all of them in the ways that they deserve. That fate doesn't await him. He hustled to achieve this goal and got caught. Fortunately, it won't result in any additional criminal uncertainty. Lucretia discovers the evidence that proves their innocence. She bails herself out of jail while leaving Bennie locked up. It's only for a day. She doesn't view Bennie as her problem to solve. Actually, she's done dealing with his mistakes. She was arrested for the way he managed the business she owns. She can't tolerate that. That too reveals how this ongoing tension with Regina isn't going to end anytime soon. They're family. They will always support each other. However, Lucretia has been too giving of herself for far too long. Regina pushed her away. Lucretia strived to find her own happiness. She yearns for a life that is completely her own. Right now, it's simply too tangled up in Bennie and Regina's drama. She could tolerate that for awhile. She even shames Bernard for not wanting to help his father out of this situation. That connection means something. Bennie has been trying to handle things better. His son should appreciate that. Bennie will never be perfect. Bernard should stop trying to hold him to that impossible standard. His family needs his help. He can graciously provide it. Moreover, Bennie learns his lesson simply from the time he spends behind bars. That may not be enough to dissuade him from other opportunities that are absolutely too good to be too true. However, he knows he will always have the support of his family. That matters.

All of this comes at a time when Bennie and Regina don't have any economic certainty. She can't just walk back into her job acting as if she didn't quit. When she made that declaration, people listened to her. Her colleagues aren't relieved to have her back. Not enough time has passed for them to see how much she actually did for the company. Instead, she is still essentially treated as replaceable. This job provided a certain amount of security for the family. Regina wanted to maintain her dignity. She wants to do a better job providing for her kids. It's exciting to come into money. It means more opportunities. Bennie understands that. He knows he can't stand in Kelvin's way when he has the potential for a better life in a new neighborhood and school. He still wants to see him. If they both commit to that, then it will happen. They will find a way. It's still going to be difficult. Bennie is unreliable. He can't be trusted. People's reactions to him are always right. He has just enough charm to get away with some behavior. He's still created a pattern that leaves so many skeptical of his motives. He could be stepping up on his family's behalf. Or he could be solely interested in himself and whatever brings him pleasure. It's a smart business decision for Lucretia to fire him. She has no apparent replacement. She doesn't want to run the shop. She knows the other employees can't step up and run things better. And yet, this business provides a lifeline. Lucretia needs to remain strong and firm. She can't allow others to push her limits. She is more than willing to share that wisdom and perspective with Bernard. She helped raise him after all. He has become a good young man because of her parenting. Regina receives some of that praise as well. And yet, these problems still persist. The family finds themselves in the same situation over and over again. It's always rooted around money. They have so much to lose because they love their children. They want to set a good example. It's hard. Regina can't keep the truth from Aaliyah. She overhears a conversation about Bennie being in jail. She wants to help. That shouldn't be her responsibility. It's still what she believes she needs to do to support the family. She too would love to be selfish. She believes an apology gift should be enough to mend her friendship with Savannah. It isn't. She still struggles to understand. She mimics her father's behavior essentially. That's troubling given the many mistakes he has made. But she also showcases a willingness to do better. That's what this family ultimately wants. They want their kids to have more opportunities than they ever had. It's simply a struggle to provide that given the many ways life seems willing to knock them down. This is just the latest hurdle they've had to overcome. And they aren't completely out of the woods just yet either.