Friday, February 28, 2020

For Life 1x02 Review: "Promises" (Debts) [Contributor: Thomas]

Original Airdate: February 18, 2020

Life is complicated.

I really enjoy For Life and all the webs it weaves. There are connections between both minor and major characters that are intriguing moving forward. In the pilot, we find out that the warden, Safiya Masry is married to Anaya Harris. Harris is running for district attorney against current D.A. Maskins who has goals of becoming attorney general eventually. Under Masry, many changes have occurred at Bellmore Correctional Facilities. Masry wants to make sweeping changes; she makes the effort to build relationships with inmates, being on the grounds and eating the same food as the imprisoned population. The relationship these women have could be seen as a conflict of interest because of the close relationship Masry and Aaron Wallace share as warden and prison rep.

The reason being that Harris’s opposition, D.A. Maskins, is one the key people who unjustly jailed Aaron Wallace. Glen Maskins is fascinating to me. In the first episode, it feels he’s going to be a mustache-twirling villain for the show, but For Life is more nuanced than that. Instead, he worked with Henry Rosewell, the same lawyer who is currently helping Aaron get free. Maskins and Henry Roswell, as former lawyers worked over others to get ahead. Their self-preservation was the main objective. This mentality left those in their way decimated... including Aaron.

What I love about this show is we see politics but from both sides. As this episode title conveys, promises are extremely important under this system. The politics of the prison and the struggles as prison rep navigating his Black community but also fulfilling a promise for the Aryan prisoners. On the inside they’re not called promises, they call them "debts" which shows the weight of their actions. Aaron reminds the warden and in turn the audience what’s at stake for every move he makes while he is in that prison.

It’s great seeing Bobby D, better known as Wee-bay in HBO’s The Wire, and the fresh face playing Aaron’s daughter. She brings a sense of realness and determination I love to see. It’s revealed at the end of the pilot she’s pregnant and we now see Ronnie, the baby’s father, who is very invested in her well-being. I think one of my favorite parts of this episode was seeing his conversation with Aaron. Though scared, he’s not intimated and shows how much he cares when he explains how he doesn’t want her to go up to visit Aaron every week. It’s a five-hour round trip and that’s not good for her or the baby. It was a shocking scene because he raised great points and Aaron, in turn, respected his position.

I’m really excited to see where this show takes the audience this season.

This review was originally posted at ELVNTWNTYSVN.


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