****** SPOILER ALERT ****** In each part of this blog series, I’m going to review/recap each individual episode, then give my thoughts about what I’ve seen. If you have not seen the series and want to watch it, don’t read this post until after you’ve seen Part 3.
For this recap, I’m going to separate it by character. This will just make it easier to read than if I had went back and forth between them.
When Antron finally came home, he was surprised to see his father, Bobby, there. He remembered that Bobby had abandoned them and they didn’t have a relationship anymore. His mother, Linda, told him that Bobby had come back and was in very bad shape. She felt that she needed to help him and let him back in the house. When Bobby tried to talk to him, he ignored him, still hurt by his actions in the past. He found a job sweeping floors at a movie theater and a female coworker, Adele, flirted with him. He became uncomfortable when a man claims to recognize him for the neighborhood and lied about where he was from. Antron and Adele began dating, but she soon grew tired of their inexpensive dates. When he told her that he had to save money for more important things, like school, she got angry and called him a rapist. He came home and saw Bobby struggling to stand. He caught him just before he fell and gently laid him back on the bed before breaking down into tears. Later, Yusef told Kevin that Bobby had passed away and he had moved to Baltimore and changed his last name.
Raymond’s transition to adulthood is shown through phone calls between him and his father. He finally got out and was shown walking down the street, taking in the sight of his neighborhood and the changed city. He and his father embraced, but he got a cold response from his step-mother, Elena, who didn’t really want to talk to him at all. When he went to his old room, it was full of toys and different things for his younger brother. Understandably, Raymond was lost. He hadn’t been home in years and had a difficult time adjusting. Raymond was told that he had to check in every 90 days for the rest of his life. His parole officer told him how to apply for jobs with his criminal record. Elena began yelling at Raymond and called him a rapist, causing him to become very emotional
Raymond reached out to a woman who had contacted him while he was locked up. She had believed he was innocent since the beginning, but he hadn’t felt confident in maintaining a relationship with her in his situation. He struggled to have an adult relationship with no privacy in his own home and they argue. Later, they were happy and she wanted to move in together. Raymond agreed, hoping to get extra shifts at work. He picked up his check and found out that he’d been fired. This was the last straw for him and he began selling crack to take care of himself. Raymond Sr. did not agree with his decision and told him that he would have to leave. As Raymond moved out, Elena said that she would tell his parole officer that he had been selling drugs. He was arrested that same night.
Kevin’s family visited him and he told them that he and Yusef didn’t talk very much anymore. His sister, Angie, told him about meeting a handsome man, but she turned him down when he said asked her out. She felt guilty about enjoying her life when she blamed herself for Kevin being in prison. She eventually went on a couple of dates with the man and told her brother to find something he’s looking forward to so that he would have the strength to make it through. Fast forward, Kevin was released and he can’t believe how much things changed while he was gone. Angie dropped him off to register as a sex offender.
While in juvie, Yusef spent time with other Muslim young men and learned about his faith. He asked his mother how things were going at home and she told him it was okay. Sharon had a hard time finding work because people refused to hire her when they found out about Yusef. She was forced to go on public assistance to take care of her home. Yusef came home, but looked very uncomfortable at his welcome party. He went to the barbershop and discovered that his desire to teach was not possible with his criminal record.
Kevin and Yusef saw each other for the first time since their release at a meeting. Yusef had a job working with computers and told Kevin that he had lied to get, but he’d been learning on the job. He also told him that he’d met a woman and gotten engaged. At the meeting, they were asked to admit their guilt for the crimes they were charged with. Yusef had been kicked out of other groups for not cooperating and once again refused to admit guilt for crimes he’d never committed. Kevin agreed and they both left the meeting, smiling.
He didn’t have a big presence in this episode. Yusef, Kevin, and Korey’s mothers’ talked outside while passing fliers. Kevin’s mother commented on how Korey was sent straight to an adult facility. Korey’s mother, Delores, told them that he was at Auburn Maximum Security, which holds some of the most dangerous criminals. While Yusef and Kevin were talking after the meeting, the said that they wanted to find him.
“When they say boys will be boys, they’re not talking about us. They’re talking about other boys from other places. When did we get to be boys?”
This quote really stuck with me at the end. They weren’t treated as boys from the beginning and were thrown into an adult world. I never really gave much thought into what people have to face when they are trying to assimilate back into society. It all seemed worse to me because they didn’t do anything to deserve to be put into that position in the first place. Yusef had skipped a couple of grades in school and probably would have gone to college early. However, he didn’t even get to graduate from high school. Kevin had wanted to play the trumpet, but he lost time in juvie. It was simply not possible for them to pick up their lives where they had left them.
They also had been wrongfully branded as sex offenders and criminals. Many employers did not want to hire them because they saw it as a risk. The fact that Yusef would not be able to get a teaching license made that fact really hit home for him. I was proud of them for not wavering in their innocence even when things got really hard. It was awful when they were called rapists. Adele was not really as understanding of Antron’s situation and I wondered why she had dated him for so long in the first place. If she had wanted an easier relationship, she should have dated someone else.
Elena’s reception of Raymond was disappointing as well. She made a fuss when Raymond Sr. would talk to his son on the phone, not caring how important it was to both of them. It astounded me that she had the audacity to be so rude to him. She knew about the situation and chose to marry Raymond Sr. If she could not accept his son, maybe they should have discussed it more in depth.
It was sad to see how Antron’s relationship with his father had changed over the years. In the beginning of Part 1, they talked and smiled at the table together and seemed to have a very good relationship. After what happened, there was a huge shift in their relationship and it could never be repaired. I wondered how things could have been different for them if Antron had not been convicted. A bond between a father and son had been torn apart by tragedy.