Viv and Vy having a spat at Will's birthday party

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It’s Will’s 17th birthday, but between conversations about his father, Viv, and Vy conflicting over the past, and Phil’s campaign, he isn’t the star on his big day.


Aired 3/17/2022
Network Peacock
Directed By Sylvain White
Written By Janeika James, Jasheika James
Introduced This Episode
Assemblyman Hernandez Ricardo Molina

Recap

Flaky Like A Biscuit/ Your Issues Are My Issues – Hillary, Kylo, Viv, Phil, Assemblyman Hernandez, Carlton

Hillary’s Thirsty Chef video has over 3 million views, but between how she was raised and what she is comfortable with, while she doesn’t want it taken down, she doesn’t want it to continue either. But before she realizes she can’t keep this up, she approaches Viv and Phil about continuing, and neither supports it. Viv doesn’t because she doesn’t get it, and Phil? Well, after seeking an endorsement from Assemblyman Hernandez and being told Phil needs to get his house in order, Phil is seeing his family as more and more of a liability than an asset.

Assemblyman Hernande (Ricardo Molina) making it clear he can't give Phil an endorsement
Assemblyman Hernande (Ricardo Molina)

Why? Well, Hillary is releasing the kind of videos that bring negative attention and doesn’t inspire Phil to join the body positive movement. Carlton, partly, got the police coming to the house, and with Viv no longer on the campaign because she is focused on earning the Neeman Fellowship, she is no longer by his side at events. In fact, because of her going into overdrive to make new pieces, it seems her and Phil don’t even sleep in the same bed right now, which may or may not deal with the conversation they had in the last episode.

But, maybe it might be some solace for Phil that Hillary ultimately decides not to continue Thirsty Chef. In fact, she quits the Influencer House, to which Kylo reveals that it would mean any and all content made in the house belonging to him and her owing him $50,000. Yet, despite the steep cost and not knowing what Kylo may do with the footage he has, Hillary moves out and now seemingly is living in a hotel.

It’s My Baby’s Birthday! – Vy, Viv, Will, Carlton, Lisa

Because they got it like that, Vy doesn’t come to Bel Air on a commercial flight but flies private, and with that, so begins the little jabs at Viv and her lifestyle. All of which Will peeps and tries to keep from bubbling, but Vy has a bone to pick with her sister.

For the most part, though, both Vy and Viv try to hold back for Will’s sake, and it helps when they are around the kids, especially for Vy. Carlton, for example, who she hasn’t seen in so long he has forgotten her cooking, she bonds with through calling him handsome and revealing embarrassing stories about his mom. This, unfortunately, leads to the topic of how ungrateful Viv is, but Vy can’t help herself.

I mean, even on Will’s birthday, after meeting Lisa and liking the girl Will has paired himself with, she starts throwing shots because Phil and Viv’s gift was more expensive than hers. Which ultimately leads to Carlton and Will pushing their parents to talk and hash things out.

There Is No Resolution Without Communication – Carlton, Will, Vy, Viv, Geoffrey, Phil, Fred

So what are the problems which plague Vy and Viv? The list is:

  1. Vy spent a good part of her life being Viv’s second momma, and she resents her for that.
  2. When their mother got sick, Viv sent money to offer financial support but didn’t offer any physical support.
  3. Vy feels like she doesn’t get enough credit for not only supporting Viv’s dreams and work but that she got her started with her first canvas and brush set
  4. Overall, Vy feels abandoned and erased by Viv, and her thinking that Viv is trying to erase her from Will’s life

All of this leaves Viv a bit confounded and frustrated, especially since Vy mentions possibly telling Will about Lou, his father. Someone who Will is curious about, but with Lou being such a contentious subject, Viv, Phil, and Vy walk on eggshells about what to say and not to say. But, after reconciling, Vy and Viv agree to push back Will learning the whole truth about Lou. However, despite the order Phil gave him, Geoffrey looks into Lou at Will’s request since Will wants to know the why and where regarding why his dad disappeared and where he is now.

Geoffrey noting he'll look into Will's dad but offering no promises

But let’s go into that further. With Phil so pressed about his campaign and competing with Fred, he decides Geoffrey trying to advocate for Will and Lou knowing each other is overstepping, and so he checks him and reminds Geoffrey that he works for him. Because of this, it seems Geoffrey is ready to resign. Mind you, Geoffrey generally gets along with Phil and even arranges for Phil and Fred to meet and decide the debate will determine who ultimately remains in the race. However, Geoffrey isn’t for this attitude. However, due to Will’s request, he’ll seemingly stick around, but who knows for how long?

Things To Note

  • Like their mothers, Will and Carlton come to an understanding. If not, better said, Will focuses on there being an understanding regarding his relationship with Lisa, and Will ignores all of Carlton’s qualms about everything else.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Geoffrey has a son? Where are they at?
  2. Was Geoffrey about to resign after Phil pulled that stunt with him?
  3. Why was Vy acting like a second mom to Viv? Was it just her nature or was she pushed to be Grandma Molly?
  4. Why was Jazz so casual with Vy and not calling her Ms. Vy or acting like this isn’t the first time they met?
  5. Why does the description of Lou sound so much like Hillary? They aren’t trying to setup that twist are they?
  6. How long has it been since Grandma Molly died?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Geoffrey finding Lou and causing Phil to say the kind of things that could get him popped in the mouth
  2. Hillary and Jazz dating – it feels destined
  3. Phil losing the debate against Fred
  4. Carlton looking into the BSU and Aisha
  5. Lisa learning she has lupus
  6. Diving deeper into Phil, Viv, and Vy’s life in the past, and how Phil felt being financially supported by his wife, or equals, versus his current position
  7. Meeting Grandma Molly and potentially younger versions of Will and his cousins

Collected Quote(s)

It’s better to argue less, and listen more.
— Viv

You didn’t climb no mountain, you were carried.
— Vy

Review

Highlights

It’s Not Being Made Out Of Steel; It’s Being Propped Up By Heavy Expectation (Vy and Viv’s Reconciliation)

The beautiful thing that Bel-Air keeps trying to do is have it where you understand both sides, and even if one character isn’t as featured as the other, in the moment, you are pushed to see them as equals. Vy is someone we barely see, and who she is outside of Will’s mom was barely focused on. We know she is a nurse, and she had issues with Viv, but whether or not they’d explore that was anyone’s guess.

However, they went in this episode and not only explored Vy’s sense of abandonment but also helped you see how the two share a storyline. Vy sacrificed so much so that she, Viv, and their mother could leave peacefully and with dignity, and I think Viv did the same when it came to Ashley, Carlton, and Phil’s life. But, unlike Vy, she wasn’t able to keep herself as part of the equation, and I think this is why she mentions Vy’s steel resolve. Vy could take the world on and make it while Viv didn’t fall apart, but certainly did find herself making herself small.

In a way, I think that contributes to Viv’s issues with Phil since she might have been used to receiving support, but it was support towards her goals and betterment. Not so someone else would have less to do or worry about, and in witnessing someone focus on their personal gain and not hers, that could be the issue at hand. But, getting back to Vy, I think what Viv might not have understood until talking with Carlton is that Vy didn’t have a choice but to be strong. It isn’t clear what was going on with Grandma Molly, but clearly, Vy felt the need to step in for in order for their family to rise, someone had to take the brunt of the finances and who knows what else.

Hence Vy wanting appreciation for, like anyone who played a significant role in anyone’s life, you just want your props. You don’t necessarily need money or gifts, but a thank you can go a long way. I mean, isn’t that what Viv often wants from Hillary? A thank you for what she gave up so Hillary can have the privilege to say no, fail, and be at her age and still finding herself?

Carlton and Will Getting What They Wished For

Vy mentioned that Will wanted a brother, and Carlton notes that after Ashley was born, he too wanted a brother, and look at God! And I would say at this point, both realize that they should be careful what they wish for as their relationship has been a roller coaster. But, taking note of their parents’ advice and neither wanting a multi-year beef, it was sweet to see them talk things out.

Granted, Will’s focus seemed squarely on getting Carlton to agree not to be a problem when it comes to Lisa, damn all of Carlton’s feelings regarding his life before Will showed up. But, what Carlton feels is a long-term issue that can’t be solved in one conversation. So hopefully, the two revisit Carlton’s issues with feeling he must be perfect, that he doesn’t have room to fail like Hillary or be himself, like Will.

On The Fence

Hillary’s Storyline (Do It For The Views)

Hillary playfully threatening Kylo

Hillary’s battles with Kylo aren’t hitting like past storylines she has had. Even the episodic ones dealing with owning her sexuality and being a Black woman in the influencer space, never mind Ashley’s confidant, were better. Now, don’t get me wrong, her potentially compromising her comfort for views is understandable since many influencers are put in that position. But I just don’t feel like they gave that issue the oomph it needs to match what we’ve seen thus far.

Phil’s Political Campaign

I’m ready for this election to be over. Fred isn’t producing the level of interest I expected, and Phil becoming increasingly agitated since he isn’t getting to cruise to the nomination isn’t bringing me to the table and giving me a reason to stay awhile. Now, could you say Phil’s issues with this campaign expose problems in his various relationships? Yes.

But this campaign isn’t diving deeper into how complicated the politics are to become a DA compared to a council member or mayor. This campaign isn’t digging into who else is in the field and Phil’s competition with them. It’s just stuck on Fred, who barely shows up and has not been given a chance to be someone beyond Lisa’s dad, who had an entanglement with a woman as his wife was dying.

Wanting To Know More About Geoffrey But That Being Denied

Geoffrey has a son?! By who, when, where are they? What’s the relationship between him and the mother, and is she English, American, Jamaican? What does she look like? Every time we see Geoffrey, something new is presented that pushes you to wonder when will we get to know him beyond his house manager role? Yet, while that carrot gets dangled, we never get to have the hearty bite we crave.

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Viv and Vy having a spat at Will's birthday party
Bel-Air: Season 1/ Episode 8 “No One Wins When The Family Feuds” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
Bel-Air might be one of the few shows to give us an affluent Black family who don’t seem out of touch, bland for the sake of respectability, or whose drama is so over the top it seems desperate for viewers. Truly, it feels like it knows what it is doing, trusts its actors and writers, and is allowing natural and intriguing storylines to unfurl at a good pace.
Highlights
Carlton and Will Getting What They Wished For
It's Not Being Made Out Of Steel; It's Being Propped Up By Heavy Expectation (Vy and Viv's Reconciliation)
Disputable
Wanting To Know More About Geoffrey But That Being Denied
Phil's Political Campaign
Hillary's Storyline (Do It For The Views)
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