Bel-Air: Season 2/ Episode 1 “A Fresh Start” – Recap/ Review

“Bel-Air” returns with only two weeks passing in their world, but so much changing as Will gets a taste of being on his own.


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Jabari Banks as Will reconciling with Uncle Phil,

“Bel-Air” returns with only two weeks passing in their world, but so much changing as Will gets a taste of being on his own.

Aired (Peacock) February 23, 2023
Director(s) Dale Stern
Writer(s) Carla Banks Waddles
Newly Noted Characters
J.B. To Be Determined
Ms. Hughes Tatyana Ali
Doc Brooklyn McLinn
Jackie Jazlyn Martin
Yazmin                Riele Downs
Drew Nicholas Duvernay
Previously Noted Characters
Will Jabari Banks
Jazz Jordan L. Jones
Hillary Coco Jones
Ivy Karrueche Tran
Vivian Cassandra Freeman
Ashley Akira Akbar
Carlton Olly Sholotan
Phil Adrian Holmes
Geoffrey Jimmy Akingbola
Lisa Simone Joy Jones

Recap

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Trying To Establish My Own Thing – Will, Jazz, Hillary, Ivy, Vivian, JB

J.B. greeting Will
“J.B. greeting Will,” Bel-Air, “A Fresh Start,” directed by Dale Stern, 2023, (Peacock)

With Will living out in South L.A. with Jazz, he has a sense of freedom. He is making money hustling on the courts, even made a friend named J.B. who knows people, and as for Jazz? Jazz is okay with Will living with him. He isn’t fond of Will being a teenager who doesn’t clean up after himself and takes his clothes, but for now, they are cool, and Will isn’t doing or saying anything that negatively impacts their relationship, even if he does interrupt Jazz’s call to prayer time.

As for the family back home? Hillary and Ivy are beginning to butt heads since Hillary doesn’t have any decision-making power; she is just expected to enforce Ivy’s will. As for Vivian? She struggles under Reid’s influence and is trying to craft her legacy. Especially since his vision for her fellowship is about highlighting the elite and established, and she wants to focus on the new and those who haven’t gotten the spotlight.

New People, New Chapter – Ashley, Ms. Hughes, Will, Doc, Jackie, Carlton, Yazmin, Drew, JB, Lisa

Riele Downs as Yazmin looking Carlton's direction
“Riele Downs as Yazmin looking Carlton’s direction,” Bel-Air, “A Fresh Start,” directed by Dale Stern, 2023, (Peacock)

Ashley finds a mentor in Ms. Hughes, but between her favoritism or even advocacy for Ashley to read books on topics like the Black Panther Party, it seems Ms. Hughes gets in trouble. But that isn’t Ashley’s main focus as she really cares about her 13th birthday and Will showing up. That is a tall order, but everyone is working on it, including Carlton, who, with his relationship with Will being as it is, he asks if they could become a duo as he does better as a duo rather than solo.

Taking note of this, Will pushes Carlton to join the BSU, but there are some pluses and minuses to that. Carlton’s crush Yazmin is the president, so that’s good. However, Drew is a member, and Drew has a bone to pick with Carlton regarding him courting the BSU for votes when he was running for class president and then abandoning them soon after. He defends this decision by noting that with the BSU so insular and single-minded, they didn’t seem open to outside ideas and thoughts, so he directed his attention elsewhere. Yazmin seems to agree with this train of thought, and with extending an olive branch, she appears to hope Carlton will attend more meetings in the future.

Which brings us to the day of Ashley’s party. Will agrees to go, but then J.B. calls with the opportunity to meet a local agent/ manager named Doc, who is a notable name and could help Will go prop. This is a major boon for him, so he decides to impress Doc and this girl he meets, Jackie, and get to Ashley’s party. Luckily, Jazz drives him and keeps him on schedule, so he gets to have three major wins that day.

However, while Ashley and the rest of the family is happy, Lisa gets the hard news that Will wants to go on a break. Thus allowing him to explore this Jackie connection maybe.

Same Place, New Chapter – Phil, Will, Geoffrey, Vivian, Hillary, Jazz, Ivy

Before Ashley’s party, Geoffrey visits Will by request, and he pushes Will to squash his beef with Phil. Geoffrey even visits Phil unannounced and pushes Phil to make amends. He also apologizes, in his own way, for overstepping, but Vivian, who is present, understands he did so out of love for the family. But, despite his reasonings, his actions remain the same, and Phil might be willing to admit he was wrong to Will, which leads him to return home, but the same isn’t done for Geoffrey.

But Phil isn’t the only one finally having an overdue conversation. Hillary has one with Ivy regarding how she feels about her position as house manager, even if Ivy is the owner, and she also defines her relationship with Jazz. Previously, she was pro them staying a secret due to how she thought others would react, and with that, Jazz figured he was still on the market. Hence when Ivy wanted to dance, kiss, and pursue him, he didn’t mind.

However, Hillary gets in her feelings and then makes it clear that Jazz is her man, so Jazz is no longer single and ready to mingle.

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What do they do for a 16th birthday if a 13th birthday is a yacht party?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Will trying to balance what he gets in South LA with what he gets in Bel Air and trying to have the two come together, leading to some clashing
  2. Ivy and Hillary having a cold war which leads to Ivy, eventually, pulling rank
  3. Jazz’s faith being explored more, and Hillary unsure about it

Review


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Notable Performances or Moments

Will and Phil Having A Emotional Reconciliation

There is no denying Will and Phil have the most emotional scenes. It really shows the importance and effect of a young Black man having an older Black male role model. Yes, Will’s mother did a wonderful job, but you can see Will wanted to attach to Phil, just like he has clearly attached to Geoffrey. But, that trust is fragile when you grew up without it and maybe convinced yourself you didn’t need it.

Highlights

Hillary Claiming Jazz

As important as it is to see Aunt Viv and Phil be a dark skin Black couple together, so is it important to see Hillary and Jazz. Yes, these are fictional couples, but seeing is believing. Add in Jazz is shorter than Hillary, giving the kind of representation you just don’t get anywhere else.

Jackie and Will Possibilities

Jazlyn Martin as Jackie properly introducing herself to Will
“Jazlyn Martin as Jackie properly introducing herself to Will,” Bel-Air, “A Fresh Start,” directed by Dale Stern, 2023, (Peacock)

With no offense to Lisa, Will being with a round-the-way girl brings a change to the show that brings intrigue. Mainly since Will can code-switch between Bel Air society, in most ways, but is at home in more urban environments. So, with Jackie, it is going to be interesting to see how he interacts with someone who didn’t grow up rich and whether that will make things easier or harder for him as a partner.

The Drama Doc May Bring

Brooklyn McLinn as Doc in his office
“Brooklyn McLinn as Doc in his office,” Bel-Air, “A Fresh Start,” directed by Dale Stern, 2023, (Peacock)

It isn’t 100% clear to me what Doc has planned for Will or what he may want out of his family, but it will bring the kind of drama that will surely mess Will up. Especially since, with every opportunity Will has to make up for all the love, mentorship, and experiences Lou didn’t provide, he generally takes it. So Doc is definitely going to stir the pot and likely cause Phil, and maybe Geoffrey, to have to come to Will’s aide.

OG Ashley’s Storyline

Tatyana Ali as Mrs. Hughes teaching her class which has the new Ashley in it
“Tatyana Ali as Mrs. Hughes teaching her class which has the new Ashley in it,” Bel-Air, “A Fresh Start,” directed by Dale Stern, 2023, (Peacock)

While previews show a “Black Teachers Matter” storyline going, what exactly triggers that isn’t 100% clear yet. But, what Ms. Hughes can give us is a very apt conversation regarding the experience of Black teachers outside of Black and Brown school systems, alongside what they can realistically bring of themselves and that of Black culture and experiences in terms of education and their expression.

Carlton Part Of The BSU

Nicholas Duvernay as Drew making sure the right narrative is presented when it comes to the BSU's relationship with Carlton
“Nicholas Duvernay as Drew making sure the right narrative is presented when it comes to the BSU’s relationship with Carlton,” Bel-Air, “A Fresh Start,” directed by Dale Stern, 2023, (Peacock)

Carlton gaining a sense of belonging amongst Black people outside his family mirrors Will’s journey towards having an older Black male figure. Has he wanted it? Yes. Has he grown to operate thinking he doesn’t need it? Also yes.

But, with Will pressuring him to pursue Yazmin, he is reintroduced to how maybe it wasn’t the Black community rejecting him, but him rejecting the Black community. Drew had apt criticism of Carlton, which was similar to how Phil was criticized. You want the Black vote yet have insulated yourself from the Black community beyond those you are related to. And in Carlton’s journey, it should be interesting to see him deal with and address his potential ignorance and having it where Will isn’t treated as an exception since he knows him now but him more willing to, in general, allow skin folk to be kin folk.

[ninja_tables id=”63933″]

Jabari Banks as Will reconciling with Uncle Phil,
Bel-Air: Season 2/ Episode 1 “A Fresh Start” – Recap/ Review
Overall
“Bel-Air” comes back strong by resolving last season's drama, except for the Geoffrey situation, and setting up many storylines to keep fans engaged.
Highlights
Carlton Part Of The BSU
OG Ashley’s Storyline
The Drama Doc May Bring
Jackie and Will Possibilities
Hillary Claiming Jazz
Will and Phil Having A Emotional Reconciliation
Disputable
83

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