Jabari Banks as Will, after unraveling a Black Teachers Matter banner
"Jabari Banks as Will, after unraveling a Black Teachers Matter banner," Bel-Air, "Compromised," directed by Michael Weaver, 2023, (Peacock)

As Carlton tries to decide whether to put the group or himself first, while battling anxiety, Ms. Bassin and the administration apply pressure.

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As Carlton tries to decide whether to put the group or himself first, while battling anxiety, Ms. Bassin and the administration apply pressure.

Aired (Peacock) March 9, 2023
Director(s) Michael Weaver
Writer(s) TJ Brady, Rasheed Newson
Newly Noted Characters
Mr. Hartwig                Thomas Crawford
Previously Noted Characters
Hillary Coco Jones
Ivy Karrueche Tran
Aunt Viv Cassandra Freeman
Lisa                Simone Joy Jones
Geoffrey Jimmy Akingbola
Phil                Adrian Holmes
Ms. Hughes                Tatyana Ali
Will Jabari Banks
Yazmin Riele Downs
Carlton Olly Sholotan
Ms. Bassin                Shelley Robertson


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This Isn’t A Collaborative Environment – Hillary, Ivy, Aunt Viv, Lisa

Hillary and Ivy still butt heads since Hillary can’t make decisions. There is an international brand deal on the table, but Hillary gets shut down for Ivy’s local drink. So it seems Hillary is going to bypass asking for permission and ask for forgiveness.

Which may make Aunt Viv’s offer to have Hillary do some work for her an opportunity she may wish she had taken. But instead, since Hillary is very committed and busy, Lisa is proposed and accepts the job opportunity.

There Is More To This Than They Know – Geoffrey, Phil, Aunt Viv, Ms. Hughes

With Geoffrey back in the fold, he is looking into things from Doc to even providing an opinion regarding the Ms. Hughes situation, which has blown up. But, what complicates that whole thing is, while Ms. Hughes is a beloved figure, this whole thing is bigger than her. She violated a policy multiple times after multiple warnings, and while the policy is unfair, especially regarding the curriculum and her autonomy as a teacher, she violated them willingly.

Coming Through In The Clutch – Will, Yazmin, Carlton, Mr. Hartwig, Ms. Bassin

Thomas Crawford as Mr. Hartwig meeting with students
“Thomas Crawford as Mr. Hartwig meeting with students,” Bel-Air, “Compromised,” directed by Michael Weaver, 2023, (Peacock)

Despite the nuances involved with Ms. Hughes’ situation, Will, Yazmin, and Carlton were supposed to go full steam ahead with the protest, walkout, and even a speech. Naturally, Ms. Bassin isn’t for this, especially since she is up for a potential promotion, and if the BSU does a walkout and embarrasses the school, it will look bad on her. So she does continue to pressure Carlton to shut things down, and when that isn’t an option, she creates an opportunity to meet with principal Hartwig.

His compromise is, a silent protest, reviewing the policy that got Ms. Hughes fired, and a curriculum board with student members. The BSU gives this lip service, and Carlton was expected to still do a speech broadcast on social media and be a rebel.

This doesn’t come to pass as he has an anxiety attack, thus disappointing Yazmin. But, undeterred, Will gets a banner made for the protest, and makes sure it gets seen by hundreds of people on social media and those in attendance. Leading to the episode’s end featuring Will getting the crowd to yell out “Black Teachers Matter” and the question of whether he will simply be suspended, or worse, for his actions?

Things To Note

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. How badly are things going to go for Will after that display?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Will getting suspended and losing his ability to play for Bel-Air’s basketball team, which means him being all in when it comes to Doc’s
  2. Hillary and Ivy having a blow-up
  3. Geoffrey seeking out his son



Ms. Bassin’s Role In All This, And The Ghost Of Carlton’s Future

There is a tightrope many walk between being skin folk and kin folk when you exist as a minority in the situation. For Ms. Bassin, as she noted, she has made efforts and fought for teachers behind the scenes, but she likes to move carefully, politically, and in increments. This, for many, isn’t enough. Those like Will need big, showy performances, as they believe that is the way to get real change and get it sooner rather than later.

Neither way is right nor wrong; it is just a personal method. However, then there is Carlton caught in the middle. As the BSU has come to accept him, Carlton tried to be more of a front-facing activist, but as we see, that requires real passion. You can’t dial it in and do things halfway.

Now, this isn’t to discount his anxiety, and many full-time activists having anxiety and other obstacles to surmount to do their work. But, I think the beauty about having Ms. Bassin as an example, both advocating for herself and her future promotion, while trying to give the kids a seat at the table, is to show us who Carlton can be in his comfort zone.

Take note, one of his original critiques were BSU existing within a bubble, not going to student government meetings, and just venting. With him being seen as some semblance of “the good one” or the one who isn’t a troublemaker, he can walk that tightrope. Carlton could present himself as the middle person, similar to Ms. Bassin, who allows the Wills, Yazmin, etc., access. So, here is hoping the BSU doesn’t punish him too bad for not showing up when he was expected.

On The Fence

Ivy v. Hillary

Ivy is holding Hillary back. Yes, in a literal sense, since she isn’t allowing her to really flex her social intelligence and business acumen. But also, their dynamic and storyline is on a slow decline. There is a lot of passive aggression, and the overall feeling is that Hillary has become a secondary character, held on for future potential, but we shouldn’t expect much, if anything, this season.

[ninja_tables id=”63933″]

Jabari Banks as Will, after unraveling a Black Teachers Matter banner
Bel-Air: Season 2/ Episode 3 “Compromised” – Recap/ Review
We reach a major point in the battle for Ms. Hughes and the different ways activism can play out, be it in private or public. But, as that happens, we’re left wondering if the other storylines can match the energy and potential of what seems to be the core, if not one of the core, storylines. Especially considering the main one disconnected from the protest, Hillary’s, is a bit lackluster.
Ms. Bassin’s Role In All This, And The Ghost Of Carlton’s Future
Ivy v. Hillary

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