As a bomb is dropped on Carlton’s pursuit of the Founders Award, Jackie’s past reeks its head, and Frederick, Geoffrey’s son, comes for a visit.

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As a bomb is dropped on Carlton’s pursuit of the Founders Award, Jackie’s past reeks its head, and Frederick, Geoffrey’s son, comes for a visit.

Aired (Peacock) April 6, 2023
Director(s) John S. Scott
Writer(s) Anthony Sparks
Newly Noted Characters
Frederick Joivan Wade
Previously Noted Characters
Will Jabari Banks
Phil Adrian Holmes
Carlton Olly Sholotan
Doc Brooklyn McLinn
Geoffrey Jimmy Akingbola
Drew Nicholas Duvernay
Viv Cassandra Freeman
Jazz Jordan L. Jones
Hillary Coco Jones
Connor Tyler Barnhardt
Lisa Simone Joy Jones
Erika Diandra Lyle
Jackie Jazlyn Martin


This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Competition Is Real In The Banks Household – Will, Phil, Carlton

While Will says he is interested and is going to take the campaign to win the Founders Award seriously, he doesn’t. Basketball takes precedence, and he may have read up about the award once, but Carlton is still trouncing him. Hence Phil wants to aid Will in learning to play golf and get his narrative together, but this only upsets Carlton further about the favoritism Will gets – even when Phil explains things.

Some People Have Real Problems – Jackie, Will, Doc

Jackie (Jazlyn Martin)
“Jackie (Jazlyn Martin),” Bel-Air, “Under Pressure,” directed by John S. Scott, 2023, (Peacock)

Increasingly, Will is making headway with the team. “Bel-Air” is more of a nickname than an insult, but as things get better with the guys, they take a left with Jackie. She has an off day where she gets drunk and aggressive, and being that Will is her man, he takes her home.

Luckily, Doc is understanding and isn’t on Will’s ass about the situation. If anything, it leads him to open up about his sister getting pregnant as a teenager, him raising Jackie, and there being some issues in the family, but Jackie still has a solid uncle to hold her down. With that confession, Will gets comfortable enough to open up about what happened in Philly, even though it has yet to lead to any positive results after him talking about that.

Taking Control Of The Narrative – Geoffrey, Will, Doc, Carlton, Drew, Viv, Frederick, Jazz, Will, Hillary, Connor

With knowing Hillary’s ex wants her back, Will is trying to encourage Jazz and Hillary to reconcile. However, he only makes things worse. He pushes Jazz to do something big, Jazz’s card gets declined, Hillary has to pay, and then Jazz’s insecurities begin popping off until Hillary realizes she can’t deal with him anymore, and they end things.

That’s not the only drama within the Banks household, however. Knowing what happened when Will and Carlton competed in the last season, Aunt Viv did not want a repeat of that. But, thanks to Drew leaking a video of Carlton letting Connor say the N-word around him and Carlton defending him? Pretty much, even though Will is the least qualified, he seems like the inevitable one now – especially since he called out both, and Connor has already dropped out.

But, Carlton decides to, after speaking with his mom, take back the narrative by explaining how hard it is to fit in and dealing with the tons of microaggressions you have to let go in order to survive. Similar to his confession about anxiety, it is a hard-hitting moment, sadly ending with him doing a line. For at this point, his reputation is tarnished; he fully knows Phil is behind Will, so why maintain some sense of perfection when no one knows or truly appreciates the effort he has to put in?

Not to be outdone, Aunt Viv also has some drama. Janice is drowning her with negative press from her show, which makes her further question her voice and vision. Luckily, Hillary comes to the rescue by showing her that, on social media, people not only enjoyed her show but the piece she made and showed anonymously. The reaction from people leads to her talking about the feelings behind the piece, including her feelings on the fellowship, which leads to a DM from them.

Frederick (Jovian Wade)
“Frederick (Jovian Wade),” Bel-Air, “Under Pressure,” directed by John S. Scott, 2023, (Peacock)

Ending things on a positive note, Geoffrey comes face to face with Frederick, and while things are awkward at first, and Frederick even comes to think he’d rather disown Geoffrey and move on with his life, Phil changes his perspective. He reveals Geoffrey paid some form of child support without the State getting involved and made sure no gang would allow Frederick in. With learning all this, Frederick realizes, even though his father wasn’t physically there, he was with him, and it seems that allows him to see Geoffrey as more than someone who abandoned his kid to help raise someone else’s and be part of their family.

Things To Note

  1. Erika gets Phil to meet her firm, and they offer him 10 offices and for him to run the west coast offices in a way that could allow him to pursue what he wanted to as a District Attorney

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Will Hillary or Jazz learn that Will is a factor in the final straw being dropped on the camel’s back?
  2. Does Carlton still have a thing for Yazmin, even though she, though mostly Drew, have done so much to work against him?
  3. Beyond Jackie’s mom being a pregnant teen, what else has been going on for her to get drunk and sloppy like that?
  4. Why hasn’t Ivy gotten on Hillary yet about signing a deal behind her back?
  5. Why is Janice so into Aunt Viv’s business and trying to control her to the point of Aunt Viv feeling stifled?

What Could Happen Next

  1. Carlton back on his journey to redefine himself without the influence of Connor, Will, and maybe even his parents
  2. Jackie’s story continuing to unravel
  3. A Reed appearance
  4. Continuing to dive into Geoffrey’s past

Collected Quote(s)

I know I’m not alone. I’m just the only one you see.
— Carlton


Notable Performances or Moments


I will forever maintain that, in the process of making “Bel-Air,” a dark retelling of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” one of its most notable changes is boosting Carlton. The 180-degree turn that fully tapped into Carlton’s life as a code-switching, battling anxiety, and so much more young man? Truly, it has made it so Olly Sholotan is given not only the character with the most potential for storylines, both original and adapted from the original series, but I’d submit he has the only character that gets to consistently live up to their potential.

While there were some negative feelings about Carlton slipping into old habits, there is no denying that, Sholotan has been given a better arc than most on “Bel-Air.” Carlton has provided not only entertainment but an emotional experience. To the point, it seems Carlton might be one of the few characters who isn’t given a holdover relationship as they put off any real type of character development or pursuit of anything to allow their actor to show off their chops.


Hints Of Jackie’s Life, When She Doesn’t Seem Put Together

Increasingly, it feels like Will is a Trojan Horse to far more interesting storylines. It isn’t clear what triggered Jackie needing to get drunk like that, never mind one ready to get buck. But, there are signs of struggles for the young lady who seemingly had a good head on her shoulders.

Which isn’t to imply, with getting to see behind the curtain, she doesn’t. More so, it seems it is finally time for Jackie to be more than a cute dancer, with game, and who is so fly, to a real person with flaws, secrets, and trauma. The kind of stuff that isn’t about boosting how attractive she is or can be but rather makes her a person who requires grace, communication, and understanding.

Viv Speaking Up For Herself

The new version of Aunt Viv has often swayed more towards the 2nd Aunt Viv than the first, which often has made her a disappointment among the changes in this reboot. But, she does still have shining moments, and in her monologue to her social media following, we again see an attempt for Cassandra Freeman to make Aunt Viv her own and be more than someone’s wife, mom, or aunt.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like “Bel-Air” really makes enough of an effort to do this, thus giving the character arrested development, damn near to the same level as Ashley. But, as she increasingly finds herself having to battle men like Reed, then women like Janice, and occasionally Phil, who she can feel stifled by, there is the potential of a long-term plan. One about Aunt Viv really pushing for her voice, her narrative, and a sense of control that isn’t tempered due to being Phil’s partner or someone’s mom.

The Mercy Killing of Hillary and Jazz

Hillary and Jazz dating almost feel like it was a nod to the original show to figure out how things would have gone if their relationship was triggered early on. But, as with a lot of storylines that started in season 1 that lost investment in season 2, Hillary and Jazz have been more miss than hit. That is despite one episode exploring Jazz’s faith and meeting his parents. Which, considering the “Black Lives Matter” arc, you’d think an exploration of Jazz’s culture and faith, paired with where he lives, would have been a bigger thing. Especially for Hillary to see. Yet, that didn’t happen.

So, while this could have been something, maybe we should be thankful it got killed off before it got more disappointing.

Drew Being Someone You Love To Hate

Drew (Nicholas Duvernay)
“Drew (Nicholas Duvernay),” Bel-Air, “Under Pressure,” directed by John S. Scott, 2023, (Peacock)

With Reed gone and Janice passive-aggressive and not a consistent on-screen character, it is nice to have an actual villain to actively hate. Drew takes up that mantle in a wonderful way as a conniving little roach who has seemingly wooed Lisa, taken down Carlton, and is a frenemy to Will. I can only hope they maintain Drew being a butthead and all that he can bring to the show.

Doc Being Hard To Pin Down

When we first got to meet Doc, there was a need to question if he was trying to use Will to get to Phil. Be it because of an issue he had that led to Phil and him meeting in court, or maybe a shared history unrevealed. Later on, it seems it could have just been about taking a rich man’s money. It’s all hard to say.

But, now I must admit it is hard to tell if Doc is a potential bad guy or misunderstood. Is he the paternal figure Will really needs? Someone who less is trying to make him into his image and more so is trying to guide him to be the best version of himself? Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t lost on me that, as Phil says when Will brings Doc up in an argument, Doc’s continued presence relies on payments clearing.

However, again, if you want to talk about Will becoming a better version of himself vs. another version of Phil? Doc is giving Will the guidance he wants and needs, and considering how Will gravitates to people like Doc and how he did to Phil’s brother Julius? I expect Will to continue pushing back against all things the Banks family overvalues going forward.

On The Fence


Our main issue with the Frederick storyline is that, as much as his name has been mentioned since season 1, something about him just popping up feels rushed. Like the mercy killing of Jazz and Hillary, it is almost like they wanted to resolve this storyline to make room for other topics, maybe not even for Geoffrey as a character, so they wanted to put an end to this and move on.

Which is a shame since, Geoffrey, with this gangster past and having to immigrate to get out of that life, there is so much to learn and explore. So Frederick seems like he should have been the icing on the cake. But, as it stands, he barely feels part of the concoction and is more so the grease on the side of the bowl you don’t think about unless the cake can’t easily be removed after baking it.

[ninja_tables id=”63933″]

Olly Sholotan as Carlton
Bel-Air: Season 2/ Episode 7 “Under Pressure” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)
While “Bel-Air” continues to seem unsure of what to do, especially long term, with many characters, it still delivers hope for a better future as storylines end and leave space for new beginnings.
Doc Being Hard To Pin Down
Drew Being Someone You Love To Hate
The Mercy Killing of Hillary and Jazz
Viv Speaking Up For Herself
Hints Of Jackie’s Life, When She Doesn’t Seem Put Together

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