Um, I’m starting to think Netflix isn’t that good at making season finales that can actually feel like a period or exclamation mark rather than an ellipsis.
To End or To Be Continued: Sam, Gabe
Gabe knows Sam cheated but, so it seems, they are each other’s first love. Sam and Gabe just had their first serious relationship, they first exchange of “I Love You” and Sam cheated. She confirms it, regrets it, says she did it to know for sure what she wanted and wants things to continue. However, how can it? For Gabe, things never were easy but he trusted Sam would have the patience to see it through. But, with her sleeping with Reggie, it is like she gave up so, to follow suit, he gives up on them too.
I am so fine with the end of #WhiteBae for it really didn’t seem dedicated, at all, to anything besides Sam’s drama. Now, a few episodes back she did note that she wondered if someone like her, a revolutionary, a leader, or what have you, could have more than just that? Could she have a healthy relationship, one in which she isn’t married to the struggle but a man who just sees her as Sam? That, I guess you could say, was kind of explored with the Gabe saga, but not really.
But, at least, so it seems, rather than prepare to ship her off to be with Reggie, they make it clear that isn’t happening. Much less, Joelle may have a shot at being with him in the future. Though that idea could be wishful thinking.
Stepping Forward Out of The Shadows: Coco, Lionel, Troy
Lionel learns about the whole integration of A.P. from Sam and starts digging into the Hancocks. He learns they are very anti-minority, in many ways, and have been donating to multiple schools who can apply their agenda. Something Lionel would love to post, with Silvio’s approval, for The Independent but there is one problem: the newspaper is financed and founded by The Hancocks.
Meanwhile, as Lionel deals with that, Coco becomes unabashed about her ambitions and with seeing where Troy lacks, she becomes perhaps what Dean Fairbanks always wanted in a child: Someone he didn’t have to tell every last move they had to make. If only because he was rest assured his rearing provided them with the mind to be trusted and relied upon. Which, for the most part, Coco does well. She handles to town hall from the inside, as Troy is pushed to the outside to handle the protestors [note]Of which there is those who want the university to address binge drinking, then Sam’s group, then Kurt’s group which is anti-Sam’s[/note].
However, while working the room, getting only safe questions whenever possible, she is tasked with finding one more person. Said person chosen is Lionel and he might remain soft-spoken, but he is Sam level militant. He questions what the lives of the 234 Black undergrads is worth, talks about the Hancocks like dogs, and then, without Silvio’s knowledge, posts a scathing expose on them.
Going back to Troy, with it being clear he is no longer in control, and he can’t schmooze and talk his way through things, he lets go. He busts a window in Hancocks’ hall and gets arrested. Nearly put in the same position Reggie was in, but Dean Fairbanks stops that. Leaving us watching Troy get hauled away.
Where to Go From Here? (Commentary)
To me, Simien found a way to bring about that fabled idea of A Different World 2.0 while addressing many issues and topics within Black culture. Yet, sadly, being that this show is so rooted in race and the discomfort people have in addressing it, you can see that there is but so much which can be done with this show. For even with Troy’s arrest and the fallout which will come from what Lionel did, what is there really left for this show? The board trying to figure out another way to get $10 million? The students fighting to keep AP segregated? I mean, these aren’t horrible storyline but the limitations made because of the premise keep this from really being this generation’s Black college life program.
Which is a bit sad since with the closest thing being The Quad, which doesn’t have the same ability to talk about college issues, especially from a Black perspective, while not drowning in its own drama, it’s frustrating. For there aren’t too many programs like this which have young Black people, of diverse mindsets, looks, and backgrounds, having everyday conversations. Talking about, or nodding to, what can still consider topical topics and said conversations just being that. Not to lead up to something or foreshadow, but just be thoughts you may have never thought of, or your friends may have said, on screen. On a platform which, no shade to YouTubers, has some real kind of prestige and isn’t just someone trying to make a splash to get noticed.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
While Dear White People, like many of Netflix’s shows, seems like the type which peaks during its first season and likely will slowly go downhill from there, it does more than benefit from a lack of contemporaries. It reminds you of what some may consider a renaissance in the late 80s/ 90s where there was something for everyone and every Black person had some sort of character they could identify with. Yet, even if there were more options, arguably Dear White People wouldn’t find itself drowned out but still have its own rightful place.
Hence the maintained Positive label for, to my surprise, the show actually took what worked in the movie, fixed what didn’t, and highlighted characters who didn’t get the time and writing they deserved. Now, it isn’t clear what season 2 may hold, or if it can maintain, if not up the ante, but this show definitely made a statement. It still fails on perhaps making the type which will start interracial conversations but it definitely presents the idea that for many a young Black American – You are not alone. Your stories won’t just be trapped in social media platforms and be fodder for news channels. They will be seen without us being subject to torture or questionable self-deprecation. There is more out there and there are companies, real mainstream media, who recognize that. There are companies who will finance and see such projects can bring profit. So just bear with the others as they catch up. Not everyone is woke and on your level yet. [note]Lowkey, that would make such a good drinking game for the show. Take a shot whenever someone talks about being woke.[/note]