Home TV Series Red Table Talk: Season 1/ Episode 17 “Learning To Forgive” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Red Table Talk: Season 1/ Episode 17 “Learning To Forgive” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

by Amari

Jada’s father, Robsol Pinkett, Jr., is discussed in terms of the issues he left his children, as well as the lessons he bestowed them.

Community Rating: 70.01% (1)


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Air Date12/3/2018
Introduced This Episode
HimselfCaleeb Pinkett

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Caleb’s Side of Things

While it was established that Jada got to grow up with her father around, it was with him being quite abusive towards her mom, Adrienne. On the other side of the country, Caleeb didn’t really have access to his dad. His mom and Rob divorced when he was two and didn’t really meet him, form memories, until he was 12. Memories which are a bit unorthodox, like heading to AA meetings with his dad.

Yet, just getting the opportunity to spend time with his dad meant something. However, the thing which is made clear about Rob is that he knew himself. He was also raw, more so than real. He knew he was an addict and while not proud of it, if he relapsed it is spoken about as something he wasn’t planning for but it happened.

Which led to some difficult feelings, which Jada shared, dealing with having a father who is alive, but stuck in his ways.

Jada’s Side of Things

At 7, Rob seemingly decided it was time to give Jada a wakeup call. He told her he was a criminal and an addict. Which, even with being in the home, for a period of time, wasn’t something she was fully prepped for – since she was 7. Also, there came the absence. One thing Jada notes, as to why she is close to her mom, despite her part of Jada’s upbringing, and sometimes absence, is that she stayed. Her dad? Gone and would pop back in as if nothing happened. Sometimes with this attitude that, because he gave her life, he was owed something. At least that is how Jada took it at times.

Making it when he would relapse, even when he died, while she cried, felt emotional, it was like throwing a bell down a well. The absence was felt, but sort of hollow since the only thing she really gained from him was lessons and examples. As for love? Someone she could firmly call “Daddy” and not usually refer to as “Rob,” she didn’t get that.

Willow and Adrienne Join The Conversation

When it comes to Adrienne, forgiveness for her strongly ties in with forgiveness of self, like Caleb mentions, and she brings up a time she asked why did Jada forgive her? Well, it is because, there is the aforementioned issue of both of Jada’s parents being addicts. So, what made Adrienne different? Why is her bond with Jada close as it is? Well, it is a simple answer: Adrienne pursued change by becoming and getting better.

Adrienne bringing up when she asked Jada why she forgave her in the past.

Adrienne: Why didn’t you just say, like, “Forget her?”

Rob, from what it seemed, though he got clean and was clean for 20+ years, he relapsed and even when clean, it didn’t seem like he got better. So there was never an opportunity to really heal since it seemed Rob presented things in a “It is what it is” kind of way. Add in, with Jada, he seemingly didn’t come around until things were going well for her, even if that coincided with him being in the right head space, it left a bad taste in her mouth.

As for Willow? Forgiveness for her all comes from the “Whip My Hair” era. While Jada was part of the issue, Will played a much bigger role. For if it wasn’t feeling like she wasn’t being heard, it dealt with her feeling guilty for not being grateful. Yet, the long-term effect of that was having to rebuild trust with her dad. Something which, seemingly, took years.


One of the methods used to forgive Rob, was to realize his purpose in life was not to be a dad. For Jada, taking note of things she has gone through in her life, she found a means to, as she put it in episode 15, not present an excuse but paint a complete picture. Her dad simply was not capable of putting his children first and the sacrifice that required. As he told Caleeb, the drugs were a higher priority.

Now, when it comes to Jada, she couldn’t directly relate, but it did put things in perspective. For Jada, she has noted how there was a shift in her relationship Will once they lost role expectations. That is, expectations for him as a husband, wife, parent, child, etc. Rob’s gift to her, which she discovered after he passed, was that having those expectations only end in resentment. The kind which, as Caleeb notes, may eat you up from the inside, but that person is living regardless of your feelings. So all you can really do is let go.

Yet, it is noted, it still does hurt. For Jada, seeing Will and Willow interact reminds her she’ll never really have that in her life. For Caleeb, he has to give up whatever hold his father has on him for his father is dead and in the ground. So, like Jada, he has to figure out what can be learned from the life his dad lived, thank him for what he taught, and try to be better. For only then will his life perhaps have a personal meaning beyond him being one half of what led to your life.

Miscellaneous Commentary

Jada explaining how she sees Rob's life, in relation to herself.

Jada: Rob’s life was about Rob being on his journey.

You have to appreciate the revisiting of Rob’s effect on Jada, her brother’s, even her mother’s life. It really pushes the mission statement of the Red Table being a place for open and sometimes frank discussion. One which is more about understanding than judgment and maybe a bit of healing as well. For whether we’re talking about Willow, either still or formerly healing her relationship with Will, Jada dealing with guilt from arguing with her dad before he died, or Caleeb trying to handle his dad adopting someone and raising them – yet not finding the desire to raise him. For the first time in a while, the red table felt like every person brought a piece of themselves to the table rather than it mostly be an interview.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

When people continue to repeat the same behavior, it’s hard to forgive because then the forgiveness is just about words.
— Adrienne


  1. While Red Table Talk is almost always conversational, with it being all family, there was less of an interview vibe to what was said.
  2. Caleeb and Jada’s takes on forgiveness bring back that blueprint vibe of the show. That is, while recognizing no one at the table has a psych degree, you mentally feeling like they are talking with you. Sort of like how Willow sits there sometimes and just absorbs.
  3. Jada and Adrienne’s relationship, despite some of the things which went down while she was growing up.

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