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Blindspotting: I Need To Smoke

Being a parent is hard. Being poor is hard. Life as an adult is hard. Existing is honestly hard. Certain circumstances and situations press down on each of us differently and our struggles take a variety of forms constantly. So when one has a chance for a break, even a small one, they usually take it. Ashley’s been on the constant go since the night Miles got locked up, with Sean at a sleepover for the night she’s given the perfect opportunity to take the night off and relax. And what a better way to relax than by getting high with your life partners mom?

After spending all day waiting to visit Miles only to be told that visitation is canceled Ashley plans to drown her frustrations in alcohol. But Rainey still wants to find more than just common ground between them, she wants to be close. And she wants to know why Ashley isn’t mad at Miles for the situation he’s put their family in. She has a point but Ashley isn’t ready to share, so Rainey suggests they smoke.

Meanwhile, next door, Earl is upset after learning that he has to get a job as part of a requirement of his probation and his PO stomped on the last of his weed. Janelle spent all day playing the speed dating game and realizing that the Oakland she left five years ago is not the Oakland she has returned to. After interrupting her recording session for a meditation app Janelle offers to help Earl find a job, or at least get his resume together. But after a few snips of snark from Nancy the motivational atmosphere is ruined and the only way to lighten the mood is to lit up. Which results in Janelle and Ashley pulling out an old system of safety pins and the clothes line between the houses to insure a successful session for both households.

Until the weed hits and things get a little real. With Ashley, the younger woman is shocked to learn that it was no secret to Rainey that she and Miles were smoked and “cuddling” as teens in her house all the time. The condoms in Miles room weren’t just magically appearing. Ashley is also surprised to learn that Rainey was just as high as they were, she was just better at hiding it. Plus she had Trish to look after. As Ashley starts to see Rainey in a new light, Janelle recaps the Blindspotting movie for Earl. He’s new, he doesn’t know about Collin pointing a gun at a cop. And he wants to know why Janelle has returned home after five years away but it’s still a sore spot for her and makes her close her up anytime it’s brought, effectively dampening the mood of their cook off. The building anticipation of why exactly she came home continues on. However, Earl has a background of his own, being the son of a chef who owns a super popular restaurant has left Earl with extensive knowledge on how to cook; but working the line under his dad as a teen ruined their relationship. So even though finding a job as a cook would probably be the easiest way to go, it’s not the path he wants right now. It’s complicated, just like most things in life.

While this episode is very laid back in terms of everything that’s been going on since the first, the character development is immaculate. Particularly that of Rainey and Earl, up until now they both have been backgrounds character. Simply there to further the storyline for Ashley or provide comedic relief . It’s great to get a bit of a deeper dive into Rainey, to see that she isn’t the stereotypical chill hippie mom she was made out to be and that she isn’t as naive as Ashley thinks. Rainey sees everything but she doesn’t push, she lets things come to light in their own time. So even though she knows something is off about Miles situation, she doesn’t push Ashley to tell her. Though this might be something she probably should press them about.

It’s also refreshing to see hints of Earl being more than just the one we look to for laughs. He is funny, in an easy and natural sort of way but it makes for a better character for him to have layers. Revealing that he’s a really great cook could lead to a lot of places for Earl, it gives us another perspective of him. His friendship with Janelle, and maybe possible romance, is pleasing to see too because anytime they’re on screen together they light the whole scene up.

Personally I really enjoy episodes like this one. When shows are character driven and give their characters chances to step back, it always makes for a better more cohesive shoe in the long run. Characters bonding over smoking a blunt together seems more intimate than character bonding over fast paced, heart racing events. It all flows better when characters are allowed to take a breather. Especially when the episode is layered with quiet development like this one, it’s fun to get to see the people audiences have grown attached to get their moments of pure normal. Which is what the fourth episode of Blindspotting presented to us, a chance for everyone to have a little bit of peace.

Blindspotting airs Sunday nights on Starz.

-Danyi