black girl blogs · reviews · tv reviews

Blindspotting: Girl Time Tripping

If there’s one thing that’s going to bring a group of friends closer it’s doing drugs together. And not the mild stuff like weed, doing psychedelic drugs with a friend promises to be lit and to teach you a thing or two about yourself. In its 5th episode, Blindspotting gives it women characters a chance to expand who they are and who they want to be. Even if by the end of the episode we aren’t too sure of how each one was enlightened, it’s there journey there that mattered.

After skipping out on visitation for fear of judgement from Miles, the cracks in Ashley’s walls are starting to show. She still hasn’t told Sean where his dad is and the pressure of keeping him in the dark is suffocating. But Sean is only six, he’s still innocent and Ashley doesn’t want to be the person to give him his first heartbreak. It’s a complex situation and the clock is ticking. So Janelle suggests that they do some drugs and free their minds so they can grow. Trish and her closest friend Jacque ask to join in, making it a group activity.

Meanwhile Earl’s first blunt of the day is ruined after two hits when his P.O. James calls and tells Earl he’s arranged a job interview for him in an hour. Oh and James himself is going to take him, he’ll be pulling up in thirty minutes. Thus sets off one of Earl’s most stressful days yet. It’s wild how often he’s given the absolute minimal but expected to not fall between the huge gaps.

Since Janelle has been all over the world, of course she knows all kinds of people. Including the woman set to guide their psychedelic journey. They start by introducing themselves and setting their intentions, a moment where Ashley’s mini breakdown as she finally speaks her current situation out loud wrenches at your heart. She doesn’t have much more fight in her but she can’t give up, Sean is depending on her to keep it together. And while Ashley’s intentions might be the most intensely felt, the other three girls aren’t holding back either.

Janelle is struggling as hard as Ashley, just in a different way. She’s been away from home for five years and though her reason for coming back is still unknown she feels completely out of place in this new Oakland. She wants to figure out how to exist in this space now. Jacque hopes to find balance in being a stripper and being an artist, a picture of her boobs garners thousands of likes while a post of her paintings always flops. Finally, Trish acknowledges that she has an anger problem and she is well aware that it’s probably caused by her environment. But she doesn’t have the guidance she needs to change that. All four of them have deep wounds thats they’ve simply been ignoring. The shrooms though, are about to place everything front and center.

For me, Blindspotting’s fifth episodes is its most daring yet. Not because of the shrooms, but because of the issues they highlight. The girls trip comes in stages, each of them being in the spotlight. From Ashley’s tug-of-prison-chains-war to keep Sean from locked up Miles to Janelle’s suitcase full of Earl’s ankle monitor chord; along with Trish and Jacque finding themselves handcuffed to a stripper pole plus each other, the entire high is one of horizons being broadened. Ashley is going to have to face both Miles and Sean, there is no way for her to avoid it which seemed emphasized by her losing the tug of war game. Where I’m normally completely committing to Ashley’s development I think the trip scenes might have benefitted a bit more from expanding on Trish and Jacque’s side of things. Trish especially. Handcuffing her to the stripper pole and the panic attack that it caused her to have is something that gives Trish deep depth, like her mini breakdown when she was forced to dance a few episodes ago. And I worry that by the time we get to the big reveal of why Janelle came home, the investment might not be as big. The series is only eight episodes but we’ve been asking since the first one why she’s home, it’s episode five; time is running out.

While the girls are having their mindsets rearranged, Earl makes it to his job interview. Only to be sat in the waiting room and an hour of his time wasted. However while he waits he seems to calm his nerves by listening to one of Janelle’s meditation lessons. The two of them get more and more cute as the series continues on. Once Earl is finally called back for his interview, it doesn’t go as smoothly as he’d hope and he has to mad dash in the middle of it because the clock in the office is slow by thirty whole minutes. He has a five pm curfew and the panic of him missing it is palpable. While he runs, Earl is given his first spoken word of the season which hits pretty deep for those that are trying to stay out of prison while still under the heavy eye of the system. It’s here that I hope for more development for Earl. Right now he’s mostly seen as the comedic relief but there’s a deeper story in what we already know about him.

One of the biggest reasons I find myself enjoying Blindspotting week after week is the realness of it. Even the spoken word scenes feel as if they’re something you’d see every day. A situation you’d walk by on your way to work. Especially with Earl’s sprint home, his panic of poetry felt like something one would say to themselves in their head as they panicked. Every moment in Blindspotting feels truly real and that’s what sets it apart from the rest.

Blindspotting airs Sunday nights on Starz

-Danyi