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Blindspotting: Weddings Bells or Prison Alarms?

For the past eight weeks every Sunday night Blindspotting has plucked it audiences from our couches and invited us into a little slice of Oakland life. It’s been the most creative event of the summer with the way it seamlessly slips spoken word and interpretive dance scenes side by side with real life discussions of hardships and trauma. So it’s not surprising that the season finale is bursting wide open and pulling out every last stop it has to make one final point.

Miles is transferring in a week which means seeing him regularly is going to be tough. It also means the reality that he’s going to be gone for five years is going to hit again. So in an effort to find some way to bring them closer despite the concrete ocean between them, Ashley decides that they’re going to get married. In the visitation block with the safety glass between them and the guards watching their every move. It’s not much and it’s definitely not a dream like wedding but the whole family has agreed, even Trish plus it’s the best comfort Ashley can come up with for herself. She needs this. After a hectic morning of reminding Rainey to find her ID, reassuring that Trish is going to wear actual clothes and Sean running around in his Sunday best; the family sets off to surprise Miles.

Meanwhile Earl starts his first day of work but the trauma of his ankle monitor has a tight grip on him. Not to mention James, his P.O, is still dismissive of his anxiety and seems to only be by his phone when it means telling Earl what time to be home. But once Earl is about to calm his budding panic, via probably the prettiest interpretative dance scene of the season, he finds a state of calmness and freedom we haven’t seen from him before. Until he’s told that there’s another boat coming in he’ll have to help with, which will make him get home late. It all goes downhill from there.

Like many things lately in Ashley’s life, there’s always a hiccup or two. In this case there are several before she even makes it through the metal detector. Including Trish’s grill getting stuck in place, Rainey’s ID being expired so she has to run home to get her passport, longtime family friend “Uncle Rick” refusing to ordain the wedding once he learns that Miles hasn’t actually consented to it and Janelle dropping the bomb that in Bali she was married and a stepmom. It’s a lot, but once she and Miles are finally in front of each other nothing else matters. And he might be shocked and insistent that Ashley doesn’t have to marry him out of guilt but she’s not hearing any of that. She knows him well enough to know that he wants to get married just like her, so they’re going to do the damn thing. If nothing else, the bond and love that two of them share is genuine and pure.

But while everything works out in Ashley’s favor, Earl spirals into turmoil. He’s home late, the light on his monitor is red, it’s over for him. As quickly as his new start began, it’s all going to come crashing down because without a doubt the police are on their way to arrest him. He’s not even going to get to say goodbye. He does manage to leave behind a note for Janelle and the others because by the time they make it home the only thing left behind is his extension chord. And as police sirens ring in the distance Ashely let’s us in on a little secret: everything that’s been going on since the first episode has happened within the span of one month.

“Bride or Die” may not be my favorite episode of the season but it definitely does it’s job as a finale. With so many moments that evoke a variety of emotions it’s hard to decide which was a favorite of the best. From Trish’s laugh out loud perfect comedic timing to the warmth of Janelle’s reveal and the heartbreak of Earl’s unfair downfall, the episode is full to the brim with moments of masterpiece. Even the spoken word poems and dances feel like a step up from previous episodes, despite the past ones not lacking at all. A hard bar to raise that is somehow risen higher.

To me, the best thing about the season finale is the last second reveal that everything we’ve witnessed in the past eight episodes occurs over the time of just one month. Simply because it puts a new perspective on the entire series as a whole, and puts even more focus on how terrible the prison system is and the effect it has on those not even incarcerated. In four weeks life has been ruined, uplifted, ruined and uplifted again. It’s not an exaggeration that there’s something different every single day.

Although the episode is pretty evenly divided, it’s Earl’s half that really leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Sure it sucks that Ashley and Miles had to kiss through a thick sheet of glass and will have to coordinate their sex lives for the next five years but it’s Earl that truly bears the brunt of the chaotic day. It’s fitting that his character is surrounded by dancers and spoken word, because the trauma he’s experiencing isn’t something that can be plainly stated. It has to be felt, and by the end of the episode Earl’s situation and the after effects this will have on him lingers with you. He is by far the most developed and interesting character of the show.

With a cameo from Utkarsh Ambudkar who told the hilarious Scorpion Bowl story in the original movie as a prisoner with just a one letter difference from Miles, and a phone cameo from Collin himself; the finale is probably the most ambiguous of the episodes. It lays the groundwork for could be an explosive second season, especially if Collin allows himself to return home.

Hopefully a renewal is on the way for Blindspotting as it would be a huge missed opportunity if Starz didn’t.

-Danyi