we For Life Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Never Stop Fighting ~ Naija Poets

Free at last, our boy is finally free at last!

Well, not without a caveat, of course. For Life Season 2 Episode 1 felt like a chapter came to a close. But it also has paved a path of endless possibilities and surprises.

Where does Aaron Wallace go from here?

For Life was a quiet, breakout hit, and the first season was such an underrated gem of a series. My only hope is that more people have happened across this show and are as committed to it as I am.

The premiere managed to wrap up all the loose threads that were dangling in the finale. Aaron is exonerated, and he's out of prison.

It's a shock that they pulled off this feat before the end of the hour. You would expect it to take a few installments to get Aaron to this point and defeat Maskins.

However, the early release means the season can go in many different directions as we move into what everything looks like for Aaron outside of prison.

It'll be interesting to see Aaron adapt to the civilian world after a decade locked away for something he didn't do.

He has so much to adjust to now.

The series that has provided insight into prison politics, corruption, and an imbalanced justice system, will surely touch on the real plight of those immersing themselves into a world outside of the structure and restriction of confinement.

For some people, getting tossed back into society can be so overwhelming, and there's a slippery path that could always lead them right back to incarceration.

Aaron has a support network, and he's motivated enough to keep himself on the up, but his issue is the three years of probation he's on.

But let's get into how that came about in the first place. One of the highlights of the show is watching Aaron use his wits and intellect to get an upper-hand.

I used to have a vision of what it would be like of seeing a jury declare my innocence in front of the world. Of finally stepping out of this place no longer a convinced drug kingpin. Just a man with his family but that was a long time ago before I knew what it would take. Before I knew how powerful the forces adding me really were and what they were willing to do going after my wife, threatening my friends, leveraging everything in my life against me. But what if that was just a fantasy? What if life doesn't really work that way? What if somehow I get my freedom and have to give up justice? Would I be willing to live with that? 

Aaron Voiceover

For Aaron, his most powerful weapon is his mind. He's playing chess when everyone expects him to play checkers, and for that alone, he proved a formidable opponent to Maskins.

To be educated is to be dangerous, and Aaron is what you'd call young, gifted, and black. He carried himself with such honor and integrity too that Maskins was losing allies along the way because of his vindictive behavior.

It's enraging how underhanded and shady Maskins was in his attempts to get to Aaron. He showed his hand as to how much he feared Aaron because of how hard he chose to go after him.

From the beginning, Maskins' obsession with Aaron felt personal, and the dirtier he got with his tactics, the more apparent it was for those around him.

Maskins: You're not starting to think Wallace is innocent.
Dez: I don't know, Glenn. And I don't think you do either.

Dex suddenly becoming a bit of a moral compass was an intriguing move. Maskins had him questioning why he got into the field in the first place.

If Aaron were as guilty as Maskins claimed, then they wouldn't need to resort to obstruction, corruption, intimidation, and illegal acts to keep him in prison.

Aaron could barely process his retrial win before Hunt had the other prisoners coming after Aaron for being a snitch, and Maskins and Dex were going after Marie for H.I.P.A.A.. violations, tampering, and obstruction.

Maskins dragging Aaron's family into his foolish vendetta was where he effed up and headed down a path that only led to his downfall.

He didn't have a strong enough case against Marie, but he hoped to use the threat of harm to them and Aaron's loved ones to get Aaron to make a deal.

But Henry is always the voice of reason. He knew that Maskins and Dex presenting Aaron a deal meant they had a weak case and a chance of losing against him.

Aaron only had to see the bigger picture, and fortunately, Henry and Marie would not let him settle when he was so close to his goal.

Sure, Aaron was motivated to practice law to exonerate himself, but he loves what he does. It's not a good deal if he can't do what he's not only passionate about but damn good.

Aaron Wallace is an innocent man. Try to remember a day when that actually mattered if you still can.


The fact that it was a stipulation at all showed how utterly terrified they were of this man. Aaron, as a lawyer, is a force to be reckoned with, and they know it.

I'm almost grateful Cyrus Hunt was such an arrogant asshole. His childish attempt at taunting Aaron and kicking him while he was down not only made Aaron change his mind about signing that deal, but he alerted him that they were bugging the entire prison and listening to privileged conversations.

Aaron is incapable of letting some things stand, and it was imperative that he not leave that prison in jeopardy with someone like Hunt in charge. What good was he if he was Maskins' minion?

No one but Maskins benefited from that; Hunt didn't even have the best interest of the correctional officers in mind. His reign over that prison was oppressive for all involved, and Masry had made such progress there.

Something that continues to be a highlight of the series is how respected and valued Aaron is by other prisoners. Many of them know that he's a good egg, and he'll put his neck out there for them or defend them if needed.

No one else could convince someone like Nathan to make that claim about an assault in the yard. But Nathan did it without hesitation for Aaron. It's a type of loyalty and allegiance you can't manufacture, you know?

By doing so, Aaron could get access to the footage of Maskins threatening him in the courtyard, and with allies like Masry, who was still going to bat for him, he got it despite Hunt and Maskins' attempts to cover their tracks.

The ultimate power move was Aaron striking that deal with Hunt. Hell, even Aaron paying his dues via a beatdown worked to his advantage in that way.

Cyrus: Hope your wife is still going to respect you that maybe your name wasn't worth all that much, to begin with.
Aaron: You know what? I'm going to still need a few more days to think about it. 

It was a collective effort by some prisoners/friends, guards, Masry, and his friends and loved ones that helped Aaron stack up all the evidence and leverage he needed to end Maskins and get his freedom.

It's something about so many people rallying around Aaron and doing what's right that makes you emotional, and those are the moments when For Life strikes the perfect emotional chord.

It's that realization that when Aaron wins, the rest of them do too, whether it's the other prisoners, his family who need him, or those who know the justice system has to mean something.

Aaron is on the right side of it, fighting for what the system is supposed to be about -- the ideals that we're supposed to value and hold in high regard.

All of that is what probably led Dex to his moral stance against Maskins. The ambush was nothing if not satisfying. Alan is keeping his job as Attorney General for the time being, and Dex is the D.A.

But is this the last of Maskins? He served as the primary antagonist for the entire first season, and he doesn't seem like someone who will slink off into a corner to lick his wounds. He got away with too much and took the politician's way out.

He's not truly answering for his sins, but he feels slighted by all of this. It's doubtful this is the last of Maskins. He'll probably be the person doing whatever he can to trip up Aaron's probation.

Because every win still comes with a caveat, and of course, there was no way they could let Aaron go with a clean slate. Ten years wasn't enough, and they still had to stick it to him somehow.

Listen, you have a chance to do better. You know that.

Aaron [to Dex]

He's free, his name is clear, and he gets to practice law, but he had to cop to the assault in prison, and he has to be on probation for three years.

Probation is tricky. If Aaron ends up with a rigid probation officer or someone with an ax to grind, then he'll be walking a tight rope to avoid violations that could land him back in prison for the slightest thing.

And Aaron will probably be in some positions that will test him. He may have left prison, but prison hasn't left him. It has changed him, and he's carrying it, his experiences, and the people there with him.

He already promised to get Jamal out of the joint. Jamal is a character who resonates so deeply with most viewers, and Dorian Missick is the absolute best playing him.

Aaron: Thank you for everything. 
Jamal: Get your life back, brotha. Knock 'em dead. 

Aaron couldn't have asked for a better ride or die; Jamal is his brother for life, and their scenes together continue to be some of the strongest.

It's such a relief that Jamal not only survived but he's doing well and will probably be OK now that he's Shot Caller(of sorts).

He's the person who grounded Aaron when he was in prison, and that bond is such a special one that it'll be interesting to see how it continues with Aaron on the outside.

But Aaron has a respect for others in prison, too. He has helped many, and they have extended that aid to him. If I were the crying type, his exchange with one of the prisoners he previously helped about not forgetting them, and his experience would've had me bawling like a baby.

Nathan: Whatever happens, I got your back. 
Aaron: Thanks, man.

Even the euphoria, pride, and jubilation by the prisoners as they bid Aaron farewell was a total Feels Fest.

He's in a unique position to advocate for these men, and he'll undoubtedly find himself doing that. It may also put him against Dex, now. Aaron's parting words to the new D.A. were powerful, and hopefully, Dex will heed them.

But if he does, then will that mean the season's biggest antagonist will be the system itself? If so, I'm ready if Aaron is.

Additional Notes:

  • Of course, Masry was going to be there when Aaron walked out. Their relationship is as unusual as it is endearing.
  • Masry is considered a disgrace, but will she and Aaron find a way to work together now that he's out, and she needs a new job?
  • How long before Marie and Aaron rekindle their relationship? Now that he's out, everything has changed.
  • Nicholas Pinnock is such an affecting actor, and those opening and closing monologues pull at the heartstrings every time.
  • Cyrus Hunt (Chance Kelly) looks like he should be a dojo at Cobra Kai or the opponent in a Rocky movie. I kinda love it. 
  • Excellent use of Leon Bridges at the end. For Life has a kickass soundtrack.

Over to you, For Life Fanatics. How did you enjoy the premiere? Are you relieved that Aaron is out? What are your theories on what he does for the rest of the season?

Do you think we've seen the last of Maskins? Will Dex's moral streak continue? Hit the comments below.

You can watch For Life online here via TV Fanatic. 

source https://www.tvfanatic.com/2020/11/for-life-season-2-episode-1-review-never-stop-fighting/


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Article Index

website traffic

Blog Archive


1. The Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets

2. Brunel International African Poetry Prize

3. Writing Contests, Grants & Awards | Poets & Writers

4. Mississippi Review Poetry Contest

5. Bayou Magazine's Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry

6. Gemini Magazine Poetry Open

7. The Colorado Review Prize for Poetry

8. USA Gold Pencils Student Poetry Contest

9. The Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize

10. The Backwaters Prize

11. Black River Chapbook Competition

12. Grist's Pro Forma Writing Contest

13. Tethered by Letters 2020 Spring Literary Contest

14. Juxtaprose 2020 Poetry Contest

15. The Cossack Review's October Poetry Prize

16. Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest

17. TIFERET Writing Contest

18. Boulevard Emerging Poets Contest

19. The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Award

20. Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award