This is the episdoe I knew would come.
Won't take me long to write my reflections on it either. The four middle school boys that this season is built around-Namond(above middle), Dukie, Michael, and Randy- each are failed by the adults in their lives who are supposed to protect them. DuEach for different reasons and circumstances, but nevertheless, they are failed. Dukie comes home to find all the family's belongings tossed on the street due to eviction - no parent in sight. Randy's 'witness protection' gets suckered into leaving the detail like the Keystone Cops, allowing Randy's home to be firebombed and his beloved foster mother to end up in the hospital with 2nd degree burns. (Do I need to tell you Sgt. Carver was in charge of that operation?)
Namond's beyond selfish mother berates him mercilessly for having "the package" (his drug supply and hence, their income) ripped off by his pint-sized lieutenant, Kenard. She expects him to be like his gangster legend father, who is currently serving a sentence in the pen, so as to maintain their hood-rich lifestyle. When he states, dead on, that being like his father would get him "locked up", his mother hauls off and slaps him. Julito McCullum could not have played the pain, shock, and confusion at this turn of events any better. I couldn't help but cry as you see the realization that he will never live up to his mother's expectations fade slowly across his face like the sunset. He is a child, and that's all he wants to be. It is sad and comical that he recruits an 8 year old as a 'soldier', but it's exactly what a 14 year-old would do. He's been abandoned by his mother at this exact moment, even though he's still standing in front of her.
He is further disillusioned by his friend Michael's sad inevitable descent into violence; Michael beats little Kenard heinously for stealing the package. It's as if since arranging his stepfather's death, Michael is drawn to the new-found power of violence like a drug. Namond doesn't know Michael anymore, and he never will again. This storyline ends with us hoping Namond's teacher and surrogate father, former Captain Bunny Colvin, takes him in.
It is an indictment on all adults that these children are allowed to be emotionally, educationally, physically, and spiritially neglected. Children should not have to worry about being abused, where they will live, what they will eat, raise their siblings, or pay bills. They should be allowed to be children. Again, knowing that this entire series comes from real life, I can't dismiss it from my mind as just entertainment. It's my weekly wake up call. Wake up people. Wake UP.
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