'For Life' Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Aaron Wallace scores a game-changing win by sticking to his principles

A major win for Aaron fills the show with an all-new energy as its second season heads towards a new direction


                            'For Life' Season 2 Episode 1 Review: Aaron Wallace scores a game-changing win by sticking to his principles
(ABC)

Spoilers for 'For Life' Season 2 Episode 1 'Never Stop Fighting'

Season 1 left fans on quite a tense cliffhanger, as Aaron Wallace's (Nicholas Pinnock) freedom has been hanging in the balance, the one thing that he's been working so hard towards for nine seasons. The cliffhanger ended with a complication, as Glen Maskins (Boris McGiver) offered Aaron a deal that would release him immediately... but be forever labeled a felon, and unable to practice law.

While deals like this are common in every legal drama, few shows ever manage to make the stakes feel quite this big. Aaron has been in prison for a long time, and if he loses his retrial, he might just never get out. On the other hand, no exoneration means that he will never be able to shrug off the lie that was placed on his shoulders - he never sees justice, nor can he fight against injustice in court. It's the system asking Aaron to lay down and accept its unfair punishment of him, under the threat of further abuse, and the risk of it is terrifying. 

The show doesn't let is audience have it easy. The first half of the episode features Aaron mulling over the deal, discussing it with his wife Marie (Joy Bryant) - herself under investigation for a case she helped him with - and his lawyer, Henry Roswell (Timothy Busfield). They help him remind him just why the fight is so important, with Joy Bryant giving a powerful performance in a speech telling Aaron to never give up the fight. Amusingly, however, it's Cyrus Hunt (Chase Kelly) who finally convinces Aaron to forgo the deal, as Hunt's unable to keep himself from taunting Aaron at exactly the wrong moment.

Ultimately, Aaron manages to outwit everyone without making a deal, securing his release, and sending the show in an all-new direction. He's not out of the woods yet, he's on probation for three years, meaning the threat of prison is hanging over his head every episode. For now, however, his release, sweetened by him being able to prevent Maskin's rise to Attorney General, give this show a win that it's sorely needed.

It's an emotional episode, for a number of reasons, largely celebratory ones as Aaron doubles down on his fight in a way that actually pays off. It's also wonderful to see the return of these characters to screen, from Marie's powerful performance to the wonderful friendship reinforced between Aaron and Jamal Bishop (Dorian Crossmond Missick). Even Safiyah Masry (Indira Varma) gets her moment to shine, as she helps facilitate Aaron's plan, and finally gets to see him walk out of prison.

It's a strong start to a new season, shaking up the game in a major way without breaking the board. A win like this refuels the show with a new energy, the tension of injustice still remains over Aaron's head, with his probation, but he now has the liberty to fight against systematic injustice in a way he hasn't before. The show could easily have milked his time in prison for seasons more, but the fact that they didn't only show that they have more important stories to tell, which is a great way to go into an all-new season.

The next episode of 'For Life' airs on November 25 at 10 pm ET on ABC.

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