'For Life' Season 2 Episode 2 Review: Aaron Wallace is finally home but Marie still needs more from him

Aaron has got a lot of responsibilities towards his family and readjusting to life at home isn't as easy as it looks


                            'For Life' Season 2 Episode 2 Review: Aaron Wallace is finally home but Marie still needs more from him
(ABC)

Spoilers for 'For Life' Season 2 Episode 2 'Homecoming'

Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock) may be home, but he's far from in the clear. When he was exonerated of the crime that put him away for nine years, an assault charge during last season's riot still gave him a three-year probation charge. As a Black man with a target on his back, Aaron isn't yet a free man — but he has more agency now than he ever did behind bars, meaning that he still has all the responsibilities of one, to his family and to his defendants.

The episode at least gives us a few moments of well-deserved respite before focusing on Aaron's troubles. Continuing the high that ended last week's episode are a number of touching scenes of Aaron reuniting with his family, and getting to hold his grandson for the first time. It's a tender moment and it was absolutely worth the wait. It's scenes like these that will make a rewatch of the show that much more enjoyable, knowing that those kinds of moments are what Aaron has been fighting for.

Aaron's release isn't a happy ending, however. Joy Bryant as Marie Wallace excels in this episode. Throughout the series, Marie has shown herself to have Aaron's back when he needs her the most. Now, we get to see another side to her — someone trying to deal with a host of complicated emotions about her husband.

The love is there, but the structure of their marriage has been wrecked. It's not beyond repair, but it will take work, and part of that work is Aaron realizing that he can't be the lone wolf that he was in prison. He can't take the same risks that he was able to from behind bars — because now, more than ever, Aaron has something to lose.

It's the subtle moments that make Bryant's performance shine. Biting her tongue when Aaron's dedication to justice makes their lives a little harder. Hiding her frustrations with Aaron from his new probation officer. Trying to find a way to process her resentment while also giving Aaron the keys — literal and otherwise — he needs to make a new life for himself and remind him that he has a family to support, and the harsh truth is, now that he's out of prison he has his own weight to pull.

The work Marie and Aaron have to do as a couple begins with this episode, and it's filled with tender moments, layered writing, and appreciation for how much work Marie has done for their family.

Aaron's pride vs Aaron's responsibilities is a large part of this episode's theme and one of the biggest challenges to his pride is his new probation officer, played by Sean Boyce Johnson. Blessedly, the probation officer may be tough, but he seems to be on Aaron's side and recognizes the raw end that Black people are given in a probationary situation — just not to the point where he'd go to the mat for Aaron if Aaron's caught breaking the rules.

Though Aaron still has a lot of work to do, his professional competence is still on point and he manages to secure himself a new job on his terms, make headway on Jamal Bishop's (Dorian Crossmond Missick) case, and even win his very first appearance in court, at a speed that makes it all look easy. This episode is where Season 2 truly begins and it's off to a very strong start.

The next episode of 'For Life' airs on December 2 at 10 pm ET on ABC.

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