'For Life' Season 2 Episode 3: What unfair circumstances caused Aaron Wallace to advocate for NOT fighting?
Aaron Wallace, the man who risked everything for his exoneration, is not so willing to let a woman by martyred for the larger cause of justice
Spoilers for 'For Life' Season 2 Episode 3 'The Necessity Defence'
Aaron Wallace's (Nicholas Pinnock) freedom was earned by his refusal to make deals. The very first episode of this season hinges on that, in fact - after a season break waiting to see whether or not Aaron would take a deal for his freedom, or fight for his exoneration, Aaron chose to never stop fighting. 'Never Stop Fighting' was the even the first episode's title. So it comes as a bit of a twist to have an episode where Aaron advocates for taking a deal - but does a strong job of indicating just why he does so.
Things are certainly looking up in Aaron's personal life. He's back in bed with his wife Marie (Joy Bryant), he's got a well paid new job with Spencer Richardson (John Douglas Thompson), and even his parole officer, Scottie Williams (Sean Boyce Johnson) seems to be doing his best to show Aaron he's on his side. In the wider world, however, injustice is still running rampant, and Spencer is hoping to use Aaron as a figurehead to fight it - but if there's one thing Aaron refuses to be anymore, it's controlled.
The case in question involves a woman who pulled a gun on hospital employees to get her son some much needed medical treatment. Her actions managed to save her son's life, but threatening harm is still illegal, and nobody's disputing that that's what happened. Aaron's only choice is to go for "The Necessity Defence" - one that allows for someone to take drastic, illegal actions to save a life if no legal action was available to them. Unfortunately, while Aaron makes some great arguments in court proving racial discrimination in the hospital - as well as in the healthcare system as a whole - when it comes down to taking a deal, Aaron advocates for the woman to take it.
34 years if she loses the case versues the 4 she's being offered. That's what the decision comes down to. No one is arguing that she's not been treated unfairly - Aaron manages to prove that quite effectively in court. What he isn't sure he can prove in court, however, is how much freedom African Americans are allowed to fight back with. While it's true that the system will never change without Americans willing to fight back against it, what men like Spencer don't seem to be taking into account is the personal cost of that fight. Aaron lost nine years - and nearly lost the rest of his life - to that fight. Time with his family, time to himself, time he's truly beginning to appreciate now that he's outside. Justice requires sacrifice - but Aaron understands that the choice of that sacrifice ought to be up to his clients, not the needs of the many.
The kinds of clients Aaron will be dealing with this season will likely be stuck between a similar rock and a hard place - on one hand, the racial injustices of the law in America, and on the other hand, the pressures of required sacrifices to fight that law from men like Spencer. Aaron's fighting on two fronts for his clients now, which is a layer of nuance in a law drama that is one of the biggest strengths of 'For Life'. While there are some strong moments spent with his family - particularly the discussions of the case's complexities with his wife - this episode's focus is a much needed to legal complexities, and the realities of the hard decisions defendants must face.
While the Necessity Defence wasn't one that was fought for, this episode, it's a worthy defence to keep in mind going into the rest of this season. Every so often, there are no legal options left - so just how far will people go to defend themselves and their loved ones, and what sacrifices are they willing to accept to do so?
The next episode of 'For Life' airs on Wednesday, December 9, at 10 pm ET, on ABC.