“Every superhero needs a team…”
Now that Pat’s been pulled into the circle of trust, Dion’s secret is no longer just between him and his mom; while Nicole’s conversation with Charlotte Tuck sparks more questions than answers.
As Dion’s godfather (and, from all signs pointing to him as an uber nerd), it was only a matter of time before Pat discovered the young boy’s abilities. Watching Dion teleport away from danger and into his mother’s arms at the tail-end of “Fortress of Solitude” was another positive step as the writers are not dragging out the unnecessary. This new development also lifts some of the pressure off Nicole; having someone to talk to about her son’s newfound powers must help her from feeling all alone in the world, especially since her sister Kat has yet to accept the truth. Though he sometimes comes off as a cornball—apropos considering his character—Jason Ritter does a good job connecting with Ja’Siah Young’s Dion. But it’s not just his new role as mentor that will be important to the story; he catches sight of some shading dealings at his work and, knowing Pat, he very well may find himself in over his head should he decide to investigate.
For Nicole, reaching out to Charlotte Tuck proves to be another step towards her understanding Dion’s powers. The woman, whose ability to turn invisible, tells Nicole about the aurora event, a convergence of celestial power years ago in Iceland that gifted (or cursed, depending on one’s outlook) those who were exposed to its fury fantastic powers. That includes Mark who, staying true to the superhero motif if keeping secrets, never shared this with Nicole. Though this is an answer to how Dion received his powers it only heightens the importance of finding out more about Mark’s research, the abilities the others may have gained, and the thing in the storm. This elemental-like entity, in all its anthropomorphic glory, may be a far greater threat to Dion and the others than the governmental bodies that will no doubt be most curious to dissect the origins of these new superhumans…even if one just so happens to be a child of seven.
Inasmuch as “Watch Man” furthers the narrative on Dion’s origins and what’s to come, it also acts as a bit of social commentary on prejudice and pain. While the former is handled in a somewhat heavy-handed manner when Dion’s white principal assumes he’s the instigator of violence when Jonathan, a white kid that takes Dion’s watch (a totem, of sorts that Nicole uses to help her son focus his abilities).
Even if the execution lacks a smooth integration with the rest of the narrative, that doesn’t discount Nicole’s eventual message to her son that prejudice exists in this world and it won’t be just Dion’s abilities that will make him the odd duck at times. Less controversial and, in my opinion, much more pertinent, is Mr. Fry’s (Donald Paul, Power, Grown) lesson to Dion and Jonathan. Instead of striking out in anger, he says to the boys, try to ask the other person why they feel the way they do; understanding someone’s circumstance and point of view, if you are receptive to it, can oftentimes curb the insta-judgment people often make when others do them wrong. It’s such a simple lesson (like the Golden Rule) and, in some ways, its practice would be a balm to the ingrained prejudices people carry with them throughout life.
Little nuggets like these, even when overtly pressed into the narrative, showcases the potential for Raising Dion to be something more than mindless escapism. “Watch Man” shares a few of the hiccups from its two predecessors but does a much better job integrating both characters and tone. Now, if we can just get a handle on music that doesn’t distract and fits seamlessly into the action…