“Something dangerous is out there and, whether you believe me or not, we are trying to protect your son.”
It’s rare for a single moment to fundamentally alter a person’s view on a show to the point that everything that came before it is rendered moot. The penultimate episode of Raising Dion performs this in a way that I haven’t experienced in a long, long time.
It begins with a frantic Nicole tearing her way through BIONA to find her son. Surprisingly enough, Suzanne is rather forthcoming with Dion’s whereabouts and her designs on studying the super-powered boy. It’s easy to see her as an antagonist, especially considering her matter-of-fact “we’re going to study him no matter what you say” response to Nicole’s demands. And yet, Suzanne’s primary goal is to stop the necrosis of the earth in Iceland that continues to expand. Combined with her keeping track of these hunter storms, Suzanne is more frienemy than villain; that person who, while you’d never keep in confidence, is on the right side of things (even if her methods are somewhat on the questionable side). The decision to frame her and BIONA in this light is a welcome retreat from the usual ‘big company bad’ idea and though BIONA is still not a purely white hat entity, their position is as a stop-gap between our protagonists and the true antagonist of the series thus far, the Elemental.
The middle portions of “You Won’t Like Him When He’s Angry” nearly sink the entire episode. From Dion’s difficulties at school where he and Esperanza fall out when he takes it upon himself (without asking her) to raise his friend from her chair to help her fly/walk. Though I appreciate the sentiment they’re working with, it falls a bit flat considering what’s out their hunting individuals like Dion. But where Dion’s school strife is at least relevant to his character, Nicole’s arc is uninspiring. So, she gets a promotion after busting her butt at work and now has a flirty thing going with Rashad…and? Nothing about it strengthens the narrative, especially considering how she just fall into high school girl giggles after what she and Dion just experienced. Sure, it’s a good thing to allow yourself to become distracted when overwhelming circumstances keep punching you in the gut, but would Nicole so easily fall into this flirtatious mode? I don’t think so; if anything, it makes her look a bit flighty (maybe Pat’s “train wreck” statement was more on the nose than we thought), especially when combined with her eventual fallout with Pat.
I haven’t been shy in expressing my issues with Pat as a character. He’s a wishy-washy, apologetic, practically incompetent man and it’s such a waste of what could have been. Whether this choice was solely on the writers or Jason Ritter makes no difference; over the past several episodes, he’s gone from awkwardly charming to an embarrassment. When he shows up to Nicole’s work (does he know what a phone’s for?!) I was ready to completely lambast him but then Pat does something he’s not done all season: stand up for himself. Calling Nicole out for her self-involved behavior, how she used him without a thought is on the money and something that I disliked about her. Some of his words are harsh—telling Nicole he spends more time with Dion than she does—but true, though they put her on the defensive, which is often a welcome position when someone is rightfully called to the carpet. Forgetting everything he’s done for them, Nicole bans Pat from seeing Dion, a declaration he ignores and when he runs into Charlotte at the apartment, she zaps Pat to keep him away, only to be floored with the same shock as this viewer…
“I should have killed you in New Orleans.”
With 8 words, Pat turns everything about Raising Dion on its head. His proclamation is quickly followed by his transformation into the Elemental. Though Charlotte gives it a go, even hurting him/it, she’s no match for it and her fate, as Nicole watches on, becomes that of everyone else the Elemental has hunted: absorbed into it.
Though I appreciate some of the things they were trying to do, most of “You Won’t Like Him” was either a convoluted mess of character moments or a disinteresting narrative. It started well enough with Suzanne laying down the truth for Nicole but the moment it delved into the characters’ personal lives outside of the series narrative, it went off the rails. Yet all that was forgotten when Pat revealed himself to be It: the Elemental. The Storm God. The Thing that Stalks the Powered.
This reveal creates so many questions; has this thing been inside of Pat since Iceland or is it a recent occurrence? Are his migraines caused by being in proximity of those with powers or fighting for control of the Elemental? Are the powers a part of him and does he need to absorb them back into himself to survive? What is his ultimate goal? At the end of the day, the final 60 seconds (or so) of this episode turned it from a very forgettable entry in Raising Dion franchise to the most memorable moment of the series thus far. And considering the forty-plus minutes before it, that is no small feat.
Raising Dion – “You Won’t Like Him When He’s Angry”
7 out of 10