Boomerang 1x03 "Power" Review
I must start this review of the latest Boomerang episode by giving props to the music selection. Just as in last week’s initial two episodes, the music for each scene was on point and relevant. The kick off for this week’s episode, “Power,” was intense, even though I knew it was a dream. We all know that our dreams often manifest what our subconscious is hinting at, so it’s no surprise that Bryson’s dreams of a romance with Simone are ended abruptly when the tables are, quite literally, turned on him. To those of us who watched even the first few minutes of the pilot episode, the dynamic shown in Bryson’s wet dream isn’t surprising, but it seems to be a revelation for him, so much so that he winds up in his therapist’s office discussing it.
Praise be to whomever decided to include Bryson’s actual therapist session in this episode. I can’t explain how nice it is to see the continued normalization (in the pilot episode, Ari mentions his therapist) of Black people, especially younger Black people, finding their way to mental health professionals. Even better, Bryson’s therapist is also Black which is just one more way media can help increase visibility and awareness of mental health awareness in Black spaces, by centering it as normal within our own community. I also love the fact that Bryson has been seeing her regularly. He didn’t hop out of bed and schedule a therapy session because the idea of anal sex disturbed him. Instead, he went to see his therapist because he wanted to understand what his mind was trying to tell him. If you can’t tell by now, I’m trying to tell you that the entire second scene of the episode was hugely important to me.
When it came to the meat of the conversation between therapist and patient, we dig deep into the fact that Bryson has perhaps always been surrounded by strong Black women who place a high value on success as measured in the business and financial sense. His mother and Victoria both fit the mold, and it seems almost fitting that his attraction to Simone might have roots in that same soil. I got BJE (Big Janelle Energy) from the mention of sex being about power and loved how fast we targeted in on the fact that Bryson feels powerless in his relationship with Simone. Which kicks us right over to…
Simone, happily pilfering office supplies from her parents’ office (as I myself have done too many times to count). It’s fun to see her with Crystal and the “new” Bryson. In his first interaction with Simone this episode, it’s clear that Bryson has decided to flip the script in their relationship. He’s decided to be the “boss” in a manner of speaking and is stepping up in more ways than one. Although Simone might have left The Graham Agency behind, Bryson hasn’t, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that his pet project for film marketing with Simone finally gets the go-ahead from Vic after she’s gone. Simone’s not happy about it and clearly has a strong desire to remain involved somehow and I’m honestly not sure if it’s because she thinks Bryson and Crystal truly can’t handle things without her, or if it’s because she’s worried that not seeing her two friends every day will mean that they no longer need her. Of course, Simone being Simone, finds a way to insert herself into this project.
I loved the faces of the Graham executives after they’d finished screening the movie. It’s more than obvious that the Agency is suffering from an extreme lack of youthful input and it’s perhaps not from lack of availability but because they simply have no desire to change the status quo. The executives want a movie that’s palatable for everyone, not a film, entitled “Woke,” that features a Black woman murdering White people with her bare hands — a complete reversal of the current power dynamic. This ethos winds up working its way into Bryson’s pitch when he has a chance to meet with the directors of the film, who eschew Bryson’s idea of success because it meshes too well with what White society has deemed acceptable.
It’s a bold movie to say, in a show about Black people, created by Black people and for Black people, that the success of our art does not have to be determined by how well it does with White audiences, that we don’t need to attempt to appeal to White audiences to succeed and honestly — it shouldn’t be. How can White critics successfully judge art that is centered around the lived experiences of Black people everywhere? Short answer, they don’t care to, and thus we shouldn’t aspire to meet, or shrink should I say, to the standards they attempt to impose on us.
Tia, Tia, Tia! The girl can do no wrong. Everything about her is golden and I need more of her on my screen at all times. As a fan of the film (she read the script on Myspace years ago — and Myspace — I actually snorted) Tia is all too ready to put her voice to work for it, and her first take is raw and edgy, perhaps a little too honestly to fit into the idea of what mainstream marketing desires for Black projects. It’s something Simone has a hard time believing will sell and she convinces Tia to record a second, more insta-worthy version. Simone, like Bryson, has grown up in a world dominated by conformity, so it’s not odd to me that they’d both struggle with the idea of not placing a film of respectability over Black-led projects. I’m also not surprised that, of the two of them, Simone is harder to win over. She’s shocked when, after they sample both versions for Bryson, he picks Tia’s, and while I’m sure a part of that has to do with the fact that he’s always been on her side, I believe another part may have to do with awe at the nerve it’s going to take to successfully market this film.
All of that aside, perhaps this version of Bryson was exactly who Simone needed to see. It’s clear that Simone has a thing for men who are more dominant and Bryson, having shed his need to continuously seek Simone’s approval (at least for now) is far more confident in his own person and his decisions. It’s clearly doing something for Simone if that head tilt at the end of the episode is anything to go off of. I wonder how their relationship will continue to develop?
I missed Ari!! Where was he?!
Release Tia’s Tracks (both versions!) right now, please! The people have a need.
“All Black people have super powers.” You’re damn right we do.
Boomerang airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on BET.