by Pilot Viruet | via Vulture
At what point do you have to admit that you’ve grown apart from an old friend and cut ties? This decision is always rough, but it turns out that a ten-year prison stint makes it a bit easier for Jerrod — though reaching this conclusion involves some regression, some cocaine, and a whole lot of familiar Carmichael debate.
In “Ex-Con,” Jerrod’s old friend Shawn shows up out of the blue after being released from prison. Jerrod is quick to point out that Shawn isn’t a violent criminal; though he was sentenced to 13 years for dealing drugs, he was released early for good behavior. At first, Maxine is a bit hesitant about the whole situation because she doesn’t know Shawn. Once Cynthia and Joe show up to take the oppositional opinion against Jerrod, she reverts back to her usual do-gooder self, who believes that Shawn can, and will, change as long as he has the right support. That support comes in the form of Maxine agreeing with Jerrod that Shawn should crash at their apartment rather than in a halfway house where everyone looks like a Batman villain.
Both Cynthia and Joe aren’t keen on the idea, as they’ve always been wary of Shawn and his influence on their son. We learn a few things about Shawn as the episode goes on — he stole from the collection plate at church, he “borrowed” (i.e., stole) Joe’s car without asking — and although it’s nothing that’s super dangerous or harmful to those around him, it’s still reasonable why these parents would be concerned about their child hanging out with him. Of course, Cynthia and Joe would probably have the same “Shawn can’t change” opinion if he were a stranger released from prison, but having him be one of Jerrod’s good friends helps to give the Carmichael parents a personal stake in the conversation, which brings the debate home to the living room.
Despite Jerrod’s impassioned defense of Shawn, it’s not long before the two of them regress into old, questionable behavior. Just minutes after Shawn’s arrival, they head out for breakfast and don’t arrive back until the next morning, both drunk. Jerrod’s not exactly a charming drunk in his conversation with Maxine as he tries to explain that Shawn needed to blow off some steam and have fun after ten years behind bars. (This scene was actually a little painful to watch, instead of just cringe-y.) He also reveals that Shawn got into a fight — ahem: a scuffle, dust-up, scrum — on his first night out. What’s worse is that the fight was only over a guy stepping on Jerrod’s Jordans. Maxine reminds Jerrod that what Shawn does in his first two weeks is “critical to his success,” but her advice doesn’t seem to sink in.
To read the rest of the recap, “Ex-Con,” click HERE!!!