Though just two seasons into its run on ABC, Kenya Barris' black-ish has garnered consistent critical praise leading up to an Emmy nomination for star Anthony Anderson's acclaimed work in the series' inaugural season as Dre Johnson. However, on Wednesday, black-ish made its most daring and inspiring move yet with "Hope," an episode focused on the sadly still prevalent issue of police brutality.
"Police brutality is the issue we chose to talk about, but the bigger issue for me is talking to your kids about what’s going on in the world," Kenya Barris, black-ish creator and showrunner, tells the New York Times. "It used to be you could shelter them in your own way, but with Internet and phones and 24-hour news, you can’t avoid those conversations." As Dre and his family gather around the TV to see if a police officer will face charges in the death of an unarmed black man in Wednesday's episode, the series takes a surprisingly dramatic turn that proves remarkably successful.
Adding that he wanted "Hope" to feel like viewers were "eavesdropping on this family’s conversation," Barris argues (as the episode proves) that comedy is often the best "lens to filter serious issues through." The highlight of the episode, though best viewed within its full context, rests in a monologue from Dre (Anderson) on the realities facing not only the Johnson children but many children across the nation in the wake of issues like police brutality and an apparent surge in institutionalized racism.
"Let's say they do make it to trial," Dre tells Bow. "You see where that gets us. The system is rigged against us." After Bow insists that she wants their children to live with the hope that things will get better, Dre continues: "Oh, so you want to talk about hope, Bow? Obama ran on hope. Remember when he got elected? We felt like maybe—just maybe—we got out of that bad place and made it to a good place."
Peep the full (and very necessary) scene above, then keep an eye on black-ish for plenty more TV-reinventing moments in the seasons ahead.