Raising Dion

Raising Dion season 2

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kennedy Unthank
Kristin Smith

TV Series Review

Recently widowed Nicole Warren knows that her son, Dion, is special.

After all, we normal people can’t suspend cereal in mid-air. Nor can we teleport, shoot fireballs or turn invisible (even if the last one’s confined to a hand).

But Dion’s dad, Mark, also had powers as a result of a strange event in Iceland, and Dion provides a unique case study for second-generation “powered people.” With powered people popping up all over the world, a biotech company called BIONA has stepped in to study them while protecting them from the rest of the world.

You see, they’re not really sure how people may react to these people with powers, and until they gauge that the world won’t turn on them X-Men style, it’s safer to keep everything hidden.

But those details are too much for little Dion. He’s already having trouble making friends in his new school in Atlanta. Experimenting with his own (extremely cool) superpowers takes up quite a bit of his attention, too. And like any good superhero, Dion feels a duty to use his powers for good, which may potentially expose his secret to the world—including those who want him dead.

And believe me, they’re out there, and they’re looking for him.

As Dion’s powers increase, Nicole’s confusion and frustration grow: It’s hard to parent a fledgling superhero, and harder still to keep him safe. But what if her desire to protect her son isn’t enough? What if there’s a natural force out there bent on destroying Dion … just like it might’ve destroyed his dad?

Should You Teleki-see-this?

Netflix’ original series, Raising Dion, is a testament to audiences that superheroes come in all sizes, and not just via Marvel or DC.

The two seasons lay out a multi-faceted story, one that’s just as much about Nicole—Dion’s overworked, under-supported single mother—as it is about little Dion and his struggles to make friends, control his superpowers and function as a “powered person” in society. It also incorporates Dion’s quirky, awkward godfather, Pat, and Nicole’s practical, no-nonsense sister, Kat, as they try to help Nicole heal emotionally and raise Dion. In flashbacks, it tells the story of Dion’s dad, Mark, right up to his mysterious disappearance. And, it tells of how role models—both positive and negative—can influence us on our journey.

It’s a confusing tale, one that will obviously be solved as it’s doled out episodically, but it’s not a graphic tale. That said, the show contains plenty that would-be viewers should note: There’s some light language and a few outfits that show glimpses of skin. Kat is revealed to be a lesbian late in the first season. And in season two, we hear a character snidely reference Christianity.

And there are also scary elements that incorporate magic, superpowers and unexplainable acts of nature that may frighten younger children. For instance, in season two, we see a skeleton slowly gain flesh and come back to life, and we see a swarm of birds form into a creepy face. Additionally, the occasional background song may reference unsavory themes like drugs.

But we also find heart and soul in each PG-rated episode. We learn about the value of individuality, the hurt in racism and the value in reconciliation, and the necessity of loving, supportive friends, parents and mentors.

Episode Reviews

Feb. 1, 2022 – S2, Ep1: “ISSUE #201: A Hero Returns”

While Dion and his mother Nicole get used to training with a new superpowered mentor, a young superpowered boy named Brayden, under the influence of the evil Crooked Energy (an entity that inhabits Brayden that, when it appears, looks a little like an unsettling Harry Potter dementor), looks for Dion.

Brayden plays a video game similar to Mortal Kombat, where two characters fight each other until one dies. One character shoots the other with a bazooka. Brayden telepathically controls a woman at the ticket counter into giving him a Nintendo Switch. He uses this mind-control ability two other times as well: once to get a ride to Atlanta and once to cause a guard to fall asleep.

A man pushes Brayden to the ground and steals his backpack, and the Crooked Energy inside Brayden electrocutes the man to death.

Kwame, the manager of a dance studio Nicole used to dance for, references bringing a bottle of wine to Nicole’s house, and Nicole drinks wine with her sister Kat, the latter of whom talks about dating women. A woman explodes some testing blocks in a training room. Nicole is intentionally sprayed with milk.

Dion practices his powers with a trainer, including conjuring a fireball that almost hits Nicole. Gary, the school’s night guard, is stung by flying green spores and collapses to the ground. We see green liquid pulsing up his veins.

A song in the background references using a middle finger while in a coffin. Later, “Coming in Hot” by Christian hip-hop artist Andy Mineo plays in the background.

There are two uses of “h—,” and God’s name is misused five times.

Feb. 1, 2022 – S2, Ep8: “ISSUE #208: Who You Are”

When Brayden arrives with an army of monsters to kill everyone at the school production, Dion, Nicole and Dion’s superpowered mentor, Tevin, must fight to protect everyone inside. In the BIONA lab, doctors fight to keep Dion’s godfather, Pat, alive.

While characters inside the school perform songs from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, Dion, Nicole and Tevin fight hundreds of zombie-like monsters on the school football field. These zombies are humans who were infected by painful plant spores rooting inside their skin. While the camera pans over the soon-to-be battlefield, “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae plays, and it references both being drunk and drowning.

Dion’s friend Esperanza is tasked with keeping people inside the school so they don’t “get murdered.” The battle against Brayden’s army features lots of punches, fireballs, forcefields and even a tornado. In addition, someone arrives late in the fight and uses their power to kill many of the monsters. After the fight, a character gets restrained and stung by glowing plant spores.

A sick man struggles on a hospital bed before dying. A man freezes two people. The Crooked Energy possesses someone. An after-credits scene shows a character approaching Atlanta with a robot army, with a destroyed city behind them.

“B–tard” and “d–n” are both used once. “H—” is used five times, and God’s name is misused three times.

Oct. 4, 2019 – S1, Ep1: “ISSUE #101: How Do You Raise a Superhero?”

Dion’s mother Nicole is terrified when she learns that her son has unexplainable superpowers. Dion, for his part, tries to learn how to use and control his powers.

Ghost-like figures appear in a rainstorm to warn Nicole of possible danger. Dion exclaims “I can do magic!” as he learns to control objects with his mind. Nicole’s shoulder is cut when Dion’s Legos fly throughout the living room. Dion falls off a boat into a lake during a massive storm. Dion gets hurt while skateboarding and is later grounded for going to the skate park without permission. A group of boys bullies Dion.

Nicole jogs in spandex leggings and a sports bra. A man texts a shirtless picture to Nicole. Nicole lounges in a bathtub (we only see her bare shoulders and legs). A woman wears a cleavage-baring top. A couple kisses a few times.

God’s name is misused twice, a woman says “d–n” and a group of kids call Dion “lame.” Dion makes a joke about flatulence.

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kennedy-unthank
Kennedy Unthank

Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. His favorite movie is La La Land.

kristin-smith
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).

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