DCAU #391: Sons of the Fathers

IN THIS ONE... Ebon captures Richie, whose father is revealed to be a racist.

CREDITS: Written by Christopher Simmons; directed by Dan Riba.

REVIEW: Cloak and Dagger are back - sorry, I mean Ebon and Shiv (and Talon) - in what could well be considered "a very special episode" of Static Shock. Sons of the Fathers tackles racism head on by revealing Richie's dad is very much a racist and the reason he never invited Virgil to his place. While they wouldn't go so far as to use the n-word, he does refer to African-Americans as "their kind", complains about having "to deal with them all day" and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Virgil is a bad influence. He bristles at having to work with Virgil's dad to find the runaway Richie, and Mr. Hawkins has the perfect job (social worker) to justify his sermons about the ignorance of racism, so I'll certainly allow it even if it isn't subtle. Where we get into After School Special territory is that having gone through this crucible, Mr. Foley isn't only cured of his racism, but of his distant father act. It's all a bit pat. The episode works better when it's merely uncomfortable, like the silent dinner scene or Virgil willing to chalk off Foley's rant against rap music to the generation gap.

The Meta-Breed are thus more background than foreground, though they do represent a convincing threat. Since Ebon moves around town like a shadow, he's well placed to overhear a conversation between Static and Richie (who thankfully always calls him by his nom de guerre when he's in costume) and kidnaps "Static's best friend". The last skirmish between these characters seems to have left Ebon more vulnerable to Static's powers than he was, again a sign that the Breed isn't what's important here. Regardless, the final fight has some fun action bits, like Static standing on the ceiling and firing rapid shots at Ebon, or Foley leaving a chair in Ebon's shadowy back. I could do without Shiv though. His maniacal laugh is TERRIBLY over-played, and when he runs off crying, acting like he's going to quit the gang, I really wish he would have.

Static's secret identity is becoming increasingly suspect however. Here, the villains capture "Static's best friend", which is Richie, a kid whose avowed best friend has the same haircut and voice as Static's. Even if the dads aren't clued in as much as we are, this marks the moment when Static and Mr. Hawkins meet, and it's hard to believe he doesn't recognize his own son, this close up, in a conversation. That he asks if Static's parents know where he is MIGHT be an indication that he does, or suspects, but we don't know that.

SOUNDS LIKE: Richie's dad is played by Dan Lauria, the dad on The Wonder Years. His mom is Jean Smart, made famous by Designing Women.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Though the resolution is a little too easy, does a good job of highlighting a social problem in the Static Shock format.

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