Once again, Netflix hooked me with an unexpected trailer. I was looking through the New Releases and as my selection happened to stall upon Raising Dion and the trailer began automatically, the first few seconds caught my attention.
A speeding truck is headed right for the show’s namesake, 7-year old Dion who is played by the adorable Ja’Siah Young, and a la X-Men’s Nightcrawler, he *poofs* out of the way and into his mother’s arms.
Okay, you have my attention Netflix.
With an African American leading cast and a sort of “real world” look at what might happen if a child started exhibiting super powers, this was right up my alley. So naturally, I had to check out the entire season in a matter of a couple of days.
HEY… don’t judge, I actually get paid for binge watching.
If you don’t want to know everything about Raising Dion don’t worry, I’ll give a spoiler free recap in the next section before moving into a chapter by chapter breakdown.
First off, I do like the series and hope that season 2 is here pretty quick. This season left us with more than a subtle hint at who will be the bad guy and I think S2 could be even better than the inaugural season. This is based on a comic book of the same name apparently, but I have yet to investigate any further than seeing it mentioned in the credits.
Ja’Siah Young is a relative newcomer to acting and in the earlier episodes it definitely shows. However, his skills get stronger as the season progresses and considering he is about as cute as a 7 year old can get, it’s easy to overlook his weaknesses.
As I said above, Raising Dion is a story about a child suddenly discovering that he can “do magic” and how that affects him and those closest to him. It starts as innocent as miraculously suspending a bowl of upended cereal in mid-air, but rapidly progresses to the teleportation mentioned above and other amazing “powers.”
Due to a freak accident that killed her husband Mark (Creed’s Michael B. Jordan, who also doubles as an executive producer), Nicole is raising Dion on her own. Mark’s best friend and former coworker Pat (Jason Ritter) helps a lot and Dion truly seems to enjoy hanging out with him, especially since the little guy has started a new school and is having a hard time making friends.
His soon-to-be BFF Esperanza is yet another extraordinarily cute child actor played by newcomer Sammi Haney, who was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type III (aka Brittle Bone Disease) and steals every single scene she is in. She’s also an entrepreneur that has a fantastic clothing line for mobility-impaired children and their parents.
While Dion traverses the labyrinth of second-grade and being unable to share a secret that would definitely make him more popular, we learn that there are others with powers. Including Dion’s dad.
Mark and Pat worked for the mysterious BIONA and were in Iceland during an aurora and apparent meteor shower. Over time it is revealed that all the witnesses that night have been empowered with various superhuman abilities, but many of them have disappeared. Strangely, it seems that many of them vanished during a storm, exactly like Mark did.
As the show progresses and Dion’s range of powers increases, it becomes harder and harder to discern whether BIONA is the good guys or the bad. However, when a storm rolls in with strange-acting lightning (to say the least), we get introduced to the Crooked Man.
There’s no mistaking which side of the line he falls on and the more we learn about him, the more it doesn’t look good for little Dion and Nicole (Alisha Wainwright).
With only 9 episodes available and each running right at 45 minutes, Raising Dion is definitely worth the investment in my opinion. My wife, who thankfully also enjoys these types of shows/movies, also enjoyed the season and we look forward to seeing how season 2 plays out.
Give it a watch and tell us what you think about it.
Stop reading here if you wish to avoid them
Chapter 1 Recap – Introductions
I’m not going to give everything away in these recaps, but I did take notes while watching and wanted to provide them for anyone that wishes to read ‘em.
In this introductory episode we meet Nicole, Pat, Esperanza, and Dion, and of course we get to see his powers start to manifest. We also learn a bit about Mark’s death and that Pat is the Godfather of Dion and has kind of stepped into a surrogate father role.
When Dion learns that he can suddenly perform “magic,” he tries to tell his mom but is unable to perform on command. So naturally, she just thinks he’s got a great imagination.
Until he proves it to her.
Chapter 2 Recap – Revelations
Raising Dion actually has better chapter titles for each “issue,” tying them in with classic comics rather nicely in most cases. This one is titled ‘Fortress of Solitude’ and takes us out of the city for a little bit.
In an attempt to win a few friends and because, as Esperanza points out, Nicole is generally late picking him up, Dion sneaks off to a skate park after school. After numerous failed attempts on a borrowed skateboard and growing more embarrassed by the moment, our budding superhero takes off and displays an amazing trick.
This feat would’ve likely broke the ice with the group he was attempting to infiltrate, but Nicole showed up the moment he stuck the landing. Furious that he’d left school without permission, she admonishes him and sternly orders him to the car. Which of course prompted more laughter and jeers from his peers.
With mom needing time to think and wanting a safe place for Dion, they head to the family cabin. That night, a thunderous storm rolls in and not only is Crooked Man there, Dion and Nicole both see other people… including Mark.
Nicole also finds a phone number in Mark’s jacket for Charlotte Tuck (Deirdre Lovejoy), the supposed “stranger” that Mark died trying to save.
Chapter 3 Recap – The Magic Watch
Back at home, in an attempt to help Dion control his powers, Nicole gives him a watch that used to belong to Mark. She tells him that it is magic and if he focuses, it will help him.
Unfortunately, the bullies at school see that it’s special to him and immediately take it away. Dion gets pissed off and before you know it, said bully gets sent flying through the air without Dion ever touching him.
The principal comes out and instead of chastising the would be thief, Mr. Campbell blames Dion and gives him detention. However, another teacher intervenes and it’s more than apparent that the principal has an issue with Dion because of his skin color.
Lastly, Charlotte Tuck finally calls Nicole back and when they meet, we see a photo of Crooked Man and learn that Charlotte has powers herself.
Chapter 4 Recap – Field Trip
This issue starts out with an introduction to young Brayden (I swear, Netflix must have put out a casting call for “Super Cute” kids) and his dad. Ole Daddy has powers himself and has one heck of a green thumb.
Pat decides to take Dion to BIONA and of course they go into an area they aren supposed to. It’s there that Dion feels bad for some animals and actually heals an Arctic Fox, which causes a power outage that brings security scrambling.
Unbeknown to Pat, Dion mucks a hermit crab with some abilities of its own, and it appears that Dion may be able to communicate with animals to an extent. With the crab in his pocket, the trio make their way out of BIONA just as the boss lady orders a review of all cameras.
Back at home, Dion puts on a magical light show for Nicole.
Chapter 5 Recap – The Party
We finally see more of the Iceland trip and that quite a few people were there, but we learn more about Mark’s past.
Nicole gets stuck at work while trying to have a great 8th birthday party for Dion and things don’t go so great for him. After getting upset and taking refuge in a bouncy castle, Dion has an asthma attack and uses his powers to summon his inhaler pretty much right out of Esperanza’s hands.
However, she soon reveals that she has known about his powers almost from the start.
Chapter 6 Recap – Secrets Revealed
This episode starts with Crooked Man returning and doesn’t slow down from there.
Charlotte is also back and now she is going to train Dion. While he wants to learn how to fight, she wants to teach him how to hide. However, Dion is having second thoughts about a few things.
“She already get’s too sad,” he said in reference to his mom’s reaction to his use of powers. Charlotte talks with him and soon, we see him practicing some of his abilities. When George, the building supervisor comes in, Charlotte hides her and Dion in sort of an invisibility bubble until he leaves.
Meanwhile, we learn that there are patrol drones around the house and then witness Pat fluster though his shyness and kiss Nicole when she wasn’t expecting it. This leads to an awkward exchange and Pat ends up leaving completely embarrassed.
Back over to Crooked Man and as the luck of the draw would happen, Brayden watches in horror as the man of lightning kills his dad.
With Pat gone, Nicole is messing around with Mark’s watch and discovers an SD card hidden inside.
We then get another flashback to Iceland and learn that there are a lot of people that were there and now have powers.
At the end of the episode we learn that BIONA is not only operating the drones, they saw Dion and Charlotte disappear when George came in.
Chapter 7 Recap – Dion in Danger
Arriving at school, Dion discovers that Pat is suffering from a migraine and decides to try and heal him like he did the arctic fox. He concentrates and his hands light up but after a few seconds, Pat stops him.
Dion is noticeably affected by the exchange and says something about Pat being bigger than a fox, and heads in to school. However, he isn’t there long before he says he isn’t feeling well and the teacher takes him to the nurse’s office.
Nicole gets the call to come get him from school but is stuck in a crisis at work, so she calls her sister to pick him up and take him home. Dion is getting worse though and she decides to take him by the hospital to check him out.
She soon learns that he has a temperature of 104 and when they try to bring the fever down with bags of ice, they melt immediately. Electronics in the room start fritzing out and there’s even 3 failed attempts at obtaining good x-rays, but no one suspects anything “weird” at this point other than the unknown ailment.
With his fever continuing to rise and in order to try and find out more, Kat sends his blood off to the lab.
We then see Charlotte in a field with a large blackened spot and she is visibly upset by what happened there. She’s invisible, so it’s a surprise when Brayden suddenly starts talking to her and says she’s like his dad.
Nicole arrives at the hospital and Pat finally talks her into letting him take Mark’s SD card to BIONA to see if he can crack the encryption and he takes off in hopes of finding some answers. Then Nicole once again tries to tell Kat about Dion’s special abilities and Dion attempts to show her, but is just too weak to perform.
However, a little bit later while he is napping, Dion starts levitating and Aunt Kat finally sees that it’s all true. She quickly decides that she must erase his hospital records and somehow intercept the blood test results.
Dion then talks to Esperanza on a video call and BIONA sees it.
Charlotte and Brayden talk.. telepathically. He tells her about the storm and Crooked Man killing his dad and it looks like Brayden is very powerful telepath.
Right as Pat returns with info that can help and Aunt Kat fix Dion, we learn that his fever spiked up to 115 and the hospital called the CDC for quarantine. BIONA gets the call and we can see their excitement.
Pat reveals that Dion needs increased iodine and with a single IV drip, Dion is back to his normal 8 year old self.
Just as everything seems like it’s going to be ok and they’re leaving the hospital, BIONA shows up in hazmat suites. They force Dion from her arms and haul him off to a black van, with bth mother and son screaming the entire time.
Chapter 8 Recap – Team Ups
Like a Tasmanian Devil on meth, Nicole bum-rushes BIONA and forces her way to the lady in charge. After a few threats from both parties, we learn that BIONA has been tracking Crooked Man and the disappearances during the storms and that they know all about Pat’s involvement
The two ladies soon come to an agreement. Nicole will trade Mark’s data for the release of Dion and the tracking information BIONA has on Crooked Man.
Free from BIONA, Nicole gets a promotion at work and Charlotte goes to school with Dion in order to protect him.
That night, Charlotte goes over the info from BIONA and the next morning Nicole talks her into staying with them to help protect Dion. When Pat shows up to walk him to school she turns invisible, but he sees the extra breakfast dishes and asks Dion about it. You can tell he is really bothered by it and he tries to prod Dion into revealing who was there, but he says he’s not allowed to talk about it.
That afternoon, Pat sees Nicole dancing with another guy and he confronts her. He accuses her taking advantage of him because she knows he has feelings for her and they get in a big fight that ends with her telling him to stay away from her and Dion for awhile.
She then calls Charlotte and says to keep Pat away from Dion for now.
Pat shows up and Charlotte tells him he can’t see Dion. Pat goes nuts and reveals that HE is the Crooked Man. Nicole rushes home just in time to see “Crooked Pat” pick up Charlotte like he did all the victims.
Chapter 9 Recap – Season Finale
As far as finales go, Raising Dion doesn’t do too bad at all.
It starts off with another flashback to Iceland and the meteor shower and we see Pat get hit by some flaming debris. He tries to radio Mark and runs back into the shelter, and we see that his skin has the same kind of lesions that were on the arctic fox.
The scene then moves forward in time and we see a woman that was at the Iceland incident and she is breaking up with Pat. He tries to stop her from leaving and when he grabs her, she catches his arm on fire.
This pisses Pat off and he transforms into Crooked Man, apparently for the first time, and zaps her.
We then return to Pat and Charlotte duking it out and Nicole runs inside to get Dion right as Charlotte drops to the ground. Pat turns back into human form and shows up at the house, but Nicole and Dion are on the road
Pat shows up at Aunt Kat’s house and tells her he thinks Nicole may hurt Dion. She tricks him by saying that they’re headed to St Louis and then she quickly calls Nicole.
Pat’s skin condition is spreading and we see him send a message to Dion via chat in a game they played.
Mom and son have taken refuge at the family cabin and she is busy boarding up the windows. Since Nicole never told him what was going on, Dion answers Pat’s chat request and tells him where they are.
Not much later… a storm starts blowing in at the cabin and suddenly Pat is there. He forces his way in and busts into Dion’s room right as Dion teleports to be with Esperanza at the science fair.
Pat reveals that he had been absorbing those with powers and accidentally killed Mark.
Nicole hits Pat over the head and says he can’t have Dion but he transforms and blows up the cabin. However, Nicole has a flashback to meeting Mark and we see she survived under the bed when Pat blew his top.
Pat shows up at the science fair and tries to get Dion to leave, but he doesn’t want to let his friends down. Of course the bad guy tricks him into just going to another room for a moment and then he tells him he is dying.
Using the boy’s love against him, he tries him into trying to heal him again.
This culminates into a big fight where Dion’s new friends try to help him defeat Crooked Man, but as Mark reveals to his son from beyond the grave…
Energy never dies, it only transforms.
They leave us with a huge intro into the villain for season 2 and if I didn’t say it already, I have a feeling it could be even better that the inaugural season.
I left out a major plot point regarding Iceland and BIONA and skimmed over the final fight on purpose. I didn’t want to reveal everything about the show.
All-in-all, I enjoyed Raising Dion and if you’re into the superhero genre, I think you will too. Sure, I’m somewhat easily entertained and anything with mutants, abilities, superheroes, powers, good guys and bad guys etc is almost always guaranteed to catch my attention, but Dion and Nicole have definitely made me want more.
Check out the trailer and then watch Raising Dion on Netflix.