A Chaotic Start
Episode 1 of Raising Dion is arguably the worst episode of the series. With a smattering of hip-hop tracks and a fluttering tone between light and dark, Raising Dion does well to set the stage but doesn’t do a whole lot else.
We begin with a mother narrating her trials and tribulations in raising her son Dion. In the heart of Atlanta at 7.15am, we see Nicole preparing for school while Dion eats his breakfast. The house is a mess and it’s here Dion watches in awe as he seemingly controls time and suspends his cereal in mid-air.
At 7.34am, Dion manages to elevate rubbish either side of the road as Nicole drives him to school. When they get there, she sees first-hand that Dion is ignored by the other kids, before hurrying back to her car where she receives the bad news that she’s been fired. Joking about Dion’s skin colour, telling her friends that he’s like “two raisins in a glass of milk”, we cut back and forth from the school to Nicole’s conversation with her friends as we see them both struggling.
Desperate to fit in, Dion heads to the skate park as a slow-motion shot of him performing a skateboarding trick sees the other kids in awe…until Nicole shows up and embarrasses him. Heading home, she sees Pat (his godfather) outside who offers to help her out. She reluctantly agrees as she breathes a deep sigh of relief and has a flashback involving her husband creating a Faraday cage.
At the restaurant, Pat and Dion connect over comic books before the conversation turns to his Father where we learn, through a large dose of exposition, how good at science he was. Bringing Dion home after their dinner, Pat leaves before her son shows his powers firsthand. As items float and swirl around her, he loses control before everything eventually drops to the ground.
Nicole decides to take him to hospital to get checked out but after a fruitless visit, she heads back home where we learn more about Dion’s father, Mark. After watching a a recorded video message, they decide to honour his memory and head down to the lake. It’s here we also learn Nicole used to be a ballet dancer.
While out on the lake, Dion attempts in vain to control his powers, changing from the wondrous levitating fish in water bubbles through to him being hit by a tree, as everything chaotically falls out of his control.
In the middle of the night, Dion awakens to numerous ghostly spirits outside; “rain people” as he calls them. Mark’s spirit appears soon after and tells Nicole to leave with Dion where we leave the episode.
Tonally, the first episode flits between serious drama and silly, playful comedy and to be honest, it doesn’t always work. There’s also some pretty questionable special effects here too, with poor CGI on the skateboard as it floats through the air, accompanied by the bizarre choice of Gangster’s Paradise. The music is another issue here too and the constant hip-hop and r’n’b distracts from the drama. Thankfully, the ending should be enough to keep you coming back for more.