Hello and welcome to TV Tuesday! Today I’m going to be talking about the fourth and final season of Netflix’s Dear White People.
The final season is here and I’m sad that this is it for this show because it’s a great show, BUT I’m also glad that it’s not going to drag on either.
This is all our characters’ last year of college before going off into the world to do whatever they choose, so it makes sense to end it here. What doesn’t make sense is to make the final season a musical. I make it no secret that I don’t like musicals; Riverdale has had way too many musical episodes that if you’ve read any of my posts on that show, you’ll know I can’t stand.
I don’t really get why they felt they needed to take the show in that direction, did they think they would get more viewers that way? I don’t know, I will admit though that the way they chose to incorporate the musical makes sense, the way they start the musical numbers not so much. The characters will be having a meaningful conversation, then BAM burst out into song and it just ruins the whole moment and almost belittles the topic they were discussing.
So let’s get into the show, the season starts in the future, Sam and Lionel are on a video call talking about a book deal… this is where we find out that the whole show has been Lionel’s story, each season was a book of his college experience… which now that I think about it, each episode is called chapter 1, etc. clever, but kinda meta.
So, they’re discussing book 4, which would be senior year and the two of them are getting everyone to come together to explain their side of the story and we see them back in school as a sort of flashback. I’ll give them credit, it’s creative. I don’t like that they brought the pandemic into the show though. They wear masks and talk about quarantine in the future, that was something I could have done without, but alas.
So, the way the musical fits into senior year is that Troy has been granted to run the senior year legacy and he wants to make it a musical. A lot of people aren’t for it, but eventually it kinda just sticks. Troy tells them they can showcase themselves and give the white people a true representation of black people.
Omg they have this director who, uh she’s supposed to be this well-known director from New York theatre and she basically just wants all of them to say and do things she thinks black people say and do. It’s bad. They end up getting her fired when she tries to impersonate a black person.
The next person to step in as director is… Troy’s mom. Okay, so we all know that Troy had daddy issues in the past, and he’s finally on good terms with him… but now we find out that he has mommy issues too? Apparently she abandoned him as child and just wanted to be an artist. It isn’t until further in the season where Troy finally gets to have a real one on one conversation with her, where she actually speaks the truth and it’s not what he wants to hear, that she tells him she never wanted to be a mother. At least the truth is out in the open.
The direction for this musical is supposed to be everyone picks a part of their life to talk about and it gets turned into a musical. So, as we’re learning about each of the characters this season, and we see a musical number to follow, that is used in the actual senior year musical. It’s also ’90s themed, which I’m like alright. Some songs I knew, some I had no idea but they all did fit the way the characters were feeling.
Now that it’s senior year everyone is getting ready for what comes next.
Sam is putting together a documentary of the making of this musical to get into film school and she’s still having that age old fight with Gabe. At first they start the season good, but then she goes over to his uncle’s house for dinner, his uncle wants him to put together this Christian, white movie that would be offensive; Sam tells him not to do it and she think that he’s not going to do it… but he does decide to take on the project. Then he even wants her feedback on it. I’m telling you, every season these two have the same fight… but when Sam sees a rough cut of it she falls for him all over again because she likes the way it’s shot.
We also have a new character, Iesha, who will be taking over ‘Dear White People’ now that Sam is graduating and wow is she a force to be reckoned with. She’s a bit aggressive in her approach and she gets under Sam’s skin for calling her out. I have to say, Iesha has valid points, but her approach is so brash that it makes you angry. She tells everyone that she’s there to change the way things are done, and all I can say to her is good luck to her because creating change is not easy, and I hope she can do it.
Then, Sam’s roommate Joelle is having her own crisis she juggling all these things, she wants to be pre-med and she wants to be part of this trial that balances medicine with religion (which sounds pretty cool) and then there’s Reggie and where he fits in her life. From his point of view, he feels like there is no time in her life for him.
They end up having a huge argument in the stairwell during a school lockdown which ends in Reggie proposing to her. I did not see that coming. I have to say they are so cute, but proposing while they are 21 and still in school, seems a bit rushed. I’m not surprised when people think Joelle is pregnant. That’s really bad to think, but why rush marriage when you’re so young.
Reggie has been also juggling a few things. He has a very well paid position waiting for him once he graduates but he’s really not leaning towards that; he’s leaning more towards this app that he’s creating that would leave safe spaces for people of colour. One day when he’s working on the app he runs into Iesha who starts to help him out on his design and of course give him her opinion on his girlfriend. She doesn’t understand how he can be with someone who has different opinion and life goals as him.
I think that’s a little out of place to be commenting. She makes it out that people who don’t believe in her fight are automatically against her and that they’re bad, which is not the case.
She does take Reggie to a gun range and has him thinking about getting a gun (this is also what he and Joe fought about, that and he’s hanging out with Iesha).
When everyone throws Reggie and Joelle a party for the happy couple, they have yet another blow up and I think they’re done. To top that off Joelle loses her fellowship when she starts to question things, she’s slowly losing it all.
Coco this season is on a reality TV show called Big House. Her goal, to be the first black woman to win. There are so many ups and downs and betrayals… as is the territory with these type of reality TV shows, but we think she’s voted off, but she’s really not, and after a very big tell all about her abortion (which people can’t tell is true or not, but the look on Troy’s face when he finds out, woof) she wins the show. That was a moment because I didn’t know which way it would swing.
I obviously can’t forget about Lionel, as he’s my fave. When he finds out that there’s going to be a musical he says “Lionel doesn’t sing” I loved it! Although he does end up singing. Mostly in is heartbreak, this poor guy!
Last season he got together with cute Michael, and it goes well… until it doesn’t. Michael wants to write for the musical and work with Lionel as co-writer… but he can’t write and Lionel doesn’t know how to tell him. So, they go on in this weird period for a bit before the whole thing comes tumbling out at family get together at Lionel’s aunt’s house. He also gets mad at Sam (who came for what purpose? To film for the musical? To be his “girlfriend”? I’m not really sure) but when she films their whole fight and break up, Lionel never really gets over it until the future when they talk about it.
Now he’s a sad boy again.
I also mentioned Al last season, and I think it’s important to bring him up again because this season he’s trying to find out where he belongs. Being mixed race has him feeling left out of the black crew, even though he’s half black, but also has him feeling left out of the Latinx crew too. I believe he’ll be part of the musical, I’m curious to see where his story goes because we do see him in the future.
The musical is fast approaching and shit is about to hit the fan. We already know that Iesha and Sam don’t like each other, but Sam gives her another chance to be on the radio show to help promote the musical and she completely trashes it and just as an all-out war with Sam. The first time, Sam didn’t have anything to say, this time, she’s had some time to think about what she wants to say to Iesha and she gives it right back.
This causes Iesha use social media to try and cancel Sam. I’m telling you, this whole “cancel culture” just thinks that if you ‘cancel’ something that just means it’s gone, so frustrating.
Sam ends up going to Iesha later on and they actually have a good heart-to-heart. She tells Sam the reason she’s so insistent and pushy with her is that she wants her to be better. I’m glad that they could start to see things from each other’s perspective and to work together and not apart.
I have to say when I first saw Iesha in the future with them I was like damn, that was unexpected, but it makes sense now.
I actually really liked the ending, it was really well done and it really made a statement.
It’s the day of the musical and Troy and Lionel are meeting with the Order leader (I completely forgot about that guy) basically he’s the guy who says they can’t end the musical the way they want to. Michael wanted to end it on a piece about sex workers, focusing on the black, queer community, but the book and TV show deal that Lionel and Troy are signing think it’s too controversial.
When Lionel doesn’t tell Michael, but finds out through the director, he’s pissed. I agree that Lionel should have told him, what I don’t agree with is the pressure Michael puts on Lionel for not being out and loud and proud. He keeps telling Lionel he’s “afraid to be himself” and that’s why he doesn’t want to be with him, but it’s Lionel’s life, he can do and feel what he wants.
I am glad that they are together in the end, they be cute.
Lionel is also suuuper pissed at Sam, he’s been pissed throughout the season for her filming him and his private moments, but when she approaches him about making her documentary film about him, well about the musical, but him as the focal point, he freaks. I don’t blame him, he’s such a quiet and private person, I’m 100% in Lionel’s camp.
So the musical goes on, but then it gets interrupted… but I think that was meant to happen. Iesha bursts in and screams at them for putting on the show then says they should go protest, so that’s what they all do.
Meanwhile, Reggie… now let’s back up a second, so we know that he was building and built an app to warn black people about dangerous/racist places. He almost sold it to a company to make it bigger, but they wanted to make the app for everyone and not just black people and Reggie said no, good for him!
So he gets an alert on his app that there’s a threat at this protest. Tell me how this show made me think REGGIE WAS DEAD! UGH. Manipulation!!
When I didn’t see Reggie in the future and they were saying, to Reginald, I was like no!
He comes into contact with this dangerous, white figure, who is right behind Joelle, I thought the white guy was going to shoot (typical) but he doesn’t get the chance because Reggie pulls the trigger first.
This makes him go into hiding, until he shows up at the reunion they have.
At this reunion, Troy says that the TV show deal they had fell through and he feels he let them all down. But they come together and they plan to pull it off without a major company backing them up. All they want is to tell the truth, tell their story and tell it their way.
That was the point of this show, it came full circle. And even though it was meta and I hate meta endings, they make me cringe because they feel lazy to me, this one, I actually really liked because of the message and just the really good storytelling. Even the musical bit made sense and I didn’t hate it.
I’m going to miss this show because it was really well done.