Young Rock has been building to this all season with its protagonist on the campaign trail and now, election day finally arrives. As the presidential hopeful awaits the results, he takes some time to shoot the breeze with Randall Park. Regardless of the outcome, Dwayne’s previous experiences have helped prepare him for the highs and lows of life.
Johnson then shares three stories reflecting the different time periods covered in the series. In 1982, he goes through a rite of passage and must become the man of the house as Rocky hits the road for his wrestling career. He needs to be there for both his mom and grandmother, especially as they deal with the shock of Lia’s arrest. In high school, he is overjoyed by receiving a football scholarship at the University of Miami. However, years later, he copes with the disappointment of not being drafted and heads to Canada to pursue his professional football dreams.
The season one finale serves as a good way to revisit the three timelines of Young Rock. Though it focuses on Johnson’s immediate family, it was fun to see the memorable cast of characters we’ve met along the way. The episode also sets up where the show may go in the future for each era. Then there’s the cliffhanger of the election results.
It will be interesting to see if the series will stay with these three versions of a young Rock. In particular the high school and college versions since significant time has passed in each. There’s the potential for senior year hijinks and the intrigue of his exploits in the Canadian Football League, but 1987 Dwayne is catching up to his college counterpart so that window is closing. It would be a shame to lose Bradley Constant’s Rock because his stories are the strongest and most relatable so far.
There are some tender emotional scenes as well such as Ata giving her ukulele to her son when he leaves for Canada. We’ve seen how important and comforting the instrument has been to the family and it will serve as fitting reminder of the Rock’s family support while he’s so far from home.
The closing scene hits hard as well with the real-life Ata finding her now grown Dewey and escorting him to his press conference. It can be a little sappy but it exhibits his appreciation for his mom and she serves as one of the surviving links to the past we’ve watched all season. The reflections in the long elevator ride of their younger selves help emphasize how both have grown since their times in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, this season finale also suffers from some of the complaints from before. It’s been difficult to follow the different plot threads while jumping back and forth through the various timelines and it’s more noticeable here. It can feel a little disjointed as it crams the three periods into a single half hour show and the running theme of the rollercoaster of life is a too broad of a connection to link them all together.
Even though the multiple eras can muddle the general narrative, the eleventh episode of Young Rock does a good job closing out the season by revisiting the several timelines and builds to where the series may possibly go in the future.
Young Rock can be streamed on the NBC and Peacock app.
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