One thing Peacock‘s “Bel Air” has done a great job of this season is showing the importance of family and how the decisions one makes can affect them all. There hasn’t been a better example of this than in the latest episode.
Episode 9 entitled “Can’t Knock The Hustle” begins with the Banks family attending Sunday service. Before it started, Will (Jabari Banks) tells Carlton (Olly Sholotan) about his current situation with him wanting to know more about his father and asks his cousin what he thinks he should do. Carlton, already uneasy about his upcoming solo, doesn’t really have much advice but tells Will that he’s in the right place for people to see signs and find answers. Carlton’s first performance at the church in years started off great then his anxiety kicked in causing him to panic and exit the stage abruptly.
After church, Will and Hilary (Coco Jones) discuss Carlton’s meltdown and his behavior involving drugs. Hilary convinces Will to talk to Carlton. During the talk, Carlton explains to Will how the drugs help him cope with his anxiety and how he only wants to make his father proud. Will implores Carlton to talk to him whenever he feels the need to talk, do drugs or anything in between. He tells his cousin that things won’t be so heavy if he lets him carry it with him. Later in the episode, Carlton thanks Will for the words of endearment. He shares that Will saved him from doing drugs that day and that he is done with them altogether.
Geoffrey (Jimmy Akingbola), ignoring Phil’s orders, brings Will the information on his father that he requested. He tells Will that it’s up to him if he opens the envelope or not. He also warns Will that pursuing his father won’t only impact him, but also the whole Banks family. Geoffrey and Phil (Adrian Holmes) get into a bit of a disagreement when discussing the strategy Phil should take in the debate with Stephen (Duane Martin). The three of them were trying to decide whether they would use the information they have on Fred Wilkes (Joe Holt) cheating on his sick wife. This was the first incident that led to the ensuing blowup. The next was Will coming to Phil and telling him what he asked Geoffrey to do for him. Although he got the information, Will told his uncle that he didn’t want to know more about his father because of the trouble it could cause and that Phil has been more of a father to him than any other man he’s ever known.
Phil and Geoffrey get into a heated argument. The two are on opposing sides of the fence on how the Will-Lou situation should’ve been handled. Geoffrey believes that Phil should’ve helped his nephew confront the truth instead of taking it from him. Phil responds by telling Geoffrey that the only reason he’s siding with Lou is because he also left his son behind. Geoffrey adamantly tells Phil how his ambitions always affect everyone around him (Vivian with her art, Carlton not being able to be his own person, etc.) and how he always does what it takes to win even if it hurts the people who love him. Phil realizes that he can no longer trust Geoffrey and fires him. The two decide to call it an “emergency leave of absence,” so that it doesn’t look bad for his campaign. Before he leaves, Geoffrey challenges Phil to prove him wrong.
Vivian (Cassandra Freeman) was on her own mission to prove she can successfully get back into the art world. She met with Art Council Board of Trustees members Helen (Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played Aunt Viv on Fresh Prince) and Janice (Vernee Watson-Johnson, who played Will’s mom Vy in the original) as part of the final step in her application process for the fellowship. The two offered it to Vivian on the spot and gave her 24 hours to contemplate if she would be able to meet the requirements, which included press, speaking engagements and travel. After hearing about Geoffrey leaving and thinking about all the duties she has at home with the kids, Vivian almost turned down the opportunity. Janice luckily told her that she must take the full 24 hours to consider the offer before giving a real answer.
We find out that Lisa (Simone Joy Jones), who we don’t see for most of the episode, hasn’t been returning Will’s calls or texts because of her father. He is convinced that Will is hiding the truth about why he came from Philadelphia. Fred gives Lisa permission to confront Will one last time about it. When Lisa shows up to the Banks estate, Will is at a loss of words. Lisa expresses how hurt and disappointed she is that Will felt the need to lie to her and Will responds that he did it out of respect for his uncle. Lisa forgives Will and also lets him know that her father is planning to use the information he knows (he got the information from Judge Robertson after he endorsed Fred) against Phil in the debate.
The episode ends with Phil confronting Judge Robertson (Dorian Harewood) for trying to push his agenda on him. Will and Carlton make it to the debate in time to inform Phil what Lisa told them. Phil assures the two that everything will be okay. In his opening statement of the debate, Phil surprisingly withdraws from the race. He emphasized how he wanted to focus on being a better father and husband. Holding up his end of the bargain, Phil then gives Fred his endorsement. Will’s face as everything is transpiring is telling. He knows that by dropping out of the race, his uncle kept his arrest under wraps.
That’s a lot to digest. With the season finale coming next week, we have so many questions that need answering. Will Vivian actually accept the fellowship? Will Phil’s new enemy become Judge Robertson (reminiscent of the original show)? Is Carlton really done with drugs? When will Ashley share her true sexuality with her parents? Where is Geoffrey…and his son? What’s next for Hilary now that she’s out of the influencer house? Can we expect Will and his father to finally meet? Be sure to let us know what you thought about this episode and what you think will happen on Episode 10 which airs next Thursday (March 31) on Peacock.