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Series / Raising Dion

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Nicole: I don't know what's coming, but I can promise you one thing. Whatever it is will have to go through me first.

Raising Dion is an American superhero science fiction web television series produced by Michael B. Jordan, that premiered October 4, 2019 on Netflix. It is based on the 2015 comic book and short film of the same name by Dennis Liu.

The series follows the story of a woman named Nicole Reese (Alisha Wainwright), who raises her son Dion (Ja'Siah Young) after the death of her husband Mark (Jordan). The normal dramas of raising a son as a single mom are amplified when Dion starts to manifest several magical, superhero-like abilities. Nicole must now keep her son’s gifts secret with the help of Mark's best friend Pat (Jason Ritter), and protect Dion from antagonists out to exploit him while figuring out the origin of his abilities.

On January 2020, the series was renewed for a second season, which was released on February 1st, 2022. Just two months after the second season had premiered, on April 26th, it was announced that the series had been cancelled.

Raising Dion contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Apocalypse How: The Aurora Borealis/Meteor shower that empowered so many people, also caused almost all plant and animal life in the area where it happened to rapidly die. And the infection is spreading, threatening to consume all of Iceland (and possibly the world). BIONA is investigating how to halt and reverse the process, and believes Dion can help doing so.
  • Awful Truth: Nothing to do with Dion's powers. Nicole has to explain to Dion the fact that there are racists in the world who are gonna mistreat and wrongly judge him because he's Black.
  • Big Bad: The Crooked Man (Or rather Pat), who is responsible for killing super-powered people (including Mark) by consuming them.
  • Big Bad Friend: Pat, Mark's friend who takes care of his (Mark) and Nicole's son Dion, is revealed to be The Crooked Man whom consumes people with super powers which includes Mark.
  • Big Blackout: The first time Dion uses his powers to create a blackout, he intends to use it only on the BIONA facility but ends up shorting out the entire city.
  • Birthday Episode: A large part of episode 5 resolves around Dion's birthday, and Nicole's trouble trying to organize a great party for her son.
  • Botanical Abomination: The bizarre glowing plant that the Crooked Energy causes to grow inside the sinkhole in Season 2, which generates spores that infect humans and transform them into zombie-like plant-human hybrids. Fortunately, they're cured in the finale when Dion destroys the plant.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: At the end of Season 2, Dion knows that he has to fight The Crooked Man again. Unfortunately, the Crooked Man has been using his friend Brayden's body, and the only way to kill The Crooked Man would be to hurt Brayden if not outright kill him. Dion is upset about this, but with the help of his mom, they convince Brayden that there is still good in him, and that he need not use the Crooked Energy to feel empowered anymore.
  • The Chosen One: Dion. Mark in his ghost form confirmed that Dion is the only one powerful enough to protect the world from the Crooked Man and all the other threats unleashed with their superpowers.
  • Cumulonemesis: The Crooked Man is a giant, humanoid storm that consumes powered people, and is hunting Dion.
  • Cynical Mentor: Charlotte Tuck starts out as this; Nicole has to practically beg her to mentor Dion, and she only agrees to do so to help him escape the Crooked Man, whom she believes to be unstoppable. Dion's enthusiasm and innocence however snaps her out of her cynisism.
  • Dean Bitterman: Mr. Campbell, the principal of Dion's school, due to him being a racist.
  • Disappeared Dad: Dion’s father died some time prior to the story, trying to save a woman in New Orleans.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Pat plays this role for some time until he faces rejection from Nicole and begins to act Entitled to Have You
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The powered people are being hunted by a humanoid storm called the Crooked Man, their ghosts sometimes appearing in the rain when it manifests. It turns out that Pat is the Crooked Man, having been infected by the meteoric power and needing to consume other powered people to survive. Nicole and Dion manage to defeat him, but Mark's ghost warns them that the Crooked Man can't be permanently beaten, and in the final scene it possesses Brayden Mills.
    • In Season 2, after becoming separated from Pat, the Crooked Energy manifests as a tall, ghostly, hooded figure formed from clouds, with glowing blue eyes. It possesses Brayden and seeks to use him to destroy Dion, whom it considers to be the only person to represent a serious threat to itself. It's driven out of him after Nicole persuades Brayden to reject it, and later rejoins with Pat.
  • Enigmatic Institute: BIONA appears to be a prestigious organization that intends on using science to better people's lives, but Dion and Pat eventually realize that animals from Iceland have been captured for studying. The CEO argues that the animals are not being hurt, but it does little to cease the suspicion. Especially when they take Dion away once they found out he has powers.
  • Evil All Along: Pat is revealed to be an entitled jerk obsessed with Nicole, and is later exposed as the Crooked Man.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The Crooked Man is at least 3 to 4 times the size of an adult human.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: A flashback shows that Mark married Nicole after dating her for only a few months.
  • Free the Frogs: When Pat and Dion discover a lab filled with test animals in the BIONA building, Dion takes pity on them and uses his powers to free a small crab, which he smuggles out of the building.
  • Friendless Background: At the start of the series, Dion is the new kid in school and has trouble making friends. The only exception being Esperanza, who like him is an outcast.
  • Green Thumb: Walter Mills is a farmer who developed the ability to cause plants to grow, using it to bolster his crops. His son Brayden Mills inherited powers from him, specifically telepathy.
  • Good All Along: BIONA has all of the undertones of the classical "evil scientists that experiments on super-powered individuals" organization, but all they really want to do is protect Dion.
  • Good Parents: Nicole struggles to protect and raise her son who frequently finds himself in dangerous situations, and constantly fearing Dion's superpowers might make him a potential target for government testing or The Men in Black.
  • Healing Hands: Dion has healing powers.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Dion is only discovering his superpowers, and thus has quite some trouble to control them. This also leads to several cases of Power Incontinence and Supering in Your Sleep.
  • Intangibility: Mark had this power. It first manifested when he was driving his car, resulting in him being unable to hold the steering wheel. He narrowly managed to avoid an accident.
  • Invisibility: Charlotte Tuck has this power, and when she starts mentoring Dion in episode 6, one of the first things she teaches him is how to do this.
  • Invisible Streaker: In both the comics and the short film, Dion can only make his body invisible but not his clothes or any other items he holds. When his mom catches him walking around invisible, she punishes him for not wearing clothes. In the tv-series, he doesn't have this problem.
  • Kid Hero: Dion is only seven (eight as of episode 5), yet already has superpowers and must learn how to use them so he can save the world.
  • Light 'em Up: Charlotte's main power is ion manipulation. She can bend, move, and create light to accomplish various feats. The first ability she mastered was creating light, which she used to find her way to the bathroom in the dark. This is also how she (and Dion, after she teaches him this move) achieves her invisibility; by refracting light away from her.
  • Magic Feather: At Pat's suggestion, Nicole gives Dion his dad's old watch and convinces him that it helps the wearer stay focused. Thus, it helps prevent Dion's Power Incontinence. Pat even calls the trope by name.
  • Magic Meteor: The origin of all the superpowered people in the world is exposure to a combination of a meteor shower and an Aurora Borealis in Iceland.
  • Mama Bear: Nicole, who boldly proclaims that whoever or whatever might try to harm Dion will have to go through her first.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: A meteor shower interfacing with an Aurora Borealis in Iceland, which gave everybody who was there powers. Including Mark and Pat.
  • Mind over Matter: The first power Dion discovers is telekinesis. It allows him to levitate objects with his mind.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: When Nicole discovers that Mark had secretly been in contact with a woman named Charlotte Tuck, she at first fears the two had an affair. When Charlotte first meets Nicole, she quickly dismisses this accusation. The real reason they had contact is because they both got superpowers from exposure to the Aurora Borealis.
  • Never Found the Body: Mark’s body was never recovered after he supposedly drowned when saving Charlotte Tuck. It's revealed that he was actually consumed by a living storm called the Crooked Man.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The spirits of those killed by the Crooked Man appear in the rain it brings, with Mark's ghost trying to warn Nicole that Dion is in danger. After the Crooked Man is killed in the season 1 finale, the trapped ghosts escape. Mark somehow temporarily becomes corporeal again before vanishing.
  • Parental Substitute: Pat has pretty much taken over the role of Dion’s father figure after Mark’s death, though Nicole isn’t always happy with this considering he’s much less strict than her.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: After Nicole's husband dies, his best friend Pat steps up to help her raise their son, Dion. When Pat admits to having feelings for Nicole, she rejects him.
  • Posthumous Character: Mark, who died prior to the events of the series but is seen in several flashbacks.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Watching the show again with the knowledge that Pat is the Crooked Man, a lot of his actions suddenly take on a far more sinister meaning. Like the real reason why he was so determined to help Nicole track down Charlotte. And how the Crooked Man was able to find and kill Walter Mills shortly after Pat had secretly been in lab L5.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: In episode 5, Esperanza reveals to Dion that she's known for a while now that he has powers.
  • Self Made Super Powers: Dion's power is actually the ability to give himself new powers. The limits of this are yet to be demonstrated, but he has been seen to make the power to summon tornadoes and enter a psychic's mind on the fly on top of his Superpower Lottery abilities.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • The Crooked Man, being essently a living storm, can summon lightning to use as weapon.
    • Charlotte has the ability to manipulate electricity. She can control the power-output of this ability from low and relatively harmless, to being lethal. When training Dion, she repeatedly zaps him with small amounts of electricity as a learning tool. Later, she unleashes the full potential of this power, releasing an electric blast powerful enough to temporarily stun The Crooked Man.
  • Struggling Single Mother: Exaggerated since, besides the regular problems a single mom faces, Nicole has to deal with raising a superpowered child.
  • Superpower Lottery: Dion so far has developped the powers of telekinesis, teleporting, Healing, Invisibility, creating energy, and creating large scale power outages. And he's only 7 and could probably develop more.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Pat is involved so much in Dion's life because Mark supposedly asked him to look after his son. Averted after his true intentions are revealed.
  • Teleportation Misfire: A couple of times Dion's teleportation powers have landed him in dangerous situations, like up a tree or in front of a speeding car, with both cases happening right in front of a terrified Nicole.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: Dion can teleport. Mark also had this power. If it works the same way... Then it's a kind of Psychoactive Powers. In the second episode, Dion discovers he can teleport, but he ends up teleporting right in front of a speeding car and barely avoids getting hit. This scares him bad enough that he loses the ability again until the season finale. And even then, he has to focus for several minutes in order to actually teleport to where he wants to go.
  • Time Skip: Season 2 is set two years after the end of Season 1.
  • Token Trio: Dion, Esperanza and Jonathan as the Triangle of Justice in season 2. With the twist that Dion, the black kid, is the leader.
  • Van in Black: BIONA agents use black vans.
  • Wham Line: In the show’s penultimate episode, Charlotte confronts Pat in front of Dion and Nicole’s apartment building. Their argument escalates further and further until Charlotte uses her powers on Pat, who responds:
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: For years, Charlotte has lived under the radar, not contacting anyone out of fear of the Crooked Man tracking her down. When she starts mentoring Dion, the boy quickly convinces her that she too can be a hero. Near the end of episode 6, when Nicole finds Mark data of the Iceland event, including a list with contact info of everybody who was there, Charlotte has taken Dion's words to heart and eagerly volunteers to help contact the other victims.