“MJB” takes us through Dai’s counseling session as he recalls his first encounter with Seren after their big fight.
This recap of David Makes Man Season 1, Episode 3, “MJB” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
David has his first session with Dr. Bree (Ruben Santiago-Hudson), and we meet another part of the titular character’s conscience. This part of his mind isn’t Sky, but two more versions of himself, who freely speak their mind and don’t have the preppy image or demeanor that Dai has when he’s at school. David recalls the time he went over to Seren’s to do a project. “MJB” is told to us in a flashback format, with occasional returns to David in the office with Dr. Bree.
Dr. Woods-Trap wants David and Seren to work together on their project to prove that they are no longer fighting. Although initially hesitant, he agrees, but only if Dai spends the night at his house. David doesn’t want to be near Ray, Seren’s physically and sexually abusive stepdad, but Seren reveals that he’s out of town on business. And with that, it seems the two are project partners.
The trip to Seren’s is silent, except for Seren’s wincing every time the bus goes over a bump in the road. David tries to comfort him in his own unique way, and Seren seems to soften up toward him. At Seren’s, we learn a few things. David’s never met his father before, and Seren’s mother is aware of Ray’s abuse toward her son (at least the physical aspect) and has no real intent on stopping it. David and Seren want to incorporate a song into the project, but neither of them can sing the high notes. They ask Marissa, a girl that Seren is romantically interested in, to help them. She agrees to do so after giving them both a hard time.
Elsewhere in “MJB”, a quick (but humorous) scene with Mx. Elijah and Gloria takes a darker turn when a cop wrestles Raynan to the ground and arrests him.
That night, the boys have a heart to heart about their personal hardships. It’s a nice scene that sheds light on the fact that regardless of where they come from, they both experience trauma. The next morning, David enters the kitchen to see Ray has come home early. He immediately becomes unnerved. After an awkward breakfast, the duo head to school. We find out through David’s project that Gloria had an affair with her married college professor, resulting in Dai’s conception. After an argument with the professor and his wife at their home, a young Gloria leaves with an infant David, never to see her child’s father again. David ends his project by saying despite the circumstances that brought him into this world, he’s still a human being who will make the necessary strives to overcome all obstacles in life. The presentation gets him applause from his classmates.
Back in the counseling office, Dr. Bree asks David why he pauses before answering any of his questions. This is because David is listening to his alters feed him answers that he responds to aloud. Once Dr. Bree inquires about Sky, the alters disappear, and David speaks from the heart about how losing his mentor has caused him to feel aimless and like he was losing a part of himself. It’s the first time he doesn’t pause before answering a question.
Tonight’s episode of David Makes Man, “MJB”, is a testament to how strong Akili McDowell and Nathaniel McIntyre’s acting abilities are. Seren is an incredibly compelling character with a tragic home life and serves as the perfect foil for our main character. The school scenes continue to be some of the strongest of the series, and the addition of Marissa injects a bit of lightheartedness into the show. For me, this has been the strongest episode of the season thus far.