United States of Al Season 2 Episode 4 Review

When Al (Adhir Kalyan) suddenly faints at a supermarket in front of Riley (Parker Young) and daughter Hazel (Farrah Mackenzie), he has to come to terms that he's under a lot of mental stress.

Riley and his family are of course supportive, but Al hits a big cultural difference between his Afghan upbringing and attitudes about mental illness.  It's an interesting episode as Riley tries to erase the stigma of mental health in a single episode, especially as Riley himself had been reluctant to seek help for his own PTSD.

The challenge for this season of UNITED STATES OF AL continues to be keeping the Afghani refugee crisis balanced and in mind while steering personal laughs, buddy moments, and some horrific memories. In one exchange between Al and Riley's sister, Lizzie (Elizabeth Alderfer), Al recalls how he suppressed a memory of Taliban brutality.  It's only then that Al realizes he might need a therapist. It's the best moment of the episode, where family support and the horror of war come together in an uneasy hug.  


Harrison Cheung is the author of the award-winning biography of Christian Bale (BenBella Books) and a contributor to Brave New Hollywood and The TV Ratings Guide.

@harrisonic (Twitter)

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