As 1965 approaches on NBC's superlative period piece, American Dreams, the winds of change are picking up. But neither the battle over civil rights nor the war in Vietnam will set off the fireworks in Sunday's episode (airing Sunday at 8 pm/ET); rather, this fight is sparked by a simple conflict between a parent and child. And, in this case, by "simple," we mean "really, really intense and complicated."
"When Sam (Arlen Escarpeta) openly defies Henry (Jonathan Adams), in front of [their boss], then goes to hear Malcolm X speak in Harlem after his father's told him not to, the Walker household is in full revolt," executive producer Jonathan Prince tells TV Guide Online. "This is a story about about a boy taking on his father in full-blown adolescent rebellion."
Although race has led to more than one riot among the Walkers, this particular twist in the plot is more black-and-white, if you will, than black and white. "It's not about the color of Sam's skin," Prince elaborates. "Every boy — and girl — when they hit 16, 17, 18 years old, needs to show their parents just how independent they are. It's also about Henry losing it, unable to parent as well as he wishes he could, driving his son farther and farther away with each outburst.
"Henry and Sam have been going at it for quite some time, and this is a house which has still not yet accepted the death of [Sam's mother] Gwen," he continues. "Without his wife, Henry, in the upcoming episodes, feels more lost than ever when it comes to taking care of Sam." In other words, it sucks to be Henry.