Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Round Two: When They See Us

When They See Us: Season 1, Episode 2 “Part Two” (B+)

It’s very difficult to watch this show and see the looks of relief and even happiness on the faces of the defendants and their parents when it seems that the trial is going their way. Felicity Huffman’s Linda Fairstein wasn’t seen nearly as much in this episode as the initially dubious Elizabeth Lederer, played by Vera Farmiga, took center stage to go after the boys hard, grouping them in a way that would allow the playing of the most damning testimony to incriminate each of the others. Not submitting the tested sock into evidence was a dirty move than Joshua Jackson’s Mickey Joseph immediately pointed out and tried to use to exonerate not only his client but the others, but it was to no avail. What’s becoming most apparent in this case is that those on trial were selected because they fit a certain stereotype, and the brutal nature of the crimes are continually emphasized in a way that only underlines how heinous they were, not that the kids on trial were the perpetrators. That final scene with the guilty verdicts coming down to crush the futures of each of the defendants was devastating, and appropriately so. Including footage of Trump going on television and taking out full-page ads in four newspapers calling for the boys’ execution is far from a subtle choice, one that’s clearly meant to show that not much about this country has changed in the thirty or so years since these events if a man who wanted to kill these young accused suspects is now running it.

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