Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Take Three: When They See Us

When They See Us: Season 1, Episode 3 “Part Three” (B+)

I read in another review of this episode that this show’s effectiveness is only increased by the lack of any clear timeline of events, with each of the characters appearing at the beginning of their prison sentences when their families come to visit and then all of a sudden playing by another actor upon their eventual release. Only towards the end of this extended hour did we see two of them together, years after their initial conviction, now emboldened by their survival and perseverance to refuse to admit to their alleged crimes since, as they expressed, they never confessed to them previously and didn’t want to start lying now. The two performers I recognized right away were Chris Chalk, who played Walker on “Homeland,” as the adult Yusuf, and Dascha Polanco, who plays Daya on “Orange is the New Black,” as Raymond Sr.’s new wife Elena, who absolutely did not like Raymond at all and contributed strongly to his path back to jail after he poignantly expressed the impossibility of his success given the limitations of having to declare his conviction and sex offender status. One of the most powerful moments was Angela’s flirtation story behind the Thrifty counter, which started off as a helpful diversion and then underlined just how guilty she felt being happy while Kevin was behind bars. I’m intrigued and certainly invested, and I’m hopeful that the final episode will both provide more information and maybe even whatever optimism might be possible about how the mistakes made in this case might not be repeated again in the future.

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