Friday, June 28, 2019

What I’m Watching: When They See Us (Series Finale)

When They See Us: Season 1, Episode 4 “Part Four” (A-)

This was an extraordinarily powerful and effective episode, splitting its time between the harrowing story of Korey’s extended time in prison and the incredible sequence of events so many years later that resulted in the complete exoneration of all five men. To me, Jharrel Jerome was the true standout of this project featuring so many incredible performers, delivering a truly engrossing and lived-in turn as the young Korey, who just wanted to be left alone in jail. Following the advice he got to stay in solitary rather than go to the infirmary and be perceived as a snitch resulted in true isolation that sent him deep within his own thoughts, remembering the way his mother treated his transgender sibling and imagining what life would have been like if he had made the choice not to go into the park. Having captions describe what year it was and just how many miles away from Harlem he now was underscored the horrifying length and scope of what he endured, and there was nothing more discouraging and infuriating than him being told by the parole board that they couldn’t even consider him eligible unless he admitted to his alleged crimes. I thought I recognized Logan Marshall-Green, who recently directed the film “Adopt a Highway,” as the friendly guard who actually treated him like a human being, making one person he interacted with moderately decent and kind. Having each of the five learn about the confession in different ways from those around them was very powerful, as was the speech given and the ceremony announcing and honoring them. The reappearance of William Sadler’s detective indicated a stoic unwillingness to and fear of being proven wrong, while Felicity Huffman’s Linda Fairstein demonstrated a truly heinous aversion to hearing the truth, one that seems to be shared by our current president. Reading about the lives each of the boys have gone on to build and seeing the real people was an incredible and emphatic way to finish. This limited series was superb, and I hope it earns the Emmy attention it deserves for every facet of its production.

Series grade: A-
Series MVP: Jharrel Jarome as Korey

No comments: