Monday, May 9, 2022

Round Two: The Staircase

The Staircase: Season 1, Episode 2 “Murder, He Wrote” (B+)

For someone who is so insistent on his innocence, Michael isn’t doing himself any favors by seeming more annoyed than anything that he was accused in the first place rather than broken up by the death of his wife. His response to the French film crew when they asked him to do a shot over again was particularly telling, since he wanted to be able to control the narrative in a way that only suits him and isn’t likely to convince others that he isn’t guilty. The news of his bisexuality dominated the episode both as something surprising and indicative of his ability to keep secrets, and the fact that no one was willing to corroborate that Kathleen knew about it didn’t help his case. The flashbacks to Kathleen bending over backwards to cancel her trip to parents’ weekend to be there for his party and to hide her need to do work at home during the event show that she tried to live up to a certain standard for him, and he didn’t appreciate what she did for him or even notice it since he expected it. There are numerous complicated family dynamics at play here, especially with the relationships that exist between stepchildren and stepparents. What I’m having trouble shaking from this episode is the intense and uninterrupted depiction of what Michael claims happened with Kathleen, as she tripped and fell and then tried to get up while covered in blood. The look on Michael’s face as we heard the recreation of that event by his team didn’t betray much emotion, which says enough in itself. We’ll see how Candace goes about advancing her theory, which Michael will definitely not like.

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