Sunday, June 5, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Staircase

The Staircase: Season 1, Episode 5 “The Beating Heart” (B+)

It’s very strange to hear Michael referred to as “Staircase” by fellow inmates, which feels very reductive to the severity of the crime which he was accused and convicted of, whether or not he’s guilty. That’s also the important thing to remember, that Michael’s complicity is assumed by many because of the ferocious nature of the crime, but he still maintains his innocence, and there are others who believe that just as strongly, namely Sophie. It’s becoming quite a divisive thing for the filmmakers since they want to represent what they believe to be the truth, yet she seems very interested in expressly advocating for him and, at the end of the episode, finally meeting him after much correspondence. Prison and the loss of an appeal hasn’t changed Michael all that much in that he still demands plenty from his family and then lashes out angrily when his expectations aren’t met. Choosing to rely on Todd rather than Clayton ended up being a mistake that nearly cost him, and Clayton stepped right in to help when he needed, which seemed to be affirming for the son who had never quite felt his father’s approval, and who earlier had his own prison experience diminished as hardly relevant especially since he was guilty. Seeing the fractured relationship between Michael and Margaret was also informative, as well as how Kathleen responded when she was made aware of Michael’s plan to just leave her in New Orleans rather than fly her home for Thanksgiving as punishment.

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