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Defending Jacob: Laurie Knows Best

The fourth episode of Defending Jacob finds us following after Andy and Laurie as they try to keep on brave faces for Jacob while quietly sinking in the depths of their own minds and thoughts. If they aren’t careful, soon it will be more about how they’re handling everything rather than if Jacob is innocent or not. 

Andy is all about taking action. He needs to prove that his son is innocent, almost to the point of obsession. As he makes a serious of decisions that aren’t very smart, we find ourselves questioning if all this is really about Jacob or about Andy. His reason behind the choices and actions he makes is clear, but the jury on whether or not what he’s doing is right is still out. Is there such a thing as going too far for the sake of your child? Laurie on the other hand, has kinda of fallen into a dazed autopilot. She isn’t talking much, when she does it comes out snippish or passive aggresively. She ordered information about Andy’s father online and didn’t tell him. She sits and watches her ex friends and ex colleagues come together for a gala that she planned. All of this, she does while constantly being in a state of emotional turmoil. That goes pretty much unacknowledged by Andy because of his need to prove Jacob’s innocence.

And because of that, the rift between the couple is growing. Laurie struggles to stay above the part of her that feels like Jacob might have actually done this horrible crime, meanwhile Andy refuses to let any part of himself think their son is anything other than innocent. They’re different extremes of a long thread. This is where it becomes more about them than Jacob, at least in Andy’s case. The harder Andy digs and looks into Leonard Patz, the man he wants to pin Ben’s murder on, it becomes clearer that perhaps this isn’t about Jacob and more about Andy fearing that his son has inherited his grandfather’s murder gene. Andy spent his whole life doing everything possible to make sure he wasn’t like his own father, and now to see Jacob possibly taking after the very same man; it’s making him act irrationally. If Andy isn’t careful, his obession is going to cause irrepairable damage. Though, if it saves Jacob I’m not sure he would care. 

The biggest take away from the fourth episode is that you don’t really know anyone the way you think you do. Even family. Laurie and Andy have been together for seventeen years, yet she’s now seeing a side of Andy that she doesn’t know. She’s realizing things about him that she thought were just odd are actually a little concerning, like the fact Andy has no friends. Pam calling him out in the second episode rings even truer now. There are people in his life, like work colleagues and such but they never come over for dinner, they never hang out. He only has Laurie and Jacob. 

Still vizually stunning and with a plot so immaculantly structured, the only grip I have with Defending Jacob is the way it’s continuing to skurt around certain subjects, like white privilege. Andy is making calls that are boarderline illegal, in the name of his son. Which is all fine and dandy but if it was a man of color or a Black man doing the things Andy has done so far this would be a totally different story because he would have been arrested, or killed, back at the beginning of the case. I don’t exactly disagree with the things he’s doing, but I would like for someone to call him on more. Maybe we haven’t gotten there yet but I’m not holding much hope for it.

Episode four is Michelle Dockery’s episode, this is the one where she shines brighter than the others and does it with probably the least amount of dialogue. I feel for Laurie, which is something I don’t do often. Usually, mother characters can be overbearing especially suburban white moms. Their problems and hardships are hardly anything to write home about. But it’s different with Laurie, and I’m unsure if it’s because of the writing or because of personal choices Michelle made when playing her. Book Laurie is the worst character in the story, while tv Laurie is probably the best. If anything, she is underappreciated for sure. Michelle’s portrayl of her makes me excited to see where the show takes her and the development they’re going to give her.    

Halfway through the series and Defending Jacob continues to bring out the best of itself in a variety of ways. Now that we’re in the thick of things, it’s time to watch everything fall to pieces, it’s time for the characters to make major strides in their development and it’s time for the nauce of boys will be boys to taken down a notch or two. Defending Jacob delivers all of these things in pretty hues of blue and grey, but it never forgets the seriousness of the situation at hand. It never lets anyone forget that life can go from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye and there’s rarely anything that can be done to stop it.

Defending Jacob airs Fridays on Apple TV

-Danyi 

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