American Crime 1×11 ‘Episode Eleven’ : The butler did it

So, the season’s finally over, after a lot, and I do mean a lot, of misery. Was it satisfying? Did it provide closure? Was it worth the anti-depressants some viewers probably had to take just to get through each episode? The answer is…sort of?

Before we start, I should say that I didn’t expect neat, tidy endings for all (or maybe any) of the characters. That’s just not how this show works. Remember that when I complain about things later on.

Carter’s a free man, Aubry’s being held under observation, and the families of Matt and Gwen are, in Barb’s words, scattering. Tom and Eve take Gwen home to recover, and I was a little disappointed with the lack of screen time they got. Specifically, I wanted some kind of discussion between Gwen and either of her parents about what kind of husband Matt was, what drove her to step outside the marriage, etcetera. We’ve heard some of that secondhand from Eve, but I wanted something straight from the source, so to speak.

Tony’s dad wants to move on himself, start fresh somewhere new. I think I would too, in his shoes. Especially when we see Tony at school, that his past history is going to be held against him for a long time to come. But Jenny wants to stick it out, get a job, weather the storm. I feel like that’s going to be pretty damn hard, but I admire her courage, and her father’s willingness to finally listen to her. At least the family was affected in a positive way by all this. The negative far outweighs the positive, but something good did come out of it.

Russ is less willing to move on. With Barb leaving and Mark and his fiancé headed back to Germany, he’s desperate. Desperate to rebuild his family. Which is terribly noble, and terribly painful to watch, because it’s clear that this won’t work. Not when he’s the only one willing to try.

Which brings us to that shocker. Everyone was so worried when Barb bought that gun, wondering if she’d do something crazy. Russ, he flew under the radar. Until he shot Carter in the head. Side note. Carter calling Aubry. Didn’t anyone think that was a bad idea? Considering that he was at the center of all her deluded thinking, shouldn’t someone have maybe considered keeping them out of contact? Anyway. The shooting was a huge thing, I didn’t expect it at all, even knowing Russ had Barb’s gun. Something that struck me. Russ refused to put down the gun when the cops told him to. Refused multiple times. Did they shoot him? No. Hector in the pilot? No weapon, he’s running away, no weapon, and they shoot him.

In the aftermath, we’re left to hope that maybe, finally, Barb, Mark and his fiancé will do what Russ wanted, fight for their family. But the scene that was even more powerful for me was Aliyah hugging Aubry’s mom and praying as they both cried. These are two people who wanted to blame the other person’s loved one for everything that’d gone wrong, and here they are together, supporting one another.

Source: ABC

Source: ABC

Aubry’s death didn’t surprise me at all. I might’ve made the Romeo and Juliet comparison with her and Carter before, but if not, here it is. These two were doomed from their first scene together, and I’d be more shocked if one or both hadn’t ended up dead.

Hector. I’m glad he got his chance at a decent life, but his storyline wrapped up way too quick and easy. After all that buildup of trying to avoid Mexico, failing, seeing how bad the legal system is, everything…and there’s no payoff. It’s not that it’s far-fetched, a witness getting killed off before a cartel case, but it felt like a cop-out. Everything leading up to it, and the case is done in thirty seconds. There were a lot of threads to wrap up here, I get that. But this just felt like lazy writing, rushing to get one more character squared away.

And now my big gripe. The show’s called American Crime. Do we finally know who committed the damn crime? Carter’s lawyer says Aubry knew things only the killer would, that she did it alone. But he also had that line about lies coming back on the liars. How do we know Carter wasn’t with her? We already know she’d go to stupidly huge lengths to protect him. After eleven episodes, do we really know who was responsible for the titular event? No. And that, ladies and gents, is BS.

This wasn’t a mystery show. It was always more about various people’s reaction to the crime than anything else. Fine. Perfectly okay with that. And you could argue that not knowing makes it more real, because yes, crimes go unsolved every day. But come on. After all the hell we’ve been through with these characters, the audience at least deserves a definitive answer to why so many lives had to be ended or ruined. That more than anything is what I despised about this finale. To hell with ambiguous endings, letting the audience decide. Write your scripts and finish them. Fill in the damn blanks, especially when they’re huge, gaping ones that are integral to the plot.

So the finale falls into that frustrating place between good and bad. There were elements that worked, but there were also major ones that didn’t, and I left feeling more unsatisfied than not. I don’t know if I’ll tune in next year, I think that depends largely on the new cast. Because one thing this show absolutely nailed was casting. If they can replicate that with a completely new ensemble, I might see what fresh misery awaits in season two.

So what do you guys think? Were you more impressed with the ending than I was? Will you watch another season?  Sound off in the comments.

 

Nicolette Schneider

is a lit geek, a comic geek, and a certified TV fanatic. She often prefers fictional people over real ones. When she does make friends with regular humans, she likes the ones who give her access to their Netflix accounts. She loves words and hopes to one day make money stringing them together. Until then, read those words for free on
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