blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Defending Jacob (2020) s01e08 – After

Did you ever see the movie, Before and After? I haven’t. I haven’t read the book either. So I’m not sure if the dad covering up the teenager murdering someone or the mom covering up the teenager murdering someone talks about how it’s “before and after” when it comes to the murdering teen. On “Defending Jacob,” however, it’s definitely Chris Evans. He goes on about it at length and is very clear about the “before and after.”

Again, as always with this show, who’s so unoriginal, show writer and creator Mark Bomback or source novel author William Landay. I don’t actually care, I’d just like to accurately assign blame.


The episode starts with Evans sleeping on the couch because it’s a smart show and it’s telling us it’s the morning after the previous episode and he’s still in trouble. A big deus ex machina descends and changes fate for everyone. It’s such a big swing, it’s like Landay didn’t want to have to figure out how to write any more courtroom stuff because he’s not good at it.

Suffice to say, they’re out of court sooner than the thought, everything decided.

Or is it.

The last episode of “Defending Jacob,” which is the eighth episode and runs about 60 minutes out of 400 total or whatever… is where there’s some story. Is it good story? It’s better story than the show. Even with what amounts to be a nonsense framing device with the bookends—all so they can be low-key sexist and do a men’s rights fist bump but not in a bad way just the privileged White man way—nothing can prepare for what a waste of time everything until this episode has been.

I’m not sure what a good writer could do with this project—and we’ll never know because they didn’t make it into a movie and I’m not reading William Landay ever now—but a better writer might’ve come up with a decent structure. Just like Ed Norton could’ve saved the lead. Or poor Michelle Dockery, who really should’ve said no. Of course, Jaeden Martell isn’t any good. J.K. Simmons in a bit cameo shouldn’t be the best performance.

The ending’s really silly. On a few levels.

Including some logic ones and some character development ones.

“Defending Jacob” actually ends up being more insipid than I thought it’d be and I thought it’d be pretty dang insipid.

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