Tuesday, February 9, 2016

REVIEW: 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' - O.J. Flees in the White Bronco and is Chased by the Police in 'The Run of His Life'

FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story - Episode 1.02 "The Run of His Life"

With O.J. Simpson missing in the white Bronco, Robert Shapiro and Robert Kardashian deal with the fallout, as the D.A.'s office and LAPD scramble to save face and find him.

It was so fascinating and compelling to watch last week's premiere of The People v. O.J. Simpson with the knowledge of all the crazy twists and turns that are to come in the case against O.J. Simpson. It was truly a once in a lifetime case that only got more miraculous and unbelievable the longer it dragged on. The first episode ended with O.J. fleeing from his lawyers in order to avoid spending time in jail. He and his old football buddy, Al "AC" Cowlings, have escaped in a white bronco. It's one of the landmark and most memorable moments of this case. It shows just how widespread the attention was on the Los Angeles police department and District Attorney's office. The entire nation was watching as the freeway was closed down and the police had a low speed chase while O.J. was suicidal with a gun. It creates such phenomenal tension throughout this episode. It also showcases just how big this case was as Marcia prepares to take it to trial.

In the beginning of this hour, everyone is just worrying how to bounce back from this massive mistake of letting O.J. flee from arrest. The two Roberts are struggling because they know the kind of headspace O.J. was in before he left the house. Bobby shows Shapiro the suicide notes - signed with a smiley face. That speaks to just how sick in the head O.J. really is right now. Shapiro can't just use the same tactics he has used with all the other famous clients he has helped over the past 25 years. O.J. didn't want to go to jail but that became an inevitability. Shapiro was able to negotiate a surrender. Those terms were able to be met because of O.J.'s celebrity. And now, they are the reason for this massive manhunt. Marcia and Gil are furious. They know how bad this looks for them. They allowed for this to happen. It could be so damaging to their careers as well. And yet, they have to suck it up and take what's coming to them because they still need to handle this case.

It leads to a battle of press conferences between the two sides. Marcia and Gil need to remind everyone that O.J. is now a fugitive from justice. Personal feelings aside, anyone helping him evade capture is now liable to be arrested as well. They choose to look forward to the future. They want to believe that O.J. will be captured and face justice for his crimes. But the system is soon over-flooded with potential tips to his whereabouts. Everyone knows what O.J. looks like but that just means more false reports of where he is at. Meanwhile, Bobby and Shapiro are operating under the belief that O.J. fled and killed himself. He's missing so they don't quite know what has happened. But they use that belief in order to safe themselves in their own press conference. It's an emotional time for everyone. This beloved public figure has been accused of this horrific crime. Bobby is devastated over what has happened to his friend. He's the emotional center of this case. It's just another legal matter for Shapiro to work his way out of any wrongdoing. But for Bobby, he's O.J.'s close friend. He's the one who needs to return home and tell O.J.'s family about what has happened.

It's only after Bobby tells O.J.'s family that he has killed himself that the news breaks in with reports of the white bronco being sighted with O.J. in the back seat with a gun. That was a huge sigh of relief for the family. Bobby's prayers had been answered. And yet, the chase that happens afterwards only showcases just how uncertain everyone was about handling this case. The entire country is watching. This hour does a fantastic job showing just how invasive and overwhelming this coverage actually was. Everyone in the country knew of O.J. Simpson. They are watching the news in order to keep up to date regarding his case. Everyone has an opinion over whether or not he did this crime. Everyone is passionate about it. It's a conversation that quickly erupts into racial relationships with the LAPD. Johnnie Cochran isn't afraid to get on camera and talk about the LAPD's long history of shooting first and asking questions never. But it's much more personal within the communities watching as the coverage gets more intense. Chris is the window into that world. He lives in an African-American neighborhood where people are proud of O.J. for getting all the fame he has. They talk about whether or not he's the greatest football player. That's very indicative of the conversations happening all across the country. The breaking news coverage cuts into the NBA finals. People are upset about that but they are still completely glued to the television set watching as the chase occurs.

O.J.'s fame and celebrity made all of this possible. It's because people know of him from football and love him so much that the police were so lenient on him during questioning and his arrest. His entire world is changing. He loved Nicole very much. He's so devastated by her death. That is fueling his every action right now. He sees no point in continue to live in this world without her. He is scaring a lot of people close to him. The people outside the house only know of him from football and the other entertainment deals he has done over the years. To Bobby though, this is a radically different man who has lost his will to live in this world. It's a very personal ordeal for O.J. His celebrity allows him to escape. He flees in the white bronco with AC. But his celebrity also means he can't experience all of these emotions in private. He simply wants to be left alone as he tries to make sense of this ever-changing world. It's crazy to him that so many police resources are being used to find him and that so many people are showing up to be a part of this experience as well. It's truly staggering to see the crowds as they grow. At the start of the day, only one couple in a Volkswagen spotted him. At the end of it, the entire highway was cleared for him and the police while crowds gathered on the over passes to cheer him on and show their support during this grueling time.

But that doesn't take away from how this experience was suppose to be personal. O.J. isn't afforded that luxury. He's not allowed to deal with these emotions in private. Everyone is interested in finding him. It's too much pressure. It would be simpler to kill himself. And yet, he can't find the energy to ultimately pull the trigger no matter where he goes. It's a tiring experience for him. At the end of the day, he just gives up because he's tired and emotionally drained from all of this. He's so sorry that his fleeing has forced all of these people to come to him during a Friday night. He knows they must have lives they want to be living as well. But he never sees these people as the support they want to be seen as. People come out in order to be supportive of O.J. as he deals with the oppressive LAPD. When the camera crews have to turn off the lights, many suspect that it's so the police officers don't show what they needed to do in order to capture him. It's a very grueling experience for everyone involved. Bobby just wants his friend back. He wants to be by O.J.'s side as he goes through this incredibly trying time. It's because of Bobby that O.J. gets the courage to exit the vehicle and face arrest inside the house. Bobby made him comfortable in a time where he didn't know what he was feeling. That comfort will be so crucial to his well being moving forward. This isn't the last crazy and unbelievable thing to happen in this case. It simply showcases just how massive the attention really was for this very private and personal tragedy.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Run of His Life" was written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski and directed by Ryan Murphy.
  • This is a really tough time for Bobby. He believes his best friend has killed himself and he is reading his suicide note at a press conference. And yet, his children are freaking out at their father being on TV and the press having no idea how to spell his last name.
  • Johnnie really isn't a big fan of Shapiro right now. He's watching his actions and telling his fellow associates that they should never be so narcissistic when presiding over a case. It's about the client more than the lawyer. That's fascinating given what's about to come in the story.
  • The show is perhaps being a little too heavy-handed when it comes to Christopher Darden believing that he'll never be able to work on a case like this. He knows Marcia and Gil well enough to know how mortified they are in the press conference. But his own father warns him to stay away from this case as well.
  • Shapiro is glad that O.J. is found alive and being pursued in the white bronco by the police. It means he still has a case he can work on. They aren't over with just yet - like he had feared earlier during the press conference.
  • It's very meaningful that Bobby yelling out that O.J. is carrying frames of his children's pictures is the only reason why the police don't shoot O.J. while he is getting out of the white bronco.