Sunday, September 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'Unbelievable' - Marie Reaches Out to the Detectives to Affirm a Message of Hope in 'Episode 8'

Netflix's Unbelievable - Episode 1.08 "Episode 8"

A call from Colorado sets in motion a chain of events that will change Marie's life. Meanwhile, Karen and Grace prepare for a pivotal day in court.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season finale of Netflix's Unbelievable.

"Episode 8" was written by Susannah Grant and directed by Susannah Grant

One phone call is the only interaction between Karen Duvall and Marie Adler. And yet, Karen and Grace had such a transformational impact on Marie's life. They care about her and fought for her more than anyone else in this world. That has so many wonderful and phenomenal repercussions that uplift Marie. Karen and Grace didn't know that Marie existed. But it was still their responsibility to fight on her behalf to get the justice that she deserved. They ultimately don't know how many women Christopher McCarthy assaulted. They get a satisfying conclusion to the case with him being sentenced to over 300 years in prison. He will never be a free man again. Everyone's response to that is inherently different. That stems from the fact that each survivor of sexual abuse responds in a different way. Marie doesn't have the opportunity to confront her abuser in a courtroom. And yet, she still finds all the peace and resolution that she needs. Meanwhile, there are other survivors who need to stand before the judge and have their stories heard about all that he took away from them. It's such a viscerally raw moment. One where the emotions are laid bare for all to see and experience. Their lives were torn apart because of the actions of one man. They have reacted in such dramatic ways to ensure that they can even feel safe once more. This is part of their healing process. But it's also just comforting and satisfying enough to be in the courtroom to know that this man won't harm anyone else. That's all that Amber needs. She just sits in the back row choosing not to speak. It's a celebration when the judge comes down hard with the sentencing. There was the fear leading up to that moment because of an inherent distrust of the system. There should be hope that all of the hard work Grace, Karen and their team have done will ensure that this man will never harm another women. But the case is too often presented in front of a sympathetic judge who doesn't want to destroy a man's entire life. That kind of punishment doesn't match the crime and the way in which these women's lives were forever altered because of this man's actions. That's not the outcome here. The show makes it painfully clear that the full weight of the law comes crashing down on Christopher. Of course, it also has to point out that all of this could have been avoided if the Washington detectives did their job and listened to Marie. Detective Parker is the only person from Washington who goes to Colorado to see all of the evidence the team has collected. He analyzes it. His life too is entirely transformed. He suddenly realizes that he is one of the bad apples who shouldn't be a member of the force because he wasn't there to support a woman in her time of need. He only made things worse for Marie. Even when he reaches out to her later to tell her the update, it's an attack told in a very unsettling place. He approaches her after work when it's dark and she's isolated. That is forever a terrifying image for Marie and the many other women in this case and throughout the world frankly. The news he brings isn't good enough. She sues the city and gets an apology. She is given the chance to start over. But it's so much more than that. It's a restoration of hope. For years, she has been stuck idly wandering through her life because she couldn't experience or express hope. She didn't know the point of living if this kind of depravity could happen at any moment. She always chose to keep living. But she could never escape the tragic circumstances that were beholden to her because of the attack. And now, Karen and Grace give her the confidence of having a fulfilled life. Marie hits the open road as a registered driver for a life full of possibilities. It's important for her to reach out and thank the people who gave her this opportunity. It's so uplifting to know that there are people out there who don't even know you but care about giving you the precise help that you need in any given moment. That's the cathartic message at the end of this story. Sure, Grace and Karen lament the fact that there are still so many bad guys out there. Everything works out in this one particular case. It has been a blessing to work together. They will remain supportive of one another in their careers. But it's also time to move on and work the next case in the hopes of making a difference in more people's lives. That's the work Grace and Karen have to do even if the world will constantly make things complicated for them and the people they meet on a daily basis.