Saturday, October 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Manhunt: Deadly Games' - Richard Hopes New Evidence Will Finally Exonerate Him in 'Land of the Noonday Sun'

Spectrum's Manhunt: Deadly Games - Episode 2.05 "Land of the Noonday Sun"

The FBI search for Eric spins out of control as antigovernment locals and Eric's family push back. Meanwhile, Richard must confront his inner demons as he prepares for a pivotal press conference.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Spectrum's Manhunt: Deadly Games.

"Land of the Noonday Sun" was written by Allison Moore and directed by Janice Cooke

The various FBI agents are stunned when citizens openly defy their direct authority. They are trained into believing that they can do whatever they want because they are the best of the best. They are the law enforcement officers at the top of the pyramid. That sense of self-importance is systemic and corrosive to the entire institution. It means the facts and evidence aren't leading the case. Instead, it's all about showmanship and following the same tactics that have worked in other extreme examples. Brennan's direct superior doesn't think a $50,000 reward will change anything in the search for Eric Rudolph. They have to up the ante to a million dollars because that was the precedent set by the Unabomber case. That case ultimately turned out successful for the bureau. Despite both criminals hiding out in the forest and using bombs, the cases are wildly different. But the FBI believes that any rational human being would give up their morals, values, friends and family in exchange for a million dollars. That's especially true in a community like Murphy, North California where the average household income is $20,000 a year. Brennan sees that as a huge payday that could dramatically change a person's life. He makes the offer not knowing the exact community he is dealing with. He and Knox believe that because they have dealt with militia types before they know how to handle this situation. They are completely out of their depth though. One moment they are holding children at gunpoint. That can't be seen as a healthy choice that can prop up the work they are doing in this area. Brennan believes he has created an all-encompassing plan that will smoke Rudolph out of hiding. Instead, he is met with contempt everywhere he goes. He doesn't want to hear anything unless it would dramatically improve the odds of capturing Eric Rudolph. Embry and Holliwell present him with their conclusive evidence that this bomber can also be attributed to the Centennial Park case. They fight to save an innocent man's life against the brunt of the FBI. But that isn't a priority at the moment. In Brennan's mind, he is no longer working that case. This is nothing more than a theory presented to him by a determined ATF agent who will break orders just to get his point across. But Richard Jewell is actively fighting back for his freedom. He believes he has collected the evidence to exonerate him. It may only make things much starker about how the world is determined to convict him no matter what. His mother has long had doubts about his innocence. She thought she raised a good son. However, she fears that any action he makes will only cause her further pain. He never wanted that. He always wanted to protect her. That's his core motivation. He gets his strength from her no matter how much she can belittle him. She will fight for him too. She won't say anything negative to the press. Kathy Scruggs just remains determined to proof her version of the case. She doesn't buy into the evidence that Richard and his defense team lay out during their press conference. She is more than willing to toss it aside and get the FBI agents tailing Richard to say that he could be operating with a partner. There is no evidence physically connecting Richard to this case. But Kathy believes herself to be a big fish in a small pond. She believes she is doing the work that major reporters do instead of the local crime beat she has always covered. Her tactics are amoral though. She should have to atone for that. She makes life for the Jewell family incredibly difficult. She leads the crusade against him because she refuses to let it go. Eric Rudolph is the bomber. He is still at large. He will continue to fight back as well. His actions will just turn more lethal. He may even have the backing of the community around him because they suffer at the injustice caused by the FBI. That is the fundamental story this season. These abuses of power are widespread and do damage. Some people have incredible distrust of law enforcement. Others idolize them. Both vantage points may not be entirely healthy in the end. But it's important to be aware of the failings of humanity when it comes to this kind of work. Mistakes are made but those are frequently costly. The FBI wants to get justice. They just stir up a mess not fully understanding the consequences that will come from their actions.