Saturday, October 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Manhunt: Deadly Games' - Eric Manipulates the Local Community While Brennan Projects Strength in 'Army of God'

Spectrum's Manhunt: Deadly Games - Episode 2.06 "Army of God"

Viewing him as a freedom fighter under siege, local militias rally around Eric and attack the FBI. The FBI militarizes, and escalates to the brink of war. As Embry continues to investigate, he learns that Eric is not who he claims to be.

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.

"Army of God" was written by Allison Moore and directed by Janice Cooke

The local sheriff continually tells the FBI and ATF agents that this is a community that stands firm in their beliefs and have a long memory. He views it as families that have been here for generations and have been oppressed for all that time as well. They are strong together. They support those viewed as outsiders. That's what makes it so intoxicating when they see Eric Rudolph as a chance to stand by their principles. They aren't just words they profess without putting into action. They know that they have to take a stand now in support of one of their own. No one in this community knows Eric though. He talks about growing up here. But his family moved away to Florida. He has had a life away from this town. He can still manipulate people into believing that he too represents their strong morals. Army of God doesn't have to be a known militia group or terrorist organization. It just has to provide Eric with a sense of strength as he goes up against the government. He portrays himself as one man who took a stand for a profound reason and doesn't deserve punishment for that. The local priest can praise his actions while still condemning murder. That balance is tricky and the show absolutely screams its points a little too blatantly here. It wants to showcase how the mentality of the FBI is to always be strong and dominant. They have to prove that they are worthy of being known as the best. It's sickening to watch as Brennan's boss demands him to be strong no matter what even at the cost of small town USA. It doesn't matter what happens in any community the FBI visits in one of its cases. It's just important to catch the criminals who freely operate before they have the opportunity to strike again. That is the burden of this job. The pressure is increased because the militia has fired their opening shots against the FBI. They do so carefully in order to get their point across without hurting anyone. They are cautious in that way. They operate with some sense of respect. That proves that they are different altogether from Eric. He wanted to create chaos. He has a vendetta against law enforcement and wants to actually watch them die. He enjoys knowing that he is the cause for such death as well. When Embry searches Eric's home, he sees a normal and quaint life. One that doesn't point to such extreme actions. That's what makes all of this more sinister and urgent. He knows that Richard Jewell is innocent. Centennial Park is just the outlier of Eric's known criminal history. He can create a captivating story that plays to a specific group of people. Embry wants to analyze that the moment Eric's letter is released to the public. It is authenticated. He takes credit for the recent bombings. He forms allies with the radical conservative movement. He knows he can trust them. He just has to pop up in order to receive their generous support. It's not much of a deliberation either. He knows how to work the people of this town in order to gain their trust. They will refuse to comply with the FBI during the roadblocks. They stand firm in their beliefs. They don't want any more people to be terrorized because of government overreach. That just has the unfortunate consequence of a literal army descending on this place. Embry knows that's not the right play. He views Big John as someone who can be reasoned with. He won't appreciate being manipulated by someone who doesn't share the same values and beliefs as him. That means a great deal to Big John. He commands respect wherever he goes. But again, only Embry is willing to look out for the nuances of the world. He doesn't storm over demanding splashy attention and an army of guns to get the job done. It may ultimately take that much in order to bring Eric into custody. That has to be the end result no matter what. But lives hang in the balance because of one man's charm. Embry can't convince Brennan of the connection between this case and Centennial Park. Richard Jewell and his world don't appear in this episode at all. His presence still looms though because his fate is ultimately in the hands of whatever Embry can prove and get others to accept. Right now, Brennan believes in the power of a good story. It's one that he has to force over and over again. He is given that opportunity too because it plays into his narrative of being an incisive and strong individual with the cutthroat instincts to make it within the noble FBI.