Saturday, October 31, 2020

REVIEW: 'Manhunt: Deadly Games' - Kathy and Brennan React Differently Upon Richard's Public Exoneration in 'Join or Die'

Spectrum's Manhunt: Deadly Games - Episode 2.08 "Join or Die"

FBI agent Brennan realizes he needs to change course radically to catch Eric, and allies with Embry to do so. In Atlanta, Kathy Scruggs comes face-to-face with Richard for the first time ever.

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.

"Join or Die" was written by Nick Towne and directed by Ali Selim

Jack Brennan and Kathy Scruggs were both convinced that Richard Jewell was guilty of planting the bomb in Centennial Park. The case was closed in their minds. They got their guy. It didn't matter that he was never arrested with the crime. That certainty provided them with the opportunities to advance further in their chosen professions. They were given the ability to succeed while Richard's life was destroyed. And now, they have to reckon with the idea that Richard is completely innocent. He truly was a hero. He wasn't a criminal who masterminded this heinous scheme in order to get famous. He was a person simply trying to do the right thing. Brennan and Scruggs have to acknowledge that the tides are turning against them. They could certainly be held accountable for getting things so wrong in the first place. However, that isn't a certainty. There isn't anything that states that they must make things right. Numerous media outlets come forward with a public apology to Richard. They settle the various lawsuits he has filed. The Atlanta Journal Constitution refuses to do so. They were the paper that started it all. Kathy's reporting helped incentivize everyone else to look at Richard as a credible suspect. Her reporting offered the perception that he was the only viable person who could be guilty of this crime. She chooses to fight back against the perception that she made a mistake. Admitting that would end her career. Reckoning with that also means realizing that nothing else provides any definition in her life. This is all that she has. That is sad and tragic. It makes her dependent on the high of reporting. When she can't get that, she pursues drugs and alcohol. She is continually chasing whatever makes her feel good. She can't confront the real issues in her life. And so, she presents a form of strength. It's one that the paper fully supports as well. Her boss only personally attacks her decisions. As a company, they present a united front. It's one that completely baffles Richard and Jack. They believe they head into the negotiations with the upper hand. In reality, the paper refuses to admit wrongdoing. Kathy stands by her reporting. No one is coercing her into saying that. Richard suspects that might be going on because of how ill she looks in the meeting. He has inherent sympathy for others. He trusts that the world around him will still do the right thing when the time calls for it. He is let down once more. He is continually treated as a criminal when all he took was heroic actions to save lives. Elsewhere, Brennan is reckoning with the certainty that he messed up the Centennial bombing case and can't do that again when capturing Eric Rudolph. That is the true criminal. He doesn't abide by any strict beliefs. Rudolph just wants to watch law enforcement die at his hands. He is planning for something big. Brennan and Embry know that. They have all the necessary evidence to convince themselves that action is necessary right now. Brennan has to stand up for what's right. His belief in the bureau has failed him. The system won't encourage him to abide by the right, moral choice. People are fundamentally looking out for themselves. He has to step up in order to make things right. That's important to him. It still pulls him and Embry into a precarious situation. One that may not work out for either of them. He just feels it deeply that this is the only way to protect everyone involved before more bloodshed occurs. Rudolph has laid his trap. Countless agents could suffer. The other side may not be willing to see the evidence contradicting their views. And yet, it's important to reach out in the hopes of finding common ground to accomplish something good. That is never a certainty though. And at times, people just have to move forward with their lives knowing that they can never get back what was lost because of public misconceptions. Richard simply has to open the blinds and step into the light. He has been exonerated by the news. Some people are trying to do right by him. But his life will always have this stigma attached to it because not everyone is trusted to follow the ups and downs of this case. That nuance can get lost in the conversation at large. That allows monstrosity into the picture to inflict more harm. People have to acknowledge those failings in order to reform the systems. Kathy may fail as a journalist moving forward. She still has the support to deny Richard the satisfaction of an apology. Brennan may be less idealistic about the FBI. He still views the importance of protecting every citizen. That extends to those with extreme views different than his own. That includes the boss who fails to see the clarity on the ground. This is a complicated situation. One that may not have a pleasant ending. Life moves on. These stories can be told once more with the benefit of hindsight. That offers no guarantees of improvement or clarity either. It's simply the complexity of life and human connection.