Nobody was tragically murdered this week, but the second to last episode of the third season of AMERICAN CRIME is no less heartbreaking. The entire season has been hard to watch, and with only one episode to go it is hard to see how it is all going to wrap up in one hour of television, much less happily. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
The biggest heartbreak of the week came with Haitian nanny Gabrielle. She was caught up in, if not as life threatening a situation as those migrant workers who burned to death in a trailer on the Hesby farm, a situation probably equally stressful and terrifying. Nicholas and Clair Coates are nightmares unto themselves, and when they are together the nightmare is even worse. Nicholas had to let go of one of his oldest employees this episode as his failing furniture business crumbles before his eyes. Of course he takes the frustration home and takes it out on Clair.
But when Nicholas in the heat of the moment goes to walk out of the house and marches towards Nicky, Gabrielle blocks him from reaching the child. Has she seen Nicholas hit Nicky? Or is she just afraid that with his adrenaline going something bad could happen? Either way, this is not good. Gabrielle is an emotional mess from dealing with these two nutjobs (Clair may be actually physically abusing her). In fact, she either has a new wound or that burn from last week on her arm is infected. She has had enough. In a moment of pain trying to make a bed, she decides she’s going to leave. She goes to the safe where Clair is keeping her passport and tries to break it open to no avail. Now worried it is going to look like she was trying to rob the Coates, she leaves the house, and perhaps out of fear for the child’s safety in such a volatile home, she takes Nicky. Not the brightest decision, but I believe it was coming from good intentions.
When Nicky is hungry, she takes the kid to a restaurant to eat. But she only has $10 on her. She pays what she can and tries to skip out on the rest of the bill, only to be picked up by the cops. The problem now is nobody speaks French and she can’t speak English as Clair never let her learn. She screams that somebody stole her passport. ABC made the decision to keep subtitles off for Gabrielle’s most desperate moment and it adds to the panic. We can only infer that she is pleading for their help, telling them there is something wrong with the Coates. All to no avail. After the Coates give their report on how many “issues” Gabrielle has (a rare unified front from Clair and Nicholas) she is locked up and sedated. Could this be her sad fate, or is there more to her story next week? We can only hope, but it doesn’t look good.
And finally after another brutal fight in the Coates home, Nicholas and Clair finally admit they need to be split up. This relationship is too toxic. There is too much resent, and it’s not good for Nicky, or either of them. Nicholas will take what’s left of the furniture business, and Clair gets the kid. No love lost with Nicholas, apparently he always resented Nicky. I could not detest two human beings more than these two.
Jeanette is still living with her sister Raelyn and having trouble finding work (especially since she refuses to take any minimum wage jobs, which is all she’s technically qualified for at the moment). Raelyn doesn’t seem thrilled with having Jeanette crash with her. She’s been working late and probably resents Jeanette for thinking she’s too good for the kind of work Raelyn does. Raelyn definitely doesn’t understand why Jeanette would give up her comfortable life with Carson, but Jeanette is not ready to come crawling back just yet.
But she might have to be. Raelyn might not just be “working” on those late nights. When the government leaves a call that she’ll be having a random drug test within twenty-four hours, Jeanette is worried, to the point where she even suggests Raelyn run. But her sister insists her piss test will be clean. I wasn’t so sure, and I was right to be. Raelyn keeps making comments about how the government does make mistakes from time to time. And right before she’s brought in she starts talking to Jeanette about her looking after the children.
When Gabrielle is brought into the station we see Raelyn coming out of the drug testing room in cuffs. Now Jeanette has to decide what to do and what is best for her and her nieces which she is apparently responsible for now. She makes a visit to her brother-in-law J.D. and we can a devastating update on the Hesby farm fire that killed fifteen workers. Laurie Ann has convinced J.D. to take the fall for it and go to prison. He’ll go from being the family drunk to being a saint. And Laurie Ann and the family can continue to exploit immigrant workers to their heart’s content. It’s sickening. J.D. tells Jeanette to go back to Carson. It’s the best thing for her and the girls for sure, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Last week Kimara’s friend Abby asked her to forge some numbers in her log book so that the shelter she works for would be eligible for a bigger loan and she would subsequently be able to help more people. This week we see Kimara follow through and actually sit down and forge names and dates in the log book. Abby’s shelter gets more money, which is good, and Kimara ends up packing up her office and joining the shelter for more pay. But you can tell she feels like she made a deal with the devil. Do you have to be corrupt to get ahead in this world? Is the only path to good through tossing out your moral convictions? These are the question Kimara faces, and these are the questions the show creators want us to be asking ourselves.
Dustin, Shae’s old “friend” from the cam model house who witnessed her being murdered and tossed her body in the river, is realizing that he’s the only loose end that hasn’t been cleaned up from that crime. He’s worried and so one night while out running errands, he slips away. Kimara ends up getting a call and the two meet to talk. Dustin is not very responsive at first, but you are just dying for him to blurt out what happened to Shae.
Here’s to hoping that Gabrielle gets out of those cuffs, Jeanette finds a way to tell the Hesby’s to screw themselves and take care of her nieces on her own, and Kimara finds out the truth about Shae and brings the cam model house to justice! And personally I hope we get to see where Coy and Luis are since they were integral parts to the first half of the season. We shall see.
Season 3, Episode 7 (S03E07)
American Crime airs Sunday at 10PM on ABC
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Paul Gulyas | Contributor