The second installment of SHOTS FIRED opened with deceased teen Jesse Carr’s father approaching Deputy James Beck as he arrives home. Gun in hand, Carr’s anger and heartbreak is more than understandable. We quickly learn that he had not been an active member in his son’s life and has left deeper wounds giving even more traction to his shortcomings propelling everything we learned in the first episode to spin out of control.
The tension has escalated to an all time high in this North Carolina town and is very evident from the very first minute this week, as the father of slain white teen Jesse Carr approaches Joshua Beck, the cop who killed him. Mr. Carr approaches Beck at night, as he returns home from work, and pulls a gun on him. Mr. Carr says his son never would have gone for Beck’s gun, to which Beck asks: “Oh, like you’d never shoot a cop?” Surprisingly, Beck is able to successfully de-escalate this moment as he drops his gun and agrees to figure out what happened that day the right way.
Joshua Beck, is the only character that receives much needed backstory and character development as his situation changes in “Betrayal of Trust”. Mack Wilds serves as a constant surprise on the screen as his portrayal of Joshua is spot on and brings more value each episode. After the gun is pulled on him by Jesse’s grieving father his wife spends the whole episode glued to the television coverage of the shooting even as he tells her to shut it off. He later finds out at dinner with the sheriff that he’s been dropped by the police union that represents him, so while he’s still employed, he’s on his own as far as representing himself in the Jesse Carr case. Understandably, this is a tough pill for him to swallow, but when the audience knows how little actual work is being done to bring him to justice, it’s hard to worry about him.
Unfortunately, in “Betrayal of Trust” Shameeka hasn’t gotten to tell much of her story yet, but Pastor Janae James has stepped up in Shameeka’s stead, rallying the community to seek justice for Joey instead of giving Jesse’s death the most attention. Shots Fired takes these oblique angles on its themes because while it could be a more intimate story, it seems to be more interested in creating a tapestry of characters and making its community feel lived in. The approach is ambitious, but somehow, this show’s attempts to add depth wind up making it feel more shallow.
Luckily, I was left with questions that need answers after viewing this episode that was much favorable than the pilot. I know for sure that Pastor James is definitely hiding something major. I question her role in all of this as it becomes even more clear in this episode that betrayal will often be the root of more problems to come. We learned a lot more about our main characters internal struggles with family, love, sex and relationships but at some point it did overshadow what Shots Fired is all about. Hopefully next week we can really dive into the betrayal and justice that so quickly grasped us in the first episode. What shocked you this week? What do you think Pastor James is hiding?
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
Shots Fired airs Wednesday at 8PM on FOX
Jerrica Long | Contributor