American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson 1.08: “A Jury in Jail” Episode Review

This week, like a few weeks back, we get a re-run of Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World on FX before this week’s episode of The Juice v. The Peeps. Why exactly FX feels they need to consistently pair this show with a movie that stars a comic book adaptation of a mythical being that is worshipped by white power jerk offs worldwide, I have no clue…except of course for the Fox connection.

A few things about FX—first off, their PR people are too cheap to send a freaking digital file screener to my editor, so every Tuesday I am STUCK wading through commercials to write this post for peanuts, to get the 4 (possibly 6 if I include my girlfriend and mom) people who read this recap, an amusing piece of pop-culture fluff. If they sent us a screener, I could have finished this job in a binge-watch weekend.

OK enough—I am sounding like a whiny Waaaamerican. I mean seriously, I should be grateful. It could be some kid overseas writing this recap for close to nothing in a blogger sweatshop, but hey better it’s me, who makes a little more than beer money each article after they take out taxes!

This week’s episode, called “A Jury in Jail,” begins with the jurors close to rioting due to having been basically kept hostage for 8 months. Imagine that—8 months in a hotel with strangers, without TV, reading material confiscated, isolated from other guests, denied free roaming rights of the hotel, and not being able to see your family. For. 8. Months. Yup, we got us a boiling pot here.

We cut to the prosecution screaming at each other that Americans don’t understand DNA evidence—but they obviously understood that a glove didn’t fit last week. Does this sound odd to some of you? That 20th-century Americans scratched their head at scientific evidence

Yeah well—we go back to the jury, who we now see split down racial lines. They are having a heated discussion that can change the course of the case—regarding whether they should watch Seinfeld or Martin that night during “TV time.” This episode is truly aptly named, because it is starting to feel like HBO’s OZ up in here. I’m wondering who’s going to get shivved.

We move on to OJ playing poker for Skittles with his buddies in jail, bluffing his way to a win a big hand. Hmmmmmmm.

We then get Marcia Clark questioning forensic expert Dennis Fung on the stand, trying to explain DNA to the audience and saying OJ’s blood and hair were found all over the crime scene. Bob Kardashian (David Schwimmer) starts to doubt, considering the staggering amount of OJ’s—well— OJ that was left all over the murder set.

Back to the jury, where our frustrated group is told by an exasperated deputy of yet another delay in the proceedings. One black juror is pulled out to talk to Judge Ito. He is questioned as to whether he had ever been arrested for kidnapping—ok this is new. Let’s see where this goes. The juror denies it at first, until his file is pulled. Seems he had a bit of a screwed up domestic violence incident. Marcia Clark gets a win when he is dismissed.

In the jury room, it feels like they are again splitting the jurors against race lines. And the black jurors even start turning on one another, when one admits getting favors from a white deputy.

Let’s get back to Fung. The defense starts to whittle him down regarding where the juice—I mean blood—was acquired by the forensics professionals who examined it. There are some far-fetched innuendos as to the police tampering with OJ’s type O, and a left field stone cast that a third of the blood that was collected went missing.

How much of freaking Simpson’s blood was AT the scene?

They continue to batter Fung with allegations of contamination by the LAPD of the evidence. Fung gets unstrung. He starts to doubt himself and stammer and get that dog-that-just-pooped-on-the-carpet look. As he leaves, he shakes everyone’s hand, including OJ’s, like an autistic child who isn’t sure what appropriate behavior is among adults. The jury raises eyebrows!

Cue soundtrack highlight. The song is “Natural One,” that originally appeared in the 90’s cult hit movie Kids. We listen to the track as Marcia Clark loses her ever-loving mind over the Fungtastrophe that just occurred.

And then, we get another black juror who lied about domestic violence. She was raped and lied about it. F. Lee Baily (Nathan Lane) adds that in ’88, when it happened, it wasn’t technically rape, because it was between a husband and wife. Yes he said that out loud. One by one the black jurors are taking flight.

Best line by my girl Marcia Clark to Cochran when he bitches at her about it is:

“Toughen up…this is the smoker’s lounge. Day care’s on the first floor.”

BUUURRRRRNNNNNN!!!! In your FACE Cochran!

Yeah fat lot of good it did her later.

They go on to talk about the alternate jurors and whom they need to focus on. They knock out more jurors about various conflicts of interest, including possibly writing notes for future books. One by one, they are dismissed to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”

To further emphasize the dehumanization and demoralization of the jurors, they are called by their juror numbers always. One juror finally breaks down in tears, begging to go home, and screams to Judge Ito, “My name is Tracy!”

She then goes on to say the guards treat the white jurors better. For example, the white jury members got to go shop for an hour at Target when the black ones only got a half hour at Ross—it seems that everyone agreed that, back then, black people liked Ross better than Target—even Cochran. My, how times have changed. Everyone knows that EVERYONE now shops at Target.

There’s yet another jailhouse reminiscent scene, when a stern guard scrutinizes the jurors while they are on lunch. The jury finally snaps and refuses to come to trial. There is a great pained expression by Ito, like he just passed the mother of all kidney stones. The visibly angered jury files in due to threats of contempt charges, many dressed in black as a sign of protest due to their mistreatment, while Public Enemy’s Chuck D wails “FIGHT THE POWER” in the background! Booyaaa! Suck THAT Ito!

The defense loses their cookies about losing control of the case, while OJ freaks about a pending mistrial. OJ begs to testify. The defense agrees to a “mock” cross-examination. In other words, they want a trial run. 

Tracy, our unhinged juror, finally has a complete nervous breakdown, screaming like a banshee and literally making a break for it—with another juror commenting, “…that’s one way to do it.”

The OJ mock examination goes badly. He is too flippant, not taking it serious, actually saying that a past case of possible domestic violence against Nicole was caused by a fall.

Isn’t that what they always say in jail? He/She “fell” when they get beat by a cop or another inmate?

We cut to Rob Kardashian crying because he sees the writing on the wall. Simpson will probably get off he says, and he obviously knows he has been guilty of defending a murderer this whole time.

We end with someone answering the phone at the “OJ tip line” and scrawling on a pad that there is a recording of Detective Mark Fuhrman using the word nigger.

By far—best episode yet. 

 


Spyridon P. Panousopoulos spends his time whittling sharp sticks out of blunt ones. He has written for Flavorwire.comThe NY Press, and Gen Art in the past. He has 3 cats that all hate him. Follow him @TheRevSpyro.

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