American Crime s3e4 – In the previous episode of “American Crime,” Coy Henson witnesses the rape of a young female field worker by Diego, one of the migrant labor bosses. As one of the few Anglo outsiders in a community of undocumented Latino farm laborers, Coy’s observance of the rape puts him in serious danger. Isaac is also on the spot as a go-between. Jeanette Hesby is deeply disturbed about the fire that killed a group of farm workers but feels helpless to do anything about it. Meanwhile, pregnant teenager Shae is sharing her own trauma in a group therapy session with other teens at the shelter. Luis Salazar gets hot on the trail of his son Teo when a young Aztec woman tells Luis that one of the farm bosses gave Teo a beatdown when he tried to defend her from being raped.
Review and recap American Crime s3e4
American Crime s3e4 images from spoilertv.com
In Episode 4, directed by Steph Green, the cold open shows a police officer asking Luis Salazar how they might identify his son from a photo album of crime victims. The brooding father finds son Teo among the pictures. “He was fished out of a river,” the cop tells him
Luis contacts his wife Ana back in Mexico on a cell phone but he doesn’t want to give her the bad news over the phone. “Yes, I’ve found him.” Ana frets but Luis isn’t up to telling her their son is dead.
Back at the migrant camp, it would take some very special facial recognition software to identify Coy. His beating at the hands of one of the migrant bosses has left him disfigured and hopeless.
“How much will it cost to get out of here,” he asks one of the bosses. He earned $40 but owes $363 dollars, and the difference between what a worker earns and what he owes is enough to keep him, like the others, on the treadmill of hard labor.
Shae’s still in the shelter, and Kimara is keeping tabs on her. She’s pregnant for a second time. After aborting her first pregnancy, she thinks abortion is as easy as ordering a hamburger at a McDonalds. Not in North Carolina which, like other states, has guidelines an underage teen must follow before a court rules for an abortion to proceed.
This speed bump on the road to an abortion is a real shocker to Shae, and leads to a lively exchange between Shae, Judge Richer, and Kimara. She never had to answer all these questions before. “In D.C., I just went to Planned Parenthood,” she tells the judge.
One of the creative strengths of “American Crime” is its ambiguity. While Shae wants to get rid of the fetus, Kimara desperately wants to be blessed with one.
She makes another run on the fertility clinic for what she hopes is not another resource draining dry run. “What’s the interest rate?” Kimara asks the overly cheerful fertility clinic worker.
That’s for the loan Kimara needs to continue at the baby factory. “Oh, don’t worry,” the cheerleader says encouragingly, “We can tailor the payments to fit your budget.”
Regina King and Ana Mulvoy Ten are Kimara Walters and Shae Reese respectively and you couldn’t ask for better. Interaction between the two is sadly, quietly, intimate. Kimara is realistic, sensitive, always trying to produce a better outcome. Shae is brazen, brittle, and blunt.
Her answer when the social worker asks about her family background: “I screwed guys in alleys and that was a better life than where I came from.” Another way of saying both her parents fell off a cliff a long time ago.
The subject of abortion is not treated lightly here. It merely questions the one-size-fits-all nature of legal statutes. When a nurse/counselor shows Shae the beating heart of the child in her womb, she feels she’s being emotionally manipulated.
It’s one of the required steps before a minor can have an abortion, however. Kimara knows the score: “Check all the boxes. The more the better,” she says.
There are other matters of conscience concerning the fire at the Hesby farm that killed several migrant workers. Jeanette and JD have teamed up to form the conscience of the clan but are rebuffed by reigning Hesby queen Laurie Ann. “JD is a drunk,” Laurie Ann tells Jeanette.
For that reason, JD was turned away from seeing his father dying at the hospital. Not a great deal of empathy there. Laurie Ann may be soft spoken but a quiet tyrant is still a tyrant. When Jeanette persists in her concern for the workers, she’s put in her place, made to feel like a family outsider.
Laurie Ann’s putdowns of Jeanette’s family, particularly of her drug-addicted sister, is not subtle: “You have your own family. We didn’t tell you what to do except to get your sister away from us when she stole from us.” Jeanette is further undermined when she learns that her husband Carson Hesby stopped the check she wrote in contribution to the farm worker’s victim fund.
“American Crime” has an engaging documentary look that favors up close shots of the characters. Like it or not, you’re there, looking into the characters’ eyes, made to feel as if it’s your fault if you don’t get it.
A major focus are Mexicans, Ecuadorians, and others from Latin America. However, this episode brings in a Haitian woman named Gabrielle Durand – lovely, sophisticated, and grateful to be hired as nanny for Nicholas and Clair Coates.
While the agricultural worker end of the social spectrum forms the main thread of this social drama, the Coates family presents as wealthy, upper-middleclass living in the opulent North Carolina suburbs. Genial Francophile Clair, mom to a 7 year old, meets Gabrielle at the airport, welcomes her into the home, and gives her an impressive, spacious room all to herself.
It’s more luxury than Gabrielle has ever seen in her poor native Haiti, one of the most impoverished places in the world. Clair is pleased to be able to speak her college Level 4 French to someone, and beams as Gabrielle teaches her son the language. This is culture!
So much for the appearance of things. Not so giddy is husband Nicholas whose operation of a furniture manufacturing and distribution firm is losing business, personnel, and customers. Clair hasn’t a clue that their comfortable life style could be slipping away while she and Gabrielle are chittering away in French.
“Can we afford a nanny? Especially one who only speaks French.”
Hard to tell where this is leading or who’s being exploited here, this being our first exposure to the Coates family. Perhaps textiles and furniture production, endeavors in which southern factories have been prominent, will lose jobs to cheap overseas labor? Hard to tell at this point, but perhaps the story line will be about jobs and competition with foreign markets and cheaper labor.
Meanwhile back on the farm, Luis Salazar is burning with revenge at the murder of his son. He buys a revolver from El Gallinero, and calls Isaac in from the fields for a talk. Somehow, he’s convinced that Isaac is the man who beat and killed Teo, dumping his body in a river. When Isaac appears for the talk, Luis shoots him dead.
But again, the ambiguity comes into play – this time in flashback. If I’m supposed to be confused, then the series creators have succeeded. The jump-cut strobe-flashback does indeed show Isaac throwing Teo’s body into the river. It also shows Isaac’s angry face glowering over Teo’s prone body. But it doesn’t show him beating or killing him, just as it didn’t show him beating Coy in the long camera shot that ended the previous episode.
My vote for prime villain would be Diego, though in “American Crime” there are certainly more villains than one. But it was Diego’s rape of a female field picker that Coy witnessed in the previous episode.
There’s much to be resolved and it’s early in the series. Things to like about “American Crime” Season Three are that there are no clear split lines between good and evil. Everything is gray, bleak, desolate, with no uplift.
That appeals to me because it only lasts for an hour. If you’re trying to say something meaningful and important in an hour it pays to say it as intensely and powerfully as you can. Real life sufferings last all day, every day, to the end of time.
Other episodes of American Crime reviewed on TV Eskimo:
Characters and cast of American Crime S3E4 include:
Jeanette Hesby – Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives, Transamerica, Sports Night, Phoebe in Wonderland, Cake)
Coy Henson – Connor Jessup (Falling Skies, Blackbird, Closet Monster, What Doesn’t Kill You)
Kimara Walters – Regina King (Ray, Enemy of the State, Jerry Maguire, The Boondocks, The Leftovers, The Big Bang Theory, Southland, Boyz n the Hood, A Cinderella Story)
Isaac Castillo – Richard Cabral (End of Watch, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, The Counselor, Snitch, Southland)
Luis Salazar – Benito Martinez (Million Dollar Baby, The Shield, Saw, How to Get Away with Murder, House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy, Saving Grace)
Shae Reese – Ana Mulvoy Ten (The Girl in the Book, Vanity, House of Anubis)
Dustin Eagers – Kurt Krause (Hidden Figures, True Detective, Mercy Street)
Laura – Nina Siemaszko (The Artist, Suicide Kings, The West Wing)
Diego – Clayton Cardenas (Mayans MC, Khali the Killer, Actor for Hire)
Jorge El Gallinero – Mike Hernandez (Veep, Best in Chow)
Gabrielle Durand – Mickaelle X. Bizet (Roubado, Beautiful Destoyer)
Judge Richer – Laura Carson (Bruce Almighty, Dime Short)
Rivers – James DeAngelo (About Scout Feud, Southland, Eyes of the Prey)
Amber – Aubrey Fitzgerald
Anna – Minerva Garcia (Dexter, Bosch, Broken, Flaked)
Ryans – Christopher Gehrman (Seven Psychopaths, Fast & Furious, Colony, Conspiracy)
Guy Eckels – David Goryl (The Night Shift, The Newsroom, Grey’s Anatomy)