If there was ever a time in which to feel terrible for Marcia Clark on “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story,” Tuesday night’s new episode was probably it. This was a complete showcase for Sarah Paulson, and she was magnificent throughout as the flawed prosecutor whose personal misfortunes continued to cause a black cloud to hover over her throughout the OJ Simpson trial.
We should start by saying that Clark is a flawed person, even if we feel for her. She doesn’t understand completely the importance of social dynamics, and making others feel good as a means of getting what she wants. More often than not, she really functions via absolutes, and that does cause a wide array of different troubles for her. In this episode, a rough custody battle with her ex-husband led to her having to not stay at court late, while another ex-husband leaked a photo to the press of her in a position that would cause her to lose credibility in the eyes of the jury.
The sort of scrutiny that a private person like Clark was under came across as both harrowing and horrifying, with her realizing that there was almost nothing to do to turn things around. This helped Christopher Darden try to pick her up, while the defense took advantage of this in order to push her witnesses to the brink. One particular moment involving the n-word was one of the most intense sequences that the show has put on the air.
The reality here is that despite the excellence of this episode, there really was not that much that happened beyond the defense trying to make the police appear incompetent. Instead, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” was a stellar showcase of Paulson’s work as we felt extensively for Marcia trying to handle the public scrutiny placed upon her. To think, this was a case that took place before social media. You can only imagine it now. Grade: A-.
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