While the prosecution on “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” on Tuesday night did everything that they could in order to gather the correct evidence to put the defendant away, we personally gathered enough evidence on Tuesday night’s new episode to know something else with confidence: This was the best episode yet. Not only that, but this is shaping up to be one of the best series of the year so far.
Now, there are some complications to it. If you are watching this from the perspective of historical accuracy, you may be making a critical error. We’re not a historian, and to watch it as a learning experience would be wrong. Instead, it must be used as a dramatization of real-life events that echoes at least some of the major events of the OJ Simpson trial and the lives of its key players.
One such example of this comes via the Marcia Clark storyline, as the show depicted an encounter where she almost kissed Christopher Darden outside of her hotel room after a night out. We’re not sure precisely how the show can capture the emotions as they were, but this was the perfect setup for what was the chief emotional crisis of the hour: The closeness of the two co-workers and friends here in opposition to the frustration and tension over the glove. Darden’s decision, against the urging of Clark, to have OJ try on the gloves in court may have been the turning point of the trial. He felt that this was the ace in the hole, but thanks either to the actual glove size or Simpson’s presentation of it, he was able to convince the jury they were too small.
Yet again, another stellar performance from Sarah Paulson anchored the hour, though equal commendation has to be given to Courtney B. Vance, who perfectly played a Johnnie Cochran in crisis. His reaction to rumors about his past showed his power, while through the media we got the unfortunate echo of the double standard that existed between men and women at that time. Somehow, Cochran’s treatment was not nearly as big of a story as a photo of Clark in an intimate moment … or at least that is how the show presented matters.
In the end, a stellar hour of television, and we now have to prepare for the most important episodes for the jury. Grade: A.
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