There’s a lot to unpack in the first episode of American Crime’s second season. Like its freshman effort, this season promises to take on some relevant and heavy issues.
Taylor Blaine (Connor Jessup) is suspended from his Indiana private school after photos of him drunk and unconscious at a party circulate on social media. He eventually admits to his mother, Anne Blaine (Lily Taylor), that he was drugged and believes he was sexually assaulted by members of the school’s basketball team. The school’s headmaster, Leslie Graham (Felicity Huffman), seems more concerned with maintaining the school’s reputation and stellar basketball season than finding out what happened and handing out justice. This leads Anne to call the police and report her son’s rape.
Besides the rape, the episode also touched on class (Taylor attends the school on financial aid while the other boys do not), race, homophobia, cyber-bullying, and gender politics. I’d worry that there’s almost too much to address this season if season one hadn’t been so stellar and the performances in this episode so strong.
Such performances include Timothy Hutton as basketball coach, Dan Sullivan, and Hope Davis as his wife Steph. These two really sold being a middle-aged couple struggling to deal with parenting a 17-year-old in the digital age. I was relieved to find Coach Sullivan wasn’t taking a stealth video of one of the cheerleaders – well, he was, but she’s his daughter… which makes it way less creepy; trust me. He did it to show his wife so they could discuss the daughter’s suggestive dancing at school, and possibly plan a lecture about your behavior being captured and distributed online.
Their parenting styles will surely contrast with The LaCroixs (Regina King and Andre Benjamin), whose son Kevin is on the team and most likely going to be accused of being one of Connor’s assailants. I’m highly interested in Terri LaCroix’s disdain for Kevin’s girlfriend.
Connor sitting on the sidelines while the team ran drills felt like a kid waiting for his significant other. I wonder if Connor had a secret relationship (or crush) on one of the players. Yes, he has a girlfriend, but I feel like there’s more to the night in question than just the rape.
American Crime S2E1