‘American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson’ Episode 2 Recap: ‘The Run Of His Life’
This week’s American Crime Story picks up right in the trenches of the emotional turmoil O.J. left behind, with Robert Kardashian and Robert Shapiro picking up the pieces of Juice’s escape.
Kardashian brings the suicide note from the previous episode to the attention of Shapiro, who makes the bone chilling observation of the fact that O.J. signed his suicide note with a smiley face. While this is going on behind closed doors, the audience begins to see the media frenzy start to escalate, with news of O.J. and his white Bronco hitting prime time news.
The prosecutors, Marcia Clarke, the paparazzi, and even the police, all gear up and start chasing O.J. down. While the world around him is set on fire, the establishing shot of Simpson is at a funeral, silently lurking in the shadows before driving off again. The manhunt ensues with the prosecutors staging a press conference, taking their stance against Simpson and urging for any individuals to share information, but more importantly, they ask for help in finding him.
Taking this as some form of affront, the razzle-dazzle ringleader that is Robert Shapiro, stages his own press conference in order to try and spin any detail for his advantage, even urging his client to surrender. Kardashian takes the mic in order to read a note to the press; a note that is meant to earn sympathy for Simpson. Finally, while the circus gains volume, Simpson is placed inside the Bronco, and the audience sees the infamous chase that ravaged a country taking place, with the Bronco speeding and swerving with cops hot in pursuit.
The Bronco is apprehended for a second with Simpson in the backseat with a gun to his temple, but only for a second. because the Bronco drives off once again, elongating this legendary chase.
The outlook was grim for Simpson, as implied by Shapiro and Kardashian. But still, the Bronco continues blazing a trail up the freeways of California.
The slow speed chase continues on with Simpson seemingly unraveling more and more, with Gooding Jr. making this sense of frantic, emotional distress palpable with a tear-stained faced and shaky hand. While Simpson sits in the midst of his breakdown, the chase starts to overtake every news outlet, dominating the television and news landscape from bars to sporting events, becoming the cultural juggernaut it’s known to be. It seems more and more that the consensus is that Simpson will come to kill himself, with Kardashian and the rest of the Simpson family reaching a silent acceptance of the grim outlook.
The police call the Bronco, and Simpson’s accomplice Al “AC” Cowlings, the driver of the car, answers, only for Simpson to take the phone himself. What follows is a direct admittance of the want of suicide from Simpson’s lips, insisting the fact the gun in his hand is not meant to inflict harm on anyone but himself, even going so far as to say that Simpson himself deserves to be in pain.
ACS, while trying to remain as neutral as possible in terms of casting guilt on Simpson, paint a damning picture of just how guilty Simpson might have been. Celebrity culture, and the importance of a spectacle, underscores the entire episode, as slowly and surely, the media becomes a behemoth.
Even while the news follows Simpson, police cars follow Simpson, and helicopters follow Simpson, there is a still a growing population of individuals who show up to express their support for a man who, at the time, may or may not have been guilty. It’s the blind belief in the sensationalism of the entire Simpson ordeal that truly takes the show to another, almost obscene level, with individuals lining the streets with signs as Simpson returns back to his Brentwood home, like the most deranged and backwards homecoming in history. It’s only once the Bronco has found its way back to the front steps that the façade of Simpson finally cracks for good, letting out a guttural sob as the cameras flash just beyond the gate.
The cops, the Simpson family, and even Kardashian all are inside the Simpson home, waiting patiently as he, from the back of the Bronco, teeters on the edge of suicide. It’s a manic scene with Simpson crying, whining, frantically attempting to grasp on to anything that is stable in the whirlwind that is surrounding him. The cops are constantly attempting to resolve this peacefully, hopefully keeping Simpson alive in the process.
Kardashian, who works as the middle man, facilitates an agreement that Simpson agrees to be arrested, inside his home and away from all the cameras and searchlights. Simpson finally emerges from the Bronco, a man utterly exhausted and defeated, mentally spent to the extent of apologizing to the very cops who have guns pointed at him.
It’s the painted picture of man at the end of his rope, unable to run away anymore. Simpson, inside for only a moment to call his mother, is led back outside his house, this time peacefully in handcuffs. He sits in the back of a police car being whisked away, at peace, as opposed to his frantic state in the back of the Bronco.
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