This might be my favorite episode so far (I've seen every one but the finale). Sarah Paulson is just excellent and there are so many honest, vulnerable moments with her and the Fuhrman testimony is insane.
Poor, poor Marcia is basically the theme of this episode. We start with that other legal drama going on in her life, the custody stuff going on with her (second) ex-husband. And her fame even gets her in trouble here, as the judge mentions that he's 'not Ito.'
And then we're back to the big show, as Nicole's sister testifies. Jessica points out that this is basically word for word, her actual testimony. It is really disturbing and disgusting. Both sides seem to think this testimony was in their favor (the prosecution because, wow, O.J. is really disturbed, and the defense because the tears are obviously fake). But then Marcia goes home and even before she's in the door, she sees herself being criticized by the media. There's no break for her. But at least her kiddo is adorable. But then she's back, staring at herself in the mirror, all those mean comments running through her mind. Like she needed more problems.
Johnnie continues to be a master manipulator, as he tricks one of the witnesses into telling him his hometown in a moment of friendliness. Dude is effective. He picks apart each witness. This cop might not be a racist piece of shit, but he is very sloppy. Taking evidence home overnight? Come on, man work with us here! Again, poor Marcia. You can see her assurance start to taper off as a seeming win for the prosecution is demolished.
There's a few great scenes throughout this episode with the network suits as they talk about how best to put the trial on the air. Murder trials as entertainment!
We also get personal with the lawyers. Marcia and Chris have a dancing break, we learn Chris has a kid and is a less-than-perfect Dad. The romance and affection between Marcia and Chris seems honest and earned. I also understand some of the jokes from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt now. It's nice to see, on a major show, a relationship based on intelligence and understanding. But there's still some tawdry bits as we get a shirtless Darden the next day, calling in to a radio show to put a vote in for 'Babe.' Thanks, Murphy and Co., we needed that.
Back to Marcia's personal drama, as Cochran bitches about her child-care needs and her husband has a press conference. That fucker.
There is a quick win for Marcia, though, as Rosa, the housekeeper Marcia worked all night for, turns out to be a totally worthless witness of the defense's. Another possible win for Marcia - it looks like there's about to be some personal drama for Cochran as we get the first mention of his domestic abuse history.
Then she gets her makeover. The show presents her makeover excellently. For those of us who don't know that the new hairdo is actually worse than the old one, it's a moment of hope as the audience just sees her shiny face. It's not until the next day at court, where she's interviewing Fuhrman!, that we realize that it's totally terrible. And that scene, as she walks in to the courtroom and everyone from Bert Cooper to Bob Shapiro to Judge Ito is an ass in response to her hairdo, my heart breaks for her. I know it's just a hairdo and this is a murder trial, but damn. That on top of everything else she was going through. And then Darden is such a sweet heart! We all need a Chris Darden on our side.
And then there's the Tampax scene. Ugh, fuck that kid. Let her buy her tampons in peace.
Back to court - Fuhrman's entrance is excellent, with the dramatic music and his small entourage. Marcia's examination of him goes well. But then Nathan Lane steps up and we get an excellent bit of editing as Lane quickly asks him a series of quick questions about his use of the N word. And Cochran takes his own advice here, making the white guy do it.
Marcia's basically on the verge of tears the entire episode but the final straw is from crappy husband number one, who gives a tabloid a naked picture of her from a previous vacation. Darden is supportive as always, but even Ito steps in this time, calling a recess. Thanks, jackass!
The episode ends with Marcia literally crying on Darden's shoulder. I can't believe I care this much about two people who worked together twenty years ago and are in no way together today.
At GFY, Jessica discusses the sympathy we all have for Marcia, the honest horribleness of her hair, and the shock at hearing Nathan Lane use the N-word.
At Vulture, Marcia herself discusses this episode's accuracy. Basically, a lot of stuff is compressed for time and dramatized.