Here we are! I have watched way too much television the past couple weeks but it's been worth it to catch up on this excellent, excellent show.
The finale kicks off with O.J. getting ready for court. The logistics of being a prisoner! Cochran's pulled together some very fancy duds for him to wear to his final court appearance before closing statements. He goes from being a prisoner to a superstar, cuff links and everything!
At the courtroom, O.J. makes the most of his waiver statement. As he professes his innocence and his belief in the jury ('more than Ms. Clark'), Kardashian sits behind him, very much not sure of anything any more. Clark does get in one pointed barb, letting him know they can talk about whatever misrepresentations he's felt if he just takes a seat in the blue chair. Which of course he does not do.
But then it's over and everyone is focused on closing statements. We start with a close up of Bailey's jury board. It's a very different board that what we've seen before as everyone except the Demon is firmly in the not guilty column. We also learn that Cochran is getting death threats, which is true and sadly not surprising. There's also the genesis of 'if the gloves don't fit, you must acquit.' I agree with Jessica's comment on this scene - wish we had seen more iterations of this thinking before we arrive at the final version.
Going into the closing statements, there's a voice over that mentions the odds at Vegas, which were in the prosecutions favor, which I found interesting. The closing statements were a great summary of what's been happening on both sides of the trial. Marcia lists her mountains, mountains of evidence, focusing on the incredible math behind the DNA evidence. She admits Fuhrman is a real piece of work but that doesn't mean O.J. isn't guilty. She even nullifies the gloves, showing several pictures of him wearing the damn things. Finally, she brings up the fact that O.J. didn't ask how his ex-wife died, which hasn't been mentioned since the first episode. Such a telling piece of information! As with the entire season, she's focused on the facts and the extreme amount of the evidence. Darden is next, trying to make a story out of the domestic violence, keeping with Marcia's thread of 'damn, that's a lot of evidence' but also creating a picture of the Brown/Simpson marriage. He also does a good job of poking holes in the 'O.J. was framed theory,' pointing how friendly he was with the LAPD. He continues to refuse to use the actual N-word, while Cochran throws it around a couple of times in his closing statement. He brings up Nicole's shocking safety deposit box, which I don't think was mentioned before. He calls O.J. a murderer and a great football player. It's interesting to see this scene twenty years later; O.J. is pretty much just 'that guy that got away with murder' today.
And then: here's Johnnie! He immediately brings up Fuhrman. And then spends the majority of his time going on about the LAPD. How this is more than just a case, more than just one murder trial, teally reiterating what he's been saying the whole time. He claims these jurors have a unique opportunity to stand up to racism and serious deficiencies in our justice system. Again, it's interesting to look at it twenty years later. As Jessica points out, there have been serious changes to how evidence is collected following this trial. But racism among police forces? Oh we haven't come so far there. I wonder what the jurors think today? Not just of this series but how history has come to view the trial?
And then we're out. Everyone feels like they've got a nice, long break coming. Cochran is headed out of town, Clark jokes that Darden can call her in a month. The show is even in on the joke - when we go to the jury room, the title card says 'jury selection: day one.' Ha! Day one and only. Like Jessica mentions, the bit in the jury room is frustrating. We don't care about these people; let's get back to the lawyers! The show should have spent less or more time on the jury. As it is, it just feels like wasted time. We know what the verdict is, the show has done a great job demonstrating how they got to it. Back to the real story.
There's a moment of levity before the verdict, as the show let's the audience see everyone's reaction to the quick verdict turn around. Bailey guesses that, by the time you factor in lunch and paperwork, they spent maybe an hour discussing the case. Shapiro's response is my favorite: they've discussed this case less than anyone in America! He provides comic relief one more time moments later when he refuses to get in the security detail Johnnie's provided. Cochran's response? Get in or I'll tell them you're Jewish. Reminds me - in one of the many interviews I've read about this show, Bailey is interviewed about his thoughts on the television series. His response? As long as Bob looks like an asshole.
Back to the prosecution. Darden suggests they may actually win, with a hopeful grin we haven't seen from in a long time. Oh silly, silly Darden.
As the verdict is read, the show, again, does a great job. There's a split screen showing every character's reaction. There are also several real shots from around the country. The reaction is starkly divided by race. A year of work and news and focus, over like that. Then the crowd leaves; Bobby throws up and has a knowing moment with Marcia, one of the jurors throws a black power fist to O.J. Darden and Cochran have their final moment together. Cochran offers to bring Darden back to the community, which is so ridiculous. We saw these two men at the beginning of the series, we know which one is still in the community. Darden is excellent here with his quiet fury. He knows what the score really is and his response is almost prophetic as he lets Darden know that the police will continue arrest us, beat us. Unless you're rich and in Brentwood. He calls O.J. the first man to get off because he's black but it won't change anything for the majority. And from 2016, Darden can say he was right.
There's a nice scene with Gil and his two lawyers, as he assured them they did the best job they could do. This might not be true but Sarah is so good here, with her quivering chin and big eyes. Ugh, all the awards for this cast!
Cochran watches President Clinton address the issue, admit there is a race problem and that we need to listen to each other. Cochran tears up, claiming this is the real victory. While this reinforces his point that O.J. didn't matter, that he was just a vessel, it does make me wonder what Cochran would say today. How little that victory, sadly, has accomplished.
In our final scene with Chris and Marcia, he tells her he's resigning. This job was never for him. Her though... She had the drive. She admits to being raped when she was a teenager. There's this fundamental difference between them and this is where it comes from. But then they go and get a drink. Their friendship and relationship was such a great piece of the show, even if they never made out (sorry Jessica).
And then there's O.J., free at least. Bobby's right there, has been with him the whole time, never doubting him (at least, according to O.J.). Bobby starts crying, but it's not why O.J. thinks... But then they're back in a white SUV, being followed by news cameras. Full circle!
Though it's not quite the same as the year prior. There are protesters gathered outside his house. He suddenly savors a shower and some solitude. And a puppy. Then the party starts. After claiming he will hunt for the real killers (LOL, sure, O.J.), he realizes how far he's fallen. None of his old friends are there; it's mostly fame-whores, who, as demonstrated by their minimal clapping, don't really care whether O.J. is innocent or not. They just want their picture in Star. He can't get a reservation at his clubhouse, Bobby is abandoning him. He may have won the trial, but the public image problem he's just now realizing, he will literally never shake. The final image of the series is him, alone in his backyard, staring at a representation of where he was. Oh how he has fallen.
Then we have the title cards. It's nice that the show ends on Ron and Nicole. But the show gets off a few 'eff you's' first, mostly to O.J. and the 'infotainers.' And some fun facts: Fuhrman was the only person to get charged with anything out of these murders. Scheck did some good with his DNA in the end, helping out the wrongly convicted. And after O.J. is found guilty in civil court and ordered to pay the Goldman's 35 million, they get half a million. But hey, at least he ended up in jail eventually.
One Last Time: At GFY, Jessica hits the main points, including all the scenes comparing the real life people with the actors and stating where they're at now, which was excellent in letting us know what happened and also demonstrating how great the hair and makeup people were. The slide with OJ is especially interesting. I agree with basically everyone that Cuba was not a good fit at all - didn't look like OJ, didn't sound like OJ, didn't even really act like him. But, as Jessica mentions, apparently they wanted someone who the audience would have fondness for. And Cuba does fit that, at least.
For our last one, Rolling Stone does the honors. Basically, the juror deliberation and the civil suit are more complicated than depicted. Though considering the craziness here, that's not saying much.
That's it for now. A television break for me until Game of Thrones starts up again!