American Crime “Episode Five” was written by Keith Huff and was directed by Tanya Hamilton, whose other credits include The Vampire Diaries, Greenleaf, and Queen Sugar. Huff wrote for season two as well as for House of Cards and Mad Men.
The focus of this episode shifts away from the farm, but Diego (Clayton Cardenas) wants justice, and the DA’s focus shifts from sex trafficking to “agri-issues.” The major theme of this episode is white privilege. The men think that white male privilege is a burden they must bear while their wives, especially in the south, have life easy, but the women wouldn’t agree.
A number of characters have to make hard, life-changing decisions in this episode. Shea (Ana Mulvoy-Ten is one of them. She also finds a new job, that seems likely to be both more and less than she thinks it will be.
Nick (Timothy Hutton) also has to make some difficult decisions. Clair (Lili Taylor) offers to help but is really a big part of the problem. Clair crosses paths with Kimara (Regina King) and the two find they have unexpected common ground. Kimara answers a call for help in the middle of the night.
Jeanette (Felicity Huffman) makes a difficult choice after doing a lot of cooking. She decides she needs some breathing space, but she’s not very good at being independent. She finds out that she doesn’t have a lot of options. Dallas Roberts (Carson) has a fabulous scene.
Here are a few dialogue teasers:
Are you over 18?
I don’t understand what is going on.
They don’t always have a choice.
Tell us about the farm.
You shouldn’t have to worry about that.
It’s a regular arrangement.
Who told you where I’m at?
It’s not your business what I do.
Maybe you just want to work it out. Sometimes you just have to deal with things.
Modern day slavery. In the rest of the world, it’s called a job.
People who’ve spent most of their lives being exploited, it’s very easy to return to exploitation.
It’s all set up so the people at the top don’t get dirty.
We put a lot of bodies in that river.
With only three more episodes to go, it will be interesting to see if they can bring all of the threads of the story together. They’ve certainly cast a wide net to demonstrate the different nuances to the themes of exploitation and certainly on that level the stories interweave and resonate with each other. Don’t forget to tune in Sunday at 10/9c on ABC!