'American Crime' Season 2 Finale: What Was The Point?
The finale of "American Crime" answered very few outstanding questions. We did see Becca Sullivan go to juvenile detention, Leslie Graham lose her job, and the LaCroixs prepare to move to St. Louis, but those were the only storylines that even sort of got wrapped up with a neat bow. We still don't know what happened at the Captains' Party, and we're left not knowing if Taylor Blaine takes a plea bargain or if Eric Tanner gets in a car with yet another stranger.
Uncertainty, however, is precisely the point. There is no way to know the truth of what happened that night, not after everything that has happened. The relevance of truth ended the moment Taylor squeezed the trigger and shot Wes Baxter, which is perhaps the greatest tragedy. The system ensured Taylor could not get justice for what happened to him, even turning him into a villain in many people's eyes. That narrative trajectory is not unlike what many survivors of sexual assault experience if they report their experience.
If there is one thing that has remained consistent throughout this season, it is Taylor's conviction that he was assaulted. Up until the very end, he stayed true to his story that Eric raped him. That is important to remember because as everything else fell apart, Taylor's truth remained. Of course, Eric has also consistently denied the allegations, but as I've written before, I believe Taylor. That hasn't changed.
The problem was that no one else believed Taylor, except his mother. Because everyone tried to protect themselves and their own, they became complicit in Taylor's trauma and the events that unfolded. As viewers, we did the same. We participated in dissecting the stories, took sides, argued for our perception of truth. That makes us all complicit, even if we didn't have the power to change anything. A resolution makes the speculation seem worthwhile; an answer lets us see "the truth," instead of experiencing the difficulty of subjectively wrestling with our own shortcomings.
At the end of the season, the answers don't matter and a resolution doesn't matter. Whether Taylor goes to jail or gets a reduced sentence doesn't matter. Whether Eric gets in the car or chooses to confront his own demons doesn't matter. What matters are the circumstances created by each and every one of us that could allow something like this to happen, or, as John Ridley would say, "the environments we create for our children."
This finale brought all of the swirling themes from this season together and left us on the edge of our seats wondering what will happen to Taylor. In some ways, we ended right where we started, but in others that couldn't be further from the truth. When the screen faded to black, however, I couldn't help thinking that if more characters in the show had cared to ask "What happened to Taylor?" then we might have never gotten here in the first place.
Lines that Haunt Me
"Somebody screams rape, and nobody cares what really happened. How does he get to own that night?" -- Eric Tanner
"You won Leslie. I know what it's like to win." -- Coach Dan Sullivan
"When the gun went off, it was the first time since the party that I didn't feel like the victim." -- Taylor Blaine
"This is your fault, Mom," -- Taylor Blaine
Katie Barnes is a digital media associate at ESPN. Follow them on Twitter at Katie_Barnes3.