Recap: 'Presumed Innocent' Episode 5 Gets The Trial of Rusty Sabich Underway (2024)

3.5

Summary

Another character-driven episode excels in subtler areas, but Rusty’s trial promises real drama.

It’s the small stuff that makesPresumed Innocentgreat. The plot isn’t especially compelling and the characters are largely awful and if, like me, you’ve read the book or seen the Harrison Ford movie, you already know who did it. But Episode 5, “Pregame”, includes a dream sequence in which a character’s head messily explodes for no reason other than it can, and it’s that kind of thing that lingers with you after the credits roll.

Rusty and Ratzer

Things pick up where we left them in Episode 4, with Rusty beating the brakes off Ratzer on his front porch. But he’s adamant the man won’t go to the police. The thing is, though, it might be better if he did.

Rusty is adamant about proving a connection between Ratzer and Liam Reynolds, since he thinks that if he can present a feasible suspect in Carolyn’s murder, he’ll be exonerated. Raymond, who was the one dreaming of his noggin exploding, thinks he’s losing it. He reminds him that they’re not trying to find out who killed Carolyn Polhemus — they’re just trying to prove that Rusty didn’t.

Nevertheless, Rusty brings Ratzer in, and Mya shows him pictures of Bunny Davis; shots of her looking all sultry advertising her work, and shots of her looking all dead, hogtied like she’s being displayed on a butcher’s counter. He faintly recalls the former — he occasionally kept the company of prostitutes after his wife lost interest in sex — but not the latter, insisting that he has no idea who Liam Reynolds is.

Tommy Is Pathetic

Tommy, meanwhile, only has eyes for Rusty, and he’s determined to pin the blame for Carolyn’s murder on him even when Nico — why does he talk like that? — floats the possibility that there might be something in the Liam Reynolds connection. Why’s he so fixated on Rusty?

As it turns out Tommy is absolutely pathetic; one of the most awful, squirming little weasels in recent TV history. In flashbacks, we see him confronting Carolyn about saying she didn’t want to work with him; she clarifies that she had said for the sake of her career that she’d rather work with Rusty. That stings, obviously, and is obviously partially fuelling his current crusade.

And that crusade is going to Tommy’s head. He gives an insane statement to the press about bringing the powerful to justice, mentioning Wall Street bankers getting away with defrauding people and Big Pharma flooding the streets with opioids. When Nico confronts him about it he almost bursts into tears about people in the office not liking him.

Tommy’s on a power trip. Justice is the furthest thing from his mind.

Barbara Takes Some Control

As teased in previous episodes, Barbara pursues her relationship with Clifton in “Pregame”, though the tryst doesn’t amount to anything more than a psychedelic kiss. But, for Barbara, that seems to be enough.

She tries to explain this to her therapist, who continues to be oddly judgy and catty given her line of work. In kissing Clifton but doing nothing else, knowing he wanted her but not surrendering to the desire, has she done something to be proud of? She thinks Jaden would think so, which would make a change from her bitterness about Barbara having taken Rusty back in the first place.

I’m not sure Jaden thinks like this. The brief scenes of domesticity we see in this episode are the least fractious they’ve been, and Jaden seems happy to have her dad still around. But I understand Barbara’s line of thinking.

The only thing that undermines the happy family dynamic is Rusty discovering Kyle’s bike in the trash. Kyle counters that it’s genuinely wrecked, but it won’t do to be binning what could potentially be evidence the morning before the trial, so Rusty transfers to the bike to the trunk of his car.

The Trial of Rusty Sabich Begins

The little things I was talking about at the top — it’s stuff like the wordless scenes of the Sabich family making their way to court for the first day of the trial. It’s a brilliant sequence, starting with everyone’s eyes snapping open during the sleepless night before, lingering on them holding hands in the car on the way to court, and then settling in for what is surely going to be a brutal, testing trial.

If Tommy’s overly dramatic opening statement is anything to go by, it’s going to be tough for Rusty.Presumed InnocentEpisode 5 ends with him quietly murmuring “F*ck” to himself, realizing that Tommy has the jury in the palm of his hands.

From here,Presumed Innocentwill presumably settle into the more familiar rhythms of a legal thriller, and it’s not looking good for Rusty.

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Recap: 'Presumed Innocent' Episode 5 Gets The Trial of Rusty Sabich Underway (1)

Article by Jonathon Wilson

Jonathon is one of the co-founders of Ready Steady Cut and has been an instrumental part of the team since its inception in 2017. Jonathon has remained involved in all aspects of the site’s operation, mainly dedicated to its content output, remaining one of its primary Entertainment writers while also functioning as our dedicated Commissioning Editor, publishing over 6,500 articles.

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Recap: 'Presumed Innocent' Episode 5 Gets The Trial of Rusty Sabich Underway (2024)
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