American Rust Episode 3 Recap and Ending, Explained

‘American Rust’ is a riveting tale that explores economic decay, the opioid crisis, and worker rights within the framework of a classic whodunnit. In episode 3, Grace Poe (Maura Tierney) leads the efforts to unionize her workplace. Pete Novick’s funeral is held. Chief Harris (Jeff Daniels) tries to locate the mysterious man in a photo with Novick before Sheriff Deluca (Namir Smallwood) can find the man. Lee (Julia Mayorga) tries to make her father understand how his choices had a devastating impact on the family, and Billy hears some good news for a change. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘American Rust.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.

American Rust Episode 3 Recap

Episode 3, titled ‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses,’ begins with Pete’s autopsy. Afterward, the coroner lists Pete’s death as a homicide on a whiteboard filled with drug overdose cases. Meanwhile, Lee deals with the guilt of infidelity. She finds the envelope of cash that Isaac (David Alvarez) left and realizes that her brother saw her with Billy the previous night. Lee helps her proud and uncompromising father after he falls in the bathroom. After speaking to her husband, she tells Billy to stay away from her.

Grace has developed severe muscle and nerve-related issues in her hand due to her work as a dressmaker. She and one of her co-workers meet up with a lawyer in Pittsburgh, who tells them that they need the signatures of most employees to establish a union at their workplace. They subsequently speak to Josefina, a young woman belonging to a Mexican immigrant family, and convince her to join them.

After the autopsy, Harris takes Novick’s belongings to his widow, Pam. Novick had been taking drugs for a long time before he was fired from the job. The coroner even says that if Novick weren’t murdered, he would have died soon enough due to the drug abuse, prompting the D.A. handling the case to ask Harris why he didn’t fire Novick earlier. However, Pam claims that Novick spiraled out of control after he lost the job. Isaac struggles after leaving home. He gets on a freight train but is thrown out from it after seeing two men having sex in one of the compartments. Immediately afterward, despite the shock and fear, or maybe because of it, he starts to masturbate.

Following a lead, Harris and Park track Bobby — the mysterious man in the photo with Novick — down at a club, but the latter manages to escape. Billy learns that he might get his job as the assistant coach at his school back. He also gets a clean slate from the authorities for the fight outside the bar. The episode ends as Lee, overwhelmed about taking care of her father, shows up at Billy’s doorsteps, and they spend another night together.

American Rust Episode 3 Ending: Who Is the Anonymous Caller?

It was an anonymous caller who initially informed the police about Novick’s murder. In episode 2, the D.A. tells Harris and Deluca to find the said caller, as that person is the only one who can provide them with any lead in the case. It is heavily hinted in episode 3 that Bobby is the original mystery caller. He phones Deluca’s office once more as an anonymous caller and gives his account of Novick’s murder in detail as he leaves for West Virginia. With his description, Bobby implicates Billy for Novick’s murder.

This is precisely what Harris tries to prevent. Due to his romantic feelings for Grace, he feels responsible for Billy, to the point that he hides the jacket that the latter had been wearing on that day. Harris also attempts to control the flow of the investigation, but it starts getting out of his hand with the D.A. being actively interested in the case and Deluca being involved in the investigation. After finding out about Bobby, Harris desperately tries to get to him before the others but fails.

Why Did Harris Leave Pittsburgh?

It is revealed that Harris used to be a police officer in Pittsburgh but left the job and moved to Buell to be the police chief in the small, sleepy town. His reasons involve a truly disturbing case that he handled in Pittsburgh. An English teacher was arrested on the charges of sexually molesting one of his young students. Despite the D.A. preparing the eight-year-old boy for the trial, he became completely mute during his testimony after seeing the crying pregnant wife of the teacher. The child then urinated in his pants when he saw the teacher putting his hand on his wife’s leg. The judge dismissed the case as the victim was unwilling to speak about the crime.

The teacher was later found in a small town outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and killed by Harris’ colleagues, who told him to be at a crowded place so he wouldn’t be implicated in the murder. Harris thinks that he should have refused. Instead, he consented. Later, he left the force before the other detectives could ask him for payback for letting him keep his hands clean.

Read More: Is American Rust a True Story?