American Rust Episode 4 Recap and Ending, Explained

The more ‘American Rust’ expands and fleshes out its characters, the more it conforms to the core themes introduced in its first episode: poverty, hopelessness, desperation, and addiction. In episode 4, Isaac (David Alvarez) makes a friend who helps him learn how to survive on the road. Grace (Maura Tierney) and Bethany (Zenzi Williams) convince the immigrant workers to unionize.

The D.A. cuts Harris (Jeff Daniels) off the Novick investigation before sending deputies from Sheriff Deluca’s (Namir Smallwood) office to Grace and Billy’s (Alex Neustaedter) home. Billy decides to tell the truth to Lee (Julia Mayorga). Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘American Rust’ episode 4. SPOILERS AHEAD.

American Rust Episode 4 Recap

In episode 4, titled ‘My Name is Billy,’ Isaac is warned about a police raid by Jojo (Nicole Chanel Williams), and they escape together. Isaac later learns Jojo is traveling to Las Vegas to be with a girl named Zoe there. It seems that Isaac hasn’t even admitted to himself yet, but Jojo quickly recognizes that he is also a queer person. Not trusting Jojo, Isaac says that his name is Billy Poe. They travel together, and Jojo teaches him how to take care of himself on the road. They steal money from a trucker and later find lodging at a roadside motel after Isaac convinces the Mexican-American clerk there to let them stay. The following morning, Isaac reveals his real name to his traveling companion.

At Lee’s request, Billy helps Henry with his bath. Although this is something he frequently does, Lee recognizes that it’s not a permanent solution. She hires some men to make the house more easily maneuverable for her father. Henry finally answers her question about why he didn’t use the money she sent to hire a nurse, revealing that he has been keeping it for her. He is afraid that her marriage will not work out, and she will need a safety net. A furious Lee tells her father that it was supposed to be a safety net for Isaac.

Based on the information that Bobby provided in his second anonymous call to the authorities, the D.A. decides to move in on Billy and sends deputies from the Sheriff’s office to his and Grace’s trailer. They don’t find anything, as Billy earlier burned the clothes he wore that day. However, as Deluca tells the D.A., Billy’s boss at the diner he works at told him about the bruises that Billy had on his knuckles, which are consistent with Novick’s injury on the left cheek.

The evidence is circumstantial, but the D.A. believes that it’s enough to get Billy into custody. The following day, Deluca calls Harris to offer the latter the courtesy of bringing Billy in within the next 12 hours. A recurring imagery in the show is that of Harris portioning one of his pills every morning. On this day, he takes the whole pill to prepare himself for what he must do.

American Rust Episode 4 Ending: What Happened to Pete Novick? How Did He Die?

Pete Novick was killed by Isaac. Despite being told by Harris not to speak about what happened at the mill to anyone but him, Billy decides to tell Lee everything after she learns that the police have searched the trailer. On that fateful day, Billy spotted Pete with Bobby and decided to follow them into the mill. Isaac, who was with him, urged him not to do this, but he didn’t listen. Billy confronted the two older men right after a drug deal had gone through and provoked Novick to attack him. Bobby tried to intervene by putting a knife to Billy’s throat, but the latter also overpowered him.

When Novick tried to pick up the knife, Isaac, who had come into the mill after his friend, hit the other man with a wrench, killing him. The two of them subsequently escaped from the scene. In his mind, Billy thought that convincing Isaac to leave town and facing the investigation himself was a noble thing to do. He admits to Lee that it was his fault that Novick is dead and Isaac is on the run, but he believes that his actions afterward were selfless.

Billy doesn’t realize that he has turned Isaac into a drifter. Isaac’s family has no idea where he is or even whether he is alive. Billy’s actions have not only destroyed his own life and Isaac’s but also those of Novick’s children. The situation gives Lee a horrible wake-up call, making her remember why she left Buell in the first place. She calls Billy worthless before going a step further and claiming that he is bad luck to everyone around him.

And yet, later that night, Lee messages Billy, asking him if he has a lawyer. As a law student, she is perhaps the best chance he has. It seems that there is some lingering connection that she can’t ignore. However, she will eventually have to choose between Billy and her brother. As the investigation progresses and the town becomes divided, it is bound to affect everyone, especially Lee.

Read More: Is American Rust a True Story?