Set in a fictional Pennsylvanian town, ‘American Rust’ projects a vividly realistic picture of the opioid crisis and economic difficulties plaguing the Rust Belt today. In episode 6, titled ‘Debt Collection,’ Harris (Jeff Daniels) goes to Pittsburgh with his former partner Chuck to repay his debt from a decade ago.
Isaac (David Alvarez) becomes a victim of a hate crime. Billy’s (Alex Neustaedter) bail is denied, and he is sent to a mixed population facility that houses convicted felons and people awaiting trial for violent crime together. Meanwhile, Alejandro learns the truth about Billy and Lee (Julia Mayorga). Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘American Rust’ episode 6. SPOILERS AHEAD.
American Rust Episode 6 Recap
Episode 6 begins as Harris and Chuck drive toward Pittsburgh. It is revealed that when crime was on the rise in the city, Harris and his colleagues took an oath that they would take care of those who get away from the law and have each other’s back. Harris was handling the pedophile case. When the monster escaped conviction, Chuck hunted him down in Wisconsin and killed him. From Chuck’s viewpoint, Harris leaving Pittsburgh for Buell was a betrayal of their oath.
Chuck helps Harris figure out that Jackson (Dallas Roberts), Harris’ pharmacist friend, has several sources from where he is getting fentanyl, which is then mixed with cocaine and distributed. Chuck stops at a diner to have a burger but then tells Harris that their target is a waiter working there. Elsewhere, Isaac goes to a motel room with a new client, who seems to have a particular bovine-related kink. Isaac initially has his reservations but ends up enjoying the experience. However, they are later attacked by a group of people, who leave them beaten and spray-painted with a homophobic slur.
In Buell, Lee deals with the suddenness of Alejandro’s arrival. Christy starts her work as a home health aide with Henry (Bill Camp) and seems to convince him that it will be good for him. Billy’s overworked and underpaid public defender tries to persuade the judge to grant bail but fails. Billy is sent to a facility called Farmington Tri-County Prison.
Grace (Maura Tierney) and Virgil (Mark Pellegrino) watch the entire thing happen from the spectator’s area, so do Lee and Alejandro. After the hearing, a furious and vindictive Grace takes a ride back to her home with Alejandro and Lee and accuses Lee of hiding that she was sleeping with Billy. Later, Alejandro leaves Buell, prompting Lee to repeatedly tell herself that everything will be alright.
American Rust Episode 6 Ending: Who Sets Grace’s Car on Fire?
When Grace returns to her home with Lee and Alejandro, they see that her car has been scratched all over. The number 51 has also been written on it with spray paint. When Lee asks whether this is recent, Grace gives a vague response. Later that evening, Harris returns from Buell. Seeing him bleeding, Grace immediately realizes that something is wrong. As they sleep inside Grace’s trailer, someone sets the car on fire, and it soon explodes.
The number 51 most likely refers to Grace’s efforts of unionizing the workers at Gelsey Dressmakers. When Grace, Bethany, and their lawyer approached Gelsey and told him that they had the support of the 51% of the workforce, he said to them that he had options either to take the company elsewhere or shut it down altogether. Gelsey employs a significant number of working women in Buell, and if he does either of those things mentioned above, it would mean a complete loss of income for many families. So, it can be one of the other 49% of the workers or their family members that scratches and spray-paints Grace’s car and later sets it on fire.
Another possibility is that it’s someone who is affiliated with Gelsey. The clothing shop owner didn’t like when Grace and others marched into his office and demanded health coverage. It can also be one of the women who have signed Grace’s document or their family members. Having learned about what transpired in Gelsey’s office, they have become disillusioned and decided to lash out against Grace.
Who Is Samuel Traven? Is Chuck Dead?
Samuel Traven is a criminal who was involved in an incident of gang violence that left three people dead and one young girl permanently paralyzed. Chuck investigated the case, but then the witnesses started turning up dead, and Traven left Pittsburgh. In the present time, Chuck takes Harris to the diner where Traven works since he has returned to the city. This makes Harris realize that to repay his debt, he must kill Traven. However, Harris ultimately doesn’t go through it and declares to Chuck that he would accept any consequences. A frustrated Chuck hits Harris. He then goes into the diner and kills Traven before shooting himself.
Yes, Chuck is dead. This is the consequence of Harris’ failure to kill Traven. Chuck decides to kill Traven himself, and knowing that it would expose him and the others in the brotherhood to departmental scrutiny, he takes his own life. Realizing he would be implicated in the two deaths that just happened before him, Harris prevents his blood from falling anywhere in the car and methodically cleans everything in and outside of it that he might have touched before leaving the scene and heading back to Buell.
Read More: Is American Rust a True Story?