‘Defending Jacob’ is an Apple TV+ series that has meditatively presented a seemingly slow-burn murder mystery tale. However, the show’s main focus has been to show the attempt of a couple defending their son, who they believe is innocent. Yet, the penultimate episode almost settles the central conflict. The show stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, and Jaeden Martell in leading roles. The three central cast members’ performances have contributed largely to keep the show engaging.
Defending Jacob Episode 8 Recap:
The final episode of ‘Defending Jacob’ begins by confirming the fact that Patz confessed to murdering Ben Rifkin. He is also found having hung himself in his apartment. Jacob’s case is dismissed. However, at the parking lot, Ben’s father approaches the Barbers angrily, telling Jacob that he knows that he was the one who killed Ben. The stalker, O’Leary, stops him. He tells the Barbers that he is a friend of Andy’s father.
Andy resigns from his job, and Lynn tells him that there had been minor inconsistencies noticed by the police with regards to Patz’s suicide. Andy goes to meet his father in prison. He asks him whether he had been responsible for Patz’s death. His father implies (does not confirm) that O’Leary may have forced Patz to write his confession and then killed him, making it appear as if he (Patz) had hung himself.
The Barbers decide to go to Mexico as they had planned. At their resort, Jacob befriends a girl named Hope, and they decide to go to a party one night. However, Jacob returns early. Hope goes missing, and Jacob becomes the prime suspect. Stressed, Andy tells Laurie about his father getting Patz killed. Laurie starts to think that Jacob may have actually killed Ben again. Luckily, Hope is found. Someone had slipped something in her drink (Jacob wasn’t with her then).
Back home, Laurie starts to get anxious and becomes distant. She starts to believe that Jacob might have actually killed Ben. While driving Jacob to the barber, she starts speeding as she is in a disturbed state of mind. She asks Jacob whether he killed Ben and says that she does not believe him when he says no. She says she cannot trust what he says and is still speeding. Their car crashes.
It is revealed that Neal had been questioning Andy regarding the car crash. There had a case to decide whether the car crash had been an accident or caused by Laurie’s troubled state. It had been a case to supposedly deliver justice for Jacob. However, the decision towards the end is that the car crash had been an accident. Andy goes to the hospital. Jacob is in a coma while Laurie is faring comparatively better and is conscious. Laurie tells Andy that she wants her family back. Andy goes back home and drinks alone.
Defending Jacob Finale Review:
‘Defending Jacob’ has attempted to be a compelling slow-burn over the course of the previous seven episodes. However, it has failed to maintain viewers’ engagement, ending up being plainly slow. Unfortunately, the final episode is no different and would not prove to be a satisfying pay-off for patient viewers.
For starters, the penultimate episode had already ended on a note which would have put the central conflict to rest. The finale does not waste much time with that aspect. However, one gets the feeling that the Apple TV+ show attempts to do too much after that, yet fails to make it impactful. There are a few twists like Andy’s father being responsible for Patz’s death and Hope’s disappearance. However, these turns do not succeed in making audiences drop their jaws.
Furthermore, the show does not provide answers to the questions that had been raised in the very first episode itself. Who actually killed Ben? It is not revealed. One just has to take Jacob’s word regarding his innocence. However, many might argue that the point of the series has been to show how the Barber family disintegrates because of the accusation. That premise seems to have been stretched too thin, however. Plus, despite strong performances by the actors, the disintegration of the Barber family feels staged. This would mainly have to do with the writing. Perhaps, it might have been more suitable to spread the twists in the finale over the previous episodes.
Read More: Is Defending Jacob Based on a True Story?