George and Jake
He is still living at Jake’s place and Jake is working as hard on George’s case as ever. George is planning the trip of a lifetime. Meanwhile, Jake wants George to allow his ex-wife Sara to testify as a big part of what he lost while he was in prison. In no uncertain terms, George asks Jake to leave it be and refuses to allow Sara to testify.
Out in the alternative office, Jake and Robbie discuss George’s case. Robbie is unable to uncover the mystery of who killed Tess and can offer only one witness to corroborate the framing of George for the murder. When Robbie asks about George, Jake tells him that it is a very two-sided life. Part of the time is the “life and soul of the party” and other times he suffers from Don Quixote syndrome wherein he lives in an altered version of reality to avoid facing all he has lost.
Speaking of loss, Robbie checks on Sydney through Jake. She never loses a case well and he still worries. Jake assures him that Sydney is fine. As he departs, Robbie drains his beverage while threatening to arrest Jake next time for violating the open container law.
When Sara shows up at the law firm anyway, Jake goes out of his way to respect George’s wishes and privacy. While they may be divorced, Sara isn’t buying it and sees through Jake’s words. She shows up at Jake’s place later to talk to George in person. She tries to compel him to let her help. He rebukes her for coming. In a heartbreaking moment, we see all the George has lost when he talks about his whole life being destroyed and everyone else getting to go on. He asks her to leave and let him live what is left of his life. (This is a powerful moment, do yourself a favor and watch it a couple of times).
Grieving to move on
Elijah has several repeated encounters with a divorced empty nester searching for herself on a cross-country journey. They feel the spark, the intrigue and mystery of getting to know someone new, but in the end they part ways. While Elijah strayed from his wife during their marriage, he has no desire to stray from her memory. Over a drink “presumably Tennessee whiskey” the two friends discuss moving on, living in the past and moving forward. Della assures Elijah that Carolyn would not want him to live without happiness and love and he concedes that one day, but not today. That’s when Emerson comes in to tell Elijah that his mom arrives next week.
Once again, Bluff City Law rips a case right out of the headlines, but finds a way to make it more human, to challenge our own preconceived notions and perceptions and help us to evaluate what we really think. That is quite the weekly accomplishment in the noisy landscape of the real world and to entertain us as the same time? The most powerful scene of the week was delivered by Scott Shepherd (George Bell) and Stephanie Block (Sara Carpenter). The heart-wrenching discussion of a life lost and shattered was powerful television. We have seen Scott Shepherd bring George Bell to life each week and he is doing it masterfully.
We hear stories of people having lost time due to a wrongful conviction, but Hollywood often brushes over the impact of lost time and reentry into society. I applaud the writers and showrunner for really digging into this storyline.
One more thing…
Just a quick note here on the opioid epidemic. This episode highlighted one of the darkest parts of the epidemic, the jump to heroin. Heroin and prescription opioid drugs largely work the same in the brain. In 2011, it was estimated that 4 to 6 percent of prescription opioid abusers switch to heroin and 80 percent of people who used heroin first used prescription opioids (NIDA website). I think it is important to know these things as we hear so much about the opioid epidemic but generally the public still lacks understanding on how these drugs work.
The episode also highlights the perception of heroin users versus people hooked on prescription pain medication (opioids). This crisis doesn’t have a single source of blame, it has evolved through myriad policy changes, pharmaceutical sales, numbers of prescriptions and demand that users of healthcare have placed upon the system. We will all have to work together to solve this one.
Nevertheless, Bluff City Law did a good job in highlighting the crisis, how it can evolve into heroin use and a possible starting point in the clean up efforts. Let’s meet back on Beale Street next week and share a trial or two and some ribs.
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