“That is a good story. Doesn’t make it the truth.”
American Crime‘s phenomenal second season came to a haunting close on Wednesday night, with viewers saying goodbye to the Leyland Academy and all of its player after ten episodes of near-impeccable storytelling and direction. But fans hoping for answers to some of the ABC drama’s biggest questions—Was Taylor (Connor Jessup) really raped? If he was, did Eric (Joey Pollari) actually do it? Who leaked Anne’s (Lili Taylor) medical documents?—did not get what they were looking for in the final installment. In fact, American Crime ended on several cliffhangers, mostly in regards to the future of Taylor, Eric and other major players.
So how did each character’s story end? Here’s a rundown of all the action that went down in the episode, which kicked off with the private e-mails and text messages of many of the members of the Leyland Academy community being leaked…
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A Tale of Two Boys: Like star Connor Jessup told us, the season really was, at its heart, A Tale of Two Cities between Taylor and Eric, and the finale ended on cliffhangers for both of them. Standing in court, Taylor contemplated pleading guilty and accepting a plea deal or going to trial, while Eric debated getting in the car of one of his hook-ups before the screen cut to black. But how did they get there?
After the leaked e-mails and texts, Eric is brought in, finally telling the cops he lured Taylor to the park the night the basketball team beat him up. If he testifies in court, the lawyer explained, it will help him out…but it will also help out Taylor, who he still denied assaulting. “Somebody screams rape and nobody cares what really happened,” Eric said. “How does he get to own that night? How does he get to own me?”
But Taylor is done playing the victim, though he maintained that Eric raped him, which is exactly why he doesn’t want him to testify, even if it could get his sentence reduced or removed. “How do you think it makes me feel to have my future depend on the guy who raped me?” Taylor explained to his mother Anne, who is begging him to accept Eric’s help. “He raped me and he gets to be my savior?” He then goes on to say it “felt good” after he pulled the trigger, that he finally stopped feeling like a victim. So yes, he wants to take a plea deal, but we still don’t know if he ever does.
And no, we also never find out what actually happened between Eric and Taylor on the fateful night that set the entire season in motion. Every character has their own truth that they have to live by and live with, and the show’s ability to make us invest and care about both Eric and Taylor, without ever learning the truth, is what made season two so compelling.
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Dan Sullivan and Leslie Graham: The basketball coach and protective father is left reeling when the leaked e-mails reveal his daughter Becca is the one who sold the drugs to Taylor, and she is suspended indefinitely, and is immediately taken into police custody for questioning. Desperate to save his girl, Dan (Timothy Hutton) goes to headmaster Leslie (Felicity Huffman) for help, but she’s not in a giving mood. Remember that time Dan said he could see why someone would want to shoot her? Yeah, she definitely does. “Your daughter is a drug dealer,” she said. “Your team acted like a gang.” So no, she will not help him and his daughter out. She wins. For now.
Now, here’s where that scene of Dan going into Leslie’s office from a few episodes back comes into play. Turns out, the documents he took happened to be Anne’s medical records, which were eventually leaked (we never learn who actually leaked them). And he decided to bring them to hacker Sebastian (Richard Cabral). And they’re threatening to go public with them. “Leslie is very careful,” Dan told Sebastian (We knew this because she never emailed or texted about the Taylor-Eric situation, unlike the board members). Still, Dan has his habits too: “I’m patient. I’m really damn patient.”
In their final confrontation of the season, Leslie accused Dan of setting her up with the leaked medical records, but it doesn’t really matter who leaked them, the damage has been done as the trustees have asked Leslie to step down. Take the blame, Leslie,” Dan told her. “Take it with you when you go.” As for Dan, we last see him watching Becca being taken away in handcuffs in court, as she’s set to serve 12 months in juvie for dealing drugs. So in the Dan vs. Leslie battle, there was really no winner.
The LaCroix Family: After one of Michael’s (Andre Benjamin) friends agreed to take the fall for them after the leak, Terri (Regina King, who won an Emmy for her work on the show in season one) has had enough, and finally convinced their son Kevin (Trevor Jackson) to tell the cops everything. He is later exonerated and cleared in the case, but still, Terri’s private e-mails are out there and her publicly held company is not pleased with the “ugly” things she wrote about, particularly about “white” people. The company offered her a chance to “reset” and move to St. Louis with her family. “Things are catching up to us,” Terri later told Kevin, who said he’s “not afraid” to start over and that they can “handle” it. The two then say they love each other and it’s about as happy an ending as this show can provide.
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Sebastian: The show’s version of a whistleblower got a major taste of his own money when other hacker decided to leak all the information about the Leyland Academy and the families involved. Sebastian is all about going after institutions (the school, in this case), not the specific people involved. But not everyone has “a code” they follow as self-righteously as Sebastian does.
Sebastian found out who the other hacker is and called him, demanding he backs off. “Nobody controls the digital space,” the hacker bluntly told Sebastian, who doesn’t realize how deep he is until his own web-cam is hacked, with him and his daughters being watched. The last time we see him he’s driving away from Leyland, with his daughters in the backseat, and something tells us he might be putting away his keyboard for awhile.
Marshall High School: Unfortunately, in a sad parallel to real-life, the public school’s storyline was overshadowed by the private school one throughout this season, and it was the same case in the finale. Chris (Elvis Nolasco) is offered $ 75,000 to resign, but he’s hesitant. First, he apologized to Evy (Angelique Rivera), who said after everything she’s been through, the only people that did right by her were the Leyland school officials, who gave her and her family money to stay quiet. This is the sad and brutal reality a 17-year-old girl is explaining to her principal, who eventually handed in his resignation.
And finally, Leyland gets a new headmaster, who promised that the school is the future of education. So it looks like the institution was the winner in the end. A true American crime.
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