Ava is a deaf woman who is being sued for kidnapping and endangering the life of a child by the State as Accused episode 2 begins. We go back to the past to learn what actually happened in the case.
Ava and KJ live together. She is pregnant and is acting as a surrogate for Jen and Max, an affluent couple. Jen (Megan Boone) cannot have babies and went through the IVF route to have one. Ava had a child while still in school but could not keep it. KJ teaches at the school for the deaf and when he leaves for work. Ava’s water breaks. The delivery is successful and both the prospective parents are overjoyed.
Max is a musician and wants his child to go on a similar route. One can imagine his shock and disappointment when there emerges a possibility that the child, named Lucie, might be deaf. Jen concedes that her great-aunt Margo suffered from deafness and that might be an influencing factor. Relations are tense between the two. More audiology appointments confirm that Lucie is indeed deaf. But Max is determined and has the means to pursue the dangerous cochlear implants for Lucie. To do that, Lucie’s skull will be operated upon and the implants will go in.
Ava is naturally disappointed to let Lucie go. In high school, she did not have a choice in giving up the baby for adoption. But here, she feels things might have been different. Max is disappointed with Lucie’s condition and Jen cannot fathom that he might not be able to love his own child. She visits Ava and talks about the implants. She is shocked to learn that Lucie is dead. Jen expresses that Max is not fully satisfied that Lucie is deaf. Ava explains that she has implants but does not wear the processor as they give her headaches. Even though Lucie might be able to listen to other people, it is the computer processes that send the signal to the nerve.
Jen wants to give Lucie an “easier life” where she can have a chance at being normal. Ava says they should not make these decisions for Lucie but Jen gets defensive. Ava seems smitten with the child but not the idea that her head be opened up and her life risked. Later that night, she googles surrogacy laws and has a tense chat with KJ about changing her mind. KJ reminds her that she signed a contract and attested to it in court. There is no way she can go back on that. Ava still feels it is not the right decision and wants to intervene.
The next day, Ava goes with breast milk for Lucie to Jen’s house. Max greets her too and Ava gives a letter to him with her intentions about Lucie. She asks them not to go ahead with the surgery and accept Lucie for who she is. He gets defensive about his stance and Jen has to intervene to explain. She talks to him alone in the room and Ava uses her phone to read their conversation. Max gets really angry and even throws things at Jen. She is unsure if Max will be able to love Lucie for who she is and Ava gets anxious when she reads this.
Ava takes off with the baby, leaving Max and Jen reeling in anxiety. KJ immediately reaches her location and asks her not to continue this. Ava explains that she has been talking to Cleo, a law student, who says that in Michigan, the surrogacy laws are not enforced and that there is a precedent where Ava will have a chance to adopt Lucie.
KJ does not abandon Ava and goes with her on the drive. The police contact Ava’s mother but she is of no help. She is a tough woman who raised Ava alone. Jen immediately feels she knows why Ava ran off with Lucie. But Max does not seem to understand. Ava gets a message from Cleo wherein she says that the precedent was for the woman who was still pregnant. Ava might not have a case. She leaves KJ at the convenience store and trudges on, leaving a note asking KJ to deny any information about Ava’s actions.
KJ confronts the parents at the station about not wanting Lucie. There is no evidence that KJ helped her escape or knew about it and hence, he is safe. Ava left with the baby because she thought the parents were going to hurt her and resent her for who she is. Ava sits outside the police station and gives up herself and Lucie. At the trial, Jen accepts she felt betrayed by Ava’s actions. The lawyer assigned to Ava makes some big blunders that tilt the case against Ava. He sincerely backs off the case and Sari, a deaf lawyer, is attached instead.
Sari truly believes Ava can win the case as her intention was not to hurt the child. Ava gets on the stand and turns the tide in her favour. She explains how she felt Lucie might suffer as she could not communicate with her parents clearly, the same thing that happened to Ava. No device in the world can make them like Lucie. The only thing they need to do is accept her condition and love her.
Jen says to the prosecutor to stop the proceedings and the judge agrees that the State’s case is weak. Ava is exonerated and Jen and Max promise her that Lucie’s best interests will be kept in mind while making any decisions.
The Episode Review
Accused continues its trend of refreshing ideas and sincere portrayals. Ava’s Story was authentically brought onto the screen. Props to the entire team for maintaining the authenticity of the material by having deaf actors.
The representation of the community was respectful, and smart, and made a great impact. Even though the central conceit was not as compelling as Steve’s Story, the makers made slightly different creative choices in episode 2 to lighten up the ending and dumb down the moral ethos to connect with a larger audience.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|
6 thoughts on “Accused – Season 1 Episode 2 “Ava’s Story” Recap & Review”
I thought this was a beautiful episode. Yes, it was strange the judge just dismissed the case so easily when in fact the baby was stolen. But the message was beautiful, and as a mother I was touched and inspired. I do not know what I would have done in that situation, and I don’t view the implant as abusive or wrong. This just showed the complexity of parenthood and I thought it was done beautifully.
This episode was bad on so many levels.
The judge was right in that the prosecutor works for the state, but that’s about it as far as it went in terms of what would happen in an actual trial. Given the evidence, it’s clear that the crime was committed. No judge is going to dismiss the case because it’s obvious the accused had her heart in the right place. And it was a jury trial not a bench trial!
The whole thing was an excuse to broadcast the accused’s speech about giving the child all the different ways to communicate so that she would appreciate deaf culture – good idea and one that the parents may have come to eventually – and, more importantly, to present one side of the argument about the controversy surrounding cochlear implants.
I’m surprised that Marlee Matlin chose such a ham-handed story that was devoid of nuance for her directorial debut. There was a documentary that I saw a some years ago about a large family in which some members were deaf and some were hearing. Among other things, it was concerned with a disagreement about whether one of the children should be fitted for the implant. Initially the child’s father was vehemently against it, but later on he didn’t necessarily change his mind but admitted that part of it was his fear that his son would have access to a world that he didn’t. It presented the issue as complex rather than good/evil and right/wrong.
There was a lot of truth in this episode
I was crippled by polio when I was just over a year old. The infection was severe and my parents were told that I probably was brain damaged and would need to be institutionalized. We lived in a rural area so there weren’t many resources. My parents were medical professionals. I lived with my grandmother in Chicsgo so I could receive medical treatments but all treatments were surgical and no physical therapy. My parents were ashamed of me. My left foot was clubbed and my leg basically useless. I basically walked on one leg, my right, which became muscularly overdeveloped. I wore braces and used crutches. I had to crawl the stairs at school. I was constantly in pain. My parents were constantly unhappy and subscribed my troubles to ” not trying harder”. I understood what Ava feared for this baby.
This is a truly awful episode!
Hey Brent, thanks so much for commenting!
Good spot on that one, I do apologize about missing that while going through and editing this one. That’s all been updated now though; really appreciate you letting us know.
Typo in one sentence: deaf not dead.