Accused – Season 1 Episode 9 “Jack’s Story” Recap & Review

Jack’s Story

This episode is about Jack Fletcher’s story. He is an English teacher at a high school and her fiancé, Britany Thoms, is also a teacher at the same school. This episode revolves around issues like teen pregnancy, the debate between pro-life and pro-choice, sexual assault, and youth mental health issues.

Fletcher is like a friend to his students. He is preparing them for a play that debuts in a week. After rehearsal, he notices that something is wrong with Clara Palmer. It is not just that day. She has been acting reclusive and turning her assignments in very late. Britany asks him not to get too involved with the students. When Jack forgets his bag inside, he notices Clara is trying to hang herself on the stage.

He is able to prevent that and she bursts into tears. Clara alleges that she is pregnant and had sex with Richie, the star quarterback and someone who has a great rapport with Jack. Since adoption is not an option, Jack says he will help Clara get an abortion by driving out to New Mexico. In the present-day trial, the prosecutor calls Jack using the garb of an enthusiastic and friend-like teacher to hide his predator persona. He used to feed on the children’s vulnerability and exploit them. This indicates something might have happened to Clara.

Clara drives down with Jack, who makes an excuse to Britany that he had to deal with Dustin, his friend, who was spiraling again to get a divorce. When the doctor checks her, she says Clara does not need medical intervention and pills will do the job. Jack writes down his name in the forms as the emergency contact. Clara tells him that she does not believe in marriage as her father walked out on her when she was six months old. He also ruined her mother’s credit situation and as a result, the mother-daughter duo had to spend a lot of their time moving places.

She met Clara’s stepfather in the church when Clara was seven and finally found protection and provisioning. Jack comes back to the house and Britany is glad to see him after a torturous family dinner. They go out to dinner and she notices something in the glove box that makes her suspicious. Jack tries to play it down, saying he had no idea how it got there.

In the present day, we learn that Britany ended her engagement with Jack after he was arrested. Even though their three-year relationship was healthy and loving, the events that transpired with Clara changed its course. Back in the past, we see Clara is back to normal. Richie comes in to talk alone with Jack. He reveals that his girlfriend, Shelly, is pushing him to have sex with her as she feels they are ready and their relationship needs to go to the next level. But since he is a virgin, he is nervous.

Jack is shocked to learn that it wasn’t Richie who got Clara pregnant and confronts her. She budges and tells the truth about the abuse she faces at the hands of her stepfather. Jack decides to report it, even if it comes at the cost of his job, which Clara is scared about. He immediately calls Britany to meet with him. Jack sits in his car and goes through the Penal Code of Texas. Art. 1192 posits that whoever furnishes the means for abortion will be charged as an accomplice, since abortion is a crime in Texas. He tells the truth to Britany but she is upset that he did not trust her with this. The police arrest him for “statutory rape,” meaning that Clara lied to them about Jack to make sure her stepfather is not prosecuted.

She feels if that would have been the case, her mother would have been emotionally destroyed. Clara is called as a witness at the trial and testifies against Jack. But the cross-examination establishes that there is no real proof of their sexual relationship. Jack goes out of line and asks her to tell the truth, attracting the ire of the judge. Britany reluctantly talks to Jack – right after he was arrested – who is in jail. He tells her the truth and makes it clear he still sees a future with Britany. But she takes offence and says it will not be possible for them to be together anymore.

But Britany’s issue is not so much with the charges. She takes an issue with abortion, as she is pro-life. She gives her own example that someone – a stranger – convinced her mother not to get an abortion. If Jack would have been in that situation, Britany would have been killed in her mother’s womb. At the trial, Clara continues her testimony. She said the relationship began in spring, and she remembers this because the first time Jack and Clara had sex, it was in his car and a baseball game was on the radio.

Jack immediately messages Britany using the lawyer’s phone, saying he has never listened to sports on the radio before. Britany too seems shocked by it. In recess, we see Clara is nervous about throwing Jack into the lurches. Britany tries to convince Jessica, Clara’s mother, about the issue. From Jessica’s reaction the next minute, it seems she had been suspecting the behaviour of Frank, Clara’s stepfather. Her outburst in public against Frank frees Jack, and Jessica falls into Clara’s arms.

Jack will be able to walk away with minor charges of transporting a minor without parental consent across state borders but he will lose his license to teach. Jack thinks that Britany wants to get back together but she still has not been able to get past the abortion. Clara apologizes to Jack for what she did and he forgives her.

The Episode Review

For what it is worth, this episode of Accused did not casually treat the serious issues. There was some real purpose and nuanced statements made through the characters and their actions. We did have some generic and too idealistic choices that made the narrative a little difficult to believe. But nothing too damaging that could take away the good work.

Jason Ritter as Jack and Wrenn Schmidt as Britany were a terrific pair. The acting in the series has generally been top-notch in spite of lapses in the writing and handling of the material. This episode, however, was a good coincidence in having succeeded in both departments.

While these issues are no longer taboo, their discussion still has not yielded a middle ground. They have become quite advanced in the real world. Episode 9 of Accused does not confront you to make your decision at once but when you walk away, you cannot help but wonder what is right.

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