American Rust – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Happy Returns

Episode 2 of American Rust begins with Del Harris showing up at work early. After Pete’s body was found at the old mill, Del is obviously on-edge, given he’s been hiding evidence.

Our grizzled police detective soon comes under fire for firing Pete Novick, questioned by Herlitz. While he holds his own, the attention soon turns to the mill itself. The whole place is being kept under lockdown, and with the anonymous phone call their own tip, Herlitz decides to use this as a springboard for more solid evidence over what really happened that night.

Del shows up on the scene but notices Billy lurking about. He continues to try and cover for the kid, telling Billy to switch to a size up for his shoes and to make it seem natural. Between this and popping pills, it’s clear that Del is riding a very fine moral line. Billy certainly takes his suggestion seriously though.

With Isaac gone and Henry struggling back home, Lee English shows back up in Buell. She’s now married and has been out of town for a while. Henry is not taking Isaac’s absence well, and it doesn’t take long for him to use Lee as a taxi service, needing a lift across town later that day for a wedding.

At Jimbo and Katie’s reception, Billy is understandably a little jittery, something that Virgil is quick to point out. Things do take a turn for the somber as everyone take’s a moment’s silence in Pete’s honour. After, speeches are read and jokes flows. Only, Billy is too distracted by Lee’s late arrival to pay much attention.

Billy is quick to lay on the compliments, telling her she looks beautiful while claiming he doesn’t know where Isaac is. Given she’s married, Billy dancing with her is another opportunity for him to lay it on thick, admitting that he’s missed her and has wanted the girl for a long time. Given how much she’s hanging on and slow dancing with him, it seems she feels the same way.

While Billy’s flirting is somewhat romantic, Virgil’s most certainly is not. He tries to bed Grace but she’s pretty quick to tell him to leave – and to get tested too. With the walking catastrophe gone, Grace jumps in to Billy’s suave flirting, telling him to be careful.

When Billy heads outside to use the bathroom, he runs into Isaac. He’s in a rough way and admits he can’t stop shaking. He even suggests they go to Del and get him involved.

Billy wants none of this though and encourages the boy to run, heading west and to get away from all this. He’s still got Henry’s money too (all $4000 of it) which Billy uses as an incentive to encourage Isaac to start anew.

Away from the wedding, Del and his team get searching on the anonymous phone call to the station. They trace this back to a gas station and try to use the CCTV footage to match up the time-stamps. The problem is, the camera isn’t exactly facing the right angle.

Well, checking out the other angles they do find one of Pete Novick out talking to another guy whose identity is a secret for now. Although one of the detectives is quick to point out he looks like Jesus.

After some drip-fed clues over what’s going on, Del Harris heads over to the wedding.

That evening, after the party, Billy and Lee end up making love on their porch. That’s unfortunate, especially given Isaac winds up seeing them together from afar. In the morning, Billy is gone and as Lee wakes up, she rings Isaac who’s angry and tells her not to ring again. After throwing his phone in the river, he takes off.

Isaac though? Well, he’s out on the woods burning his old shoes. While he does, Isaac starts walking along a railroad track, deciding to head west after all.


The Episode Review

If you’re a fan of weddings then you’re in luck, because American Rust’s second chapter is all about the wedding shenanigans. In fact, this whole chapter feels like one of those awkward moments where you’re invited to the wedding reception of a friend of a friend and don’t really know what to do with yourself.

While the celebrations are nice and the chapter does well to showcase all the different subplots mingled together, it all feels superficial to the actual meat and potatoes of this show – the murder. We get brief snippets of this across the run-time, notably through the CCTV  footage, but beyond that there’s really not a lot else to get excited about. After such a tepid opener, it’s disappointing because this could be the tipping point for many people. This one really needed to knock it out the park. Alas, it has not.

American Rust definitely has some good vibes and an all-star cast, but boy does this show take the idea of a slow burn into full-on slow territory. Hopefully this can pick up across the coming chapters.

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2 thoughts on “American Rust – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review”

  1. Good review. The show lost me when the wife and son of guy that got murdered was chilling at the wedding the next day.
    She looked like a cat had ran away, not that her husband was murdered and no clue who did it. And the chief walks in and she says nothing. But, he says non chalantly that its boring out there or whatever the hell.
    Just terrible writing on this one.

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