Episode 7 of American Rust begins with Billy awakening in prison to a pretty grim sound. His cellmate urinates, preparing for the day ahead as the doors open. It doesn’t take long before he finds himself a target from the other cellmates, who take a big interest in him.
Following the car bombing incident, Grace is questioned over who could have a grudge against her. Kelsey is an obvious name but so too is her boss at the warehouse. The truth is, the union deal has ruffled a lot of feathers. Grace pleads with Harris for help but there’s only so much he can do, given he’s officially off the case.
So naturally Harris heads off to visit Lee, who was spending a lot of time with Billy. Harris is clutching at straws but immediately asks about drugs and who else could have been at the Mill that day. They’ve also failed to hear from Isaac either, which riles up Henry who refuses to bite his tongue, “Step off my property and leave my family alone,” He growls.
Harris gets a little more luck when he talks to Tom. Following his OD, Harris shows up and asks about the drugs. It doesn’t take long before he talks. Apparently Pete Novick was his dealer, but only every now and then. However, it seems there was a territory dispute as a “new guy” showed up to take over. I think we know who this is!
At the pharmacy, Harris notices that Jackson (the owner) has a handgun stashed away under his till. Alarm bells ring and Harris decides to stake the place after-hours. After cutting the power, Harris breaks in.
Using Jackson’s computer, Harris finds a monthly repeat prescription of Fentanyl for Novick. Realizing he’s the key, Harris barely gets time to process this before he’s called to a house party later that evening. A boy ODs after snorting Fentanyl. Speaking of ODs, Harris’s list of Fentanyl prescriptions comes up short. In fact, everyone on this list (32 people to be precise) have died. According to Steve, that’s over 2000 pills a month. Jackson is a criminal but right now, Harris is using him as bait to go after bigger fish.
Back in prison, Billy finds himself in a spot of hot water that evening. With the guards watching on, Billy is thrown into a big fight with another inmate. Surrounded and with nowhere to go, the pair duke it out. Billy beats his opposite number to a pulp but he’s not in a great way either, with blood staining his shirt and mouth.
“You did good,” His cellmate eventually says when Billy heads back into his room. A cold can of beer is rolled under the door to help with Billy’s cuts too – but how long can he last in this environment?
The Episode Review
It really is a race against time as Billy’s livelihood hangs precariously in the balance. As has been synonymous with this show right from the start, American Rust is in no hurry to get anything done. The series continues to work with its small town residents, with numerous subplots that just don’t really feel that interesting.
What began as a murder mystery has now evolved into a crusade against opioids and tracking down the dealers responsible for this whole mess. While there’s nothing wrong with that per-se, it does mean the show loses some much-needed focus, spending far too long with characters like Grace and Isaac that don’t really add much to the show.
Despite that, the ending hints that American Rust is going to tighten the screw going forward, with plenty of potential drama in store for us as this one creeps toward its conclusion.