Defending Jacob – Season 1 Episode 8 (The Finale) Recap & Review

The Crash

Despite a slow start, Defending Jacob’s last episode delivers a tense chunk of drama, ending with an unexpected twist. While the finale didn’t answer all the questions, it offers up an unnerving conclusion to the story line and will keep you guessing with its conclusive and ambiguous ending.

The season finale of Defending Jacob starts with Andy waking up on the sofa and getting a phone call. He heads into his room to see his wife who tells her that Patz has confessed to the murder. Relieved, they both speak to Andy about it before heading into court where the judge announces that the charges have been dropped and Jacob is now free. They then leave the court and as they thank Joanna in the car park, Dan Rifkin runs towards them to confront Jacob, claiming that he still thinks he has done it. O’Leary arrives to stop and hold him down but Laurie tells him to just let him go. As Andy asks him just who he is, he reveals himself to be a friend of his father.

As the days go by, the family try their best to get back to normality. Laurie looks at a picture album, crying and telling her husband she truly believed Jacob did it after they read the story he wrote. He does his best to reassure her as they try to put things behind them. Andy later visits Lynn in the court house to talk about his possible return but he explains that he can’t come back after what happened. Before leaving, she tells him the police have just finished their investigation on Patz as a few things didn’t add up at first.

As Andy starts thinking about O’Leary, he decides to visit his father in prison and asks him if he got Patz set up. Billie insists that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. We then flashback to Patz writing his confession as we see O’Leary making him do it at gunpoint. Billie tells him that it is for the best for his son and insists that Patz is a paedophile so he explains that he has a choice between being a good man or a good father. He finishes the conversation by telling him that if Jacob wants to meet his grandpa, he knows where to find him.

Andy returns home very worried and preoccupied but remains silent about his visit. The family later head on their holiday in Mexico where everything seems perfect. Both Jacob and Laurie are having a great time while Andy is still concerned. As we flash froward to the day of Andy’s interrogation, Neal mentions a girl Jacob befriended called Hope and asks him if they talked about the case. Andy tells him he is not sure but insists that there was nothing to talk about.

As we return to Mexico, Jacob asks his parents to go to a party on the beach for New Year’s eve. In the evening, Andy and Laurie return to their room and are surprised to find Jacob back and already watching tv. The next morning during breakfast, the police arrive and ask to talk to Jacob as Hope didn’t come back the night before. They question them for three hours and take their passports to make sure they don’t leave their hotel.

Unable to sleep, Laurie remembers that Jacob came back with a different shirt as he claims to have left it on the beach. She finds Andy outside who tells her about Patz and what his father did. She then realises that Jacob was not really innocent and wonders if he had anything to do with Hope. Thankfully though, Hope is later found as we learn that someone drugged her.

Despite Jacob’s innocence over Hope’s disappearance, the Barbers decide to cut their trip short due to their anxiety. Doubt now set in their minds, especially for Laurie. Two weeks later, the Barbers put their house on the market and start planning their move to Colorado. Knowing his wife is very anxious, Andy tells her that she can take all the time she needs before moving.

The next day, Laurie drives Jacob to the hairdresser and starts questioning him. She tells him she never asked him last year but wants to know if he killed Ben. Shocked, he replies that he didn’t but Laurie starts speeding and tells him she doesn’t believe him. She reveals that a man was murdered in order for him to be free and mentions the story he wrote. While this is happening, Andy tries calling her as he found Jacob’s baby picture album in the bin. Insisting that she wants the truth but understands that she will never know, she speeds even more. Jacob shouts at her to stop but she swerves the car and crashes into the wall of a bridge.

As we return to the present in court, Neal asks Andy again why Laurie is not here today. Neal explains that 6 weeks ago, he got a call that his wife and son have been involved in a serious accident and have been taken to ICU in hospital. He then reveals that Laurie tried calling Joanna and doctor Vogel in the middle of the night. Since witnesses saw the car suddenly swerve, he believes that his wife tried to kill their son. Therefore, he comes to the conclusion that Jacob and himself deserve justice.

After the interrogation, Andy heads to hospital to see his son who is hooked up to a lot of machines and in a coma. His wife on the other hand, escaped the crash with just a few scratches. He tells her that the court voted for no indictment and agrees that it was an accident. She worries that when Jacob wakes up, he will think it wasn’t an accident as she can’t remember what happened that day. Andy does his best to reassure her and tells her to get some rest.

The episode ends as Andy returns to an empty house and sits on his son’s bed while drinking, drowning out his sorrows.

While most of the season was quite slow, this latest episode brought some needed tension and suspense to the series – especially during the last 15 minutes. This unexpected and shocking twist shows a desperate Laurie unable to cope with the situation anymore as she believes her son is guilty. This was quite intriguing but unfortunately big questions still remain over whether Jacob was really the murderer.

Overall, Defending Jacob isn’t a bad crime drama but it certainly isn’t the most original either due to the expected tropes and slow pacing. The acting has been consistent throughout though and the premise decent enough, but this drama will unfortunately join the list of other average Apple+ shows the streaming platform has to offer.



Published: 30 May 2020 at 10:55 am on 

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2 thoughts on “Defending Jacob – Season 1 Episode 8 (The Finale) Recap & Review”

  1. Just finished, so to me this is very recent.

    The series actually believes that intensity of emotion authenticates truth. Thus, Patrick Fischler screaming “I know it was you!” at Jacob is supposed to be revelatory. Except of course, he doesn’t know.

    The mother tried to murder her son because he was sexually depraved. This is a horrifying ending, sadly believable. But the series wants to excuse her, by pretending that somehow it’s an act of justice. Many mystery writers just love the idea of killing someone, so long as they are “bad.” Jake’s sexual fantasies are definitely bad enough for him to die. But the series insists there is an ambiguity about Jake to cover up the horror of the mother’s act.

    The story, by the way, despite what the series (and the book?) tries to tell us, is evidence against Jake killing Ben. I do not believe that stabbing someone is like punching air. That’s how Andy imagines it because he’s never punched anything but air with his knife. Personally, I’ve never smelled blood. But a violent death (any death, really) is apt to result in the loosening of bladder and bowels. If Jake had actually smelled anything, he would have smelled urine and feces. He doesn’t know, because he didn’t kill Ben.

    The series easily dismisses the powerful circumstantial evidence of Jake’s clean clothing with something about how there was no spatter. I don’t believe it. The suggestion that the wounds were inflicted from behind would explain a clean hoodie/shirt…but the angle of the wounds (and their height) would be apt to show this. The story by the way explains perfectly well the murder was not premeditated. Jake stabbing from behind contradicts the story, which is thus not a confession. Jake cannot plan on Ben grabbing him, getting him close. Plus the easy suggestion that the bully lets Jake cozy up behind him is convenient, but not plausible.

    The absence of spattered blood at the death scene could be explained by the actual stabbing, when the heart is forcefully pumping, being somewhere else. The suggestion was that Ben was walking the path. Spatter should have been found there (if they even looked.) But if Ben had gone off the path with someone else, the stabbing could have taken place elsewhere. Patz may have offered money to Ben. McGrath’s testimony is against interest, therefore more reliable than a simplistic dismissal that he’s lied before allows.

  2. I was ok with the pacing, never bored, but the last episode was mostly predictable, and I would’ve went with a more …fatal ending

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