Fame and Misfortune
Episode 3 of The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist jumps to four years into 2013 from the last robbery when The Bling Ring movie was released. Alexis was frustrated as Emma Watson played her and she was made to appear as the leader of the bling ring. Nick was a bit jealous of this notion and even jokes about his wish for someone bigger to have played him in the film; like a younger Tom cruise!
The time had come for the good guys to start writing the script for the bad guys. It was time to trade the luxuries of designer clothes and jewelry for jail jumpsuits and chains. The police now have Nick and Rachel’s names. They arrested him. But the evidence was circumstantial and they found nothing at his house. Rachel was at his father’s house outside the city.
Christine Kee and Sarika Kim were deputy DAs of the state of California. The crime of residential burglary is taken very seriously there but Kim also alluded to the lack of evidence. Nick made bail and got for himself a flashy attorney, Sean Erenstoft. Even here, Nick wanted someone with a good image in the media; not necessarily a good attorney who could save him. Sean looked like he worked out, wore well-tailored suits, had a great jawline, and didn’t lose any of his jury trials, Nick explained. That was enough for him.
At this point, he was only connected to Lohan and Patridge robberies. Sean tells he calculated Nick faced around 48 years of jail time for the crimes he committed. Sean offers him an immunity deal if he implicated everybody and comes clean. It was a heavy decision for Nick to undo all his good work to have a better life with friends and people who cared about him. Alexis tells how she was scared but also not when Nick called him and said he is telling the police everything.
She thought her involvement in the Bloom robbery was very little and that Nick wasn’t even suspected of doing it. But Sean, his attorney just asked him to tell the police everything and he did. Even about the robberies, the police had no idea were “robberies”. Kim finds it unusual for an attorney to do, who usually waits for the investigation to end.
Nick’s cooperation has blown up everything opening a can of worms without an end. Alexis’ worst fears came true and detectives contacted her at the house. The shooting crew was also there and Andrea thought E! had set up a fake investigation to pump up the drama. The officers found Bilson’s clothes and brought them in for questioning. The producers kept on shooting and finally found their story. All the other girls were also apprehended. But Nick soon discovered that he too was being charged. When he called up Sean, the attorney said this is a procedure and when asked for a copy of the immunity agreement, he said he didn’t have it.
He had taken Brett Goodkin’s “word for it”. Kim denies seeing Sean’s video on the tablet of there ever being a conversation about giving him immunity. Sean had messed up big time. So much so for the flashy attorney! Andrea thought that the girls coming out of jail would be an “important scene” in the show and it was indeed chaos. The producers continued with the shooting and even shot a fabricated scene of the arrest. Technology turned out to be their bane when the LAPD corroborated the stories with photos of the stolen merchandise the girls and he was wearing.
The network wanted to take advantage of Alexis’ newfound fame and greenlit a full season. Even their attorneys wanted to cash in on that and Jeff, one of them, asked the producers to shoot a scene in the reality show where Alexis asks Susan, the other attorney, what to wear to court. The preliminary hearing began thereafter. It went as all legal affairs go; uneventfully.
Jeff gets the Vanity Fair to interview Alexis thinking it would help her case. But it doesn’t. The move worked completely against her. The producers behind the camera loved it. They had indeed struck “reality television” gold. Alexis calls Nancy, who wrote her story, live on camera. Alexis calls it a sexist hit piece just for the way she looked. It proved to be very detrimental to her case. Nick wasn’t going to be left behind. He frequently interacted with the paparazzi and still wore the stolen merchandise and got his pictures taken! He was fame addicted. In the most unimaginable way, he was even going on live doing interviews.
Good Morning America was one such instance. Nick then fired Sean and ABC connections got him a new attorney. Alexis’ addiction to heroin got worse as the trial neared. But the producers of Pretty Wild showed her in a relatively better light, which hurt Alexis. But in a scene from the show, Jeff comforts Alexis by saying she might be getting off the hook soon. Off camera, Jeff admits that scene was produced for the show and it was a blatant lie. The world came crashing down for Alexis when it was known Orlando bloom was testifying against Alexis. Kim offered a plea deal to Alexis that she took to avoid a long prison term.
She had a complete mental breakdown after jail, even contemplating suicide. Nick’s new attorney, Markus wanted to start with Damage control. He was also trying to navigate a plea deal for Nick. And surprisingly, he took it. Rachel had already pled guilty to the counts and got four years in state prison. The case was set up nicely. But one humungous blunder on Brett’s part threw the case away. He got involved with Sofia Coppola’s movie and it compromised the DA’s case.
Courtney pleaded no contest to the counts and made it out with community service.
Diana Tamayo had the same, while Roy Lopez went Scot free altogether.
In the end, fame was the downfall for everybody.
Nick only served a year in county jail and got out. In his final take, Nick confirms his apologetic stance over the entire saga. He blamed his instincts and his actions on his low sense of self. That is where his desire for material possessions sprung from. Alexis served 32 days of a six-month sentence and spend a year of rehab for her addiction. She also blames the ordeal in part on the culture for creating this obsession with a certain kind of lifestyle in the first place. Suddenly, every background behind the interviewees turns into a green screen, taking home the point of this illusion that controls us in this modern age.
The Episode Review
Life imitating art, or art imitating life; what was it? They wanted something to be a reality so badly, it became their reality. A fucked up LA Greek tragedy! Attention has become the most valuable commodity in the world in this technology-led revolution that has upended our individuality.
If this continues, the line between reality and fiction will be so blurred, we will no longer be defined by who we are but by who we think we have to be. The surprising depth at the end of the series from Markus felt a bit out of place. It didn’t go tonally with the rest of what we saw and the substance of what he said felt too “2010”.
Episode 3 really had me laughing on more than one occasion. Some truths about what happened were absolutely bonkers. Jeff and Sean both really had bad impressions, making us wonder how they agreed to be on it. The bemusement from some of the decisions we saw being taken in episode 3 was enough to carry us through.
The limited series perhaps was a bit too limited in how it unfolded, dampening the quality of the work and making it seem a bit dated and generic.