American Crime Story – A-
Has ever a drama been able to ratchet up so much tension out of so little doubt? Pretty much everybody watching knows what verdict was handed down, and most of us remember Johnny Cochran’s stirring speech about what the jury must do with the knowledge that the glove did not fit. The anthology’s mostly satisfying finale gives all the players their theatric moment, and by the end, it’s hard not to feel at least a tinge of sympathy for everyone involved — well, save for one n-word-spitting villain of an LAPD detective turned Fox News analyst. My only qualms are minor. The jury deliberation fizzles out as we pan away mid-deadlock — which may be for the best, as that’s likely what happened to the holdouts who just gave in, exhausted. Further, the montages which broke down so neatly across racial lines felt a bit manipulative, but in defense of a valid enough point. Overall, the episode served as perfect climax and coda to a period that ended neatly for no one, and as O.J.’s exhilaration slowly gave way to the realization that his old high life and his friends were gone, we’re left with a void to match the emptiness of the whole tragedy itself.
– Jason Thurston