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American Crime - Season Three: Episode One - Review: Of Kings and Ohs + POLL

This ain't season 2 guys! If you ever visited an American Crime related comment section on this site, you know how much I adore and appreciate this show. Season 2 is probably the best piece of TV I've ever seen in my life. The season was very focused, very sharp, very brave and at the same time so freaking real and gut wrenching. Season 3 is different, which isn't necessarily bad but I felt the season premiere not to be as captivating as previous season openers. The stories are strong and emotional but the premier tried a bit too hard. Still, the show peaks and raise above most broadcast and cable shows with its delicate writing, raw acting and extraordinary editing creating a powerful experience for us behind the small screens. Long story short, Season 2 spoiled us but that doesn't mean Season 3 is bad. Let's dig into the season opener penned by the one and only, John Ridley and directed by So Yong Kim.

Regina King won 2 Emmys for her two previous roles on American Crime and if the Academy's eyes and ears still work properly, this year won't be any different. King's Kimara Walters is a social worker trying to do her best. She is working with underaged prostitutes trying to give them a safe shelter and nail their pimps so they wouldn't force anyone else to work on the streets. During the interaction with her first victim, Ishmael we see how passionate Kimara is and how much she cares about this unknown boy. Kimara is that type of person who will go the extra mile for her charges but she can only do so much. And this fact is the foundation of the story the writers are trying to tell us. The extra mile doesn't mean anything if you have to drag the other person like a corps along you.
So Ishmael bails very swiftly on Kimara as she isn't able to secure him a safe location. Ishmael's protectiveness of his cousin was shocking to me. The way he downplayed his situations and how he simplified it to himself was a very gripping moment.

The show swiftly switched the focus from Kimara's professional life to her personal life. We find out that Kimara is undergoing IVF treatments trying to get pregnant and that the treatment sadly failed. I really admired her strength in those moments with the doctor, as she felt her world crumbling down in those minutes. Kimara hadn't much time to dwell about her predicaments as she had to take care of another underaged prostitute, played by Ana Mulvoy Ten. The story of Ana's Shae felt really weird to watch for me. The normalcy of the situations outside of the customer scenes felt so weird. Seeing a 17-year-old female prostitute find so much light outside of her work world just felt so weird. Her strength is so subtle but powerful at the same time. The attempt to get that homeless girl to join them was another shocker, I was so relieved it didn't work.

The season opener also introduced us to the troubles of the Hesby family. We don't find out much about them except they are struggling to hold up their business, that their internal relations are very tense and that they are in need for cheaper but efficient workers. The Hesby story will be explored more in future outings, this week was more about introducing Felicity Huffman's character, Jeanette to us. After playing 2 exceptionally strong women, Felicity's Jeanette is the complete opposite of Barb and Leslie, she is quite, she doesn't express her thoughts and opinions and she stays in the shadows. Felicity did such a masterclass job with this character, she really paid a lot of attention to the small details, enhancing this very simple character into a real person. You see those women like Jeanette all the time, feeling undermined, suppressed not knowing how to fight out of the rut they are currently in. Still, Felicity gave us small hints that Jeanette will try to fight her way out of her current position.

Season 2 breakout star Connor Jessup transformed this season into a homeless junky going by the name of Coy Henson. Still, a very impressive performance by Connor as his character Coy gets lured into the tomato picking business by one of the Hesby's contractors Isaac ( Richard Cabral ). Isaac offered a lot to Coy, even implying he could score come drugs for him. Their interaction was very well written, you didn't feel the usual pressure when shows try to make characters click on force. At the end of the day, Coy was desperate enough to follow Isaac.

Last but not least, the first story introduced to us in the season opener. We meet Luis Salazar, played by Benito Martinez, as he crosses the US border illegally and insists on ending up in North Caroline. His agenda will be more clear in future outings while his introduction in this week's episode was mostly to show the cruel and inhuman conditions the illegal workers are put in and how terrible the illegal traffickers are. The director's choice of shooting and the writer's way of developing this story is really interesting, while Benito's performance creates a completely raw experience for us viewers.
The choice of doing this story in Spanish is really brave I think. Don't think I've seen a show incorporate this amount of a foreign language in a single episode. Thank you, John Ridley, for breaking ground again.

SIDE NOTE: It was delightful to see Sandra Oh on my small screen again. Her character Abby Tanaka didn't have much to do in this outing, but I hope her role intensifies in later stages of the season.

And while a lot of stuff happened in the premiere, John Ridley once again succeeded in creating a very intriguing world with real characters, whose stories I can't wait to see unfold. What are your impressions of Episode One? Who is your favorite character? As always feel free to comment down below and vote in our What did you think of poll? Till next week.