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Dirty John - This Young Woman Fought Like Hell - Review: The Grand Finale



The camera cranes above the desert, watching a car drive through a dirt road. Juxtaposed with John's (Eric Bana) journey through the dry land is Debra's (Connie Britton) meeting with her attorney (Jeff Perry). She's telling him about how she fears this will never end, while John digs a hole in the ground that looks disturbingly like a grave.

With Meehan out of the picture, Debra is slowly attempting to reclaim her life. She's clearly happy to have her daughters with her once again as they goof off and order in from their favorite restaurant Angelina's to her new apartment. Although she is disturbed to learn John is already on numerous dating websites. Unfortunately, Nancy (Keiko Agena) brings him with her, unknowingly leading him straight to Debra's new home during a coffee run from the office.

Veronica (Juno Temple) gets picked up from a night out by an affably cute Uber driver, Max (Tommy Savas), and she's sharp and precise with her instructions. She's clearly still on edge about John. As she should be, he's sitting outside her apartment when they get home and she spooks him. Immediately, Veronica hops back into the car and pressures Max to follow him through red lights and on a crowded interstate but they lose him anyways.

She gets him to drive her to Terra's (Julia Garner) so she can make sure she's safe but once there, she merely listens for her dog Cash instead of waking her up and freaking her out. Back outside and once established it doesn't appear John is on the grounds, Veronica schmoozes her way into getting Max to stick around and wait with her, casually flirting over the chillwave albums he loves that she hates. She'll agree to listen to one track per album if he'll keep her company until dawn.

First thing in the morning, Veronica tells Terra what happened. Terra assures her she'll be fine, she's going to a concert known as Desert Barrel for the weekend anyways. But Veronica warns her about a black four-door sedan with broken taillights, instilling in her the gravity of the situation. Except, we get a look at John's car in the daylight and it's clearly blue - plus, the taillights aren't really broken and he plugs them back in easily. Uh-oh.

Several scenes are them cut together. One is of Veronica calling Debra to talk about her fear of John returning and debating on whether or not she should call the police but Debra points out she did that already when John set her car on fire and the cops did nothing. Elsewhere, Terra is at work talking to her boss about her PTO to go to Desert Barrel when she realizes she left her bag at home. And during this, John is seen eating tacos and then sitting outside somewhere, watching someone in his rear-view mirror - possibly Terra. When Debra says, in an overlaid narration track leading from her conversation with Veronica, that John only has to get lucky once.

In a shocking, surprisingly violent, confrontation, John ambushes Terra at her apartment. I say shocking only because I wasn't expecting it to happen so fast and so sudden but in reality that is how violence occurs. Terra fights like hell, as the title of the episode suggests, and her dog Cash chips in too. He gets in a few good swipes on her but she is eventually able to take him down with multiple stabbings in his back and finally the kill shot with the knife through his eye.

Traumatized and deeply shaken, Terra is left crying in the parking lot until help arrives. Surprisingly, she didn't actually kill John although he is left braindead.

At the hospital, Debra arrives to see Terra but they won't let her in just yet until she's cleared. She is receiving treatment for shock when the detective gently questions her about what happened and Terra explains her mindset was "kill or be killed" and that the reason she killed John the way she did is due to the way she saw attacks happen on The Walking Dead. The show isn't named explicitly but we know this from the real case and podcast.

Debra is given the responsibility of deciding whether or not to keep John on life support but refuses to take on that responsibility. Instead, it goes to his sister Denise (Joelle Carter). And she is able to tell the nurse to pull the plug with ease, having said goodbye to him a long time ago.

The next two scenes might be some of my favorite in the entire series, they're so beautiful, powerful, and telling of these women and their strength. Denise meets Debra and apologizes for what she knows John must have put her through. Debra then takes her to meet Terra who immediately begins sobbing over the guilt she feels for taking John away from his family but as Denise points out, it's telling that this is what she cares about. Terra has a big heart. And she assures her that she is happy Terra is alive and that John took himself away from his family a long time ago all of his own accord.

The aftermath is about Debra's journey to forgiveness, mainly herself, even though none of this was her fault she can't help but blame herself. Luckily she has a supportive family and her mother assures her she never had anything to worry about in terms of being forgiven. They just have to learn how to put the pieces back together and in the mean time, she's contacted by a reporter about getting her story out there which she eventually agrees to do. She wants to help other women in similar circumstances to her own, maybe give them warning signs and clues of what to look out for in the hopes that others can learn from the trauma she and her family experienced.

THOUGHTS & OBSERVATIONS


- I love the beginning sequence where John is in the background of the scenes with Nancy. I like that the camera doesn't zoom in on him or cut away to him, he just blends in. It makes his stalking tactics all the more scary when on the technical side, the audience could blink and miss him.

- Again, it's clever the way several scenes were cut together so it became unclear as to whether or not John is listening or even where he is. Like does he have their phones bugged? Was he watching Terra in his rear-view mirror? It's implied but not outright said so we can't say for certain which just adds to the overall elusiveness and threat of John Meehan.

- The title for this episode really is so fitting because it applies to every woman that John Meehan tortured and conned over his life.

That's a wrap! Thanks for reading my recaps and hopefully I'll see you all back for the second season of Dirty John!

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