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Dirty John - The Shillelagh - Review

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So, here we are. In the official last days leading to November 4th, 1989. Here we get to see everyone on the show at different ends than where we started with them, from Betty all the way down to her children. Let’s get into the build-up to Linda and Dan’s last days.

We saw Betty purchasing a gun in the last episode, and they don’t take much time to show us how quickly that could fall into the wrong hands. When Betty’s sons are over for a visit, they almost grab her nightgown, which has her gun in the front pocket. I suppose Betty telling them about the gun was better than letting it just sit around and having them curious enough to go search for it on their own, but it seems that after that she didn’t make any attempt to hide it again, which, uh, alright.

I don’t have kids, and I’m going to try to be unbiased when speaking about this, but I just feel like the best way to avoid the kids finding it in the first place would’ve just been to lock up the gun from the beginning. But, alas. Anyway. Linda and Dan’s wedding has Betty coming completely undone, which, not to side with Betty, but, I’m siding with Betty. Not with her taking their guest list and calling everyone on it, that was completely irrational, but feeling replaced and defeated because what she’s been trying to prevent is finally happening? I understand it.

It’s not that it’s not still irrational -- because some of it is -- but when you’re married to someone for 20 years and then you go through one of the most infamous divorces in California history only to be forced to sit at home with your best friend and try to not think about the fact that even though you have so much it feels like you have nothing, while your ex gets to have yet another day he claims as the happiest of his life? I truly can’t imagine how that feels.

Is that grounds for two counts of first-degree murder? Debatable. The day they get married seems to flip a switch in Betty, almost turning her off. You can see a depression settle in her that wasn’t there before and the fight leaves her, because, to her, it’s over now. They’re married, and she can’t do anything to change that. What really shakes her, what really wakes her up again and causes her to finally use that gun she’s been saving, is when her son tells her that one of his visitation weekends will prevent him from going to Disney with his friends.

Betty sees herself as a burden, saying she doesn’t want to be the reason her son misses things, and when she starts to cry her son says, “Don’t cry again, mom.” This only makes her cry harder and, eventually, he just leaves the room. It’s not his fault; kids don’t know how depression works, and honestly, Betty probably didn’t either in the late ‘80s.

This comes almost immediately after she didn’t get to spend Halloween with them, either, and as she discussed with her friend earlier, this was most likely going to be the last Halloween that they would spend dressing up and fully enjoying it as kids. Which, as a reminder, comes after Easter was ripped from her. This clearly happens often.

For Betty, though, this is it. She lost her husband, she lost her house, and now, she lost her kids. She doesn’t know how to deal with it in any other way other than how she’s always done: take it out on Dan. Betty kisses the boys, grabs the gun, takes Tracy’s keys, and makes her way to Dan and Linda’s house.

From there, it’s chaos. It’s a flurry of phone calls as we bounce from friend to friend to friend until we finally get to Jenny (Anna Jacoby-Heron - Contagion) and Tracy, the latter unable to get home quickly and the former at her mother’s side in an instant. There’s a scene where Jenny and Betty are just staring at each other having a silent conversation in Jenny’s apartment, Jenny, clearly hoping that it’s not true - Did you really kill dad? Did you really do this? Why? - and Betty - It wasn’t my intention, but there was no other way, why can’t you see that? - consistently trying to explain herself in the most incorrect way.

It’s time for Dirty John: Dirty or Clean? Where we talk about whether what happened in the episode was factual or was stretched for the dramatization!

The weirdest Clean of all: Betty really did tell a random woman at a local country club about her husband divorcing her and leaving her for another woman.
Clean: Betty Broderick stole Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena’s wedding guest list from their home. Clean: A maid testified at Betty’s trial that she saw Linda in Betty’s house twice in the same day stealing, and then later returning, documents, and/or journals.
Clean: I debated putting this in my favorite quotes, but it’ll go here instead: Dan quite literally told his friends on multiple occasions that Betty wasn’t going to kill the “golden goose” -- her supply of money. Yikes.
Unclear: I’m pretty sure I heard on a podcast that Betty did indeed spend the wedding day with a friend, but since I’m unable to confirm that at the moment, I’m going to have to stick that in unclear for now. We at least definitely know Dan hired security and Linda did ask him to wear a bulletproof vest, to which he declined.
Clean: This one’s a bit obvious, but she did use her daughter’s stolen keys to get inside of Dan and Linda’s house in order to kill them that night.
Clean: Betty went to her youngest daughter’s apartment after she killed Dan and Linda.

I might’ve already said this, but if I did, I was clearly wrong. My favorite quote this week is by far my favorite quote from the entire season. The way this line is delivered, the raw emotion, the pain, and anger, and tiredness really wraps it all up in a bow and says here: this is it. This is the final piece of Betty you’re going to get. Appreciate it. Appreciate her.

The quote is a voiceover from Betty as she is getting her things together and making her way over to, you know, kill her ex-husband and his new wife.

“There’s a scene in this ‘Superman’ movie where he flies around the Earth real fast and he screams this blood-curdling scream. That’s what I felt like. Standing up and doing a primal scream so loud the whole world would wake up and go ‘what’s that?’ It’s Betty Broderick going over the edge. But you know, nice girls don’t do that. So I just did the scream inside.” 

What did you guys think of the episode? Are you excited for the finale? What do you think will happen in the courtroom? How do you think the rest of the kids will react to what Betty has done? Are you gonna miss slightly charming slightly creepy Christian Slater, or do you think they’ll somehow get him into the finale? Let me know what you think in the comments!

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