DISCLAIMER: This is a spoiler filled recap for episode 5 of Defending Jacob, “Visitors”. Viewer discretion is advised.
On the last Defending Jacob episode, “Damage Control”, Andy (Chris Evans) is hot on local creep Leonard Patz’s (Daniel Henshall) trail. This investigation leads him to the home of a teenager named Matt (Hale Lytle) who previously accused Patz of assault. Matt proves to be less than helpful. Meanwhile Laurie (Michelle Dockery) is feeling so out of her element, she accidentally talks to a Boston Globe reporter about her family’s situation.
Jacob (Jaeden Martell) is still feeling stressed about his upcoming trial. Luckily for him his classmate Sarah (Jordan Alexa Davis) is more than happy to come over and hang out with him. They even discuss the case. These conversations leave Jacob with the impression their classmate Derek (Ben Taylor) might be involved with the murder of Ben Rifkin (Liam Kilbreth). It seems like Detective Duffy (Betty Gabriel) feels the same thing.
In this weeks Defending Jacob episode, “Visitors” Andy visits his father Billy ( J.K. Simmons) in prison and learns some troubling information from Derek and Sarah.
Defending Jacob’s “Visitors” episode kicks things off with Andy, anxious and hesitant, preparing himself for the visit with his father. It’s a long drive, so at least he has plenty of time to strategize.
Over at Jacob’s school the semester has ended. This means a big graduation for the eighth graders who will be moving on to high school in the fall. After a performance by the school’s chorus Ben Rifkin’s mother Joan (Megan Byrne) is invited on stage to say a few words.
Joan is holding back tears as she speaks. She talks of how difficult it is to be at this ceremony though she takes comfort in being there. She believes it’s what Ben would have wanted. “I think Ben would have wanted me here. To let his classmates know how proud of them he would have been.” At the end of her speech Joan leaves the children with some advice. She wants them to appreciate their parents. And not just during the difficult times in life.
Meanwhile Andy has just arrived at the Connecticut prison. And we learn pretty quickly that Billy’s time behind bars hasn’t softened him up one bit. Billy is hostile right from the get go. He starts the conversation by trying to guilt trip Andy for not visiting. He, the murderer and rapist, couldn’t imagine why he’s had no visitors. He doesn’t seem to want a relationship with Andy as Dr. Vogel (Poorna Jagannathan) suggested. And, in fact, he doesn’t. He wants to make a deal in exchange for his DNA.
“So I help you out here, you can pull a couple strings, give me a shot at some daylight before I croak?” Andy doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely not.”
With this conversation going nowhere fast Andy tries a new approach. He gives Billy some brief information about his family as an attempt to humanize the grandson Billy never knew. This clearly does nothing for Billy as he once against scolds Andy for never visiting him. In fact, he’s so hurt by this betrayal, he demands an apology.
Billy wants an apology. Andy wants him to spit on a Q Tip. Neither of the men are willing to budge. So Billy gets up and leaves with a sh*t eating grin on his face. Andy is convinced Billy was never going to give him what he wanted. He just wanted to screw with him for fun. Andy says as much in a cafe meeting with Joanna (Cherry Jones). “He just wanted to find a way to get some power over me, and I gave it to him.”
Joanna tries to assure him that it’s alright. At least he gave it his best shot, right? With Andy hellbent on not giving Billy a second visit, Joanna considers they can just do things the hard way; with a court order. Joanna also wants to discuss one more thing. Remember that little rule she had about interviews? Remember Laurie accidentally broke it, resulting in a huge article in a local magazine.
At home Laurie explains herself. Andy is trying to be understanding but he can’t wrap his head around how careless she was. Their conversation is interrupted by the doorbell and Jacob rushing to answer it. It’s Sarah! She comes bearing ice cream for Jacob and is excited to see this movie he keeps talking about called Borat. The kid’s got taste.
At the grand jury indictment Neal (Pablo Schreiber) dissects Laurie’s statements in the article. His conclusion is that it comes across as a rather tone-deaf bid for sympathy. He then again questions Andy on his belief of his son’s innocence at that point in time. Andy insists he had no doubts. Not even for a minute. As for Laurie- you can see she’s really starting to loose it. And can you blame her?
After a nasty encounter with Joan at the grocery store, where Joan spits in Laurie’s face, a distraught Laurie finds herself at Dr. Vogel’s office. Here she confides in the doctor about a strange experience she had with Jacob when he was younger.
When Jacob was around five, he was invited to a birthday party at a bowling alley. At this party Jacob apparently kept bickering with another boy about who gets to use which, whose turn it is, etc. And at one point Laurie watched as Jacob carried a heavier bowling ball it over to the other boy. Laurie was immediately alarmed by this. “And I swear he was staring at the back of this boy’s head in a way that…Anyway, I rushed over, and I snatched the ball out of his hands. But the way Jacob looked at me, it was like nothing. No fear. No shame. Nothing.”
Vogel tries to console Laurie with some fancy psychological analysis, but she can only do so much. She recommends Laurie seeks out a therapist to talk in depth about her feelings. She’s only a biological psychiatrist.
Meanwhile Andy tries to talk to Duffy at a boxing gym. He isn’t trying to put her in a tough spot. But if Derek is a suspect then he wants to know. Duffy isn’t so eager to help Andy out this time. So, in typical Andy fashion, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
He discovers Derek has a lacrosse training camp. So, after his mother drops him off, Andy follows her just until she exits her vehicle. It makes it much easier for him to deflate a couple of her tires with a bit of glass. This makes her late for picking up Derek, giving Andy plenty of time to corner the teenager with a line of tough questioning. Derek is clearly terrified yet he doesn’t budge. In fact he only elaborates on his original accusation of Jacob being a murderer, while accidentally mentioning Sarah snitched on him about…something.
“I know you think you know Jacob. But you don’t. Jake’s got this- this dark side. He goes on these sites. He calls it ‘cutter’, like, cutter porn. There’s this one he’s really into. The Cut Up Room.” Uh. Okay. Talk about disturbing. Andy is quick to brush it off. But the way Derek describes it is like porn. Just way creepier.
Later at the grand jury indictment, Neal is curious about Andy’s impressions of this Cut Up Room. Again he tries to brush it off. He confesses that while he found it disturbing he never mentioned it to Laurie. He also admits he never confronted Jacob about it.
This information appears to startle Andy though he refuses to be deterred by it. He drives to Sarah’s job at the local ice cream shop and asks to speak with her on her break. Sarah agrees. It is during this conversation that Andy makes some important discoveries. First things first we finally find out who sent Andy that anonymous e-mail back in episode 1. The email linking to that Instagram post where Derek made his accusation. It was Sarah who was just looking out for Jacob.
We also learn what Sarah disclosed to Duffy when she called her in episode 4, the reason why she thinks Derek maybe involved with Ben Rifkin’s death. Because Derek stole Ben’s cell phone. You know, the missing one from the crime scene. It turns out Ben and Sarah had some kind of relationship. Not exactly dating but Ben felt bold enough to ask Sarah for nude pictures. Poorly cropped nude pictures that exposed a good chunk of Sarah’s face.
In the boys locker room Ben was bragging that he was going to blackmail Sarah with these pictures. If she didn’t agree to give him oral sex, then he was going to send out the pictures to all of his friends. Derek, who has a huge crush on Sarah, overhears this and becomes enraged. So he managed to steal it. When he presented it to Sarah he is disappointed that she didn’t want the phone. She was worried they were going to get in trouble. They bicker so Derek leaves. And two days later? Ben Rifkin was dead.
Andy wastes no time. He tells the whole story to Jacob and Joanna. While Joanna forms a game plan on how to find then get access to that phone, Jacob is awfully quiet. He is convinced Sarah wasn’t spending time with him because she liked him. She only did it because she felt guilty. So he lashes out in a text to Sarah. It’s short and right to the point, “Slut.”
Jacob’s mood improves by the next morning. He and Andy get a little R&R on a fishing trip where they spend most of the day.
Here they discuss the upcoming trial, Billy, and the uncertainty of the future. Just whatever comes to mind. It’s a moment that borders on heartwarming and painfully bittersweet.
After they finish fishing Andy gets a phone call with good news. Derek has agreed to turn over Ben’s cellphone. But wait! There’s more! It would appear Bloody Billy has had a change of heart. He has suddenly agreed to give over his DNA. And Andy thinks he knows why. So much so that he asks Laurie outright when he gets home.
“You went to go see him, didn’t you?” She doesn’t deny it. The conversation was only a few minutes yet it was just enough to convince Billy to do the right thing, no strings attached. Way to go, Mama Bear.
At the end of a long day Andy is trying unsuccessfully to get some rest. It certainly doesn’t help that his phone keeps ringing with a call from a blocked number. The caller is Matt McGrath. Only problem is Andy doesn’t know that. Matt looks like he’s had a change of heart as well. Sort of. He appears desperate to speak to Andy. Possibly with information about Patz. But he just can’t bring himself to talk.
He keeps calling and hanging up on Andy. “Look, either have the guts to say something or don’t call this number again.” Andy hisses into the phone. So Matt hangs up the phone. Again.
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