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DISCLAIMER: This is a spoiler filled recap for episode 2 of Defending Jacob, “Everything is Cool.” Viewer discretion is advised.
In episode one we learned of a crime that shocked a small town in Massachusetts. 14-year-old Ben Rifkin (Liam Kilbreth) was discovered stabbed in the chest in a popular park. Assistant District Attorney Andy Barber (Chris Evans) is put on the case, and it’s personal. Sort of. Ben was a classmate of his son, Jacob (Jaeden Martell), so he approaches this case with about as much passion as one would expect.
But things get real weird, real fast when Andy is sent a link to an Instagram post. Among the comments on this post, Jacob’s friend Derek (Ben Taylor) accuses Jacob of being the killer because he has a knife. Andy doesn’t believe it. Until he discovers a knife in Jacob’s room, thus planting the tiniest seed of suspicion in Andy’s mind. Maybe rightfully so.
In the second installment, “Everything is Cool,” Andy is presented with new evidence that casts a bad light on Jacob, resulting in Andy being pulled from the case entirely.
Things kick off the morning after Andy’s grizzly discovery in Jacob’s room. He tells Laurie (Michelle Dockery) all about the Instagram post, Derek’s comment and, of course, the knife. The parents decide to confront their son right then and there. So when Jacob comes downstairs they are more than ready, placing the knife on the kitchen counter for the teenager to see.
At first Jacob gets defensive, claiming his parents were invading his privacy by searching his room. This route clearly doesn’t fly with Laurie and Andy, so Jacob just comes clean to set the record straight. Yes, he bought the knife (with his own money he insists), and yes he hid it– only because he knew his parents would freak out. And he did bring it to school just one time. Just to show it off to his friends.
It doesn’t take long for Jacob to put two and two together: “You read Derek’s post, didn’t you? He wrote it because he’s an asshole.”
Things heat up when Andy comes out and asks Jacob if he’s ever used the knife, either for cutting or for something much more nefarious. It’s clear asking hurts Andy just as much as it seems to hurt Jacob, but he explains he is only trying to be thorough: “I have to. Because I have to know with absolute certainty that this isn’t the knife they’re looking for.”
Jacob once again protests his innocence. And that’s good enough for dear old dad. So good that Andy decides to dispose of the knife in a neighbor’s trashcan. After all, it’s not a crime to own a knife. Or to be a stupid teenager.
Elsewhere, Detective Peterson (Shawn Fitzgibbon) arrives at a hardware store where professional creep Leonard Patz (Daniel Henshall) is working and brings him in for questioning. With this news, Andy goes to the police station just as Peterson and Detective Pam Duffy (Betty Gabriel) take a break from the interrogation. The lack of information from Patz doesn’t seem to bother Peterson or Duffy much. And that’s because they share the same gut feeling: “I don’t think he’s our guy. I can’t pin it down. It’s just a hunch.”
Andy insists they try again. He’s under a ton of pressure, after all. So they try again. Patz goes through his story yet again: “I told you I was in the park because I walk there every morning. And I was nowhere near where the kid got killed. I never go that way. Ever. I mean…I don’t even know who the kid is.”
It is then that Patz’s defense attorney arrives. Her name is Joanna Klein (Cherry Jones), and she wastes no time shooing the investigators away so she can talk with her client alone.
At school, Jacob tries to brush off his classmates talking about him and what he said, though you can tell it’s really starting to wear him down. However, not everyone is against Jacob. We learn this when Sarah (Jordan Alexa Davis) approaches Jacob in the hallway at the end of the day. She says Derek has been spreading some real nasty rumors. Apparently the chatter is so bad that she suggests they meet up sometime to discuss it. Jacob agrees before hurrying off.
At Cold Spring Park we see practically the whole town gearing up to search for new evidence. Women, children, men and officers alike meticulously comb through the densely wooded area. It is here Andy is confronted by an angry Dan Rifkin (Patrick Fischler). He demands Andy leave, because this isn’t his case anymore. “Thank God!” he exclaims before storming away.
Back at the grand jury indictment with former co-worker Neal Loguidice (Pablo Schreiber), we learn that Andy’s on-the-fly method was so effective that Jacob’s knife has never been recovered. Meaning the police never got the chance to test it for blood, DNA or fingerprints. When Neil presses him on the issue of why he would do such a thing, Andy’s only response is a simple one: “I threw it away like any parent would. I was protecting him from his own stupidity… I knew my son.”
On his walk home from school Jacob arrives to a horrifying scene: at least five cop cars parked out in front of his house. Just as Jacob turns to flee, Andy races to the office of his boss, Lynn Canavan (Sakina Jaffrey), to figure out what the hell is going on. He is escorted into the building by two federal agents. This spells nothing but trouble. Lynn wastes no time beating around the bush: “The print we lifted from the victim’s sweatshirt… It’s from your son. It’s a match for his right forefinger. From the angle, they think maybe he reached over and grabbed the victim by his sweatshirt, leaving a print on the tag.”
This is a devastating blow to Andy. And it certainly doesn’t help when Lynn informs him that they will be arresting Jacob. Just as soon as they can track him down. And that they are getting a warrant to search the home. Once he is put on paid leave, that is the last straw. Andy hurries out of the office, going well past the speed limit as he calls Laurie and insists she come home right away. But by then it’s too late. Duffy has arrived with a warrant and to inform him nobody has any idea where Jacob is.
Just as the search of the Barber residence concludes late in the night, another discovery is made just two blocks over at the Park– someone has found a knife. A good-sized one too.
Andy and Laurie speak in the backyard as the police finish up in the house. It is here that Andy confesses to Lynn that he disposed of the knife. By then they have called all of Jacob’s friends in hopes of locating him. They offer the parents nothing. Luckily for them, Duffy has state and local police looking for him. And that is exactly who locates the teenager.
In a dark, deserted playground beside the local elementary school, an officer spots Jacob sitting on a swing set. He has tears streaming down his face and doesn’t resist the handcuffs that are promptly put on him. In the squad car, Jacob offers the officer a confession… sort of. He explains why his fingerprint was on Ben’s body.
“I didn’t do it… I just found him. He was just lying there on the ground and… I thought maybe he was hurt or something, so I went to help– to pick him up. Then… I saw the blood on him, and I saw that his eyes were open and I knew that he was dead.” This must be what Jacob wanted to tell Andy on the phone during that lockdown.
Andy and Laurie meet Jacob at the police station. The three embrace for a long moment before sitting down to talk. Andy does his best to calm his son. Because this is obviously just some big misunderstanding. Because there is simply no way Jacob could do this. Either way doesn’t appear to settle Jacob down much. Frankly, it looks like the boy is on the verge of a breakdown as he, yet again, insists he is innocent. Understandably so.
The family talks a bit more with their limited time. They tell Jacob to stay strong, they will meet him at the courthouse with a lawyer in the morning and, most importantly, not to talk to anyone else. The news of the arrest spends like a wildfire through this small, tight knit community. Everyone appears shocked. That is, except for one person.
One really creepy dude we all know and hate– Leonard Patz. Sitting by himself in a pizza joint, Leonard looks content as he looks through his cell phone. Things seem totally chill. That is until the camera pans to what is on his phone. Pictures of Ben Rifkin. Stealthy, kind of blurry photos of Ben Rifkin that Patz looks over one last time before deleting.
Check out Defending Jacob on Apple TV+. New episodes every Friday!
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