When They See Us Recap: It’s Not About Justice

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 31, 2019 (Last updated: February 20, 2024)
When They See Us Episode 2 Recap - Netflix Series - Part 2


When They See Us episode 2 has the inevitable ending but showcases inhumane injustice within a systematic, political, and racist setting.

This recap of When They See Us Episode 2 contains significant spoilers. Ava DuVernay’s Netflix Limited Series is based on the notorious events surrounding The Central Park Five in the jogger case. You can read our season 1 review of the Netflix Series by clicking these words.

When They See Us episode 2 has the inevitable ending, the well-choreographed courtroom scenes and the theatrics of lawyers pitted against each other, but Ava DuVernay brought a sense of realism to the injustice served to these young men. Part 2 of the Netflix series is served to make you feel the unbelievability of the legal system, the unfairness and imbalance to the black community and the inequitable tactics handed out by the prosecution.

The dig at Donald Trump at the start of episode 2 was opportunistic, but a mellow point; this man spent $85k to promote the death penalty on these young men, in a world where you are apparently innocent before proven guilty, yet the same man cries on Twitter every day about his innocence with The Mueller Report.

When They See Us episode 2 breaks down the prosecutor’s pre-trial analysis; case studying each of the defendant’s lawyers, calling it a piece of cake, but the lead lawyer Elizabeth Lederer (Vera Farmiga) does not want to underestimate them.

Elizabeth is a character in When They See Us who is difficult to nail down in part 2; the Netflix series almost suggests she feels a level of guilt for trying to prosecute these boys, and when the leading defending lawyer learns that the DNA found in the s***n does not match any of the boys in the cervical examination, her hesitation tells more of a story. But the trial was more significant than a criminal investigation, and she meekly points out to the leading defense lawyer Michael (Joshua Jackson) that this is about politics, trying to offer them a plea deal.

I sincerely believe that When They See Us episode 2 was trying to assert the fact that Elizabeth offered the plea deal to provide the boys with a way out in a trial of underhanded tactics.

The most shocking moment of episode 2 was not when they brought in Patricia Meili, the rape victim, on the stand, but when they placed an apparent eye witness, a young white woman, into the witness box to describe how she felt in the park that night; making out like all the black people were a wolf pack, grunting and intimidating.

While When They See Us episode 2 splits up the boys in two separate trials, the inevitability is apparent despite the fact that Antron McCray’s (Caleel Harris) mismatched statements, and the s***n in the sock not matching, it all boiled down to the coerced tapes. The last segment of the trial was a series of misplaced answers, tempers and the prosecutor Elizabeth inserting her last knives.

Episode 2 is a fictionalised case study of inhumane injustice within a systematic, political, and racist setting.

Our coverage of When They See Us season 1 does not end here. You can read the recap of episode 3 by clicking these words.

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