Recap: Things Go From Bad To Worse For Rusty In ‘Presumed Innocent’ Episode 2

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 26, 2024
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Presumed Innocent Episode 2 Recap – From Bad to Worse
Presumed Innocent | Image via Apple TV+




Presumed Innocent continues to relentlessly vilify its protagonist as new discoveries only implicate him further, and Jake Gyllenhaal continues to deliver career-best work.

The Presumed Innocent premiere made a real point of depicting Jake Gyllenhaal as a detestable psycho, and Episode 2, “People vs. Rozat Sabich”, gets right back to it. It’s a good show, this. It wasn’t always easy to tell in the first outing, which had all the hallmarks of a good crime drama but turned the usual focal points inside-out. This episode doubles down on that approach, and Gyllenhaal rises to the challenge by delivering some of the best, slimiest work of his career, which is saying a lot about the star of Nightcrawler.

Rusty has to own up to Barbara

If you recall, Episode 1 ended with the bombshell revelation that Carolyn was pregnant when she died – and that Rusty was the likely father. This is a big deal for a couple of reasons. One is that it gives Rusty a motive for her murder. Another is that it means he was lying about ending the affair a year ago. Carolyn wasn’t an elephant; if she was pregnant by Rusty, that means they slept together within the last nine months.

Raymond is staggered by these revelations. He had no idea about the affair going on under his nose, which he thinks Rusty should probably have mentioned when he was assigned to work the case – especially since it’s so intimately tied to the possible end of his career.

Just when it seems like things couldn’t get any worse, Rusty has to tell Barbara that he was still sticking it to his mistress months after he claimed the relationship had ended. And that’s a big deal since their efforts to repair their marriage have been entirely predicated on that false timeline. It’s yet another betrayal for what might be the most mild-mannered and understanding wife in TV history.

How does this connect to Liam Reynolds?

It’s easy to forget this, but if Rusty didn’t kill Carolyn – which we’re to assume at this point that he didn’t – then that means somebody else did, and the frontrunner is someone associated with Liam Reynolds. Remember, Reynolds was prosecuted by Carolyn for the murder of a woman named Bunny Davis, who was offed in the same way that Carolyn eventually was. So, you know – that’s a pretty significant connection.

Through the medical examiner, Rusty learns that there were two sperm samples in Bunny’s autopsy, only one of which he knew about. As it turns out it was Carolyn who buried this seemingly crucial detail.

Rusty’s home life takes a downturn

With Barbara now wise to the breadth of Rusty’s deception, she forces him to confess to the children about the affair. Neither of them takes the news well, but it’s a cathartic moment for Barbara, who had previously dealt with the pain of Rusty’s betrayal entirely alone.

And it was necessary anyway since Rusty is the front-runner in the murder investigation and the police are about to raid his house. They arrive while he’s playing ball with Kyle – it’s curious that the show keeps including these little details showing Rusty’s attentiveness to and love for his kids, despite how despicable he is in every other way – and toss the place, taking Rusty’s electronics and his DNA for a paternity test.

Rusty and Barbara’s relationship with their therapist remains ridiculous, too, but the less said on that the better. What matters is that Rusty is being uncharacteristically open, up to and including revealing the fact that he was obsessed with Carolyn – or was at least into her to such an extent that it’ll look like obsession from the outside.

Things go from bad to worse for Rusty

Desperate now, Rusty turns to Liam Reynolds in the hopes of talking him into giving up a name in exchange for a lighter sentence. His theory is that if they can work out who the other sperm sample belonged to, they might be able to locate the real killer, and by extension Carolyn’s murderer, thus exonerating Rusty.

Liam mostly finds the whole thing funny. He can smell the desperation in Rusty, whom he immediately intuits is a suspect, and doesn’t give him anything actionable.

Things only go from bad to worse when, that night, Rusty receives too worrying missives. The first is from a coworker who informs him that he was indeed the father of Carolyn’s unborn child. And the second is from an anonymous interlocutor, a message reading, simply, “YOU WERE THERE, I SAW YOU.”

Rusty is looking guiltier by the episode. How does he plan to get out of this predicament?


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