"Paul Levinson's It's Real Life is a page-turning exploration into that multiverse known as rock and roll. But it is much more than a marvelous adventure narrated by a master storyteller...it is also an exquisite meditation on the very nature of alternate history." -- Jack Dann, The Fiction Writer's Guide to Alternate History

Monday, April 1, 2024

American Rust season 2: Zooming In on that Ending

My wife and I really enjoyed the first season of American Rust on Showtime nearly three years ago, and we enjoyed the second season on Amazon that we binged in the past few days even more.

Everything ranging from the dialogue to the plot to even the ending was in high gear in this second season.

[And here now is an advisory about Spoilers in what follows.]

Plotwise, it took a really long time before you could tell who the killer was.  And once we found out and he was disposed of, our heroes were challenged by another killer, which led to the high-octane, ambiguous ending.

By high octane, I mean Grace and Del and Billy and family sitting around a dinner table for several harrowing minutes as Fisher gets them in his sniper sights, perched outside.  When Billy, now with the benefit of some Army training a marksman, spots a red dot, he goes outside to take care of the sniper.  And there second season ends, as we hear a shot ring out.  I looked over that final scene several times, and it looks to me that though Fisher is aware that Billy or someone has exited the house, he hasn't had time to refocus his aim on Billy.  So if there is a third season -- and I surely hope there is one -- I predict we'll find out that Billy shot and killed Fisher before he got off a shot.  (My wife takes a more ambiguous view.) On the other hand, it's certainly also possible that Fisher got off that shot, not at Billy, but at someone inside the house at that dinner table.)

I will say that one problem I had with that great ending is why didn't Fisher shoot at Del or Grace right after he had them in his sights?  Of course, I'm no sniper, so maybe that's what snipers do, play around with getting their targets just right.

Meanwhile, another acutely cliff-hanging note near the ending comes when Steve's assistant cop Hannah comes to in the hospital.  She was pretty much awake when Del gave Steve his confession.  And though Steve was killed by Grace -- another great scene -- and the recording of Del's confession destroyed, Hannah could trigger an investigation of Del and the three murders he confessed to if she remembers what Del said at that moment and anyone in authority believes her.  But, optimist that I am, I think even remembering what Del said is fairly unlikely given the bad shape that Hannah was in -- having been shot by Russell and barely hanging on that moment. Also, I assume that even if she remembers what Del said, anyone defending him at a trial could impugn Hannah's testimony, by letting the judge and jury know what condition she was in when she heard or thought she heard Del talking.

Now, I said that the dialogue was in high gear.  My favorite line: when Vic walks into the bar with his broken finger in a bandage, and the bartender asks him that perfect, sarcastic question.  Not only a great line, but she delivered it with just the right tone of voice.

I read somewhere that Amazon cares less about what reviewers are saying than how many people are viewing a series.  Here's hoping that they're legion, and we see a Season 3 before too long.

See also American Rust 1.1-2: Pennsylvania Noir ... American Rust 1.3: Highs and Lows of Life at the Same Time ... American Rust 1.4-5: Tightening Noose and Fraying Relationships ... American 1.6: The Debts ... American Rust 1.7: The Dead Can't Buy Drugs ... American Rust 1.8: Finally, Some Hope ... American Rust 1.9: Needed, Another Season, or at Least Episode

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