'Defending Jacob' is my new favourite show!

Defending Jacob (TV Mini-Series 2020– ) - IMDbSynopsis  

Defending Jacob follows a Boston family dealing with the fact that their 14-year old son might have committed a murder. It stars Chris Evans as District Attorney Andy Barber, Michelle Dockery as Laurie Barber and Jaeden Martell as Jacob Barber. (Fun fact, this is Chris Evans and Jaeden Martell's second time working together. They started as cousins in Knives Out)

Episode 1

Within the first 10 minutes of the show, I knew I would like it and so far I do. The story is told non-linearly so you see the midway point to establish the story. That way you see where you and the characters are headed and it puts you on edge as you know what could happen. (especially if you've seen the trailers which I have watched multiple times).

One of the pilots strong suits is that is wastes no time telling the story and setting up the atmosphere. You learn about the characters and the world they inhabit before the monumental shift. The murder happens halfway through the first episode and from them you start looking at everything differently. There are things that I could instantly see as odd and I am very interested to see where they go.

Episode 2

This is the episode where things get real and the story starts. The first episode was all about setting up the story and now that we know the basics, we can get into the nitty-gritty. The thing I loved about this episode is the attention it paid to the characters. Defending Jacob so far is story-driven but the actors really get to show off their talent, especially Jaeden Martell. Jacob is a kid and he acts like one. You never once question his age as he never really tries to act older than he is. I also have to mention Chris Evans' acting. We all know him as Captain America but it's so refreshing watching him step away from that and show a different side to him. One scene in the second episode stood out to me. I won't spoil it but it occurs halfway through the episode and its Chris' best performance so far you don't see Chris Evans you see a concerned father who would do anything for his son and it tugs at your heartstrings. The end of this episode made me so grateful that I could watch the third one immediately because BRUH!

Episode 3

So much happens in this episode. The story at this point is unfolding from multiple perspectives and you see how it is affecting the characters differently, and not just the Barbers their neighbours, colleagues and classmates. You also learn more about the characters and start to form your own opinions on where the case is going to go because some of the things you find out are shocking and could change how you see the characters. This also where Defending Jacob changes tactic and becomes character-driven rather than story-driven, unlike the previous episodes. Again, the actors shine but this time it's Michelle Dockery who shines in this episode. You feel everything she feels in this episode (and it's a lot). At this point, she is the character I feel the most for and I'm interested to see how that changes throughout the show.

Episode 4

The plot thickens! At this point, we're halfway through the series and you learn more about the characters and because of that, the episode is more character-focused than story focused.
 You see how the change is affecting the Barber family and how each person is handling everything that's happening as well as their new routine. Given the way episode 3 ended, I wish we could pick up where it left off and even though we see a little of the fallout from that scene, it's not what you really want to see. However, a new conflict has been set up for episode 5, as well as a familiar face. Without saying much, I have a feeling something is about to go left. I say this because of a line from Andy halfway through the episode that put me on edge and I really want to know what the outcome of that line is going to be.

Episode 5 

This show just gets better and better. The story is getting more complex and so are the characters which leads to a more interesting viewing experience. What I liked about this episode is that we're beginning to see a whole picture. So far we've focused on one aspect of the story and now we're beginning to see a different side as well as how other people may or may not play into it. Something else I like is the cinematography. There are some stunning landscape shots in this episode. This episode also introduces more conflict between the characters and while I can make an educated guess as to where it might go I really have no idea and I just have to wait until everything is revealed (I say this begrudgingly because I want to know!) A new character that was teased in the last episode is finally revealed and I have to say that I adore the casting. The chemistry between that person and Chris Evans is soooo good. That being said, this episode hinges in the chemistry between the actors and they deliver.

Episode 6

We're getting towards the end and you can tell. That is not to say that the story feels rushed, no, but you see some of the story threads begin to intertwine. There are callbacks to previous episodes and plot points that are now more relevant than ever and it's very interesting seeing how they fit into the over-arching story. Questions that were posed towards the beginning have been answered and you can see how each of the characters have been living with this weight in the weeks since the murder occurred. This is also a very important episode because up until now, the story has been told non-linearly and we finally catch up with the present. By the end of this episode you know what event comes next but the outcome? I really can't predict. The series has done a very good job of showing you enough information that your opinion of Jacob and the entire scenario shifts, and that shift is not only in you as the viewer, the characters on the show and flip-flopping as well which adds more drama because the past 2 episodes really could go either way and I AM SO EXCITED TO WATCH!!

Episode 7

Here we are, the penultimate episode and it's is my favourite so far (though I can tell that the last episode will take that spot but I'll let you know next week). With every episode, I say that we learn something new and we do. That's one of the things I love about this show, you're not sure which way to lean regarding Jacob's innocence. You look at the evidence presented and think it may go one way and then you learn new things and then go in the opposite direction. This is also by far the most intense episode, especially the last half an hour, I was on the edge of my seat. This episode also has a reveal at the end of it that makes the tension and drama that came before it 100% worth it because I know that the last episode is going to be INTENSE.

Episode 8 

Ladies and Gentlemen, here we are. The SEASON FINALE. You know I said the last episode would be intense? I was right. There is so much going on in this episode and without spoiling anything, you are in for a wild ride. You find out what happens at the end of Jacob's trial within the first 10 minutes of the episode and there are still 45 minutes of episode left. What happens in those minutes you ask? The fallout of the trial and you see how each member of the Barber family deals with it. I have o highlight the acting of the main cast. Each one has a particular moment where they shine. For Chris Evans, it's around the 38-minute mark. You see all of the emotion and vulnerability that Andy hasn't shown and my heart broke for him in that moment. You see how much everything is weighing on him and how it has affected him. Michelle Dockery and Jaeden Martell moments come closer to the end of the episode around the 53-minute mark. Again it shows just how emotional the characters are, especially Laurie, and what transpires after made me gasp and cover my mouth in shock. 

Before I watched this episode I was talking to my brother and I said, "I don't want a second season. It would be nice to wrap up the story with a nice little bow." and I stick to that, for the most part. The way the season ended, I have questions and if a second season would lead to the answering of those questions, then I'm all for it. The way the ending was written would have you asking for more. It also gives the title of the show 'Defending Jacob' a new meaning.

Overall Thoughts

Defending Jacob is off to a strong start. By the end of the first episode, I knew I was hooked. And the second episode ramps up the drama. As the story unravels and new factors come to light you as the viewer is trying to figure out what is going on much like the characters. Also, the direction in this show is very good. When I think of Apple as a company, I think of clean, sleek production design and it bleeds into the production design of the show. The opening credits are stunning, I love the way the images morph into one another. The clean, almost cold colour palette drew me in instantly and everything helps to intensify the drama from the editing to the shot composition and it also has the added bonus of looking beautiful.

I kinda wish all the episodes were released at once because I definitely would have binged everything but maybe that was the point. The showrunners wanted to stretch the story and make us sweat a little.
And that is exactly what's happening, I can't wait for more.

Edit: We're halfway through the series and I wish now more than ever that it was on Netflix because I am hooked on this show. Once an episode is done I sit back and analyse it looking for anything that could give a clue as to what might have happened. I also have to praise the acting on this show. Everyone brings their A-game. As the drama ramps up so do their performances.

Edit 2: Defending Jacob is a very interesting show in that it's a premise we've seen before but through a new lens, we see how children are dealing with their parents being the defendant but it is rarely ever the other way round, especially when the child is being accused of murder. It's a premise that is ripe to deliver drama and the show does exactly that. You never know what is going to happen as you have one opinion one minute and another one the next. When you have a story shift your opinion it can get annoying as it can feel like the show is intentionally trying to mislead you but you never feel that way with this show. The shifts in tone and story are natural progressions rather than jarring changes and that's why Defending Jacob is such a good show. It also focuses on characters and how they feel. The show as a whole is more story-driven but there are brilliant character moments that give a really nice balance.