Dr. Robbins: A racist gets stabbed before he can drown. Some would call that justice.
Ray Langston: We still have to call it murder.
After the body of the dead white supremacist teenager is identified as a kid named Sean, we learn about a gay student at Lindsey’s school that was hit by a car and was killed recently. Catherine confirms that the hit and run is an “ongoing case” at which point the principal points out that a lot of kids suspect that Sean did it.
This sets up a really good plot hook for murder and sets up some great questions for the "World's End."
Did someone kill Sean because they blamed him for the hit and run? Did Sean actually do the hit and run? Was Sean’s violence out of guilt, rage, or something else? Sadly, we learn the answers to none of these questions. Instead, the writers decided to take it to the world stage by elevating the plot to include a fugitive from the Rwandan Genocide and they leave any other storylines hanging without answers or resolution.
My disappointment on the plot hooks aside, there some things I really liked in this episode. The biggest for me was the message that with education and an open mind we can learn tolerance and understanding. I really liked that they showed that a white supremacist and racist teenage could decide to turn his life around.
That he learns tolerance and understanding after learning about the tragedy and horrors that have happened in the world beyond what he sees in his everyday life when he befriends the Rwandan janitor. I also want to mention that the part of the janitor (Laurent) is incredibly well played by actor Michael K. Williams. His accent and portrayal of a Rwandan was amazingly well done.
Sadly, the rest of episode falls apart for me, as it seems the writers decided to add in an “even bigger twist” and have the janitor be an international criminal wanted for being a leader in the Rwandan Genocide, (instead of a survivor of it.)This makes all of his angst or loss comes across as a lie and waters down the tolerance message (given that he is the killer at the end.) This part of the story falls into the zone I like to call “It’s only a TV Show.” This is the zone a story goes into where you have to totally suspend basic common sense for the story to work. For me, this is accompanied by saying “It’s only a TV show” over and over to myself as well.
It truly feels like the director or writer of this episode did not like the original idea for who was going to be the killer and decided to do rewrites at the last minute to make the story bigger.
There are a few things that I noticed that lead me to this conclusion. First, you cannot get a job at any school in the US without a background check, which includes fingerprints (this was how the janitor gets caught in the end). Second, they went through a whole setup about the gay kid who was killed and it was an open case and then never came back to it.
Third, they showed the school principal several times, it really felt like a setup for classic “I am being helpful to throw you off my trial” scenario. Lastly, they included Lindsey being the lead in a high school production of Cabaret. While this sub-story, (with a great speech about the racism and genocide of the Nazis by the director of the play) has great potential and is gone back to several times during the episode... it amounted to nothing more than bland ending to the episode, as it is never actually tied in to the story in any way that was significant (or poetic).
All things considered, this was a decent episode with some well performed parts. However, putting the parts together may leave you wondering if there was more to the story or a different story in there somewhere. Or at least chiming in with me, “It’s only a TV show; it’s only a TV show."
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.