Shae's death really upset me.
I don't know whether it's because of the coldness and callousness of the people around her, the fact that she was pregnant, or how well I've gotten to know her character over the last six episodes of American Crime, but the last five minutes of American Crime Season 3 Episode 6 made me cry and then made me really angry.
And that was only one of several disturbing things that happened in "3.06."
In a way, Shae's death was inevitable.
Kimara's idealism led her to believe she could somehow make things better for Shae, that she could get through to her sooner or later and turn her life around.
But Shae never really wanted to testify against Billy and didn't want to stay in the shelter. She ran away and found comfort and freedom in returning to sex work.
There couldn't be a happy ending for Shae because if there was, the crime of putting a young, desperate girl in the kinds of situations Shae has been in wouldn't be as meaningful.
But even so, I wish Kimara could have got to her before Tracy and her weapon did.
Shae's life circumstances were not ideal, to say the least, but she was smart, resourceful, and creative. She knew she deserved better treatment than she'd got from the world in general and died trying to get something for herself and her baby that was being stolen from her.
And she died pretty much alone, with no help from anyone because the people around her were too afraid of getting in trouble with the cops to even try to save her.
Kimara: Abby, this is Kimara.
Abby: Hey. What's up?
Kimara: Abby, do you know Greg Stevens?
Abby: Uh huh.
Kimara: He asked me to confirm that I placed 105 people in your shelter. Hello?
Abby: Can we talk?
Kimara: That's what we're doing.
Abby: I can't do this in my office. So can we talk?
(After meeting in person)
Abby: I'm sorry Greg contacted you.
Kimara: Are you? Are you sorry he contacted me or sorry you committed fraud?
I'm curious as to how Kimara will react if and when she finds out about Shae's death. Kimara tries to live with integrity and make things better for other people, and she's already burned out by her attempts to help Shae.
She may feel like a failure and question what she's doing. I also wonder if she's going to change her mind about her refusal to help Abby defraud the grant sponsor so that they can help more people.
In addition, Shae was pregnant at the time of her death, and Kimara has been struggling to have a baby. So the death of this young girl and her child has got to hit Kimara hard.
Claire: I wish I had put more into his early years. You get so stressed out , you know, that you don't realize how it's affecting you and then he's grown up and there's no stress anymore.
Nick: Yeah, cause you don't have to do anything. You got a nanny to do everything for you.
Claire: She doesn't do EVERYTHING.
Nick: No. She just does everything you're supposed to do. And here's the kicker, she only speaks French.
Claire: She's sweet.
Nick: Yeah, unless you tell her something in English. Then she just stares at you because she can't understand a word you're saying.
The Nicholas/Clair/Gabrielle storyline wasn't any less disturbing, even if nobody has got killed yet.
I couldn't decide how to feel about Clair.
I kept getting angry on her behalf when Nicholas verbally abused her. Much of what he said was truly horrible, accusing her of just being lazy and not wanting to care for their son herself. But then she took it out on Gabrielle and I hated her too.
When Clair had all those packing boxes out, I was hopeful that she was leaving Nicholas. But instead, she forced Gabrielle into a tiny closet. Gabrielle's new room was dark and full of junk that Clair doesn't use anymore.
What a statement that was about how Clair really feels about Gabrielle!
Gabrielle's situation is as close to slavery as she can get.
She barely speaks her employer's language, has to do whatever Clair wants, and has no recourse because Clair locked her documents in the safe. Clair intermittently is kind to her, then just as randomly abuses her, throwing her into a state of confusion and making it harder for her to leave.
Hopefully Gabrielle's decision to mail those letters in the middle of the night is a first step towards escaping this horrific situation.
I feel sorry for Nicky because he's a little boy who probably doesn't know what's going on and loves his new nanny. But Gabrielle's survival is more important and I hope she rises up against what is being done to her.
Woman: So you've been a homemaker?
Jeanette: Well, no, I've helped my husband in his business. With clients and everything.
Woman: So employee relations and customer service.
Jeanette: Yes, if a buyer was coming in from out of town I'd try to make them welcome and show them the farm, give them a tour and stuff like that.
Woman: I see. And your interests...
Jeanette: Anything healthcare related? I thought I'd like to do that.
Woman: Well, maybe medical assistant certificate would be a good route for you.
Jeanette: What is that, like a nurse or something?
Woman: More like a physician's assistant, but unlicensed.
Jeanette: And how long would the course take?
Woman: Nine months.
Jeanette: Oh, no, I need something right now.
Woman: If you need something right away, try the local sit-down restaurants or fast food. If you're willing to do food service, there's plenty of opportunities available.
Jeanette: How much do those pay?
Woman: Minimum wage, about $7.50
Jeanette: My sister's making minimum wage. We need two incomes, two good paying incomes.
Woman: Well, get you a minimum wage job and take one of our courses and the time'll just fly by.
Jeanette is quickly becoming my favorite character. She is starting to realize how privileged she was when she lived with Carson. She had to sacrifice her independence and play the role of the dutiful housewife with no thoughts of her own, but she had plenty of money.
Now, because she's chosen not to let Carson dictate her life anymore, she's in a position where she has no skills and no real earning ability and has to depend on her sister.
Raelyn doesn't understand why Jeanette doesn't just get over whatever this is and go back to her husband so she can live a better life, making it that much harder for Jeanette.
Jeanette: I went down to the Carolina Career Center today, looking for work. But they didn't have nothing worth anything. They told me to take some courses and work in food services.
Raelyn: You'll find something.
Jeanette: Nothing that I want. There's nothing that pays a living wage.
Raelyn: Where you been? You think I like working for nothing?
Jeanette: I thought it might be different for you.
Jeanette: Because of your situation, I thought it might be more difficult for you.
Raelyn: Because I got a conviction, you mean. Let me tell you something. You know why minimum wage is so low? Cause they buried it in that transgender bathroom bill, got people all scared and they voted against their own interest. Some people are stupid, that's why things are the way they are.
Jeanette is learning the hard way what it's like to be on your own and not be able to earn a living.
Her frustration was evident while talking to the career counselor. Her dreams of working in healthcare or even of earning a decent living are going to be hard for her to achieve, and I just hope she doesn't decide she has no choice but to go back to Carson.
Jeanette has come too far and hopefully her sister's pessimism won't dissuade her.
I'm not sure what she can do, but if she can get a job in food services maybe that will be a start and somehow she can build on it. I need to see someone beat the odds even though in real life, all too often impoverished people don't because of the way the cards are stacked against them.
There is so much depressing realism in this show. Jeanette finding a way to make it on her own would be a real win, and one that viewers may need to see in order to be inspired to act against all the injustice shown elsewhere on American Crime.
What did you think of "3.06?" What scene did you find most disturbing? Do you think there ever would have been any way out for Shae other than an early death?
Weigh in below and don't forget that if you missed anything, you can watch American Crime online to catch up.