Few procedurals truly keep me on the edge of my seat throughout an hour, but Bull Season 2 Episode 11 was one of the exceptions.
Not that I ever thought that Ryan hadn't manipulated Jemma Whitlock. It was obvious that he'd groomed her for five months with of an online relationship.
As Cable pointed out, he was patient.
However, it was fascinating to see how things turned from bad to worse for Jemma on this horrifying journey.
When Jemma snuck out of the house to meet Ryan for the first time and realized that he'd lied about his age, but swore he hadn't lied about anything else, I fervently wished that she'd turn and run.
It was almost impossible for the vulnerable teen to realize that the one lie was simply the only one she'd caught him telling. It would be far too late by the time she realized how many more lies he'd fed her along the way.
By the time Jemma and Ryan got arrested for robbing that jewelry store, Jemma had had eighteen months of emotional and psychological damage to overcome.
But it was difficult for me to fault the ADA for prosecuting Jemma along with Ryan when she was the one wielding the gun at the crime scene. He wanted some sort of proof that she had been held against her will, manipulated, or abused.
And Jemma wasn't willing to help herself.
For much of the trial Jemma came off as a belligerent teen, and if you didn't know her full story, it was hard to generate much sympathy.
I couldn't even fault Bull and Benny for recommending her mother have her bail revoked and send Jemma to jail for the length of her trial. The girl looked ready to bolt and cause her mother to lose her home, or behave in such a way as to make it impossible to defend her.
And I couldn't help but think that perhaps some time behind bars might wake her up to how serious her predicament was.
Unfortunately, it wasn't quite that easy. Jemma had been in a prison made by Ryan and her own sense of shame.
Speaking of Jemma's lawyer, I wasn't expecting to like Thalia Macera after Benny's description of her, but I did. She was passionate and willing to fight hard for her client.
Thalia even had the good grace to thank Benny when he pointed out he had a relationship with the DA's office and offered to talk to them about making a deal. Not many attorneys are willing to step aside and let someone else take the lead on their case, even when things aren't going well.
The person I felt the worst for in this entire scenario was Jemma's mother, Maya.
That poor woman spent 18 months not knowing if her only daughter was dead or alive. Then when she found her alive, not only had she been arrested for a serious crime, but she was claiming to love her captor and refusing to help herself in any way.
Maya even had to listen to how her daughter had managed to escape and got all the way to their home but never had the courage to knock on the door.
What a nightmare.
The part that left me baffled was when the jury appeared to believe Ryan's testimony.
Ryan tried to convince the jury that not only was the jewelry store robbery Jemma's idea and he was just going along with it, but that he was far too moral to hold the gun while committing the crime.
So let me get this straight, he can troll for underage girls online, somehow convince a girl to leave her home and never return, was willing to don a ski mask, smash numerous glass jewelry cases and threaten employees and customers, but actually holding a gun was just something he'd never do.
Give me a break.
If the jurors were buying any of that, then I'm with Bull. They were idiots.
In the end, Ryan did exactly what Bull expected and traded Jemma to the DA. She was merely a possession to him; a toy he liked to play with, but she never meant more to him than that.
Jemma's turn around happened a little too quickly to be believable, but I'm willing to give that a pass considering there are only so many minutes per episode.
And I wish we'd learned what juror #10's problem was with Jemma. What kind of issues did that guy have not to feel the least bit of sympathy after hearing her story and seeing those photos of where she was held captive?
That the ADA was willing to drop the charges wasn't surprising. It was the right thing to do, and the odds were that if he brought this case to trial again, he'd lose.
As for Jemma, that young woman needs some serious therapy, and I wish they would have mentioned that somewhere along the way.
Having her turn on that laptop, (And why is that even in her room in the first place?) made my stomach drop.
Once again, I felt the worst for her mom.