Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Perception is Reality

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Even after watching the finale, it's hard to imagine what Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story was hoping to achieve by revisting the landmark case.

Perhaps it's to be seen as a cautionary tale to remind people to treat the people with whom they have relationships with a little respect.

To remember that you invited someone into your life for a reason and to try to hang on to the good you shared instead of getting so caught up in the negative that it seems like it was all a big waste of time.

A Very Sad Betty - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8 revealed the tragic outcome of Betty's actions.

By the time she went to trial, Betty was only a shadow of her former self. She had lost all of her long-lasting friends and her family relationships were strained to the point of breaking.

Mom of the Year - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8

At the same time, Betty's mind seemed to have broken, too. She had been beaten down so badly in life that she took to prison life with ease.

Even when she spoke with her attorney about the possibility of bail, it wasn't because she wanted to get away from her situation, but because she wanted to be on an even playing field with other spectactular criminals of the day, such as Jeffrey Dahmer.

Maybe I should have eaten them. Maybe then my bail would have been set, too.


It's hard to believe that Dahmer scored bail, even if it was unattainable, when Betty wasn't given the same consideration. She wanted the equity that she felt robbed of in her marriage and her divorce.

Maybe it's best that she was enjoying her new celebrity status. It gave her time to acclimate to life without -- without family, money, or the comforts of home.

What's interesting about that is the way her friends and the media portrayed her contradicted reality. She was called a money grubber over and over again, with even her best friend taking the stand against her.

Prison Visit - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8

But when rubber met the road, it was very easy for Betty to live simply in prison. If she were as concerned with monetary pursuits as everyone claimed, then her new lot in life would have been unbearable.

Janet: She worshiped. It was her main goal in life. She loved it more than her children. She was a very materialistic person, always. An alcoholic spender.
Jack: So, pretty much a fairly disgusting person whose main concern was money. Very few redeeming qualities, and yet, for whatever reason, this was your friend.

Instead, Betty found more joy in reading fan letters and making crank phone calls to her friends than she'd had in a decade.

It was as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Betty no longer had to fight for what she deserved because she deserved nothing. She didn't have to worry about the roof over her head or decide what to wear to fit in with her friends and stand tall beside Linda in Dan's eyes. It was already decided.

If Amanda Peet was good throughout the season, she was excellent in the finale.

She brought full circle the insanity of Betty's life from crying jags while on the stand to her giddiness over receiving a gift from a fan, "Free Betty Broderick So She Can Kill Another Lawyer," done in needlepoint.

The Veridict is In - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8

Especially moving was Peet singing The Twelfth of Never as Betty recalled the many ways that things could have turned out differently with only a slight change in her life's script.

As the prosecutor pointed out, Betty had written hundreds of letters and participated in many interviews, in none of which she expressed remorse for her actions.

Instead, she was always skirting her rationale for the murders with a snide remark, a click of the tongue, or a wink of the eye. Believing herself fully aware of the judging eye of those to whom she spoke, she failed to realize that it was again her actions that spoke volumes more than her words.

Betty spent so much time talking shit about Dan and Linda and putting on a poor me act when the entire time she was giving as well as she got.

I wonder if the prosecutor's closing statement was as eloquently put in the real trial. Pointing out all of the things that Dan did wrong or should have done differently didn't excuse Betty's actions in the slightest.

Twelfth of Never - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8

Each of us is only as good as we want to be. Betty never knew when to let go, not only for others, but to ensure her own happiness and sanity. There were no winners in the Broderick vs. Broderick case.

If Dan had admitted to his affair, or if Betty had had an attorney for her divorce and showed up for the motions, or if she'd introduced herself to Linda rather than slinking around in the bushes, or if she'd never have dropped off the kid's at Dan's house to prove a point.

So many things could have changed the outcome and turned around Betty's destructive path. But by the time she'd shot Dan and Linda, it was too late.

That's something her friend had a hard time imagining, that Betty wouldn't get the help she needed for her mental issues.

A Difficult Case - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8

But you know, I don't know if she can get well. Not now. I think she just needs to get old.


What Betty's attorney said seemed harsh, but when people have gone too far, that's the reality of it. All Betty has to do now is to grow old. She's never getting better.

And he must not have been alone in that sentiments. After all, Betty has been denied parole numerous times, and she seems to be serving the "to life" portion of her sentence without renumeration.

What are your thoughts on the finale? Did Betty desere life in prison for her actions? What do you believe?

Perception is Reality Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (3 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

Betty: I said this country has to redefine its definition of a weapon. I said the law has to take into account the differences between men and women with respective power. Men have all of it. I said, you bet Dan Broderick was a great lawyer. That's how he could do to me what he did! Joe Blow wouldn't have had the know-how or the clout! I said, I represent the extremes of what can happen to women in divorce courts.
Jack: Ah. And this airs Sunday night?

Maybe I should have eaten them. Maybe then my bail would have been set, too.