Accused has done it again. The producers have released another polarizing episode with the potential to engage and divide viewers.
This episode touches on the controversial overturning of Roe V. Wade and how access to safe abortions is not available in many areas.
Accused Season 1 Episode 9 was directed by Emmy Award-winner Michael Chiklis, who himself starred in the show's Series premiere. The show featured a host of talented actors and starred Jason Ritter, who has shown himself to be an accomplished and dynamic actor.
Jason Ritter's Jack was selfless yet lacked maturity and good judgment. He is the definition of "heart was in the right place," but I don't know where his head was.
He made many ill-conceived and illegal moves to protect and support a student. His movements made no sense because, as a mandated reporter, he has training on how to handle these situations.
Although Clara was manipulative in her own right, we give her grace as she was an abused child. Over and over, Clara showed that she did not have the emotional capacity to handle the circumstances she found herself in.
Her conversation with the doctor was indicative of a child. She was in over her head, and that she went through this without proper support is terrifying.
Defense Attorney: Can you explain why no one ever witnessed one inappropriate moment between the two of you
Clara: He took me to get an abortion; thats inappropriate.
These conversations and episodes indicate that back alley abortions may be making an unfortunate comeback. This episode elicits the fear of desperate teens and abused victims having no other recourse.
This belief, of course, is a primary concept in the Pro-Choice movement; what if the person is a victim of rape or incest? That alone has placed many potentially conservative voters on the cusp of voting Pro-choice, and this episode makes the case.
However, this episode does not give us the details to decide the life Clara chose to end. I doubt anyone will see this episode and suddenly change their mind about abortion rights.
As cool as they tried to portray Jack, I saw only a childish teacher. His pattern of lies to his fiance was so easy that this may not have been his first time lying to her.
We are their teachers, not their friends, not their therapists.Britney
His poor friend, Dustin, was used as an excuse for his lies, and I see no motivation for not telling your partner that you are doing something so outlandish.
From meeting this child in a discreet location to transporting her out the state lines, his behavior was creepy and inappropriate.
His sense of desperation for the poor child was admirable but extreme. Even the suggestion of abortion was unethical.
I find it hard to relate to his plight. And that has less to do with Abortion rights and less to do with his blatant lack of boundaries.
Believe it or not, I do have a social life that doesn't involve teenagers.
Akin to the campfire and vacation social media coding of 2022, Jack became the safety net of a child who needed help accessing abortion.
The clinic didn't ask for information; it just showed compassion for the child who was desperate enough to drive to another state for a safe abortion. Outside, the protesters seemed to be the antithesis of understanding.
Accused does tend to portray the most liberal perspective possible, and this episode is no exception. It fails, however, to make Jack a sympathetic character.
There's no defense for his crimes except for being falsely accused. But everything else put his character into question and made that accusation plausible.
Mr. Fletcher would like the world to see him as a caring educator, an enthusiastic teacher, but that is not what this man is…this man is a predator.Prosecutor
Had he gone to trial, he would have inevitably lost. His desperate fixation on his fiancee was too little -- too late.
Britney, played by the talented Wrenn Schmidt, was the most sympathetic character. She warned Jack about his overstepping with his students.
But of course, he immediately and obviously does the exact opposite. Why would he jeopardize his career, freedom, and relationship with one student?
He caught her attempting to kill herself. He fought her to the ground. He felt the pain and desperation of that moment, and instead of calling for help, he offered to take her to get an abortion.
Her vigorous attempt at suicide was more than just shame from the pregnancy. Had Jack gotten her some help, the rape would have come to light, and she would have gotten the mental health support she needed.
If you tell anyone, I'll do it again. I swear to God. I'll do it again next chance I get. And you won't be able to stop me!Clara
The guilt of having her mom's savior husband molest, assault, and impregnate her, along with the emotional strain of having to conduct her own medical abortion, is too much for even a well-adjusted child.
Jack took away her chance to get help in her crisis. He failed to act reasonably. His pattern of thought is incomprehensible.
He seems like a likable character with flawed judgment. Even the football player, Richie, talking to him about sex was inappropriate.
Britney: I planned my life around you.
Jack: We can still have that life.
Britney: How? I don’t even know who you are.
It's concerning that he didn't realize he was wrong until he learned of the rape. He looked at the State Penal Code to get a glimpse at his charges and seemed surprised.
This reaction shows that consequences were not on his radar. What if Clara wasn't his first abortion transport? What if she wasn't going to be his last?
The more significant conversation here is Abortion rights, and yes, it's despicable that the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade in so many states. And while this episode brought that injustice to light, it failed to give us a relatable perspective.
Jack was so invested in his student's happiness that he forsook his own. Britney was right for breaking up with him, he was fun, but children usually are.
Some things break and are meant to stay broken — and that’s okay.Britney
The back stories of the impact of Abortion protesters were an exciting inclusion. The pleas of a Pro-Life protester saved Britney's life, while Clara herself protested and eventually had an abortion.
That felt very real and relatable. However, it seemed far-fetched that Jack wouldn't know this crucial element of Britney's story in a state where it was banned.
This episode was a mixed bag and ended without a satisfying resolution. While Jack's actions could be admirable, his empathy knew no bounds, and he should have been liable for breaking the law.
It starts a conversation, but the character developments aren't significant enough to make or break anyone's convictions.
What did you all think of this controversial episode of Accused?
Was Jack right for aiding and transporting Clara? Should Britney have given him another chance?
Drop your thoughts in the comments.
Brandi Powell was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in April 2023. Follow her on Twitter.