‘A Teacher’ Episode 8 Review: Claire tells Eric to ‘go be a kid’ after leaving jail, but isn't it too late?
As the episode comes to a close, Eric texts Claire that he needs to see her. What do you think will happen next? Will Claire move on, unlike Eric?
Spoilers for ‘A Teacher’ Episode 8
One mistake can destroy one too many lives. The last episode of ‘A Teacher’ delved deep into Eric Walker's (Nick Robinson) life after the details of his affair with his teacher were made public. After sketching out Eric's life in the last episode, in the new episode, the spotlight is on Claire Wilson (Kate Mara). She has served her time and it's time for her to be released from prison. The summary of the new episode reads: “Claire attempts to restart her life, but not everyone is ready for her to change as they think she is going to slip back into her old habits.”
Claire is out of prison after serving — what seems like six months in jail and five years of probation. Her father and brother come to meet her once she is released. Surprised to see her father (with whom she had a strained relationship), she is awkward at first. He tells her, “I know you're in a tough spot but you will get out of it. I'd like to be there for you now if you let me.” When she asks her brother Nate (Adam David Thompson) why he didn't give her a heads-up, he tells her, “He's been helping out with the kids. He's been nice. He's been sober for 10 years...”
After she's out of prison, she stays at her brother's place along with his wife Lisa and their kids. The next morning, she freshens up and is at the dining table with a glass of wine. Lisa sarcastically mocks her, “You look surprisingly good.” Claire confesses, “Just wanted to feel like myself again. Can I pour you a glass?” It's quite clear Lisa doesn't want Claire anywhere near the kids and doesn't appreciate her presence.
One of the most shocking turns in the episode is when she applies for a new job and is hesitant for a misdemeanor in her background check. Just then, one of the owners recognizes her. Claire tells her, “I served my time, Victoria.” But her statement is met with a loud warning, “This woman cannot work here. Google her you'll see she is a sexual predator.” Claire sobs and when she gets home, she Googles her name. A fresh beginning for her seems almost impossible and it doesn't seem likely she'll get one soon.
At the dinner table, when she brings up the incident again, Lisa scornfully asks her if she was surprised that others think like that. “Give me a f**king break,” Claire yells at Lisa and then turns to Nate to say, “She is being a b***h.” Forget being remorseful, Claire even tries to defend what she did. “If the roles were reversed you would be hi-5ing me right now,” she tells Nate, adding, He pursued me... I wanted to feel free. I wanted to do what I wanted to.”
Not just that, she puts the blame on her dad. Nate then makes it clear that he isn't going to stand up for it. “Don't blame your f**ked up childhood and take responsibility. Do you even realize the damage you've done? You've jeopardized my career, don't even get started on him (her husband Matt), he's barely functioning... and that kid.”
As the episode comes to a close, Eric texts Claire that he needs to see her. When they meet, he looks at her lovingly and says sorry. Does he even realize that she should apologize for how she wrecked his teenage years? “Being with you, it was everything,” Eric says, confessing his love for her. Claire snaps back, “Look at what it's doing to us. I've tried to convince myself it's okay but it's not. Go be a kid Eric, just go.” Wow, isn't it too late for that? Why didn't she say that earlier when there was still time? How can she defend herself knowing how many lives she destroyed?
The next morning, she decides to leave Nate and Lisa's house and goes to stay with her dad. It doesn't seem likely that she can get back to normal life, not any time soon. What do you think will happen next? Will Claire move on, unlike Eric?
‘A Teacher’ premiered on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, from 3 am ET on FX on Hulu with three back-to-back episodes. More episodes in the 10-episodic series started every week from Tuesday, November 17, 2020. The new 21-minute episode starts streaming Tuesday, December 15 at 12.01 am EST on Hulu.