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Showtime's 'American Rust' Episode 4 Review: Everybody needs a safety net

A major chunk of the episode deals with Isaac's journey to the West and his new friend, Jojo
David Alvarez as Issac English and Nicole Williams as Jojo (Showtime)
David Alvarez as Issac English and Nicole Williams as Jojo (Showtime)

This review contains spoilers for 'American Rust' Episode 4: 'My name is Billy'

If 'American Rust' was guilty of being a slow-paced murder whodunnit, it wipes that crime off with 'My name is Billy'. Episode 4 of the crime drama does enough to give the audience the urge to sit through the remaining five episodes. The series has nine episodes in all, and while it garnered flak for being painfully slow in the beginning, the Jeff Daniels-starrer got most things right starting from the tonality, the cast, and the storyline. What it did wrong was paying way too much attention to detail and caught itself in a web that encompassed minor plotlines at times, missing the larger picture.

However, the fourth chapter finally tells us what happened. Isaac English (David Alvarez) killed Pete Novick (Jim True-Frost) accidentally when he tried to save Billy Poe (Alex Neustaedter) after the duo got into a fight. The story is out in the open, and so is Isaac. A major chunk of the episode deals with his journey to the West and his new friend in Jojo (Nicole Chanel Williams) as they live the street life. Isaac's not street smart, but he's a survivor and for the first time since fleeing Buell, he finds who we feel will be a friend.


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Alex Neustaedter as Billy Poe and Julia Mayorga as Lee English (Showtime)

Not a lot is known about Jojo. She can read people, she has a girlfriend, she's traveling to Vegas, and she makes a living by duping people. And while at it, there's no guilt. She and Isaac trick a truck driver into the latter giving him a fellatio, only to trick him and make away with the money. It's been an adventure of sorts for Isaac, but the past will eventually catch up to him.

Meanwhile, the police department is asked by Sue Herlitz (Emily Davis) to bypass the investigation and cut out Del (Daniels). The move strains the relationship between the old-timer and Grace (Maura Tierney) as the cops carry out thorough research only to not find anything that suggests that Billy murdered Pete. The story just gets better from here. Lee wants to help, Billy wants to help, Del wants to help and at the end of the day, it's all about a safety net that everyone needs when things go south and they fall off.

Episode 5 will surely digress a bit from the main plot and maybe shed light on Jojo. There's that unshakeable feeling that she is more than what meets the eye and Isaac may have confided his true identity with some faith. But from what 'American Rust' taught us, faith is a joke. There's a lot left in store and hopefully, the series continues to impress by the episode.

'American Rust' airs Sundays at 10 pm ET on Showtime.