'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story' Episode 2 Review: Murder trial and a one-sided marriage kicks off the plot
Young Betty played by Tiera Skovbye had more screen time, and let us tell you, this is no Polly Cooper from 'Riverdale'
Spoilers for 'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story'
In the first episode, we were shown, Dan Broderick (Amanda Peet) and Betty Broderick (Christian Slater) in the midst of their divorce - from ugly scenes of Betty ramming her car into Dan's home to her complete denial that the divorce proceedings were coming to a close. In this episode titled 'The Turtle and the Aligator,' we were taken into the past where Dan and Betty had met and how they became husband and wife while in the present we were shown the backdrop of Betty's murder trial.
The episode started with a cop explaining how he had responded to the call that involved a "fatal shooting," as viewers are then taken back to Eastchester, New York 1963 where we see Betty become a woman with a mother that has no maternal instincts whatsoever. From there, it was then to South Bend Indiana, 1965, where we got to see young Dan Broderick walk up to a young Betty at a bar, starting their interaction that led to the duo dating. The entire episode has flashbacks narrating the story of Dan's and Betty's relationship. We were shown how the couple dated while in college, how they got married, Dan working to get a medical degree, then a law degree from Harvard, the birth of their kids, the loss of a child and Betty becoming "the good" girl for her young husband, Dan.
The reality of the true-life marriage ended with gripping events and the actors in the series have portrayed the roles of Dan and Betty well enough for viewers to be invested. We were shown the essence of their relationship, how Betty depended so much on Dan giving her current denial of the divorce a reason and how 'Turtle and the Aligator' is a joke they had between themselves. We do know that Betty had killed Dan, as per what the series has told us so far, so we think this episode serves to show how Betty came to be the current delusional mess she is. While it warrants no reason for murder, the episode allowed us to explore Betty as a shadow to Dan, for us to develop empathy on how she was being pushed to be passive as Dan always came out on top.
The trial scenes that showed Betty's friends, father and cops testify against Betty served as an intense backdrop to remind viewers that the past they were being presented in flashbacks is what ended with this woman set for a murder trial. If you search closely, besides small demeaning things that Dan says to Betty, you'll wonder what it was that set this marriage off the deep end? What else did Dan do? The parallel stories showed us the couple at their early dating stage, the struggles of early marriage to a life where Betty became the "model woman" that Dan needed, as he made money practicing medical malpractice litigation. With murder as the ultimate end, we are given a huge narrative to analyze who the victim was in this situation, emotionally speaking of course. There were small cracks in the marriage that Betty had seemed to ignore as Dan patronized her into becoming a woman that took care of her husband, her home and her children. Was it those cracks that finally broke the surface of what seemed to be an ideal marriage to the outsiders?
The series so far is definitely not a hard watch and since we know that it is based on a true story, the expectations for actors to have the skill to bring real events to life are high. So far, the cast seems to be doing an excellent job with their role, especially Peet with the title role. In this episode though, young Betty played by Tiera Skovbye had more screen time and let us tell you, this is no Polly Cooper from 'Riverdale.' Tiera played the role of a passive wife set to put aside painful differences to make sure her husband's success was fruitful and played it well. Her fresh-faced portrayal of a young mother and a wife being groomed for a successful life definitely made this episode a better one to watch.
We hope to see more of how the series twists and turns this true narrative to portray a messy divorce and a double murder. Oh, we forgot to tell you, one of the five rounds that Betty shot were found in Linda Broderick, Dan's second wife. So, yes, this episode has definitely left us wanting for more.
'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story' airs Tuesdays on the USA Network at 10 pm ET.