Edmund Burke's famous phrase says, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." It's a quote that kept popping up in my head while watching the Black Birds finale, You Promised, because we see good men continuing to do evil for reasons that seem reasonable to them. But we also have a former bad guy trying to do something, and boy, is Jimmy Keene.
After last weeks emotionally debilitating episode, Where I Lie, You Promised had a lot to clear, especially if youve already googled where the real-life figures ended up. However, as it plays out, You Promised lives up to the show's promise of addressing the big issues related to misogyny in an A to B narrative.
Over the last few episodes, it has become evident that spending time with Larry (Paul Walter Hauser) is affecting Jimmy's (Taron Egerton) mental health. Its even more evident during the first dream sequence in which Jimmy's previous stories are blended with his interactions with Larry.
Even Larry seems to notice it, and he said, My thoughts yesterday might have sparked your fears. Yes, stories. Egerton and Hauser have always been at odds throughout the series, but Hauser never fails to impress. He is adamant, and he returns the old Jimmy we saw at the beginning of the episode.
After hearing why Larry sees himself as a murderer, Hauser explained why he should be in the Emmy debate next year.
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Larry knows that while he assaults and murders women, he cant stand it. These words are commonly heard in abusive situations. He wants to own these women; his concern for them is the only reason they exist.
In a previous IndieWire interview, Hauser said the final scene made him extremely emotional for reasons he couldnt explain, and no doubt it came from Larry finally snapping. Hauser showed how a murderer can live among people and be invisible for a million times.
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Jimmy's dream comes true, and the couple's fathers are similar as well. Larry's father burns the map to protect his son, no different than Big Jim's using his badge to protect his own. Each man has good intentions, but their childrens real crimes are hidden in Larry's personal hell. However, at the end, he must not have desired it too much since, after confessing to 15 murders at Garys request, the real Larry Hall recants everything.
If you thought the series would not have a lot of punch, the Black Birds more significant themes are impossible to get away from. In a way, this left the narrative to wave in the wind, particularly the plot device involving Jimmy, the prison guard, and Gigante. You can tell the script wasnt interested in those plot devices and just kinda throws them away.
Jimmy is still a flirt, talking up the flight attendant he meets on a plane. But does he have a new awareness on misogyny? As he looks out the airplane window were reminded that the real Larry Hall never disclosed his secrets. Really, the most heartbreaking and terrifying thing the audience is left with is that there are Larry Halls everywhere.
Black Bird was a great success for this critic, although it's easy to see why it might not be for others. Audiences have a clear understanding of the television structure: beginning, middle, and end; without those clear markings, it can feel like a show is half-baked. It was created as a tone poem that prompted individuals to engage in a crime narrative, only to leave them with a desire for deeper inquiry into how we all develop in the world.
Black Bird is now available for Apple TV+ users to watch.