A fresh start can only heal so many wounds.
On Defending Jacob Season 1 Episode 8, the Barbers celebrated Jacob's case being thrown out with the vacation they spoke about on Defending Jacob Season 1 Episode 1, but it seemed like history was about to repeat itself.
I have to be honest: The notion that the Barbers can rebuild after everything that transpired on "After" is laughable. They went from being a golden family that appeared to have it all to a fully dysfunctional family.
Sure, Jacob was always a bit of a wild card, and I'm surprisingly fine with not getting a concrete answer about whether he murdered Ben.
The hints were there. If we read between the lines, he killed Ben. You don't write violent stories about murdering someone you didn't, well, murder.
Jacob has got to be the most complicated character on the small screen in recent memory. He's difficult to read and could snap at any moment, and that's the thought Laurie couldn't move away from after learning the true extent of the issues plaguing the family.
The trip provided a much-needed rest for the family, for sure, but it was obvious where things were going the moment Jacob befriended the girl in the hotel.
Laurie: I'm trying to remember. Last year, when it was all happening, I don't think I ever asked you. Not directly. I guess I was just scared of what they might do to you. But they can't hurt us now. No one can. Still, would you have told me the truth? If I promised to love you no matter what, would you tell me? Jacob, Did you kill Ben?
Jacob: What? No, You know I didn't.
Laurie: What If I said I don't believe you?
Laurie: A man died, Jacob. You don't know this, but a man was murdered so that you could go free. So, I have to know.
Jacob: Know what?
Laurie: Did you kill Ben? Just tell me the truth.
Jacob: I did tell you. What's wrong with you?
Laurie: I will love you no matter what. I don't believe you.
My thought was that he killed her, and the way he acted when his parents returned to the hotel room certainly backed that up. The kid always has a guilty look on his face, and it's going to get hi in trouble for the rest of his life.
His supposed latest kill being found alive was a pleasant development because it helped add another layer to the mystery surrounding Jacob.
Everything that happened to Leonard Patz was par for the course, as it allowed Billy's grandson to stay outside of the confines of a prison.
In his own way, Billy wanted to do what was best for Jacob, even if that meant his grandson would get away with murder. But Billy's henchman forcing the confession out of Patz before killing him was about as predictable as it can get.
For the most part, the series has shocked audiences with wild twists, but the upside was that it helped change Andy's mindset.
There's a difference between being a good person and being a good father. Andy's love for Jacob was unconditional, and he would have defended him until the cows come home, even if Jacob was proven to be the killer.
Chris Evans turned in a riveting performance as the man, a career prosecutor, who didn't care if he was letting a killer go free. His only motive from the beginning has been to defend his son, and that's where the show got its name.
Out of every member of the family, Laurie is probably the most sane. She had views on Jacob from the jump and entertained the possibility that her son was a murderer pretty early.
Jacob: Mom, you're driving to fast.
Laurie: Why would you write that story?
Jacob: Mom, slow down.
A mother knows her son, and she understood there were hints in his younger years that could explain his suspected actions.
She's been haunted by the vision of him getting ready to bash out another kid's brains with a bowling ball. Out of everyone, I feel the most for her. There was desperation in her voice when she tried to get answers from Jacob.
Every single time she thought things were going in the right direction, the rug was pulled from under her. Attempting to kill herself and Jacob was a devastating turn, but she couldn't live with herself if she knew he killed again.
Then again, it's possible she thought the guilt of harming her son would help her to understand the decisions Jacob and Andy made along the way.
We don't know whether Jacob will pull through, but the arcs for every member of the family were fulfilling in the end.
Yes, there were some weird storytelling decisions early on, but the show hit its stride quickly after the opening installments and has kept up the pace ever since.
"After" was bursting at the seams with story, and for the most part, the series managed to stick the landing.
Why isn't Laurie here today? On February 22, nearly six weeks ago, you received a call from Massachusetts State Police. Is that correct? You were told that there had been an accident. That Laurie and Jacob were in a car that had gone off the road.Neal
Ambiguous endings are generally hit and miss, and the series will probably get some flack for traveling this route, but it's satisfying leaving the series with the sense that not all the conflict is resolved.
The Barbers will continue to argue with each other, but if the events of Defending Jacob Season 1 have taught them anything, it's that they need to communicate better.
If they can tick that box, they can tackle anything.
Thankfully, the series is billed as a miniseries, so it looks like we've closed the book on the Barbers for good.
But, this is Hollywood, and everything finds a way of coming back in some form.
What did you think of the conclusion? Did you want more conclusive answers? Were you surprised Billy had Leonard Patz killed to save Jacob from prison?
Chat with me in the comments below, TV Fanatics.
Defending Jacob airs worldwide on Apple TV+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.