HBO’s The Undoing: Trial by Fire (Episode 5) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s The Undoing, Trial by Fury, the trial begins as the prosecution begins to sell the physical evidence to the jury while Haley (Noma Dumezweni) attempts to point the fingers at other suspects as shocking revelations put Henry (Noah Jupe) in the hot seat.
Watching both sides present their case is really dramatized law and order at its finest as both prosecutor Catherine Stamper (Sofie Grabol) and Haley put on a riveting show of their side of the story. Even as someone who legitimately thinks that Jonathan (Hugh Grant) is innocent, Stamper really tugs on the gruesomeness and emotional stakes of the case with her opening statement. The way she pounds the hammer into her hand to bring back the pain and brutalness that Elena (Matilda De Angelis) felt is legitimately harsh as hell and she also sheds tears when talking about how Miguel (Edan Alexander) found her. It’s certainly the kind of performance that makes Jonathan’s uphill climb to innocence a little steeper, but he does have Haley in his huddle.
When you keep hearing how Haley is the best lawyer that money can back, you’re constantly left wondering if she’s worth the pricy price tag. However, she more than proves her worth as the twists and tangles everyone that goes up on the stand and really knows how to point a convincing finger. Every time Stamper presents some kind of physical evidence that goes against Jonathan, Haley is able to twist it into it being a part of a narrow investigation that looks to keep Fernando (Ismael Cruz Cordova) off the suspect list. She absolutely makes Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), who has been one of the more stoic and unwavering characters in this series, squirm and sweat on the stand and even breaks Fernando down to show some of his rage and the mental issues within their family. Haley’s confident and almost unemotional manner makes her more daunting than ever and she’s not the kind of lawyer you want to be up against. Dumezweni puts in some truly award-worthy work here and makes Jonathan seem like he has a better chance – which is good because he’s doing no favors for himself.
Jonathan’s lies and smug charm continue to get him into trouble as more mounting evidence outside of the courtroom makes him look really bad. Grace (Nicole Kidman) already starts the episode on a bad foot with Jonathan with her being unable to fake loving him for the jury, but eventually finds some residual feelings for him when the two share some charming memories over a late night phone call. However, things change when Henry reveals to Grace that he once witnessed Jonathan and Elena together and just kind of knew something was up. This sends Grace into a fit of rage towards Jonathan, rightfully so, for putting their son into a bad position and kicks off one of the most pivotal scenes in the entire series.
During a clearly tense dinner sequence after a trial between the Frasers, it’s easy to see that both Jonathan and Grace are really at their breaking points. Even as Henry wants to talk about the trial and the future of their family, Jonathan and Grace just want to talk about anything else and eventually when Henry brings up the story of Jonathan accidently letting the family dog die when he was younger, he finally breaks. After he storms from the table and is able to talk to Grace privately, he reveals that it wasn’t actually the dog that had gotten killed but actually his four-year-old sister. It’s a heartbreaking and horrifying reveal that explains why Jonathan is so disconnected from his family and the way he breaks down makes you feel bad for him for the first time. Grant’s performance really feels genuine and makes you feel like there might be some real remorse within him. However, that totally changes when Grace gets in contact with Jonathan’s mother Janet (Rosemary Harris).
Finally, after attempting to get in contact with Janet, Grace is able to get through and Janet doesn’t really give that great of an impression of Jonathan and makes him look guiltier to Grace. She says that when he accidently let his sister die that he didn’t really want to acknowledge it and showed very little emotion when it happened. Thus, he eventually just cut ties with everyone because no one would let it go. It’s probably the most damaging evidence yet of Jonathan’s sociopathic personality and even for him breaking down before, he’s still so smug and lets his charm do a lot of the talking that all of this could easily be just an act. Still though, there’s just something about him being the killer that feels too obvious and things take an even wilder turn in the final moments of the episode when Grace discovers the hammer that’s been missing from the crime scene in Henry’s violin case. Now, I’m not going to start celebrating yet since I’ve been suspicious of Henry for holding out information and being so interested in the case because there’s still another episode to go. However, this is quite the revelation and certainly shows that Henry has always known more than he’s let on.
The Undoing continues to deliver more game-changing reveals, award-worthy performances, and thrilling surprises as it heads towards its finale next week. Its final revelations about Jonathan and Henry likely set-up some surprising conclusions that are sure to make the finale full of shocking intrigue.
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