Paramount’s reimagining of the 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction as a TV series has been an engaging ride for the past few weeks. The seventh episode of the show was released today, and we see the trial of DA Dan Gallagher (Joshua Jackson) as he stands in court accused of murdering Alex Forrest (Lizzy Caplan). In the previous episode, Dan was arrested by Det. Earl Brooker and taken downtown, so the episode opens with Dan posting bail to be out temporarily. The episode also throws light on Alex Forrest’s past, showcasing how she got wired the way she is.
How Did Alex Turn Out To Be A Troubled Person?
Toxic and manipulative parents who use the naiveté of innocent kids to further their selfish goals usually don’t realize that they’re destroying their kids’ chances to have a healthy life afterward. Clearly, Alex’s father, Stanley Forrest, didn’t see the erroneous ways he ruined his daughter by being a compulsively lying and severely manipulative man who used her as a buffer from her mother discovering his myriad affairs. In this episode, we look at Alex’s childhood and learn how she turned out to be the way we see her as an adult. Her mom, Patricia, did warn Alex that what Alex thought was paternal love was just Stanley using her as a shield to safeguard his interests. It didn’t take her long, however, to understand how Stanley had been manipulating her, and this gulf only grew over time.
Alex’s erratic and unhealthy behavior got her kicked off her law school team, and her father was no help either. He not only undermined Alex at every step of the way, but he also made sure to make her realize just how lonely she’d have to feel. As her father’s jagged words kept cutting into her mind, she began inflicting injuries on herself to distract from the emotional turbulence. She started seeing a professional therapist, but this compulsive behavior found its way there. She repeatedly called her therapist and left her multiple voicemails, obsessing over an unfounded reason while finally calling her father out in public. Alex then decided to leave Seattle without informing her father, making him dish out a fresh series of insults, calling her a “black hole of need.”
However, as it turns out, Alex had finally made peace with Stanley by calling him up seven months after she’d left Seattle. She’d give him tidbits of her life and inform him about a man she’d started seeing, although her statements were replete with lies. While talking about Dan, she mentioned he was unmarried and had turned down the offer to be a judge, whereas he’d been denied the position. When her father wanted her to take things slow, Alex turned on him, calling him jealous because he apparently couldn’t see her happy. Stanley was, however, despite having been a terrible father in the past, doing something good for his daughter. He wanted her to keep a check on her expectations so that she wouldn’t be hurt if things didn’t turn out the way she wanted, but her emotionally damaged mind couldn’t process the fine reasoning a sound mind usually can.
What Happens At Dan’s Trial?
We now turn our attention to the trial of Dan Gallagher, and he begins by asking his wife, Beth, not to go up to the stand. Dan chooses to lie about his affair and aims to focus solely on what a delusional ‘nutjob’ Alex Forrest was. As the trial begins, Det. Earl Brooker informs the jury that the victim’s body has been found, and one by one; every witness lays their hatred for Dan bare by exposing him as a cheating two-timer. Dan’s entire defense had been riding on the fact that he didn’t have an affair with Alex Forrest, something he didn’t even admit to his lawyer, Luis Cabral, but when Stanley Forrest is called to testify, the defense falls flat on its face. Not only does Stanley let the court know that the moment Dan didn’t want to continue the relationship, he turned violent and assaulted her, but he also shows irrevocable proof of the affair. He shows the court the selfie Alex had taken of them at the beach, and this is enough to destroy any credibility in Dan’s case.
Dan tries everything by having his daughter Ellen sit on the witness box and give an account of how Alex Forrest was the woman who took her to the park, trying to prove Alex as a kidnapper. However, prosecutor Ruiz pokes holes even in this case by asking him why he didn’t get the FBI involved after his daughter was kidnapped. In a way, both the jury and the prosecution had made their minds up that Dan was the murderer and looked for ways to reach the end, and Dan handed them it all on a silver platter by choosing to lie about his affair.
The defendant, Dan tries a last-ditch attempt—a very scumbag act, too—by having Cabral ask Det. Mike whether he was at Alex’s apartment on the night of her murder. Mike had been in the witness box, giving exemplary recommendations about Dan’s character, when Dan chose to throw him under the bus to shake any blame off him. However, once established as a liar, the jury shows no mercy to the defendant and declares him guilty on the charges of murdering Alex Forrest, effectively ruining Dan’s life for good.
What’s Happening In Ellen’s Life?
In the present, Dan meets with his daughter Ellen and gives her a copy of the trial application he’ll be submitting so that she can learn that there could’ve been ways to prove Dan was not guilty. However, the detectives didn’t bother following any of the leads because Dan could be easily apprehended, and they knew of his lies. Later, Ellen spies on her friend Stella, whom she’d spotted with her professor, even after Stella said the professor had ended the relationship. She called Stella up after the professor left and agreed to meet. A few days later, Ellen was asked about Stella by a teacher, but she pretended not to know anything about whatever happened to her friend. What on earth could Ellen have done? It’d be the biggest shame if she followed in her father’s footsteps and went straight to jail, although this is all speculation right now.
What Happens At Dan Gallagher’s Trial Application?
Dan sits before the judge for his trial application, and she commends him for presenting a well-written and well-researched case. However, she adds that Dan is a liar and lists how he’s lied multiple times in the past, so there’s no way to know for sure that he’s not lying in the application as well. Therefore, she rejects Dan’s trial application, thereby shattering his hopes for good. He goes to meet Beth at her home and informs her that he’d tried to let her know that she’d been right in trusting him and that he didn’t kill Alex Forrest. Beth assures him that she’d always known that Dan would never be able to kill anyone, but the flashback that follows makes us wonder about what Beth is hiding. In the flashback, after claiming to go handle a case and leaving Dan to take care of Ellen, Beth heads to a restaurant, where she’s met with none other than Alex, who’s here to know what Beth wants from her.
Dan’s trial application is rejected because, even 15 years later, there’s an ongoing witch hunt to target and shame Dan Gallagher at every possible opportunity. The constitution says that a person can’t be sentenced twice for the same crime, yet Dan has been feeling the aftershocks of his sentence for a crime he didn’t commit in the first place. Everywhere he goes, Dan is shunned as a monster, and although he was no saint before being imprisoned, being refused a chance to stand trial to clear his name is at least immoral. However, the loudest concern in all of this is: why did Beth meet Alex, and what did she want from her? Till now, it seemed that Alex and Beth met each other only during the open house, but now it points towards the two women being a bit more involved than either let on. In the event that it’s shown that the two formed an entente to get Dan out of the way, this might turn the entire incident on its head, and we might have to see Beth in a new light from this point forward. For now, all we can say is that Beth is definitely hiding something, and to find out what, we must tune in next week.