by Joshua Alston | via Vulture
Yet another week of silence from Fox means Shots Fired will probably remain an “event series,” making “Last Dance” likely the last time we’ll see Preston and Ashe doing battle against racially biased policing. It’s a good thing “Last Dance” is a surprisingly satisfying conclusion to a series with a premise that suggested an absence of easy answers. For the most part, the evildoers are punished and the outstanding questions are answered, including the shocking murder of Lieutenant Breeland at the end of “Come to Jesus.” And for the Preston and Ashe shippers out there, the finale provides plenty of swoon-worthy moments in lieu of the continuity it can’t deliver.
The bulk of the episode is dedicated to the grand jury process, which is sort of disorienting despite the basic understanding that Preston and Ashe work for the Department of Justice. Shots Fired has been so heavy on the glacially paced investigation that I forgot on some level that the point of all this is to bring a case to try in front of a jury. But the time has arrived for the DOJ to impanel a grand jury to decide on potential indictments for Joshua Beck and Arlen Cox in the respective deaths of Jesse Carr and Joey Campbell. Preston questions some witnesses while Ashe keeps shaking the trees, and a picture of both tragic crimes falls into place.
In an interesting choice, “Last Dance” goes beyond compiling the eyewitness testimony and the corroborating evidence and actually shows both shootings from an objective perspective. In the case of Jesse Carr, the events are pretty close to what was captured in the cell phone video Jesse started recording when Officer Beck pulled him over. Beck interrogates Jesse about what he’s doing around The Houses, and when Jesse responds with impudence and sarcasm, Beck loses his cool and yanks Jesse out of the car. What happens next is a bit confusing since it happens so quickly. In seconds, Beck starts shooting and Jesse is dead, but I suppose the whole point is to put the audience into the position of a cop having to make a split-second decision. Beck was wrong to snatch Jesse out of the car, but what happened next looked like a genuine accident or a moment of panic.
The objective version of events somewhat acquits Beck, especially in light of the newly uncovered full-length version of the video with Beck’s racially incendiary comments. The full version reveals Beck was only kidding when he talked about how the sheriff’s badge he just earned will give him the authority to shoot white people. (The local newspaper publicized a sensationalized edit to drive clicks.) He’s actually a well-intentioned rookie hoping to make his community better, and he made a terrible mistake that ended a young life. In other words, Beck’s narrative is that of so many police officers who kill in the line of duty and are later acquitted because they seem like nice enough guys and claim to have feared for their lives. Based on the statistics, the chances of someone like Beck being indicted are impossibly slim.
To read the recap of the series finale, “Last Dance,” click HERE!!!!