TV Recap: American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, ‘Marcia, Marcia, Marcia’

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Marcia Marcia Marcia Plot Summary:

Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) is hit from all sides during the “Mark Fuhrman period” of the O.J. trial — her husband sues for custody, she gets an ill-advised haircut, and the defense has no problem tearing into her.

It’s probably no coincidence that this episode of American Crime Story aired on International Women’s Day.

Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark. Photo Credit: FX, Fox 21 TVS, FXP
Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark. Photo Credit: FX, Fox 21 TVS, FXP

‘Marcia Marcia Marcia’ focuses not only on an amazing performance from Sarah Paulson, but the hardships that the real life woman she portrays faced during the trial of the century.

Sarah Paulson is probably one of the finest character actors we have in television today. Notice I didn’t say actress — no she’s one of the best male or female, period. She has proven throughout her career she can lose herself within every character she performs. We forget we’re watching an actor, someone who played conjoined twins a few years ago, or just played a heroin addict a few months prior. We see Marcia Clark instead. We see the curly hair, the signature mole, but we also see the complexities of her personality. At first glance Clark seemed like a career-obsessed prosecutor looking to add a huge feather in her cap by convicting O.J. Simpson. Now we’re seeing why she’s so determined, she has to provide for two boys, and battle upstream to be noticed and respected in a male-dominated system.

Paulson does a brilliant job of turning Clark’s emotions on a dime. This is evidenced perfectly when she confidently walks into the courtroom with her brand new (and pretty horrendous) haircut, and then within moments is reduced to tears by the snide comments from Judge Ito, and the stares from everyone in the courtroom. It’s a heartbreaking scene, and if anyone can make you feel every teardrop it’s Paulson.

Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson. Photo Credit: FX, Fox 21 TVS, FXP
Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson. Photo Credit: FX, Fox 21 TVS, FXP

While this was Paulson’s episode, Sterling K. Brown continues to slay as Christopher Darden. Thankfully there’s a lack of “crazy eyes” this week, and we see an emotionally stronger attorney who’s there for his partner. The chemistry between he and Paulson is so good, however one has to fear about them getting a little too ‘rom com’ with the romance.

However, if you’re looking for the mic drop performance of the night, it goes to Nathan Lane as F. Lee Bailey. His scene interrogating Mark Fuhrman where he asks the detective if he ever used the “n” is chilling and powerful. Everytime Lane utters the word it cuts through the silent courtroom, as it does your own soul. Really great stuff from the usually affable and sometimes cantankerous character of Bailey.

If this series has one issue, it’s that there’s only three episodes left, and we’re still just in the early days of trial. We still have not gotten to ‘If it doesn’t fit you must acquit’ yet, and that could be an episode in itself. The worry here is that with such limited time left, let’s hope the series isn’t rushed into a finish. It’s done a marvelous job of establishing all the characters, but let’s hope our forays into Faye Resnick, the Kardashians, and how many times David Schwimmer said the word “juice” didn’t rob us of a fully told story.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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