Black Bird Episodes 1 & 2 Recap and Ending Explained: The first two episodes of Black Bird, created by Dennis Lahane, have dropped on Apple TV+. The mini-series, based on James Keene’s autobiographical novel In With The Devil (2010), follows him as a young, rich civilian posed with a murky challenge that will gift him freedom out of prison.
Episodes 1 & 2 of Black Bird directed by Michaël R. Roskam, definitely introduce us to the performative prowess we are going to see throughout. Taron Egerton is menacingly sexy and charming as Jimmy. His composure is at odds with his occasional outbursts of frustration, both of which are handled brilliantly by the actor. Also, the late Ray Liotta is extremely heartbreaking as an aging father longing to see his son out of trouble. Sepideh Moafi, last seen in the gritty and powerful The Killing of Two Lovers, is incredibly understated yet terrific as the key to our unlikely hero’s freedom. And Paul Walter Hauser, as the uncanny killer in the frame, is simply fantastic.
However, the writing and direction of this show fail to match up to the performative genius on display. Overall, the first episode was a cold and unimpressive piece of character-oriented storytelling. The second one double dials the exhaustion of one’s experience. Nevertheless, excellent actors doing their thing and amplifying the rare moments of intellect is what makes it watchable. Here is a brief recap of what happened thus far in the show.
Black Bird Episode 1 & 2 Recap:
The show begins with Jimmy’s voiceover explaining how two entirely different things which can have a connection. Hence, Jessica Roach, a girl casually cycling through the streets of Indiana, will have her life connected to that of Jimmy. The latter was a star athlete who is now a drug dealer with a lavish and cool lifestyle in nineties America. He has a large mansion, drives expensive sports cars, and sleeps with sexy waitresses. One day, one of his own employees tries to steal his good. And the next day, the FBI arrests the man and seizes his drugs and expansive weaponry.
The charming young man, who just happens to be a drug dealer, finds himself in deep trouble. His father comes there to console him, saying that he has been a cop for a prolonged period, and he will be out in five years if he pleads guilty, and in four on good behavior. For a lesser period of sentence, Jimmy pleads guilty in front of the court but is rather imprisoned for a decade. Seven months later, Special Agent Lauren and public prosecutor Beaumont come to meet him and offer him a proposition. That is, if Jimmy manages to extract suspected serial killer Larry Hall’s confession on having killed certain women, along with where he has disposed of their bodies, he can get himself off prison time.
Jimmy is initially hesitant to accept the proposition. And why wouldn’t he be? Larry Hall is imprisoned in Springfield Missouri, a maximum security jail designed for the criminally insane. The show then cuts to a flashback sequence from four years ago, when detective Brian Miller was appointed to investigate the murder scene of Jessica Roach. A witness, who is short at sight, tells him that the only two things he saw were that the murderer was white, and traveled in a Dodge van.
Contacts with Wabash Police’s Chris Drysdale lead him to Larry “sideburns” Hall, a mentally depressed man who had used such a van on the day of the disappearance. Chris, however, is well-acquainted with Larry and holds the opinion that he is a rather harmless fellow. However, an interrogation with Hall confirms Miller’s slight suspicions, especially when the former says that he has been dreaming of strange things, like killing women.
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Meanwhile, in the present day, Jimmy discusses the proposition with his father. His father tells him that he must avoid going to Springfield, since it is no less than a death sentence, more so with this operation that he has in his hands. Later, her mother comes to the prison to talk to him and tells him of his father’s mental instability and overall sickness. She also suggests he take the deal, since his father may not even have three years if he doesn’t see his son.
Jimmy tells Lauren that he is interested in the deal. However, it’s not a confirmed deal yet. She tells him that this is very much a job, and he is one of those being interviewed from the prison, and that he has his own rivals. While this is much to Jimmy’s disappointment, Lauren encourages him to do his homework and continue looking into the files of the case.
On the night of March 29th, 1993, Patricia Reitler, one of the victims suspected to be killed by Larry, cycles back home. However, she is also being stalked by a Dodge van, presumably driven by Larry. The show then cuts back to the timeline in which Brian is questioning him. They are still talking about those dreams. However, in a shocking statement, Larry says that he doesn’t imagine himself doing things to women, and it is a rather complex and out-of-body experience that he has. However, when he sees the picture of Jessica Roach, he gets terrified for some inexplicable reason and says that he wants to leave for home.
Later, Brian lurks around as Larry is interrogated by the police in the matter of the case. He refuses to cooperate well with the police, and when he holds Jessica’s photo in his hands, he says that she is a good girl who was just not happy when she was in his van. After the interrogation is over, the police released a confessional statement that expands and twists what Larry actually said in a very discomforting manner, involving her rape and murder in all sanity, throwing her off the van thereafter. When Larry is presented with the paper of his confessions, he is visibly disturbed and says that he didn’t say all this. However, the police are fixated on their opinion that he did, in fact, say so. Larry then says, “No wonder why I’m having sleepless nights.”
Brian reaches Larry’s house and meets the man’s twin Gary, who says that they have taken his brother over nothing and that he is a harmless man who is desperate for attention. However, detective Miller is only there to get into the details. Lauren and Brian head outside to check the vans. While Larry is usually messy, there is certain gear that he keeps clean. He also had a nice career as a janitor, and his previous bosses praised him for his cleaning skills, which is quite strange because his house and vans are very messy.
In the present, Jimmy is interrogated by Lauren about his taste in women. While Jimmy thinks that Lauren is just playing some unfunny games with him, Lauren spins around her laptop screen to reveal another candidate, a Desert Storm Ranger who Beaumont wants to pick. This produces a sense of insecurity in Jimmy. Lauren then tells Jimmy about Gary, and how the latter is so charming and handsome that Larry commits to stuff just for attention, even if it’s picking girls up forcibly or lying during confessions. Nevertheless, Jimmy is expected to behave like a brother figure to the man in Springfield.
When Larry is being transferred to Springfield, Brian himself drives him. During the journey, Larry angrily breaks into the song We are Coming, Father Abraham, and talks about how his confession was coerced. Anyway, in the present, Jimmy has passed the test and is fit for getting into Springfield now.
Black Bird Episode 2 Ending Explained:
Jimmy is quite nervous heading towards Springfield. This is the realm for some of the most dangerous criminals, plus there is a little guarantee to the fact that he can elicit a genuine confession from the man. Moreover, time is crucial as a factor here since the judge is now aware of Larry’s medical condition and the fact that he found Brian quite intimidating a presence. Jimmy is made to understand that he needs to be razor-sharp.
The present prison is far noisier and unforgiving than his last one. In the night, Jimmy realizes his position in the prison: adjacent to Larry, that is.