American Crime Story S03E01 – S03E02 are the first two episodes of the third season of the true-life crime FX TV drama anthology series. Entitled “Impeachment” this season revolves around the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal and is based on the book A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President by Jeffrey Toobin.
American Crime Story S03E01 – S03E02 sets up the premise and perspective of the presentation. Quite obviously, the story is NOT told by the main players BUT by the actual protagonist behind the scandal – civil servant Linda Tripp (Sarah Paulson, in a fat suit). Without spoiling what comes down the line in the Impeachment storyline, without Tripp’s actions there would not have been any scandal and thus no impeachment to begin with.
So it’s fairly justified for the story to be focused on Tripp’s key role. But be warned, American Crime Story S03E01 – S03E02 sets up characters that are quite unlikeable from the get-go. From the foolish naivety of Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) to the predatory instincts of Bill Clinton (an unrecognisable Clive Owen), nobody’s blameless here. Add to that the vindictive entitlement of Tripp herself, these early episodes can be quite hard going.
However, as with the previous seasons, it is the character-driven emphasis that makes American Crime Story highly appealing and engaging. After all, all the facts and details of these incidents can be read online, the series does an excellent job in getting under the skin and into the heads of the various protagonists to identify and emphatize with them.
Now, in American Crime Story S03E01 – S03E02, we had a difficult time in feeling any empathy with Linda Tripp but we are hopeful that the rest of the season will bring us closer to engaging with her motivations. Highly recommended.
… still there’s more …