A teacher is accused of raping a student in Texas and having her get an abortion – but is he innocent or guilty?
|Aired (FOX)||March 21, 2023|
|Newly Noted Characters|
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The Lovely Mr. Jack Fletcher – Jack, Britney, Clara, Richie
Jack is an English teacher at a school and Texas and is also the staff advisor for the drama club. He is dating a fellow teacher, Ms. Britney Thoms, and is quite beloved amongst students and likely staff. The kids call him “Fletch,” and he is so charming and likable that, like many a teen movie, he has one of the top sports players, Richie, in his production of “Hamlet.” That also features Clara, who is doing an ace job with all the clothing, for which Jack praises her.
But, being that Britney appears a bit more seasoned, she warns Jack of there being a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
Know Where To Draw The Line – Jack, Britney, Clara, Richie
Fortunately and Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t listen. His not listening ends up saving Clara’s life, for after learning she is pregnant, she is ready to kill herself rather than deal with the shame of having a baby out of wedlock. Which is what we’re presented with at first. When Jack saves her, Clara makes it seem that, over the course of working on Hamlet together, she and Richie got close and had sex. But that wasn’t the truth. Richie is a virgin, and Jack learns this when Richie asks him about sex days after Clara confesses.
But, Clara’s lie aside, being that Jack wants to be nice, even if it doesn’t fit local cultural customs, he encourages, advocates, and even pays for Clara’s abortion. Which he was fine with and kept between him and her. However, between the lie about Richie and learning that Clara’s step-dad got her pregnant? Jack could keep what he knew a secret no more.
Enter Britney. Around this time, she and Jack have been together for two years, have been engaged for one, live together, and her family knows him. Now, it isn’t clear where his family is at, but that’s a whole different story. The point is, these two are close. Which is why she is shocked to hear about Clara and what she was going through, only after all was said and done. For with not telling her until the last minute and being caught in a lie, since Clara left some trinket in Jack’s car, it makes what Jack gets accused of believable.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Jack, Britney, Clara, Richie, Jessica, Frank
Jack doesn’t deny that he helped Clara get an abortion. That is a fact, and even though he paid with cash, he doesn’t try to avoid responsibility for that. However, he utterly denies the charge of statutory rape. But, even without a rape kit or anything like that, it is Jack’s word against Clara’s. She, upon hearing Jack wanted to tell the cops what her dad, Frank, did, proceeded to do something drastic to get Jack to shut up, and she went forward with a lie. All to protect a man who isn’t her father, but because her dad left her mom, Jessica, destitute, and her mom loves this new man, and he provides for her, she tried to take what happened to the grave – even if it meant sacrificing the one adult who not only knew but has made an effort to help her.
Luckily, while on the stand, Clara says things that don’t add up. Britney knows Jack is not a sports guy, so Clara talking about their first time being in the spring with Jack listening to baseball on the radio while doing who knows what was off. Jack, through his lawyer, texts this to Britney, and during a recess, Britney advocates for Jack to Clara’s mom. Now, as she is talking to Jessica and trying to get her to see reason, Frank is trying to keep Clara from telling the truth and instill further guilt.
However, in the end, Clara’s Mom realizes what Britney is saying is true, and while Jack still loses his teaching license, he at least avoids jail time and doesn’t have to become a registered sex offender. Also, on his last day of school, Clara apologizes.
Things To Note
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Was Jack from a more liberal part of Texas, or was he from out of state?
On The Fence
Everyone Ends Up Being Innocent
While each episode of “Accused” is self-contain, it is hard to not feel, as a whole, we should have at least one person who is just guilty. Yes, dress it up so it is hard to say whether they are truly guilty until the end, but everyone being innocent of the crime thus far has taken some of the fun out of the show.
This isn’t to downplay the message, like this episode speaking on how some overzealous teachers save lives, the importance of abortion access, the topic of rape, and even rural/ religious culture being weaponized. But it no longer feels enough to be just good enough.
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