Shots Fired recap: 'Somebody's Son'
The continuing investigations force characters into some unwelcome revelations
This week’s episode of Shots Fired put politics center stage, as we see how the investigations into the deaths of Jesse Carr and Joey Campbell start rippling throughout the community. But DOJ prosecutor Preston Terry gets his first major lesson in the reality of death. While interviewing Corey’s dad in an attempt to find the missing witness, Preston and Ashe hear shots fired. When they go to investigate, they find Lieutenant Breeland standing over the body of a young black boy. Preston freaks, but both Breeland and Ashe are unfazed. Breeland assumes the boy must be a casualty of a drug dealer turf war and wants to know where the cameras and protesters are now that a black boy’s been shot by another black boy (asking about “black-on-black crime” is a common response to investigations of police shootings). Ashe reminds him that no matter what, the boy was somebody’s son (hence the name of our episode).
The next stop for Preston and Ashe is Pastor Janae James, who seems to get shadier by the episode. Even though she’s been the one driving the public conversation about justice in the wake of these recent police shootings, Janae oddly says that her problem with the police isn’t that they’re aggressive but that they’re “ineffective.” Apparently that’s where her patrol squads come in, but when Ashe asks about their efforts to scare Joey Campbell straight, Janae dodges the question. She wonders what this has to do with the Jesse Carr investigation (even though she’s been the one demanding justice for Joey Campbell) and she says she doesn’t know where the missing Corey is (even though she supposedly knows everything that goes down around the houses). She agrees to “ask around.”
Now the politics comes in, as the mourning Alicia Carr gets an unexpected visit from gubernatorial candidate Penn Moder. As we’ve been told in earlier episodes, Gov. Patricia Eamons is vulnerable in her upcoming reelection campaign, which is the whole reason she brought in the Department of Justice to publicly investigate the Carr shooting. She’s not the only one who wants to turn this story into a political tool, apparently. Moder tells Alicia he wants to honor Jesse’s memory by introducing a bill that would require deputies who pull over youth to call parents before demanding the kid get out of the car and escalating the situation. Seems like a good idea, but Alicia is angered at the politics of it all and demands he leave.
Ashe and Preston find a new development in the Jesse Carr case when the toxicology report indicates he was drunk at the time of his death. They bring in Jesse’s parents to explain it, and Alicia says they put Jesse in rehab after a drunk incident. Preston notes that rehab for one incident seems harsh, even after Jesse’s dad clarifies that he’s had problems with alcoholism so they were trying to be careful. Before they leave, Alicia asks Ashe about Jesse’s car, which was impounded and hasn’t been returned. It was Jesse’s high school graduation gift, so Ashe agrees to look into it. That doesn’t satisfy Alicia, who thinks the investigators are now targeting her family instead of the police. She films an ad for Moder and endorses his proposed legislation.
Meanwhile, there’s more political talk when Gov. Eamons meets with Pastor Janae at Preston’s favorite local restaurant. Janae criticizes Eamons for not looking out for the poor and working class in North Carolina, but both agree they think their purpose is to serve their communities. To prove her good intentions, Eamons accompanies Janae on a visit to Shameeka Campbell. Although her surviving son Shawn is bright and amiable, the absence of Joey can be felt throughout the house. Eamons promises Shameeka she’ll tell the sheriff’s office to look into her son’s death, but Shameeka also wants her to stop Shawn’s school from closing, because otherwise he’ll be sent to a much worse school and might lose his chance at academic success. That’s an even thornier issue, but Eamons agrees to look into it.
Preston and Ashe take their investigation to Jesse’s college. They find his ex-girlfriend, who says Jesse was shy when they first met but became a different person at some point, probably through the influence of the frat he was joining. Another friend confirms as much and also explains something about Jesse’s drinking incident. Apparently, Jesse came back to the dorm one night drunk with frat brothers in tow and wouldn’t calm down. In response, this friend (who is black) beat Jesse up.
That forms a connection for Preston, a proud graduate of a Yale frat who claims to know how they think. He proposes that Jesse probably took bullying from his frat brothers for losing a fight to a black guy, and that pressure may have contributed to his fatal confrontation with Beck. Ashe, for her part, has located the other witness to Joey’s death. She didn’t exactly do it “legally,” though, so Preston declines to be part of the follow-up. Going solo, Ashe finds Kiana Ward living in a much more upscale neighborhood and warns her to be careful given Corey’s disappearance. Unbeknownst to either, they are being recorded by a mysterious man in a car outside.
Preston decides to use his expertise to interview Jesse’s frat brothers. A senior member tells him they sent Jesse to get barbecue and he insisted on going all the way to Gates Station because it was his favorite spot. Preston doesn’t buy it and later confirms with a younger initiate that Jesse was explicitly sent there as punishment for losing a fight to a black guy and “embarrassing” the frat. As he hears this, looking around at a bunch of white frat members dancing around, Preston seems to realize that frats may not exactly be as noble as he thought. He shuts the music off and storms out, which he probably should’ve done earlier because it’s pretty weird for a grown DOJ prosecutor to be hanging around at a college frat party anyway.
He’s not the only one reevaluating the white people in his life. When Joshua Beck gets home, he finds his wife Kerry struggling to fix a leak in the sink because the plumber refused to come. Similarly, Kerry has now been asked to withdraw as a bridesmaid from her friend’s wedding. Beck wonders why this is happening to them when “we did everything right,” apparently forgetting the part where he shot a young unarmed boy to death in public. But at least he gets some shower sex with his wife to make up for it, as they determine to stand together against the world.
While following up on Jesse’s car for Alicia, Ashe sees Corey’s dad finally filing a missing person’s report and decides to tail him. While that’s happening, she gets a call from her daughter Kai after a delay earlier in the day. At first she’s delighted to talk to her daughter for the first time in days, but after Kai starts talking about shopping with her stepmom Paula (hence the call delay) and even speaking Spanish the way Paula taught her, Ashe flips out. Kai starts crying, and her father Javier steps in to end the call. If Ashe doesn’t get some kind of emotional support for the trauma she’s been through (which hopefully we’ll get more specific details about soon), it doesn’t seem like she’ll be able to stop her personal life from collapsing.
Luckily, she’s still good at her profession. After following Corey’s dad all the way home, she breaks in – and finds Corey himself.
This episode was a good development for a lot of the characters. As the investigations continue without a solution in sight, people are turning to more desperate and unconventional decisions. My guess is it won’t lead anywhere good.