In The Dark Season 4 Episode 5 Review: The Trial of Murphy Mason, Part One


In the Dark giveth and it taketh away.

Murphy’s trial is already a circus, which is what we could expect, but as much as we don’t want her to go down for murder, she certainly didn’t make it easy to root for her during parts of In The Dark Season 4 Episode 5.

How many times and how many ways can we reiterate that the Bell siblings deserve so much better?

The Max/Murphy hot mess express train is so hard to get on board with, you guys.

The problem with this pairing is that they’ve taken them on such a journey, and now they’re trying to shove them back together without resolving anything, and they’re just a festering pool of toxicity.

And for some of us, no amount of great chemistry, prettiness, or steamy scenes can make up for how awful things are with them and how offputting it is that they never seem to mind hurting everyone around them and even themselves for the sake of being together.

They’ve learned nothing in four seasons, and there is minimal growth in that relationship. In fact, they undid any glimpse of growth they probably had for the sake of jamming them back together to appease ‘shippers.

Fan service is literally at the expense of strong writing, character growth, and development.

Max and Murphy are just so shitty. It’s galling that they would jump at the first opportunity when they’re left alone to have sex with each other.

No, it’s not surprising when they were the same couple who had sex by a tree while burying bodies. But Leslie was headed off to the office to do everything in her power to keep Murphy out of prison, and the second Felix wasn’t around to supervise, they were having sex with each other in Leslie’s bed.

It doesn’t get any lower or more trifling than that. It’s also unfathomable that they would continue testing Felix as someone who loves Murphy and as a man who gives a damn about his sister.

Felix: I didn’t tell my sister, I’m not going to, so.
Murphy: Really?
Felix: Yeah. I love you too much to jeopardize your case.

It’s also incomprehensible that they would risk sleeping together in Leslie’s home when she just as easily could’ve come back. Why would you sabotage yourself by betraying and hurting the one person who is trying to keep you out of prison for the rest of your life?

It’s moments like that when it hits you that there is such limited growth for these characters over the years. Neither of them has to be likable or perfect, but good grief. They’ve practically surpassed the limits beyond just pushing them.

The toxicity of Murphy and Max, especially when they’re together, is exasperating. And the pathetic Felix angle they beat like a dead horse is painfully exhausting.

The messed-up thing is that Leslie would have probably figured out what was happening between Max and Murphy on her own sooner rather than later. She can already tell when Murphy is lying because of her hair tucking.

Murphy: Thank you for being there for me today. It meant a lot, you know, considering.
Max: Considering what?
Murphy: Considering, considering.

But as if it wasn’t bad enough, Murphy and Max can’t even manage the decency of keeping their hands off each other or casually flirting whenever they’re around each other.

But rather than the truth about their relationship coming to light because of solely their actions, the attention will fall on Felix when the truth comes out because of him getting drunk and telling Chelsea because he was pathetic enough to try and hook up with an actual witness in the trial and his ex because he’s trying to get over Murphy.

The secondhand embarrassment is so freaking unbearable sometimes.

One can’t get over the audacity and gall of both Max and Murphy. Felix has covered for them TWICE. They’re actively hurting his flesh and blood.

It’s not just about him being in love with Murphy and expressing his feelings about their relationship solely because of that. No, they’re fully taking advantage of, exploiting, draining dry, and hurting his sister.

Felix has a right to be upset about that, and they’re so self-absorbed and selfish that they keep doing this stuff and then expecting Felix to sit and take it for the sake of not hurting his sister.

It’s messed up that Felix should be able to confide in someone about it and express his frustrations. But, of course, him being drunk and vulnerable must be this earth-shattering, catastrophic, domino effect thing that could blow up the trial.

And he can’t win here because Murphy and Max will have the audacity to be angry at him for discussing what THEY did to a witness, and Leslie will be hurt that her own brother kept this secret from her.

It’s no doubt that Leslie will get blindsided in the courtroom, and she’ll have to keep it together when she’s been working day and night to defend Murphy.

And make no mistake, Leslie is putting in the work. The trial portions of the hour were the best parts of the season. Leslie was the clear standout.

She’s a fantastic lawyer once she’s in that courtroom. Her opening statement pinpointed what the jury should focus on and essentially addressed some of the annoyances with this entire investigation.

The majority of the case against Murphy is circumstantial, and the prosecution is relying too heavily on putting Murphy’s character on the stand, making the jury hate her, rather than presenting an airtight case that proves that Murphy killed Nia.

Leslie is a shark. She’s witty and confident, and she can roll with the punches. She handled the video footage and begrudging testimony under threat of perjury from Murphy’s mother well.

She brilliantly emphasized Murphy’s assistance in cracking cases and exposing the corrupt CPD, and she did a great job of tying Gene to that and making him confirm that Dean was shady as hell.

But the single most satisfying moment of the hour was when Josh’s smug ass got on that stand, and Leslie and Murphy wiped the smirk off of his face by proving how unreliable he was.

She laid the foundation by pointing out that he, too, was engaging in a sexual relationship with Murphy, then she brought his blindness into question.

Josh: I’m only legally blind.
Leslie: So you’re blind. By law.
Josh: Yes.

Murphy loosening her button and Leslie asking Josh to find it while painful seconds ticked away as he failed to see the button that was literally right in front of him was purely genius courtroom theatrics.

We’ve been waiting for Josh to get knocked down a few pegs for ages. It would be great if we could keep that energy for the remainder of the season. Good lord, that man is insufferable.

Murphy calling Darnell out was also a satisfying moment. Is Darnell playing some type of long con and on Team Murphy or something?

One can only hope that’s why he’s behaving like this because it doesn’t even make sense. They finally stated that Darnell does, in fact, know that Murphy didn’t kill his sister.

But he supposedly still blames her for Nia’s death anyway and wants her to suffer. Again, the math simply isn’t mathing here, and something has to give!

Murphy is right; Darnell is why she got involved with Nia, and he was using her to take down his sister. He can’t pick and choose when he gives a damn about his sister.

Darnell is working this Bolt case for Sarah, but he’s not producing anything of substance. It’s another reason why I can’t help but feel Darnell is Team Murphy.

Without anything that Darnell can give them, Sarah can’t solve the case. And because they failed to make headway, Bolt is killing teenagers now.

The Millennial Mod Squad’s inefficacy is basically costing Gene his job. And instead of focusing on getting this drug off the market, he’s succumbed to Josh’s levels of villainy and absurdity, and now he wants to “bury” Murphy as his last move.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that we had to sit through their testimony where they implied that Murphy was some Drug Queen Pin who took out Nia to run an empire, we get Gene with a vendetta, too.

Goodness, these people suck.

Additional Notes:

  • It was so good and such a surprise to see Chloe! She’s all grown up and rocking the emo look. However, Murphy calling her against Leslie’s advice and begging her not to testify will come back to bite her in the ass.
  • Pretzel has to get tired of laying outside of places listening to Murphy have sex.
  • Where the hell is Jess? After mentioning her name, can we speculate that she may factor into this trial at some point?
  • I’m so sorry to Theodore Bhat, who is doing a fine job. Josh has such a hateable face I want to throw things every time he’s onscreen.
  • How did they make me love Leslie so much when I initially couldn’t stand her? She and Pretzel deserve nothing but happiness.
  • Is there a reason none of the evidence or footage ever show that Max, Felix, and Jess were part of this whole Nia death thing?
  • That teenager suddenly being angry at Murphy and considering her a horrible person is NUTS!

What? Chloe Riley is testifying against me?

Over to you, In the Dark Fanatics.

Are you sick and tired of Max and Murphy? Do you feel bad for Leslie? Was that the last of Chloe? Sound off below.

You can watch In The Dark online here via TV Fanatic.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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