“I haven’t exactly been honest with you, Peter...”
The most explosive episode of American Vandal so far opens with a series of texts from Kevin ‘Shit Stain’ aka ‘Fruit Ninja’ McClain. He’s trying to distance himself from American Vandal, which leads our intrepid investigators to the 24 Stop (after an encounter with the annoying Myles) and the footage of DeMarcus and Lou ostensibly pressuring Kevin outside the store. Why did they come after Kevin? To force him to confess to something he didn’t do? A plot-heavy episode leads to a very different conclusion when Peter discovers that he received DMs from the Turd Burglar at the exact same time that DeMarcus & Lou were threatening Kevin. DeMarcus and Kevin have been the top two suspects this season. Now both are innocent.
Well, well, well. I had suspected a few times that the Turd Burglar might be more than one person, suggesting maybe DeMarcus & Lou working together, Kevin & somebody, or maybe even the three suspects from Just the Tip Day. What never dawned on me was that it could be multiple people actually committing the Turd Burglar crimes at the best of one puppet master? It’s a fucking Saw situation! An Evil Genius at work! At least that’s how it looks after this episode, which reveals that Jenna Hawthorne undeniably committed the Shit Launcher crime, but she was forced into doing so by someone catfishing her. Who exactly that is remains the great mystery for the season finale.
Here’s what we know about the Shit Launcher, which is now the most detailed crime of the Turd Burglar’s. Jenna Hawthorne, despondent over the loss of her friends and social status after the Kendall Jenner debacle, was befriended by someone online who called herself Brooke Wheeler. The first note I took when the Brooke Wheeler saga started to unfold was an obvious one - “CATFISH!”
Jenna learns too late that Brooke is a scam, heartbroken even further when her online relationship sours and the girl she thought she loved threatens to expose her with explicit photos. The scam is simple. ‘Brooke’ romances someone, that person sends dirty pics, and then the Catfisher makes them pull a prank. And so Jenna rolled the T-shirts in cat shit and ran from the scene, crashing into DeMarcus and Lou on the way out of the parking lot. If Lou hadn’t snapped that pic showing the real T-shirts in Jenna’s car, this entire scam might never be revealed.
But what does this mean? First of all, it means that Lou & DeMarcus may be entirely innocent. As Peter says, Lou’s story make sense. It make sense that they wanted to hide DeMarcus’ ankle injury, and that’s why they were late for the pep rally and that’s why the team captain was sending threatening emails about team loyalty. It make sense that they were aggressive with Gonzo and Kevin because they thought both guys were simply telling lies. Wouldn’t you be angry if you were being framed? It does raise some new questions though like why is Gonzo lying (or is he just mistaken) and how does someone other than Lou have access to the Teacher’s Lounger for the 4th Poop Crime?
Which brings me to my biggest theory: Lou did commit the Christmas Pooptacular. Jenna did the Shit Launcher. Kevin did the Brownout, which is why he replaced Brother Buckley’s lemonade with horchata, and why he shit his own pants. Who did the Poop Pinata remains a mystery. But what if there’s someone out there pulling the strings on socially vulnerable people? Someone who finds the weak people online and uses their trust and weakness to fulfill the dreams of the Turd Burglar? Who could that person be? It’s definitely not the real Brooke Wheeler, who has never heard the words ‘turd’ and ‘burglar’ put together before. Could it be a teacher? Another person from Just the Tip Day? What about Chloe herself? Or Tanner Bassett? There’s still a startling number of suspects with only one episode to go. Can Sam and Peter get to the dirty bottom of this case before the season ends?
- #1 Suspect: We’re back where we began! Kevin is innocent, and we have no idea who’s pulling the strings. I still don’t trust Chloe, but then why would she call in the show? I like the idea that all four crimes were committed by a different student. What if a teacher was pulling the strings? I’m going with Mrs. Montgomery.
- Kevin is totally right that $3 ATM surcharges are bullshit.
- Was this the least funny episode of American Vandal? It was still a strong one just because of the investment in the mystery at this point, but it’s fascinating to watch how the writers modulate humor and drama over the course of the season. The extended sequence in which it was clear Jenna was being catfished was honestly sad. They’re trying to raise the stakes a bit here as we get to the end.
- Having said that, I laughed at Sam buying seven hats and a snow globe to get information from the surly 24 Stop manager. Sam and Peter are a perfect team. The former acts quickly, the latter often thinks too much.
- On that note, I’m a little worried about Sam and Chloe’s insistence on calling the cops on DeMarcus and Lou. Could that be foreshadowing of something horrible happening to Kevin if they wait too long? Or maybe Chloe wants to call the cops to point the finger at DeMarcus more directly and get him sent away. She’s been hell-bent on getting DeMarcus in trouble. Is it just protection for her friend or something else at play?