WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Defending Jacob Episode 5, “Visitors,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
As Defending Jacob unravels, signs that young Jacob (Jaeden Martell) may be responsible for the murder of his classmate, Ben, at a Newport park in Massachusetts have reared their ugly head. He’s harboring an inner-darkness, which we first construed to be pressure from the case and what seemed to be wrongful accusations, but bit by bit, his reaction to everything is suspicious.
And so, in the fifth episode, “Visitors,” some of Jacob’s deepest, darkest secrets are revealed and make no mistake, these blasts from the past suggest he’s guilty of the crime or at least has the potential to be.
When Jacob’s mother, Laurie (Michelle Dockery) reads a Globe article exposing the frailty of her family, she spirals further into depression. This takes her to Dr. Elizabeth Vogel (Poorna Jagannathan), the criminal psychologist, working on Jacob’s defense team as she struggles with her impending mental breakdown. Liz feels sorry for her and in a pseudo-session, they discuss her getting help from a proper parental psychologist. But Liz does extract one key memory as she realizes there’s doubt lingering in Laurie’s mind over Jacob’s innocence.
Apparently, when he was six or so, they went to a children’s party at the town’s bowling alley. While Laurie socialized with other parents, she saw Jacob and another kid fighting, but she thought this was just boys being boys. However, in one key moment, Jacob walked away, took up a bowling ball and was approaching the kid from the back. The boy was seated and Jacob was about to smash him in the back of the head with it before Laurie grabbed the ball. She said she saw a cold, dead look in the kid’s eyes and luckily, no one else noticed the debacle. Still, it’s something she’s never escaped and Laurie is seeing that same lifeless look in Jacob these days. Liz tells her she’s overthinking but it’s more likely that she doesn’t want to offset the case.
When reconciling this with what Andy (Chris Evans) discovers, it paints a bleak picture for Jacob. When the dad confronts Derek (Jacob’s ex-bestie and the person who’s telling everyone online Jacob killed Ben), he’s told Jacob is into the “cutter” scene. This includes a porn site called “The Cut Up Room” that involves torture, bondage, violence, abuse and blood. Andy doesn’t want to believe it but when the show flash-forwards, he’s asked about it on the stand, where he’s defending his son. He says he scoured Jacob’s browser but didn’t find any in the history. Notably, Andy looks down when he recounts this, hinting that he’s lying.
This episode juxtaposes all this to the past when he takes Jacob on a fishing trip to forget about the case. So clearly, Andy’s still trying to believe his son, even if evidence points otherwise. Notably, he’s already gotten rid of a knife that could have incriminated the kid earlier this season and he’s then found breaking rules as the D.A. that got taken off this case once it was Jacob being accused. To put it simply, it’s difficult to put perjury past Andy in his time of desperation. After all, Andy’s mantra is to make sure Jacob doesn’t go to jail and he’ll do “whatever it takes” to protect his only child, even if it’s obscuring a very macabre history.
Written by Mark Bomback and directed by Morten Tyldum, Defending Jacob stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Pablo Schreiber, Cherry Jones, Jaeden Martell, Sakina Jaffrey, Betty Gabriel and J.K. Simmons. The miniseries is now streaming on Apple TV+ with new episodes out every Friday.
Defending Jacob's latest episode throws the accused's parents into the deep end by revealing some of the boy's deepest, darkest secrets.