The story is finally getting somewhere!
To be honest, Manhunt: UNABOMBER Season 1 Episode 5 still has too many of the trappings of a soap opera, and without them, it would be a far more compelling series.
But it's too late to head down to the writers' room and give my input (you KNOW they would have been interested to hear it), so we're dealing with what we have. And what we have now is Ted Kaczynski's name on the board. YES!
Since I can continue to push buttons without any blowback from you, dear readers, why not continue what I've already started?
As I said at the beginning of Manhunt: UNABOMBER Season 1, the series is doing a fantastic job of piquing my interest into knowing the facts.
That's both a blessing and a curse. Knowledge coming by way of viewing television is a beautiful thing. We should know our history so that we can keep it from occurring again.
Still, I can't help but wonder why this version of the story has been so fictionalized. Even the names of the agents have been changed. Since the story interweaves the names of real people and actual events, why so much fiction?
Jim Fitzgerald is Jim Freeman. I'd imagine he'd want his name associated with the show because of his accomplishments with forensic linguistics.
Because he worked with other actual agents whose names were not used in the production of the show, perhaps that means it wasn't even an option.
On the other hand, David Kaczynski and his wife, Linda, are real people and related to Ted. If anyone would want to have their names changed, you'd think it would be them.
Although I am incredibly impressed with their portrayal in the story, as well as the Kaczynski matriarch, who took the news not only of David's betrayal of his brother but that Ted was the center of a nationwide manhunt with amazing grace.
Those stories, from my research, are genuine.
While I'm busy over here wondering, and it's not the first time this has come to my mind, does it occur to anyone else this series might be written to paint a better light on Ted Kaczynski and the Kaczynski family in general?
There's nothing wrong with that assertion; it's just an interesting thought. There are, as there are with most any event in US history, conspiracy theories floating around out there that the CIA had their hands in the UNABOM situation.
I have not read up on that because I don't tend to put credence into CIA conspiracies. But I can't help but agree Ted is not your run of the mill killer, nor is his family what would be expected of a man who kills.
The further we get with technology, the easier it is to agree with Kaczynski's thoughts on where we'll wind up if we don't take heed on what immersing into a technological world means.
What Fitz said during the hour was true. Imagine the percentage of others who might have been in the same circumstances who wouldn't have had the courage to do the right thing and turn that document over for examination.
It wasn't because David didn't love Ted, either. It was because he did love Ted and was concerned that in different hands, without his input, Ted could be ravaged. David wanted the opportunity to look out for his brother, and if that meant he might have to turn him it, then so be it.
When you look at the other men during the hour, they hardly showed the same honor.
Jim was struggling being "normal" at the FBI. He was given the tip of a lifetime when Tabby got her hands on the letter David submitted for examination. She went outside her jurisdiction to get it to him, and he ultimately got her canned. So not cool.
Ernie failed miserably, forgetting everything he had learned by investigating with Jim and Tabby when he simply dismissed the letter as a non-match by the typewriter only. Just no.
Fitz was reading the letter in his office for four hours while his kids were in the car outside. He's not getting a dad of the year award for that. Nor will he win one the following year for tearing in half his kids' drawing for David Kaczynski's address. Yikes.
Back at FBI Headquarters, Cole wanted to erase Ted Kaczynski off the board the moment Fitz wrote it; one can only assume out of sheer jealousy.
Ackerman was finally acting like the FBI man he should have been UNTIL he fired Tabby for going off book. You know, when he and Cole and Ernie and everyone else failed, sometimes you have to suck it up and recognize the grievous error was what got the job done.
So, see? The FBI look like goons. They don't seem to have a lot of scruples; they nitpick and bother. Oh! Even Natalie wanted to stop helping Fitz with what amounts to her life's work because he rebuffed her romantic gesture. That was a soap opera moment that wasn't needed and was incredibly embarrassing.
The characterizations are poor overall except when it comes to the Kaczynski family – so far, at least.
But, as I said, I'm OK with that. Not seeing a family torn asunder to tell a tale such as this is rather heartwarming. And a Polish family, no less. There's generally no love lost for the Polish. Growing up Polish was highly unpleasant back in the day.
Who would have guessed one day a madman would have his family's story told in such a way where they weren't painted as the worst America had to offer?
It's a feat. I'm not sure about the original intent, but it's working for me at the moment. How about you?
If you're behind on this Discovery series, you can watch Manhunt: UNABOMBER online to see what it's about.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.