Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Marriage Encounter

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If that was the total of the "good" years that Betty and Dan Broderick shared, Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3 didn't have much to say for their marriage.

And if we were supposed to get some perspective on Dan outside of Betty's experience with him, well, that failed.

It's still confusing whether this story is an over-the-top dramatic interpretation of the Broderick story from Betty's perspective or if they've done some research into Dan's side of the story.

Desperate Measures - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story

If nothing else, by highlighting family friends Yvonne and Martin, the case was made for Dan's despicable treatment of Betty to be par for the course in their neck of the woods.

Maybe it could be said they're a product of their times, but if everyone with any wealth experienced the same scenario, then the institution of marriage wouldn't have made it out of the 80s.

Brodericks at the Club - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

From what the show has depicted so far, Dan chose Betty because she seemed like a good physical match, and she was possibly malleable because she wasn't thriving under her parents' roof, at least from his point of view.

When Linda was finally introduced into the picture, whatever was left unsaid on screen became reality when Betty heard Dan call someone "so beautiful."

You don't say things like that. You don't call anyone beautiful.

Betty

How sad that she knew without a doubt that Dan wasn't talking about her because he'd never called her beautiful. Upon that realization, it seems Dan chose his mark well. Betty didn't have unconditional love from her parents, so she was unfamiliar with it and didn't require it from Dan.

Dan got it all right on the surface, and even their last-ditch effort to get married life right was superficial.

Dirty Dan - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

Money doesn't buy happiness. It buys time to ride through the unhappy moments until reality hits you square in the eye.

Everything about Betty annoyed Dan because she wouldn't let go of their past. Inexplicably, she was proud of all he accomplished while he wanted the world to believe he'd always been a polished, million-dollar-commission winning attorney.

If she had been quiet and meek, she could have continued riding on his coattails. He would have had affairs and remained married because Betty was the right type of person to have on his arm.

Dan: Why aren't you dressed? Didn't you speak to Evelyn? You know she's going. Everybody's going!
Betty: Is that what I should say to Yvonne? Everybody's going, so I have to, too?

Betty wasn't meek, and never was that more apparent than when she stood steadfast at the side of her friend as she underwent the humiliation of a divorce and her husband remarrying.

Smooth Attorney - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

By showing what happened to Yvonne, the show set the stage for what to expect from Dan, but given the dead couple of Dan and Linda, Betty didn't take the unfaithfulness lying down.

Dan: Why do you have to tell Yvonne anything? She knows how this goes. Besides, why do you care what Martin does? OK? I mean, if he's such a shit, isn't Yvonne better off without him?
Betty: You know what? I don't care, but I'm not going to stand there and toast his happiness and, and condone this.

It's weird, though, that she chose to fight back even after she realized that Dan wasn't the man of her dreams.

That lightbulb went off in her head when she attended her parents' Catholic church. Only by seeing in writing how others experienced marriage could Betty see that she didn't have the same.

It wasn't cool that she passive-aggressively said that they just wouldn't go to church once Dan shared his point of view, which, in a nutshell, was that religion is hooey and anyone believing in God needed that network of fantasies since they couldn't deal with real life.

Betty Smiles - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

Ouch, especially from a man who never told the truth to anyone. He lived in fantasy land for years, and only when he got money did he feel secure enough to chuck it all and go for the brass ring.

Unfortunately, even though Betty wasn't meek, she was unconfident, and that was a terrible combination for her marriage to Dan. Everything she was rode on being married to Dan.

Her attempts to lure him back into her heart were painful, especially since it's questionable whether she ever had his heart in the first place.

Get rid of her. I mean it. Get rid of her by the end of this month, or you can get out of this house.

Betty

But Betty clearly overplayed her hand. Instead of seeing Dan for what he was, especially when he told her in therapy that everything he had done had been useless and unrewarding, setting the stage for what he would have rather than what he did.

Angry Dan - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

While Betty clung to their past, flipping back through her Rolodex (look it up) of memories of their fleeting moments of joy, Dan was fixated on the future and one that wouldn't include Betty.

Betty: Did you not hear me? Did you think I didn't mean it?
Dan: No. I knew you did. But you made a mistake. You thought it was your decision. You think you decide who works for me, for my practice, where I make the money that you spend, but you don't. I pay for your life. Everything about it. I pay for this house that you live in, so if anyone's going to be getting out, it's you.

It's highly likely that Dan was a creep. He was obsessed with money and achieving success, and his choice of career as a malpractice attorney with an MD only added more credence to his empty soul. He was crushing people for profit. That's ugly business.

Dan left Betty dangling on a line for years waiting for someone better to come along, and that's unforgiveable. Too many people, male and female, have done it through the years, and it's hard to feel bad for them when something goes terribly wrong.

It's an uncomfortable feeling not caring about the victim, but I can't shake it with this series. Many good series lay everything on the table and then turn the table on its side, reestablishing everything we believe we know.

Incognito Betty - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

Surely, that's what's going to happen here, right? We'll get a glimpse of Dan as others saw him instead of only through Betty's eyes? Because she is a killer. Should we be hanging on her every word and believing her story?

It's icky.

Is there any part of this story that feels entirely credible to you, or do you think it's a little too one-sided for a tale that ended in the smarmy husband's death?

I'll credit the acting in this one for how well it's conveying those opinions. Amanda Peet is nailing the performance of a woman all over the map with her marriage, and Christian Slater is smarmy as hell.

Receptionist Linda - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3

It will be interesting to see if Linda's introduction to the story gives Dan a little more humanity.

From what I've read, they were the real deal, and their friends (can we even trust those people??) thought they were happy and in love.

If you've missed the show so far, you can watch Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story online to catch up.

In the meantime, jump down into the comments so we can chat about it!

Marriage Encounter Review

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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.

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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 3 Quotes

Dan: Why do you have to tell Yvonne anything? She knows how this goes. Besides, why do you care what Martin does? OK? I mean, if he's such a shit, isn't Yvonne better off without him?
Betty: You know what? I don't care, but I'm not going to stand there and toast his happiness and, and condone this.

Dan: Why aren't you dressed? Didn't you speak to Evelyn? You know she's going. Everybody's going!
Betty: Is that what I should say to Yvonne? Everybody's going, so I have to, too?