Final episode of Defending Jacob delivers no easy answers [Apple TV+ review]

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Defending Jacob review: The Apple TV+ crime drama Defending Jacobcomes to a powerful conclusion.
The Apple TV+ crime drama comes to a powerful conclusion.
Photo: Apple TV+

Breakout Apple TV+ series Defending Jacob comes to a gutsy and strong conclusion by leaving its characters, and its audience, in the lurch. This is the smartest decision the show’s creators could have made.

The limited series’ ending, which premieres Friday, shifts everything we’ve seen so far into an entirely new light. It likely will haunt you for some time to come.

Spoiler alert: Details about “After,” the final episode of Defending Jacob, follow.

Defending Jacob turns over its final card in penultimate episode [Apple TV+ review]

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Defending Jacob review: The Apple TV+ crime drama hurtles toward its horrible end.
The Apple TV+ crime drama hurtles toward its horrible end.
Photo: Apple TV+

Defending Jacob closes in on its shocking and horrible conclusion this week. It’s been clear for a while that things will never get straightened out fully for the Barber family after Jacob’s murder trial. Whether the teen lands in jail or not, things will end badly.

The Apple TV+ crime drama’s seventh episode, titled “Job,” proves this in spectacularly agonizing fashion.

Defending Jacob nears boiling point in ‘Wishful Thinking’ [Apple TV+ review]

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Betty Gabriel and Chris Evans anchor the uniformly strong crime drama Defending Jacob.
Betty Gabriel and Chris Evans anchor uniformly strong crime drama Defending Jacob.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ crime drama Defending Jacob nears its climax in Episode 6. The writers crank up the tension and the danger in ways that finally take the series out of the ordinary and into the more obviously fictional and generic.

Thankfully, director Morten Tyldum knows how to handle a flagrant crime show incident without it seeming more overblown than the series can handle. (Spoiler alert: Some key plot details will follow.)

Defending Jacob takes an unsettling turn in 5th episode [Apple TV+ review]

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J.K. Simmons takes Defending Jacob to an unsettling new place.
J.K. Simmons takes us to an unsettling new place in this week's episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

Things start to get unbearably tense and inhumane as pressure builds on the Barber family in Defending Jacob’s fifth episode, “Visitors.” The show takes a number of risks that may pay rich dividends in future episodes — as long as the showrunners remember not to flinch.

New guest stars — including veteran actor J.K. Simmons — and old vendettas surface in Friday’s new episode. And the Barbers head toward what might turn out to be a moral dead end if they want to stop their son, Jacob, from going to prison. Can we say climax?

Defending Jacob delves into trust issues in stellar 4th episode [Review]

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Defending Jacob
Apple TV+'s Defending Jacob stays strong in its fourth episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

In its fourth episode, stellar Apple TV+ show Defending Jacob shows every member of the Barber family starting to crack as young Jacob moves closer to his murder trial. As the characters head toward revelations and uncomfortable conclusions, they start to stall for time in irresponsible, sometimes dangerous ways.

As the situation unfolds, their relationships with each other start to fray.

Defending Jacob finally justifies the existence of Apple TV+ [Review]

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Chris Evans, Jaeden Martell and Michelle Dockery portray a family fighting suspicion in Defending Jacob.
Chris Evans, Jaeden Martell and Michelle Dockery portray a family fighting suspicion in Defending Jacob.
Photo: Apple TV+

With a hot cast and a true-crime sheen, Defending Jacob is one of the most highly anticipated Apple TV+ series so far. It’s based on a best-selling novel. It’s helmed by an Oscar-nominated director. And the first three episodes arrived Friday, primed for a literally captive audience seeking its latest obsession.

Apple calls its fledgling streaming service “the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers.” And for the first time, Apple TV+ has delivered a show that lives up to the hype — at least judging by the first three episodes.