The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Episode 2 Recap: The Bronco Chase

Photo: Courtesy of FX.
O. J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.)
O. J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is missing. Robert Kardashian (David Schwimmer) and Robert Shapiro (John Travolta) are trying to decide what to do with his suicide note, which he signed with a happy face. There's a statewide manhunt on for Simpson, which Marcia Clark (Sarah Paulson) is confident will end soon. "He can't hide forever. Everyone knows his face," she insists. What she's not counting on is everyone calling in fake tips, joking that Simpson is "with Magic Johnson" and in other absurd locations.
He's really with A. C. Cowlings (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), who they call "a former linebacker, kind of like a fourth-rate O. J." The LAPD is mortified that it let Simpson slip through its hands. Robert Shapiro goes on CNN and asks Simpson to surrender for the sake of his family and his children, but really just talks up himself and his good deeds on behalf of O. J.
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Next, it's Robert Kardashian's turn on the mic. He reads Simpson's suicide note. His kids (Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Robert Jr.) are watching the press conference at home. When a member of the media asks Kardashian to spell his last name, the kids excitedly spell it. "Kardashian! Kardashian!" they all start cheering. Yeah, the producers definitely conflate their role in this saga because of the global icons they've since become.
Clark's prophecy comes true, and some eagle-eyed drivers recognize the white Bronco with Cowlings behind the wheel and Simpson in the backseat. They call it into authorities, who try to get Cowlings to pull over. He insists that he can't because Simpson has a gun to his head in the backseat. The camera pulls back to reveal that this is true.
Photo: Courtesy of FX.
The Bronco chase
Kardashian goes to Simpson's house, where his family is gathered. He tells them that Simpson was in bad shape that morning and they have reason to believe that he's killed himself. They're all in shock — until they look at the TV and see the low-speed Bronco chase on the screen. O. J. is still alive, but he's holding that gun to his head in the backseat of the Bronco. They're somewhat relieved at this turn of events; at least Simpson hasn't committed suicide.
You know who's not relieved? The district attorneys. They want this chase to end, but what's the proper protocol for ending a low-speed chase with one of the most recognizable figures in the country? Simpson says he wants to see his mother. Cowlings calls 911 and tells them to clear the freeway so they can go to Brentwood to accomplish this. Authorities dispatch SWAT teams to Simpson's house to meet him there.
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It's also the NBA Finals, which throws producers into a tizzy. Does O. J. Simpson's car chase get priority on the big screen or does one of the year's biggest sporting events? As more and more people learn about the chase and Simpson's mental state, they come out in support of The Juice. People are glued to their TV screens. Pizza places start running out of cheese due to the overwhelming number of delivery orders.
Johnnie Cochran goes on CNN to talk about the LAPD's history of shooting first and offering apologies afterwards when it comes to Black men. He says that Simpson is, "Fragile, confused. Whenever I see a Black man being chased by armed officers, my guard goes up...Innocent until proven guilty."
The police call Cowlings and Simpson and try to reason with the latter. They ask Simpson about the gun. He says it's not for them; it's for him. "I gotta be with Nicole. I just can't [kill myself] on the freeway. I can't do it in a field. I tried to do it at her grave." Now, he just wants to do it at home. "I deserve to get hurt," Simpson says before he hangs up on the police.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Darden (Sterling K. Brown), who's visiting his father, gets into a debate with the neighbors about whether or not Simpson actually cares about his roots. Darden argues that once Simpson gained fame and fortune, he left his neighborhood behind. "He became white," Darden says.
Above the 405, a group of people gather who clearly side with Darden's father's neighbors. A reporter asks them why they're there to support Simpson when he's running from the police. "We're not cheering for O. J. We're booing the LAPD...He's a Black man who's running from the police. They'll pick you up for anything. I'd run."
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Photo: Courtesy of FX.
A crowd supports O. J. Simpson
In the Bronco, Cowlings asks Simpson if he hears the people honking and cheering for him. "They shouldn't be on the freeway. It's not safe," Simpson responds.
By the time they pull up to Simpson's Brentwood home, the street is packed. When Cowlings tries to leave the Bronco, he feels threatened by the SWAT team and police presence on the property. After what seems like the longest day ever, it's nighttime. The property is bathed in darkness. Cowlings and Simpson still feel like they can't leave the Bronco. Simpson keeps the gun pointed at his forehead. "I should have killed myself this morning!" he says.
Robert Kardashian calls and tries to reason with Simpson. He says he'll arrange to have Simpson arrested inside the house instead of outside the car as long as the gun stays inside the vehicle. That appeases Simpson. Cowlings finally gets out of the Bronco.
Then, it's Simpson's turn. He slowly emerges from the Bronco. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry, you guys," he says. He's holding something in his hands. "He's got a gun!" one of the police officers says. "NO! Those are framed pictures of his kids!" Kardashian says as he sprints forward.
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Simpson walks into the house and collapses against Kardashian. "I'm sorry," he keeps saying. "Can I speak to my momma? And can I get some orange juice?" He sits on the couch and talks to his mother on the phone while police officers and SWAT team members wait pretty patiently in the background. Celebrities really do seem to get preferential treatment, even when they're about to be arrested for a double homicide.
The show then cuts away to the D.A.'s office. They're watching Dan Rather on the evening news. He's reporting that the chase is over. Authorities have Simpson in custody. "We're taking him to trial," Marcia Clark says.
At Chris Darden's father's house, his neighbors are telling Chris, "It's too bad you're not working this case," and, "He was framed." "You stay the hell away from this," Darden's father advises.
We then go back to Simpson's home, where he's being led away in handcuffs. The episode ends as the street empties of police cars. Simpson is on his way to jail.
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