Warning: Major spoilers ahead for American Vandal season 2.
American Vandal season 1 took us all by surprise. Although the true crime riff’s first batch of episodes were built around one of TV’s most immature-sounding mysteries — Who drew the dicks?! — Vandal proved to be shockingly, ridiculously compelling. By the end of the season, every single viewer truly cared whether Dylan Maxwell actually spray painted gigantic red members on over two dozen cars.
The only frustrating part of the dick-drawing saga is that we never find out, without a shadow of a doubt, who actually committed Hanover High’s very phallic prank (even though we all know it was totally Christa Carlyle).
Well, we don’t have to leave American Vandal season 2 wondering about its central mystery: who is the Turd Burglar? The Turd Burglar is the individual who wreaked poop-smeared havoc on the fictional St. Bernardine, a wealthy Washington state Catholic high school. He is also none other than fifth-string Vandal 2 character Grayson Wentz (Jeremy Culhane).
While the Turd Burglar clues don't stand out like neon signs throughout the series’ 2018 run, the shocking, catfish-y reveal all makes sense when you really look at the evidence.
As we begin to learn in episode 7, “Sh*t Storm,” the Turd Burglar isn’t exactly one person. Rather, it’s an enterprise made up of a single poop-obsessed puppet master, whom we now know is Grayson, a former Bernardine student who was expelled, and his four puppets. The dupes, in chronological order of their transgressions, are Kevin McClain (Travis Tope), DeMarcus Tillman (Melvin Gregg), Jenna Hawthorne (Kiah Stern), and teacher Matthew Gesualdi (Isaac Lamb). Respectively, they committed the original contaminated lemonade #Brownout, the “poop piñata,” the “shit launcher,” and, finally, the “crap calendar.” “Diapey” Drew was approached about a “prank,” but refused.
In episode 8, “The Dump,” everyone’s reasons for getting entangled in the Turd Burglar scheme are explained — most were blackmailed. Grayson created “Brooke Wheeler,” a pretty 19-year-old redhead, to catfish those in the orbit of his former school.
While Grayson reached out to 41 individuals, only five started full digital relationships with him. Then, once Grayson managed to trick his unwitting victims into sending explicit photos, he would demand they enact one of his poop crimes on St. Bernadine, or face his wrath. If a victim said no, Grayson would threaten to release their XXX-rated sexts. That explains why photos of poor Diapey Drew in a baby costume, along with a very bendy video of the teen, were leaked to the school population; it was punishment.
Grayson got the pictures used to make “Brooke’s” profile by stealing them off of an unsuspecting woman named Abby Samuels’ (Taylor Misiak) phone. The predator gained access to Abby’s phone because he worked at the Broke 2 Fixed phone stand at the local mall, where the young woman visited to have her device go from broke to fixed.
The fact Grayson works at the mall is the true reason for his reign of terror. That is why the exposition in episode 3, “Leaving A Mark,” is so vital for understanding Vandal 2.0.
As we learn in that installment, a few years prior to the events of season 2, there were two cyberbullying “pranks” at St. Bernardine, a school that worships basketball. The first, was perpetrated by Perry Coleman (La'Charles Trask), the school's leading basketball star. Perry used a stolen Bernardine mascot uniform to create the Instagram persona Sir.Fux.A.Lot, a horny knight character who would not stop aggressively sexually harassing fellow student Paige Burton (Nicole McCullough). Paige’s Fux.A.Lot torment went on for months, with Perry photoshopping the young woman’s photo next to massive purple dildos and demands for sex.
At another point that exact same school year, Grayson exploited the fact people forgot to logout of Twitter on school computers to cyberbully student Jess Rodriguez. Grayson tweeted from random open accounts that Jess gave multiple people “crotch goblins” or “#chlamyds.”
Grayson was expelled within a week. Perry, who carried out an even more systematic form of prolonged sexual harassment than Grayson’s short disgusting tweet spree, was never even brought in for questioning. Now he plays basketball for UCLA.
“[Perry] does months of shit to this girl. DeMarcus Tillman can get away with murder. Guys like me and Kevin, well, we’re easy scapegoats,” Grayson complains when we first meet him in “Mark.” “That’s why they end up at UCLA and we end up with ankle bracelets and a job at the fucking Kirkland Mall.”
Although Grayson’s bitter criminal actions make a twisted, vengeful form of sense, one thing does not: why he manipulated Kevin, whom he clearly identifies with, to go through with the Brownout. Catfishing DeMarcus, Jenna, and Mr. Gesualdi, who turned Grayson in for his vile tweets, all feel like revenge. Even punishing Drew for his “nice guy act,” as “Brooke” puts it in a DM, tracks. But Grayson legitimately feels for Kevin.
Hypothetically, Kevin should be the last person Grayson would want to humiliate. But there Grayson was, convincing Kevin the Brown0ut would impress “Brooke,” sending him the necessary Maltitol laxative, and ghosting on him once the crime was done. Grayson even let Kevin go to a motel, thinking “Brooke” would be there ready to hookup, only for no one to ever show up (obviously).
But, when you’re so unhinged you're scheming about multiple poop crimes, it’s unlikely you actually care about the collateral damage left in your wake, Fruit Ninja or not.
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