“You fight this, they’ll call you crazy. Or you plead guilty and go away forever. But your ideas will live on.” – Fitz.
We’ve made it to the final episode, one of the most important of those we’ve seen by far. The culmination of everything that the series has encompassed so far. Our first scene is the removal of Ted’s cabin from his remote location in Montana. Being carried by helicopter to a warehouse belonging to the FBI.
Psychologically, we’ve explored the mind of Ted, and although he undoubtedly suffers from mental health issues, PTSD for one. The question of incompetence is null and void in the case of Theodore Kaczynski. This is a man who is fully aware of every single choice he makes. We see him present his legal help with a full-length detailed cross-examination of James Fitzgerald. Telling them that if they stick to the questions his warrant will be invalidated. And courtesy of “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” – all the evidence collected at Ted’s cabin will be thrown out, and he will walk free. But after a brief counsel in the judge’s chambers before they begin, the judge immediately deems the motion [to invalidate the search warrant] to be without merit, “The search warrant stands.” This puzzles everyone involved. Not just Ted, Fitz too doesn’t seem content to believe that the judge with no real reason just threw out the motion. Not understanding why Ted’s counsel would construct this whole motion only to sabotage behind closed doors.
This mystery causes Fitz to further examine the defense attorney’s strategy/ over all plan. Suspecting that they allowed Ted to write out the cross-examination on him [Fitz] as a way to distract him from their true agenda. making a plea deal on an insanity defense. Fitz then constructs a delicate plan, bringing Ted to an Air Force base where his defense have [without Ted’s knowledge] brought his cabin all the way from Montana. And here begins the psychological and philosophical persuasion in which Fitz metaphorically whips out a crystal ball and shows Ted his future should he continue on his current path.
“They’re gonna stick you in an insane asylum where, slowly, you will be adjusted. Pills. Electro-shock therapy. Threat. Punishment. Reward. Till finally you’re cured. It might take years but it’s gonna happen. You will be normal. You will rejoin society. You’ll get a credit card, an apartment. Business casual wardrobe – you know some of those tops with the penguins on them. And you’ll get a job behind a desk where you’ll work obediently 9-5. Your first paycheck you get a cellphone. Next one you’ll get a tv. If you splurge you can get yourself a Nintendo. And every night you fall asleep watching that tv. Every weekend you’re gonna go to the mall, look at the big screen TVs and think ‘Should I get myself a 20-incher? Or should I just keep saving up for the 27-incher?’ and as your thinking about this slurping on your orange Julius somebody’s gonna recognize your and say weren’t you that Unabomber guy that wrote all that stuff and killed all those people? And you’ll go, ‘Yeah that was me, but I was very sick. Btu I got help, and I’m much much better now, thank you.’ And then you’re gonna go back to watching your TVs. And you wont even remember that you wanted anything more than this. See Ted, you predicted all this in your manifesto. “Many tame and conformist types seem to have a powerful need to depict the enemy of society as sick so as to delegitimize their valid complaints against society.” This cabin used to be a symbol of moral courage, and now they’re just gonna point to it and say you gotta be insane to live this way.”
After a confrontation with his lawyer Judy in which she ends up convincing him that Fitz was playing him and that she and his entire legal team had never had any intentions of betraying him. But the second we hit the courtroom this falls to pieces. The opposition [prosecution] announces to the courtroom and the judge that they need clarification from the defense before they begin jury selection. Claiming that they have an intentionally vague 12.2(b) motion from the defense. [this is a motion for defense for insanity]. And that their witness list includes “a number of experts on paranoid schizophrenia.” This prompts Judy to immediately request moving the discussion to the privacy of the judge’s chambers. Smoking gun? CHECK.
More severe problems with the United States judicial system are brought to light in this cataclysmic yet prodigious finale. Ted requests that he represent himself but is immediately rebuffed by the judge. “based on the psychological evaluation your defense provided me, I find you mentally unsound to mount an effective defense.” Ted’s response to this is the epicenter of the roots of ethical issues that are still existing in many countries judicial systems.
“Did you all discuss this beforehand? Have you all decided how this ends? I’m sane enough to stand trial, sane enough to spend the rest of my life in a federal penitentiary. But I’m too insane to represent myself, too insane to be executed. And I’m guessing I’m too insane to testify and say anything about what I actually believe in?” Pleading that he has a constitutional right to represent himself, a sobering response leaves Ted withdrawn and shook. That this raises the question of whether he’s mentally fit to stand trial at all. Which is easily resolved with an observation period in a mental institution, starting with a 60-day stay. Perhaps longer if the doctors find it necessary to start treatment or medication… Ted needing a few moments to think about his options is frankly told. “You don’t have time. And you don’t have options.”
The worst thing for Ted is to have his autonomy, his freedom, his decisions taken from him. Resulting in him attempting suicide in his cell later that evening, but is unsuccessful. This leads him to making the only decision that he can, that he would be in any way content to agree to. The comparison and conflating of the two lead characters as a cinematic tool to express the end result is again used here in this scene. Whilst the entire courtroom is rejoicing and congratulating each other on this huge win. Both Ted and Fitz look neither happy nor satisfied.
This new league of television/docu-series is paving the way for a new era of media. Going back and breaking down previously constructed walls within cinema, within social reception. Previously it was only the criminals who would gain acclaim and fame. Now it is those who worked to put them behind bars that are also having their equally if not more fascinating stories told. The first large-scale Netflix series to begin this was unarguable NARCOS. Obviously we are witnessing Pablo Escobar in his unbelievable life but also the two men who were instrumental in the long experience taking down one of the most infamous and powerful criminals that has existed. The names Steve Murphy and Javier Pena are no longer unknown and then men and their stories are far from unappreciated. Likewise, James R. Fitzgerald is now known worldwide, not only for effectively single-handedly figuring out the identity of the Unabomber and then catching him. But also for cultivating and creating the entire field of Forensic Linguistics. Which has now long been used worldwide within profiling and every branch of Law Enforcement.