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Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story| Season 2, Ep. 2|The Turtle and the Alligator


I have to say, this episode made me understand Betty and Dan a little better. The episode starts off in the court room, because Betty is on trial for killing Dan and his wife. We then get a peek into Betty’s childhood, and from the little modicum given, I can deduce that it wasn’t perfect, at least from a psychological perspective. Back in 1963, Betty and some of her other classmates are learning how to shoot guns (I guess this was the norm back then), then is suddenly sent home for what seems like no apparent reason. When she gets home, her mother quizzes her on why she was sent home, then notices that Betty got her period. Betty’s mother escorts her to the bathroom in disgust, hands her a pad and brusquely gives her instructions on how to put it together, then slams the bathroom door on her way out. How unmotherly. Imagine how scared and bemused Betty was with first getting her period, and I was hurt for her that she had to go through it alone. We also witness Betty’s parents chastising her for getting phone calls to the house from boys. Betty informs them that she didn’t give them her number, and they instead found it through the phone book. Her parents warn that she’ll be known as a whore if she kept that up, but it was beyond Betty’s control.


We later get to see how Betty and Dan meet. This is what I’ve been waiting for. When they meet, Betty is I believe a college student, while Dan is a medical student. They soon get married. What happened at Betty’s wedding was very ominous. It appeared that Dan strayed from the attire that he was supposed to wear on their wedding day, and Betty’s mother mentioned that she shouldn’t marry him. She said that if he could be so inconsiderate in this sense, imagine what he would be capable of in the future. Any normal person would say that Betty’s mom was just being dramatic, but I think she had a valid point. During their honey moon, Betty seemed uncomfortable in what looked like their first sexual encounter. Of course, any female would be awkward and uncomfortable during their first time. This wasn’t that. It just looked as if deep down, Betty wasn’t feeling Dan, and introspectively wondered whether Dan was the one. Well it was too late for that, even if he wasn’t. Later on, while they are eating breakfast, Betty asks where the maids are because she can’t fathom sleeping in an unmade bed (I didn’t see why she couldn’t make the bed). But there was emphasis put on this scene to showcase what Dan expected of Betty—which was to wash clothes, iron clothes, cook, clean house, take care of children, and most importantly, make the beds.


Throughout the episode, we get to see how Betty and Dan struggled financially in their early years. You see, Dan was a medical student and they already had one child. They lived in an apartment, and sometimes couldn’t even get hot water. Then Dan decides he no longer wants to be a practicing doctor. I really want to know what happened in medical school that made him change his mind. He decides that he wants to go to law school instead, and later focus on medical malpractice. I thought it was pretty selfish of Dan to change careers especially when they had a child, with another one on the way, and their living situation wasn’t the best. Then again, if one is unfulfilled in their career or discontented with their life, I applaud them for taking the steps to get themselves where they want to be. While Dan is in law school, they have two children at this point, and Betty finds out that she is pregnant again, and considers getting an abortion, but she and Dan both decide that they will keep the baby and get through this together. Although, it seems like Betty is alone throughout, as Dan is always away.

Dan is finally rewarded and ultimately acquires a job as an associate at a law firm. But it seems that Dan is overworked and always comes home drunk. Betty is not happy about this, and thinks its beneath him. Betty later encourages him to start his own law practice, which he does. We find out that the red rose that Dan wears on his suit jacket was given to him by Betty to help him and others remember “What he’s done, what he’s going to do, and that he can do anything.” I love this!! What I don’t love is that Dan continues to wear this red rose even after him and Betty break up. I’m sure every time Betty sees this red rose while they’re going through their divorce it drives her crazy. No pun intended. While at Dan’s new office, they find out that they’re pregnant once again with baby number four, and Betty tells Dan she wants to get her tubes tied, and Dan doesn’t seem too happy about it, but still lets Betty know that it’s her decision. When Betty went in for a visit to see her gynecologist, Dan’s power was indirectly showcased. When Betty’s doctor found out that Betty’s husband was Dan Broderick, he hastily had her sign a legal document, which would prevent her from suing them.


In the last scene, Betty’s friend, Yvonne, whose husband, Martin, also works with Betty’s husband (Before Dan started his law practice), found out that her husband was having an affair. Yvonne said that she didn’t know Martin anymore, and tells Betty how lucky she is, but Betty has this brooding look, as if a gloomy unknown is awaiting her. Of course, we know what will happen. I think as Dan gets more confident in his position and power, he thinks he doesn’t need Betty anymore. I also think they grow apart, as Dan’s main focus becomes his law practice, while Betty’s focus is on raising their children. I can’t wait to get more pieces of the puzzle in next week’s episode.

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