REVIEW: ‘McMillions,’ Episode 5

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McMillions Episode 5

McMillions, the six-part HBO documentary, continues with its fifth episode aptly titled, “Episode 5.” Previously, the last episode gave more background into Jerome Jacobson and how he continued running the scam following Jerry Columbo’s death. By hiring new middlemen, to take the place of Columbo, more people were getting involved and subsequently, getting in over their heads. The episode ending on a cliffhanger as the FBI has to decide whether or not to get involved in a potential altercation between one of the Jacobson’s middlemen, Dwight Baker, and his sister-in-law, Brenda, who had stolen a game piece from him.

Having wiretapped Baker’s phone, the FBI knew that he was planning to follow his sister-in-law to the airport after she turned in the game piece and decided to run with the money, refusing to split it as originally agreed upon. The scene cuts between reenactments and real security footage from the time adding an eeriness and level of suspense we haven’t seen before yet in the documentary series.

Despite the cliffhanger though, “Episode 5” opens with an interview with Jerry Jacobson, the son of Jerome Jacobson. Jerry explains how distant the relationship he had with his father was, with his parents have divorced when he was young, until he was 13. However, Jacobson explains that by doing this documentary, he has put the final nail in the coffin in regards to that relationship. Following that suspenseful opening, the documentary focuses once again on Dwight Baker.

McMillions Episode 5

The conclusion and reveal behind the airport incident turns out to be incredibly anti-climatic. Throughout the series, episodes have ended with intense cliffhangers that end up being resolved quickly and without too much drama. While it is understandable why the creative team did this, it is still a bit frustrating to be teased something that is far from expectations.

Following that almost altercation, the FBI finally has enough to start making arrests and formulates a plan with other field offices. However, things quickly go array when an agent accidentally faxes detailed information to the Greenville News instead of the Greenville FBI. The retelling of how the classified information ended up in the hands of the press is hilarious and engaging because of Special Agent Doug Mathews’ interview. Throughout the series, Mathews has been hysterical and while I had some issues in the first episode with his testimony being used for laughs and mostly being innocuous information, his commentary has gotten significantly better.

“Episode 5″ begins to wrap up the entire series as the FBI finally starts making arrests. As everything begins to come full circle, it is easier to see just how far this scam went. From winners, to the middle-men, to Jacobson himself, the McDonalds scam hurt and affected many people and their families. “Episode 5” focuses on the FBI’s testimony while still weaving in real-life footage of the events including news broadcasts. McMillions continues to be successful because of it works real-life footage into the documentary. Additionally, all the FBI agents, especially Mathews, are interesting and compelling to watch. With one episode left in the series, it will be interesting to see just how this all ends.

McMillions is streaming now on HBONow with the finale dropping next Monday at 10:00 pm EST.


McMillions - Episode 5
9.5/10

TL;DR

McMillions continues to be successful because of it works real-life footage into the documentary. Additionally, all the FBI agents, especially Mathews, are interesting and compelling to watch. With one episode left in the series, it will be interesting to see just how this all ends.