Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Scream Therapy

Ugly people keep getting uglier.

How did anyone survive the Broderick vs. Broderick divorce? After watching Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5, it’s hard to imagine the kids haven’t continued to suffer well into their adulthood.

Every member of the family was put through the wringer, and Dan and Betty almost reveled in it.

Slumped at the Wheel - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

Dan is still garbage, and the way he manipulated Betty during their marriage is reprehensible.

It’s also terrible that he allowed her to do everything while he went through medical school and law school.

But at the point that it became apparent they weren’t suited for each other, they should have dealt with it like responsible adults and parents.

When Dan wanted to leave his old life behind to live the high life, he should have been honest with Betty.

More Paperwork - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

But Dan was too petty, to be honest with Betty, and he dragged her on and their separation out for so long he did permanent damage to her psyche.

Who knows? Maybe Betty was always a day away from a total meltdown. If Dan had an inkling in that direction, then it was his responsibility to treat her with kid gloves until he could be away from her. He didn’t.

Instead, he poked the bear every opportunity he got until all she could see was vengeance. She’s so far gone by the point of “Scream Therapy” that there was no way she could get it together without professional help.

But it turned out to be too late for that, too, because Betty poo-pooed therapy believing it would be used against her in court. As if anything she said in therapy could be worse than what she said on the phone or her actions in their house.

Another Bad Move - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

I had to laugh when she went to court-appointed therapy for the divorce settlement and proceeded to treat the woman as if she was a personal therapist when that was the one woman who was being paid to tattle on Betty!

Here’s what watching this train wreck does to me as a viewer. Every time Betty opened her mouth, I wanted to jam my fist down her throat. At least she would have stopped talking and digging an even bigger hole for herself.

The historical reference says that Betty was a money-grubber and only out for the financial settlement. I don’t believe that.

Betty made it all about money because she seemed to believe that she could turn Dan around or that making his life miserable would somehow benefit her.

Easter Therapy - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

All the while, she couldn’t pay her bills because the “swear jar” tactics Dan used only set her off to greater degrees. And he knew it. Every time he fired off another letter to her, he knew that she would stick her foot in her mouth again, and that would make him look good.

From what I can tell, Dan wanted to make things so bad that Betty would have no recourse. He wouldn’t have to pay her a penny because she wouldn’t even have access to the kids.

But the kids, the boys, at least, really wanted to spend time with their mother, so that Dan thought pushing Betty in that manner was good for the family only shows that he was as screwed up as Betty.

I don’t feel bad that Dan is dead, but I don’t feel bad that Betty is in prison, either. She seemed to have a death wish. She touched the hot stove over and over again, burning her hands every time, but kept touching the stove again as if, this time, there would be no consequence.

Dan and His Attorney in Court - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

Hell, it was as if she thought maybe if she put her whole arm on there, the result would be different. No? Then her torso!

Every time she screwed up didn’t result in an equal reaction but a greater reaction. Maybe Betty knew all along that she would kill him and was hoping that the more she lashed out, the more likely it would be that someone would stop her.

It was so sad that she put the children she claimed to love on the line by refusing to change. If any of it would hurt Dan, then the kids were fair play in her head.

At least Dan seemed somewhat moved by seeing his kids in pain. But his magnanimous efforts to make things right, like paying for Christmas, didn’t land well because of everything he had done to Betty previously.

Betty and Her Attorney in Court - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

The icing on the cake was Betty getting sentenced to jail at her divorce proceedings for all of the terror she’d inflicted on Dan and friends. Her attorney had learned nothing about the woman if she thought that putting Betty on the spot to apologize to the court could help get her out of spending a day in jail.

For the effort, poor that it was, the judge shaved 19 days off of her 25-day sentence, and Dan took those six days to propose to Linda.

Dancing on Betty’s torment once again was obviously planned, and it was one more piece of evidence against Dan that keeps us from caring that he was killed.

Was there any particular part of this episode that made you want to claw your eyes out?

Betty in Jail - Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 5

Maybe you were angling to start a GoFundMe for the kids even decades after the fact.

Where do you stand on Betty now that her psychoses, many self-inflicted, are more evident?

Stop the Broderick vs. Broderick train! I wanna get off!

Hit the comments with your thoughts on this monstrous couple.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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