Like the fictional students of St. Bernadine’s Catholic School, and the fearless (fictional) reporting team of Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck), fans of "American Vandal" have been obsessively trying to figure out the identity of Season 2’s arch-prankster, “The Turd Burglar.”
Following up on Season 1, in which the young filmmakers aggressively traced a dick-drawing plot to its root, the pair are focused this season on uncovering the identity of a prankster responsible for a series of foul, fecal attacks on the student body of Saint Bernadine’s. Again they set out to exonerate the student on whom the prank has been pinned, and again they follow every lead imaginable.
We won’t spoil the whole shebang, but below we have rounded up the possible suspects identified by Maldonado and Ecklund. Minor spoilers abound.
Kevin McClain (Travis Tope)
Kevin McClain seems like the most obvious suspect, right? He confessed, after all, as Dean of Students Ms. Wexler and the cops who interviewed him are keen to remind the viewer. But as with the confession of Brendan Dassey, detailed in the real-life true-crime doc Making a Murderer, anyone from the most avid Reddit Sleuth to a casual observer could find inconsistencies in Kevin’s taped admission of guilt, and it seems clear the officers are leading him on when he confesses in a way they find unconvincing. Who would want Kevin to confess to something he didn’t do?
But still, Kevin has his motives, and they do give you something to chew on. Exhibit A is an unfortunate fourth-grade incident that left Kevin with the nickname “S---stain McClain;” who wouldn’t want fecal revenge?
DeMarcus Tillman (Melvin Gregg)
DeMarcus Tillman seems to have everything going for him. An all-star basketball athlete at St. Bernadine’s — known for its successful hoops program — Demarcus is beloved by all, and seems to have a good relationship with everyone in the school. He’s even got special handshakes with countless of his fellow students, and although he hails from less affluent Rainier Beach, DeMarcus really seems to fit in, even as he stands above the crowd.
But the b-ball prospect also has a fun-loving streak, and his connection to a former school athlete widely blamed for the notorious “Sir F---- A Lot” prank, hints at the possibility that DeMarcus might have set out for another infamous prank and gone too far.
The key to this line of inquiry lies in the school’s dedication to the basketball program and its stars. Tillman and his fellow athletes have the run of the school, and they go where they want, when they want. Furthermore, there are murmurs that St. Bernie’s has looked the other way on athlete misconduct in the past, while suspending or expelling non-athlete students for lesser infractions. Could Tillman’s status as a sports god be what shields him from scrutiny, both before and after the poop crimes? The poop crimes of the Turd Burglar may not be on the level of the late Aaron Hernandez, but the former Patriots tight end show how someone elevated for their talent and covered for by coaches can begin to think themselves untouchable.
It just so happens, "Mr. Untouchable" is Tillman's nickname. Could he have taken it too much to heart?
Lou Carter (DeRon Horton)
Lou Carter, Tillman’s loyal lieutenant, does everything with — and for — his best pal. He drives him to and from school and appointments, prepares his meals, and is always by his side. Even before disturbing evidence comes to light later in the series, it seems Lou would have to be implicated in anything involving DeMarcus. He’s also quick to dismiss the teen filmmakers when they interview the two basketball stars. What does Lou have to hide?
Jenna Hawthorne (Kia Stern)
Ah Jenna Hawthorne. The scion of the wealthiest family at St. Bernadine, Hayworth is pretty, rich, and has the perfect Instagram. Why would someone so rich be involved in a prank so down and dirty?
Perfection breeds envy, and the school welcomed it when Hayworth suffered an embarrassing, Kylie Jenner-related social-media mishap. Could that — plus a cushy internship that made for an easy alibi, plus access to relevant chemicals — have been enough to push Jenna to become a poop prankster?
“Diapey” Drew Pankratz (Jonathan Saks)
Drew Pankratz, the “nicest kid ever” who “lives in the friendzone,” has been something of a pariah ever since photos of him in diapers were leaked, leading to his unfortunate nickname. “When all the Turd Burglar stuff started happening, I was like ‘that’s Drew, getting back at us for all the diaper stuff,’” one student tells the teen reporters in a sit-down interview.
Drew, like the rest of the possible suspects (minus Kevin’s confession, which he withdrew almost immediately), denies responsibility for terrorizing the school saying he just wants to be left alone. But what’s with the diapers?
Paul Schnorrenberg (Miles J. Harvey)
If anyone thinks the school is deserving of divine punishment, it’s Paul Schnorrenberg, a devoutly religious student given to lecturing the somewhat liberal English teacher on Leviticus and taking to YouTube to condemn premarital sex. Could this be enough to drive him to “punish” his sinful classmates with laxatives, “s--- launchers,” and a poop piñata?
Each of the possible suspects has their reasons for showering the school in poop. But they also all have compelling reasons suggesting their innocence, from everything DeMarcus Tillman would have to lose if caught to “Diapey” Drew Pankratz’ fairly airtight alibi that he was at the school library, an alibi shored up by the librarian, who took pity on the bullied boy.
So who could they be missing? Who could have such a grudge against St. Bernie’s that they would spike the lemonade, or worse? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
[Photos: Netflix screengrabs]
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