#Bull Season 2 Episode 11 "Survival Instincts" Recap and Review

The episode starts in a girl’s room. Her name is Jemma, she’s listening to Megan Trainor and she’s messaging someone on her laptop. She then sneaks out to meet this person, who turns out to be a 35- year-old man. They’ve been talking for five months and she still goes to dinner with him.

200w_d (28).gif

Her mom is on the news four days later saying that she’s missing. There are flyers everywhere. Practically the whole country’s looking for her.

Then it flashes to 18 months later. Two people are robbing a jewelry store and they get caught. It’s them.

Bull 211 9.gif

The team is watching a lawyer named Thalia Macera, who is defending Jemma. Benny hates her. Apparently, everyone at the DA’s office does and he doesn’t understand why they’ve taken this case. Bull and Macera go way back. The theory that they’re going with is that Jemma was a victim of abuse.


In the courtroom, Bull notices how visceral a reaction Jemma has to Ryan and asks Benny to stand between them. This gives credence to his theory that he’s got a hold of her. The prosecution wants Ryan to pay 250k in cash and put Jemma’s bail at 100,000 dollars. Macera protests but is overruled. Bull tells her to tell the judge that she has an urgent matter that must be discussed immediately.


He wants to sever the trials, which is legalese for not trying them as a team and not having them in court at the same time. The judge and the prosecutor say that there is no evidence this is necessary, and the judge doesn’t grant it, at least not until they have evidence.

Bull talks to the mom, who is now in severe debt. She’s glad Jemma’s home, but she’s so different.

Bull goes to talk to her as she’s dismantling her room. He tries to get evidence that she was abused, but she doesn’t give it. He explains Stockholm Syndrome to her and then gives her his card for when she’s ready.


Marisa gives the team the lowdown. A single mother raised Jemma. Her parents never married, and her dad was out of the picture very early. Most of her friends were online, which Cable relates to, except for one. Cassie Walters was her best friend until a little before she went missing. They had a falling out. Bull wants to argue duress, which will be hard to do.

He wants jurors that are extroverts and thrill seekers, but agreeable ones that are emotionally stable.

Benny comes into the office and finds Cable, who’s finishing a report on Jemma’s online life. She says that while she never went as far as Jemma did, she got catfished when she was Jemma’s age too. Then Benny receives a phone call.


Jemma tried to visit Ryan in prison. Bull thinks this calls for drastic measures and tells the mom to revoke Jemma’s bail. It’s a heart-wrenching scene.


In court, Jemma has zoned out, and Marisa warns Bull about Juror #10: neurotic, introverted, and works at the post office.

Danny and Chunk find the trailer that Ryan and Jemma lived in for 18 months. In it, they find a tiny closet with a pillow, handcuffs, and a bucket. Beyond sick. The “landlord” only saw Jemma once very briefly and didn’t recognize her.

Macera isn’t having much luck in court, and Bull wants to strike a deal. He threatens the ADA with some expert that doesn’t exist, and the ADA budges a little.  He needs Jemma to testify against Ryan though.

She won’t do it. Bull explains to her the situation she’s in and the fact that Ryan would and will turn against her because he doesn’t love her and never did. He can’t convince her.

Instead, the prosecution calls Ryan to the stand. Macera objects and the judge calls all the lawyers to the front. The ADA explains that he gave Ryan the same deal and he took it. He testifies that he never forced Jemma to do anything, that the robbery was her idea, and that she once left for a day to go home, but came back. Have you ever wanted to punch someone through a television screen?

giphy-downsized (4).gif

Bull, Benny, and Marisa drink in his office. Bull doesn’t think the photos will do any good without Jemma’s testimony, but she’s getting close to giving it. The problem is that she has so much shame. Benny then asks them about all the people that were looking for her and that gives Bull an idea.


The team goes out and talks to the people that spent 18 months looking for Jemma and ask if they would like to help.


Benny, Bull, and Macera talk to Jemma, but she’s resigned to her fate. Bull explains it as learned helplessness. Then she walks in the courtroom. It’s a wonderful moment when she realizes that she has people that love her and missed her. She isn’t alone, and now she can testify.

Bull 211 8.gif

And boy does she. It’s everything you imagine and worse. She was raped, beaten, threatened, her mother was threatened… you get the picture. And the one time she got away, she was too ashamed to go to the door. After Macera is done questioning her, she thanks everyone for being there.


And after all that, there’s a holdout. This episode never goes into any further detail about this and that was a mistake. There must be something wrong with Juror #10. A normal person would not find her guilty after that testimony. So, what do y’all think, sociopath or pedophile?

The judge declares a mistrial, but the prosecution drops the charges. She has even agreed to testify against Ryan. What she needs is therapy, and that’s never brought up.

Bull 211 7.gif

She goes back with her mom and says she wants to be better. Her mom leaves and then the Jumanji heartbeat sounds start, and she goes to the computer. And that’s how the episode ends.

I have a million questions, but I could overlook most of them if the ending were different. I don’t do well with these kinds of episodes, especially when they don’t feel resolved. I understand that she can’t get better overnight, but show her in therapy, not in a potential relapse. Let the girl at least try to get her life back. This was never going to be my favorite, but I like nice pretty bows. 6/10.