The Sinner TV TV Recaps

“The Sinner” Ep2.04: “Part IV”

Well, we’re at the halfway mark and if you were hoping we’d have some answers by now, you will be disappointed. The mystery of this season has done nothing but deepen, much like season one. We still don’t know the full deal with Mosswood Grove or Vera, though it’s all starting to take on a much more supernatural vibe than I anticipated. We’re also starting to get some cracks in the relationship between Vera and Julian which should be fascinating to explore in the next four episodes.

The Sinner - Season 2
Carrie Coon as Vera Walker -| Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network

Before we get there though we have to check back in with Harry and Heather. They’re going through Dr. Poole’s things, which includes a creepy book and a journal with ravings about a labyrinth and being a minotaur. In the back of the book, they find a creepy black and white picture of a dude who just looks like a cult leader (spoiler alert: he’s a cult leader).

Julian has another dream of the hooded figure and tells Vera when they have visiting hours. She insists it’s only a dream but it’s starting to feel super real to me so I can only imagine what an actual child would be feeling. He admits as much, telling Vera that he can’t tell what’s real and what’s a dream anymore. Their conversation moves on to the psych evaluation and it turns out Julian is going to have to answer more questions. He’s a lot smarter than he seems, and than Vera thinks he is, because he picks up on the negative connotations of this pretty quickly. He asks her if he’s ever going to go home and she says he will but it’s clear he doesn’t believe her.

Back at the police station the other deputy comes in with information about Dr. Poole including his spotless medical record except for one complaint from a woman who’s now at a psych ward. Harry and Heather go to see the woman, Carmen, and find out that she sought an abortion from Dr. Poole but instead of just performing one, he also removed her uterus without her consent. It seems like they’re getting a lot of good information out of her until she starts talking about the eggs that got laid in her brain and it’s pretty clear she’s actually mentally ill. Before they leave she says they should look for Marin in the “purple lake” and then completely freaks out over the picture of the man they found in the back of Dr. Poole’s book.

When Harry and Heather get back to the car he has a voicemail from Vera that says she’s found something that she wants to show him before she shows anyone else. Heather is pretty fed up and she wants to confront Vera and demand a DNA test to prove Julian doesn’t belong to her but Harry is somehow willing to go to Mosswood and see what Vera has to say.

There are a few more Marin flashbacks in this episode and I’m about ready for them to end. Firstly, she’s rude as hell to Heather constantly. Secondly, it’s clear by this point that she’s been fully brainwashed by Mosswood because she keeps bringing up things they’ve said even though it’s also clear Heather is aggressively disinterested. And thirdly, it’s a real dick move to know your best friend is a lesbian and let her make out with you for presumably years and then decide all of a sudden that you can’t do it anymore because she’s “lying to herself” about it, and then run off with a fireman and a bottle of rum. Needless to say, Marin is no longer that interesting to me even if she is Julian’s mother.

Also on my shit list, this week is the DA who is being a real dick about both Harry and Julian’s case in general. He fully believes Julian should be tried as an adult but it does also feel like he knows what winning this case could do for his career and is maybe less interested in justice than he is about advancing his own position. The thing that irritated me the worst was when the DA said something about Harry being able to take apart “slam dunk cases.” Which, like…if he can take them apart that easy maybe they’re not a slam dunk in the first place. But what do I know?

Against his better judgment Harry does go to Mosswood to see what Vera is up to. As he’s waiting outside the gate for Vera he gets a call from Julian which is super interesting because it implies some cracks in the Julian/Vera relationship. Julian is scared and doesn’t believe Vera about being able to come home so he asks Harry about his sentencing and Harry tells the truth. Julian is rightfully freaked out because the earliest he could go home is thirty years. Harry assures him his lawyer will do better than that and Julian asks why Harry can’t be his lawyer which is just heartbreaking.

Once Vera arrives to escort Harry into Mosswood we get into the weirdest part of the episode. Vera asks Harry to leave his gun and his cell phone in his car AND HE FUCKING DOES IT! I’ll be honest, I was hoping he’d secret a phone into his jacket or something but he definitely didn’t and it was the first time I’ve thought Harry was kind of stupid.

In any case, Vera takes him to her room where she plays him a tape of Bess having a super bizarre fantasy/dream about carrying Julian around in her pouch. Vera says it’s because Bess couldn’t have children and so she had an unhealthy attachment to Julian. Vera is so transparent in these scenes because it’s so clear she’s just trying to further the self defense argument for Julian by claiming Bess kidnapped him and Julian was “saving himself.”

There’s a bit more with Marin and Heather at this point. I’ll be honest, I’m still super annoyed with Marin, especially after these scenes. Basically, after Marin rebuffs Heather’s advances she leaves her totally shitfaced on the side of the road and Jack comes to pick her up and they go looking for Marin. They find her pretty quickly walking alone down the middle of a dark road (smart) and Jack gets out to talk to her. She claims she can’t be friends with Heather anymore because Heather’s changed. Jack notices a tattoo on Marin’s wrist of a “Y” with three dots around it. He asks about it and she says it’s a Mosswood thing – a labyrinth. In the present day, Heather is asking Jack about that last night with Marin and he becomes a little suspicious because he claims not to remember anything but the symbol which he draws for Heather.

Back at Mosswood, Vera takes Harry into the barn with the big rock and starts to explain it a little bit. It used to belong to a pentecostal tent revival and before that the Seneca believed that a man and woman were trapped inside. All Vera knows is that she feels better when she’s close to it. They discuss Julian’s dreams a little bit and Vera explains that it’s a representation of the Old Hag archetype – an old cloaked woman who comes to you in dreams and sits on your chest. After that Vera leads Harry into the woods so she can show him “the work.” They hike for a while before Harry stumbles and twists his ankle. When he rights himself Vera is nowhere to be found and Harry wanders around the woods for several hours before he finds a cabin where Vera is waiting for him.

In the meantime, Heather is tracking down legitimate leads and therefore earns the title of best detective of the episode. First, she finds the book with the labyrinth symbol written by Lionel Jeffries, the man from the picture in Dr. Poole’s journal. Then she finds a librarian who knows all about him and luckily has a copy of the book that was ordered but returned as undeliverable. It turns out that Jeffries’ book has some great ideas but he was a very controversial figure and lost his psychiatry license when he was accused of both sexual and physical abuse against patients. She follows the address on the book’s package to a storage unit in Canada.

The unit is mostly empty with just a small assortment of boxes and bags which Heather investigates. When she realizes one of the bags is full of kids clothes she asks what the name on the rental agreement is. Turns out the unit was rented under the name Julian Walker. Before she leaves the storage unit Heather also finds a bunch of tapes in a box. She takes them back to the station in Keller and watches what appears to be some kind of ritual in the barn with the big rock. There’s a guy talking about how angry he is and then he starts beating the crap out of another guy we can’t really see. Before the tape ends Heather gets a glimpse of Marin on the edge of the screen.

We end with Harry and Vera in the small cabin. Harry is pretty pissed at being left injured and wandering through the woods while Vera is acting like nothing at all out of the ordinary is going on. Vera ties up his ankle and makes him some tea (not jimson weed, she assures him) and she tells him he’s been doing “the work” all afternoon. I’m already not predisposed to join a cult, but I’ll be honest, if someone did this to me I would be even less likely to join their cult than I was before. Vera talks about Lionel Jeffries who has a picture above the mantel in the cabin. He’s called “The Beacon” and he was evidently the leader of Mosswood when it began.

The scene takes quite a turn which I almost can’t speak about. Vera gets so weirdly sexual with Harry and that very strange thumping noise starts playing in the background again. The next thing we know Harry is dreaming/imagining the house fire from his childhood and seeing his mother in the psych ward before he wakes up IN THE MURDER HOTEL! He’s rightfully disoriented as he looks around and finds his gun, badge and phone on the small couch and realizes that he was probably drugged or at least hypnotized by Vera.

It looks like Harry’s going to be keeping this evening with Vera a secret from Heather which doesn’t feel very smart. But it also looks like there’s going to be some more cracks in the Vera and Julian relationship which I’m very interested in exploring. It feels like we’ve got the right amount of answers and information for the halfway point of the show and I can’t wait to get the rest of the answers as the last four weeks play out!

I’ll be live-tweeting “The Sinner” every Wednesday on Shuffle Online at 10/9c. You can follow me at So…I’m Watching This Show

Featured image credit: Peter Kramer/USA Network

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