The Sinner TV TV Recaps

“The Sinner” Ep.2.05: “Part V”

There are some shows that would have answered more than half of their big questions by this point in their run. I mean, we’re more than halfway through the season right now. “The Sinner” seems far less interested in answering any questions we, as viewers, might have. Instead, week by week, we’re getting deeper and deeper into an intense cult-y drama that has almost left the initial double murder that began the season in the dust.

Take this week’s episode. Julian, the supposed protagonist of the whole season, has barely two scenes. The rest is given over to a new rift between Harry and Heather because Harry seemingly keeps taking Vera’s side in the investigation. I really think he’s mostly trying to be subjective in a town full of people who want Mosswood to fry for some reason. It also feels like he’s really trying to protect himself from past memories and traumas. This is pretty much confirmed by the opening of the episode where he tries to find out how he got to the murder motel (turns out he drove himself). He also does not let Heather know what happened at Mosswood the evening before.

When he and Heather meet up the next day to share information Harry is pretty squirrely, but Heather did have the more eventful night. She’s filed paperwork to get surveillance tapes from the storage unit in Canada and now she wants to confront Vera about not being Julian’s mother. Harry is still pretty sure that’s the wrong move and I’m definitely on his side. You don’t want to play all your cards in one fell swoop and that’s a pretty big play to make. Heather gets suspicious about why he won’t lay into Vera at all and Harry feeds her a pretty bad line about finding more information that’s clearly a lie. That’s the biggest issue in this episode: there’s no information sharing between people who are ostensibly on the same side.

Before they can fight too much, it’s time to go to Julian’s indictment hearing and Harry has a minute to confront Vera about the night before. It feels like kind of a dumb move to confront her so publicly when Heather and everyone can see him do it, but whatever. He accuses her of drugging him and she says that he was completely fine when he left under his own power in the middle of the night. He obviously doesn’t believe her, especially when she says that it’s because of “The Work” that he can’t remember anything. Before they can get too much deeper into it the judge comes in and Benji pleads not guilty for Julian, paving the way for a jury trial. I’m sure we won’t get there in the next three episodes just like season one, but the threat is just as intense as it was then.

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

After the hearing, Heather goes ahead and confronts Vera about not being Julian’s mother like a real idiot. Vera obviously denies it while also denying that she ever knew Marin. Harry finally arrives and gets her away from Vera but the damage is done. This is the first time Heather accuses Harry of being on Vera’s side, but it’s not the first or last time I think Heather is being too emotional about the case and Marin’s fate.

After this confrontation, we get the first of several flashbacks to 12 years ago when Vera was just a member of Mosswood. She and the rest of the residents are watching a man’s session about his ex-wife and Vera ends up play-acting the part of his ex-wife in what turns out to be a super physical therapy session. She lets it happen but she seems pretty shaken, as does Bess, who comes to her outside after the session to make sure she’s okay. Marin shows up at the compound and it’s clear Vera has met her before, which confirms she was lying to Heather in the present day (though we already totally knew that). Vera takes Marin to meet The Beacon, AKA Lionel Jeffries (Brennan Brown), and there’s a very deliberate shot of his double bed. I think it’s because everyone else has a twin, but I’m not sure if it’s more sinister than that yet. In any case, the most noticeable thing about these flashback scenes is that Vera’s wig is absolutely the best wig I’ve ever seen on a TV show before in my life.

Back in the present, Harry and Heather go to see Glen Fisher (Marc Menchaca), the guy who wanted to “Waco” the Mosswood compound. It turns out he was the one on the tape Heather found who was beating the shit out of someone. He claims he only went to Mosswood a few times and it was “therapy.” He gets super squirrely the longer they question him and tells them he only went a couple times and didn’t join them, but I definitely think he did because he’s got one of those creepy thumping metronomes and he makes them leave.

Julian gets very little to do this episode, which is unfortunate because I think Elisha Henig is doing incredible work with what he’s getting. He’s sitting under what looks like the only tree in the detention center yard with his eyes closed touching the grass when the older boys start giving him a hard time about how he prepared Adam’s and Bess’s bodies after they died. Later in the episode, the older boys recreate the scene with rocks on their eyes and everything. Julian totally loses it and fully attacks the kid who seems to be the ringleader, which gets him in solitary confinement.

We have definitely reached the point of the series where I am suspicious of literally everyone else, but my suspicion of Vera has started to weaken. Jack is just awkward enough about Heather looking into Marin’s disappearance that I feel like he’s involved in it somehow. Along with Glen Fisher and the police chief acting super weird, it makes it seem like everyone in Keller is or was involved in Mosswood at one point or another. Meanwhile, Vera is coming clean with Harry it what feels like a real way. When they meet up alone she admits Heather is right, she’s not Julian’s biological mother, but she’s raised him his whole life after Marin left. I don’t believe her about everything; for instance, she still claims not to know where Adam and Bess were taking Julian or where Marin might have gone.

This launches us into another flashback to Marin telling Vera she’s pregnant. She says “it’s his” in such a way that I’m sure when we find out who the father is it’ll be super gross. Right now my money is on The Beacon or Jack. If it’s The Beacon some stuff later makes sense, but if it’s Jack all of Marin’s recent interactions with Heather make a lot more sense. Vera says they have someone who takes care of pregnancies (Dr. Poole) but Marin says she can’t have an abortion. We finally find out why there are no children besides Julian at Mosswood and it’s because they believe your shadow is passed on to any children and The Beacon doesn’t believe anyone is far enough in “The Work” to have a child. This answers so many questions about why Dr. Poole would have removed Carmen’s uterus during a routine abortion procedure too.

One thing about this show – and specifically the second season – is that I trust Harry far more implicitly than anyone on the show. Given the gift of knowing how his intuition really helped Cora in season one, I’m willing to give him a lot more leeway than Heather and the police chief are. Unfortunately, they aren’t as convinced of his knowledge or expertise. Added to the fact that Heather can’t stop making this a personal investigation into the disappearance of the girl she was in love with twelve years ago and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

There is a super cute baby cow in the flashback that I can barely speak about. The Beacon believes Mosswood needs some kind of scapegoat to release all the violent tension that their sessions have started bringing up. They’ll name the cow, raise the cow and then “offer up” the cow which will cause a “release” among the group. They are just absolutely going to murder the baby cow and it’s SO cute…

Harry does the first truly dumb thing I’ve seen him do this season when he goes back to Glen Fisher’s house and breaks in! The only reason it’s not 100% dumb is that he actually finds some super sketchy info. None of it would be admissible in court but it turns out there are tons of people in Keller who are involved in Mosswood and Glen’s family has owned the Mosswood land since the 1930s. Unfortunately, it’s not enough good information to do anything with, especially because of the way it was found, but it’s certainly a lot of suspicious information.

Harry and Heather have another meeting with the chief in which we hear a lot of euphemistic talk about how it’s time for Harry to go home. It seems like a very abrupt decision until we find out that the defense listed Harry as a witness during the case. Look, again, I totally get that I have the benefit of hindsight here but if the police chief is not involved in Mosswood and/or Marin’s disappearance then it’s very short-sighted to dismiss Harry this way.

We get a flashback to what I’m assuming is the last time Heather ever saw Marin. Heather shows up at the Mosswood gates and they have a talk. Kind of. It’s clear that Marin does not care about Heather at all anymore. My only gripe with this whole storyline (other than the fact that Marin kind of sucks) is that it seems like she started to have issues with Heather being a lesbian kind of out of nowhere. It’s clear during the early episodes that they were actively hooking up and Marin was at least a little into it. Then she goes to Mosswood one night and all of a sudden she can’t abide Heather being in love with her. Maybe I’m missing something more to it, but that’s what it seems like from the outside.

Harry gets a call from Vera telling him that Julian got put in solitary confinement after beating up the other kid. It turns out he’s refusing to see Vera because she’s lying and only wants to talk to Harry now. Harry goes to see him and they talk about the dreams he has about the hooded figure. Julian admits that it’s not just a dream. A few weeks ago someone actually broke into his room and tried to abduct him. My money’s on Marin, but I suppose we’ll see. She definitely might be dead also.

Rounding out an episode full of broken relationships, Harry arrives back at Jack’s house and gets into a super stilted and awkward conversation about protecting Heather’s career and how Jack wishes Harry would have left town sooner. He accuses Harry of only ever thinking about himself and, honestly, sometimes that’s just what you have to do! Harry says he’ll go to a hotel and he goes back to the murder hotel AGAIN! He remembers visiting his mother in the psych ward after the fire. She’s very distant and doesn’t seem concerned at all about going home or being with Harry again.

We end the episode seeing whatever ritual they do to the baby cow. Luckily we only see them all touching the cow and a knife in The Beacon’s hand but not the actual murder. When Vera and The Beacon next meet he says he feels the clarity and now they can move on to the next level. Seemingly providing the exact thing he needs for this “next level,” Vera tells him Marin is pregnant and that she’s struggling with the decision to go to Dr. Poole. The Beacon tells her not to push Marin if she doesn’t want the abortion and that perhaps the baby could be good for the community. They can keep it and name it and all raise it. It sounds suspiciously like the process we just went through with the cow and something tells me Adam and Bess might have been taking Julian to The Beacon as a sacrifice.

Nothing at all has been resolved at this point except that Harry is now on his own in the investigation into Julian. It does look like we might get some actual answers next week as Vera promises to tell Harry everything. There’s also a body getting dragged out of a lake. It definitely feels like it will be too easy if it’s Marin, but I’d also be fine if we were done with that mystery at this point too. One thing’s for sure, the last three episodes are sure to be jam-packed with information!

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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