“Part VII”, the penultimate episode of The Sinner, finally provided some long overdue answers to the second season’s mysteries.
For once, I can happily report that we learned a lot from this week’s episode of The Sinner. The creatively-titled “Part VII” used the tried-and-true technique of a lengthy flashback to reveal some juicy titbits about the shenanigans in Mosswood and its surrounding environs, and it left us with plenty to mull over.
Marin (Hannah Gross), for instance, is still alive, and not only that but partly responsible for current goings-on, including, most notably, her biological son (Elisha Henig) poisoning two people. “Part VII” fills in the intervening years between her leaving Julian in the care of Vera (Carrie Coon) and disappearing on a journey of self-discovery that stopped off at the usual places; drugs, rehab, spiritual enlightenment, the whole shebang.
So it’s Marin living in the storage unit, and Marin who was the mysterious hooded figure that sloped into Julian’s room and gave him grief during the night. If you were wondering how all this connects to that fateful brew of jimsonweed, Marin had convinced Bess (Ellen Adair) and Adam (Adam David Thompson) to kidnap Julian and deposit him at Niagara Falls. The dots, finally, join together.
But “Part VII” wasn’t particularly kind to Marin, and by the end of it she’s dead – shot, no less, with Julian either missing or kidnapped once again, although I suppose his entire life has been one form of kidnapping or another. Did he shoot her? I wouldn’t put it past him. But it could also have been whoever she was planning to meet on the phone, which could be almost anyone at this point.
The other half of Julian’s parentage remains mysterious, too. The Sinner keeps insisting it’s the Beacon (Brennan Brown), but you’ll excuse me if I don’t take this show at its word. Heather (Natalie Paul) is still inextricably tied to the situation, as is her father, Jack (Tracy Letts), though at this point it’s difficult to guess in quite what way. I’m sure it’ll have something to do with how you can’t bury or run away from a tragic past, which seems to be the theme of this season, embodied even by Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) – it’s no coincidence that the shenanigans have occurred in his hometown.
But it’s Julian who’s going to look back on these traumatic days and search for some means to forget them; he’s a kid, after all, while the other characters are grown adults who are learning to process horrific events that happened long ago. Julian is right in the thick of his damage. He’s a killer, a convict, a runaway, an abductee, a cult member; but he’s really a little boy. Whatever’s going to happen to him for killing Bess and Adam will likely be the last thing he wants, or, for that matter, what Vera and Ambrose want. Providing he’s still alive, and based on the lengths we’ve seen Vera go to in order to protect him thus far, you have to wonder if she’ll find a way to endure the inevitable suffering on his behalf. The question is whether or not it’ll be enough to save him.