The Sister continues to keep its cards close to its chest as it fleshes out the fateful night of Elise’s maybe-death, but it still requires a suspension of disbelief to function.
This recap of The Sister episode 2 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The Sister, when you really think about it, is only really powered by two essential questions. The first is what exactly happened to Elise Fox on the night that, as we see more of in this episode, Nathan and Bob buried her in the woods? The second is why, and that’s the more important one. Why is Bob carrying on in quite the way he is? Why did Nathan marry Elise’s sister Holly, of all people, and why does the potential disinterment of Elise’s body threaten Nathan and Bob so much, beyond the obvious? Perhaps most vital all, why was she killed in the first place?
This second episode endeavors to tease at potential answers to these questions rather than answer them outright. A lot of it takes place in the past for that reason. We see Nathan meet Elise at a New Year’s Eve party, quite at random, and she falls in with Nathan and his conspiracy-theorist paranormalist friend Bob because it’s a way to continue a coke binge that begins at the party and continues out in the woods. Bob pitches this as continuing the party somewhere else, but it doesn’t look much like a party – what it looks like, really, is a ripe setting for a murder.
But we’re still waiting to see Elise’s fate, so she might not have been murdered at all. She might have simply OD’d for all we know at this point. Either way, it’s hardly good form for the man who helped bury her to then go and marry her sister, which Holly’s detective friend Jacki, introduced in this episode, also thinks is a bit weird. Here, the show’s time-hopping gimmick makes a bit more sense, as we get to see Jacki meet Nathan both as an interviewee during the investigation into Elise’s disappearance and then, years later, as the man marrying her sister. I’d still say this chronological tampering is a bit overused, but it has more merit here than it did in the opener.
As I mentioned at the top, why Nathan married Holly – why, as we see in this episode, he pursued her pretty dedicatedly – remains one of the show’s most pressing questions. Was it simply guilt, a weird way to atone for what he’d done? Or is it part of some larger grift that’ll become obvious over the next two nights? We’ll have to wait and see.
While we’re suspending our disbelief, we might as well ponder Nathan’s relationship with Bob, since it doesn’t make much sense either. The connection between these two becomes important to the case – Holly tells Jacki about him popping up out of nowhere, and Jacki recalls him from the initial investigation – but it’s also integral to Nathan’s character. Bob is clearly unhinged. We see him threatening Nathan again and again here, even emotionally blackmailing him in an effort to persuade him to help in digging up Elise’s remains. We also see Nathan very convinced that Bob will make good on his threats. That and the fact that they knew each other all those years ago, however cursorily, suggests that there’s much more to Bob than we’ve seen so far. It’s obvious how Bob has the means to manipulate Nathan now, but in what way are they bonded beyond this shared secret?
All of this still remains unclear. At the midpoint, I think it’s pretty obvious that if you’re not on-board with The Sister now you’re unlikely to be at all. It’s an odd show with a fine setup and atmosphere, but it also requires that you meet it halfway in terms of its plotting. Some viewers won’t be willing to, and you can hardly blame them for that. As for me, I’m professionally mandated to keep watching anyway, but I reckon I’d still be interested just to see how this bizarre story plays out.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.