The Sister Season 1 Episode 4 Recap and Ending Explained

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 29, 2020 (Last updated: December 3, 2023)
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The Sister Season 1 Recap
The Sister Season 1 Promotional Image Courtesy of ITV


Nathan resorts to desperate measures after learning the truth, but the consequences of Elise’s death might be too wide-ranging to contain.

This recap of The Sister Season 1 Episode 4 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Cyanide. That’s what Bob had cut Elise’s cocaine with. That’s what sent her crackers on Nathan’s lap and caused her to fatally smash her head on the back window. Naturally, Nathan isn’t exactly thrilled about his life being ruined for the sake of a misguided paranormal experiment, but that’s the only way that Bob seems to be able to view the incident. He’s totally disconnected from the weight and consequences of what he did; he helpfully dismisses death as not being real, just a transition from one state to another. He’s convinced that Elise is haunting him and that they have to confess what they’ve done in order to get rid of her. That, though, means that he’ll have to get rid of Holly, too. “I know it’s a lot to take in,” says Bob. You don’t say! He gives Nathan one day to do what needs to be done.

Nathan goes to see Jacki. He confesses to Bob having been on his way back to the party that fateful night after copping cocaine. Jacki, in turn, confesses to Holly having told her about Bob’s recent reappearance. Nathan spins a story that not-so-subtly implicates Bob in Elise’s death while keeping his own hands clean. Jacki warns him that he’s setting events in motion that can’t be stopped once they get going.

When Nathan finally returns home, Holly isn’t happy. But Nathan can’t tell her the truth, despite their little Empire Strikes Back moment. In the bathroom he fondles a blister pack of pills and stares at himself in the mirror, one assumes to echo the opening scene of the first episode. The next we see him, he’s at Bob’s house, eyeing up his safe once again. He’s brought whiskey. After pouring them both a glass, he tells Bob about Jacki and confesses that he thought about killing himself, which Bob apparently understands since he has been thinking about it himself since he was 19. Nathan asks for one more week with Holly, or another two days, or just one, but Bob isn’t in the mood for negotiation. He needs “it” to end. But he’ll go for one more drink.

Nathan realizes something he hadn’t until now — that he was supposed to die too. He and Elise were both supposed to take the cocaine. Bob doesn’t deny it. He’s eager to get going. But on his way out, he takes a funny turn, collapsing to the floor as Nathan slips on some latex gloves. “Nathan, what are you doing?” asks Bob. The chilling response is simply, “I’m killing you.”

Nathan’s method of murder is to bung all the pills he was fondling earlier down Bob’s throat while giving a little speech about how much he loves Holly and how nobody is ever going to hurt her. But he needs the key to the safe since Elise’s dress has his DNA all over it. And Bob isn’t in a forthcoming mood. While Nathan’s rooting around for it, Bob pulls out his phone and calls 999. With Jacki on the way, Nathan finds the key to the safe and opens it… lo and behold, the dress isn’t inside. Suddenly, Nathan flashes back to Bob insisting “there’s no ice”, and finds the garment in the freezer. With the sirens blaring in the distance, he’s forced to try and dig it out in a hurry, but Bob splutters to life, so he has to run across the room and smother him. By the time Bob’s dead, the paramedics are ringing the doorbell and Nathan is furiously ice-picking the dress out of the freezer. He’s able to free it just in time to lend some final touches to the crime scene, including having the paramedics interrupt him attempting CPR, which is a nice flourish.

On his way out of the building, Nathan runs into Jacki and encourages her to look in the safe, only making himself more suspicious than ever. Nevertheless, she follows the instructions and finds the box containing a skull that Bob keeps inside. We cut to Holly receiving a phone call and dropping her phone on the ground in shock. Nathan, meanwhile, sits in his car with Elise’s dress and sobs, while his wife smashes their wedding photograph.

When Nathan returns home, he finds Holly on the floor. She confronts him about being there that night, at the party. He claims not to have suspected Bob until recently, but it doesn’t do him any good. Holly says she’s moving home to look after her dad, and she wants Nathan to stay away. He sobs for the second time that night.

Jacki arrives at the house to question Nathan about Bob’s death, and about his trouble sleeping. I think we all know where this conversation is going. She asks if he has the sleeping pills left that his GP prescribed, and when he explains that he flushed them because he doesn’t like taking them, she advises that he source some in case anybody asks any awkward questions about why he has less than prescribed. She also informs him that Bob isn’t dead, despite his storied history of drug abuse and suicide attempts. He’s in a coma, but not the kind you wake up from. On her way out, she says to give Holly a few days, and that she’ll make sure she knows what he did for her. The implication seems clear — she knows Nathan killed Bob, or at least tried to, but she’s going to cover for him.

When Nathan later meets with Holly, she gets a laugh out of him for perhaps the first time in the series. Then she gets a cry by informing him that she’s pregnant. Nine months later, or thereabouts, we see Nathan cradling their premature and slightly too light newborn. But the kid can’t come home until the next day. As Nathan drives him from the hospital, we see the body of Elise in the back of his car. She opens her eyes.

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