The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 3 recap – “The Great Dissembler”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 12, 2022
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HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 3 - The Great Dissembler


A decent enough episode that has more build-up than the actual release. Even so, it does a strong job of building up the case.

This recap of the HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 3, “The Great Dissembler,” contains spoilers.

The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 2 recap

After quite a dull start, The Staircase picks up four months after Kathleen’s death with the investigation in full swing after Candace proves through photos that the blow poke is missing. And after a flashback shows Kathleen’s attempt to remove the bats from the house, Caitlin’s lawyer advises stopping Michael from gaining her money.

Meanwhile, Jim, Freda, and their team speak to several men that they believe could have met up with Michael for sex. As there is still no weapon, aka the blow stick, Michael’s sexuality is their primary focus for a motive. Unfortunately, when Michael is forced into that very conversation, he tries to usher his children away. However, Todd still tries to listen regardless. And luckily for Michael, as Jim and his team have no proof that Michael slept with any of the men, it’s unlikely to work in court. So, instead, Jim tries to find evidence that shows Michael visited gay clubs. 

As claims surface that Michael had sex with men in the past, his ex-wife, Patricia, supports him. Bill struggles with the news of the affairs and decides that he wants to return to his family, whilst a person, who supposedly slept with Michael, informs the legal team that someone called Tyronne may have also slept with Michael. But when Jim receives a list of married men that may be gay, he realizes that they are all financial donors. So, as a result, Jim now has nothing.

The ending

In a flashback, it reveals that as Kathleen grows more annoyed with the bats, Michael continues to meet up with men for sex. And in the timeline of Kathleen’s death, Jean remarks that even when Michael tells the truth, it sounds like a lie. As Todd struggles with the trial, he gets wasted. As the trial becomes worldwide news, it sends shockwaves. Especially those close to Elizabeth Ratliff, who begin to suspect whether Michael was involved in her death.

In the closing section of The Staircase, the Durham county prosecution argues that the blood splatters on Michael’s shorts prove that it was murder. But at the same time, Jim reveals to Freda that a tragic fire killed his siblings. And if something so tragic could kill his siblings, maybe Kathleen could just fall down the stairs and die. Regardless, Jim requests to exhume Kathleen’s body. When it comes to the first day of the trial, Michael comes face-to-face with Caitlin and Candace. On the first day of the trial, Michael comes face to face with Caitlin & Sister, and then the trial begins.

What did you think of the HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 3? Comment below.

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