The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 6 recap – “Crossing the Line”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 26, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 6 - Crossing the Line


With the feeling that the show is nearing its end, it’s good to see the Owl Theory get fully explored. Once again, the cast members are great in their roles!

This recap of the HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 6, “Crossing the Line,” contains spoilers.

Read the recap of the previous episode.

The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 6 recap

In 2017, Michael and Sophie meet Shaun again before the first day of the rest of Michael’s life as Michael will be entering an Alford plea. Meanwhile, while Michael is still in prison, Sophie continues to investigate the case. After she meets the Petersons’ former neighbor, Sophie wonders whether an owl could have caused Kathleen to fall down the stairs. Although, it doesn’t make any sense to her. And in prison, Michael learns that he has lost the second appeal. Naturally, he doesn’t take the news well, and believing that he could now spend the rest of his life in prison, he argues with his lawyer David.

Whilst working, each of Michael’s children learn the latest development. Although David hopes that they can all move on, he bids them goodbye as he goes to start his life with his new wife, Sonya. The Staircase then cuts to 17 days before Kathleen’s death. Shortly afterward, the show cuts back to when Michael is still in prison. Sophie, Margaret, and Clayton visit Michael in prison. Sophie reveals that she has met with their former neighbor Larry and believes that an owl could be to blame for Kathleen’s death. But it seems that Michael is unable to face it anymore as he simply says, “this needs to end”. Even so, Sophie meets up with Larry again and looks into the high number of owl attacks in the area.

But instead of being a wild theory, Larry offers what appears to be a solid hypothesis as to how an owl could have caused Kathleen’s death. And Sophie is certain of it as well. When Michael starts to lose it in prison, he nearly causes a prison riot. Sophie continues to fight for Michael, and with the new information, i.e. owl fragments, she hopes for the cause of Kathleen’s death to be looked into once again. However, Sophie gets told that to do so, Kathleen’s body must get exhumed.

The ending

Sophie calls Caitlin and tells her that she has a theory about Kathleen’s death. And similar to previous episodes, The Staircase shows Kathleen’s death in a different manner. This time, Kathleen goes inside the house before going outside to put out Christmas ornaments. However, she gets viciously attacked by an owl. She goes back inside, but she is weak and confused, and she staggers up the stairs before falling back and hitting her head.

And because of that theory, Sophie asks Caitlin if Kathleen’s body may be exhumed. Caitlin will not accept that theory and maintains her belief that it was Michael who killed her mother. As the sixth episode of The Staircase comes to a close, David asks Michael if he accepts the Alford plea, which allows him to maintain his innocence, although, at the same time, states that the evidence does allow for a jury to find him guilty. And in David’s words, Michael will be finally free. Michael, however, does not accept. He says that a lie will not set him free.

What did you think of the HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 6? Comment below.

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