Sins of Our Mother is anything but an enjoyable watch. It’s a raw, infuriating, and heartbreaking look at a case that shocked the world.
This review of the Netflix documentary series Sins of Our Mother does not contain spoilers.
The 2019 murder of two innocent children, Joshua Jaxon “J. J.” Vallow and Tylee Ashlyn Ryan at the hands of their mother and new husband received a huge amount of media attention. While the trials are yet to take place, and won’t until 2023, Netflix just released a true crime three-part documentary about the case. Sins of Our Mother explores Lori Vallow’s life and slow but steady descent into madness. She’s a mother who did the unthinkable.
Featuring interviews with Lori’s surviving son, Colby, her mother, friends, and other family members, the series gives us insight into who this woman was and what drove her to commit such an inconceivable crime. We learn that Lori was always devoted to her Mormon faith, she had been a great mother up until she wasn’t and was easily influenced when it came to spiritual matters. The series sheds light on how Lori’s late husband, Charles, tried desperately to send warnings into the ether about the extreme views his wife was developing, only to be ignored by all up until his untimely death.
According to the series, Lori’s spiritual beliefs were bizarre, to the point of thinking she was communicating with angels. Meeting doomsday prepper and writer Chad Daybell was the final ingredient for a perfect storm. Chad’s belief system includes thinking the books he wrote were scripture and that a small town in Idaho was going to become the New Jerusalem. The two of them would brand the people in their lives with the letter Z, for zombie, and use it as an excuse to allegedly commit murder. The pair is now on trial for the murders of Lori’s two kids and Chad’s wife, Tammy, whose death was previously dismissed as “natural causes.”
Sins of Our Mother is infuriating and heartbreaking to watch. Seeing what Colby had to say was particularly poignant. That young man lost his entire family in one fell swoop, and it was hard watching him try to make sense of it all. Seeing Lori’s mother, who previously defended her publicly, admitting just how wrong she’d been was gutwrenching. The series did its best to pull at the viewer’s heartstrings while presenting one of the most insane true crime cases in recent history.
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