The English season 1 ending explained – what is Cornelia’s secret?

November 11, 2022
M.N. Miller 14
Amazon Prime, Ending Explained, Streaming Service, TV Recaps


The finale of The English is a hard watch that takes, uh, a viral turn that is unexpected.

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The finale of The English is a hard watch that takes, uh, a viral turn that is unexpected.

We recap the Prime Video series The English season 1, episode 6, which contains spoilers and explains the ending.

Things get off to a roaring start on the season’s final episode of The English. In “Cherished”, we now see Melmont (Rafe Spall), the man who stole Cornelia’s (Emily Blunt) money, in the present day. He was the man who also accompanied her former fiance to the States to start his cattle business. Regarding the fiance, Trafford (Tom Hughes) has his giant stack of hay for the winter burned to the ground. Someone dressed in all black lit them up and killed two of his cowboys. They were both “skinned” at the scalp. The quiver of bows on the horse looks strangely like Cornelia’s.

Also note an older adult male is looking for the “Black Widow,” who is part of some wild west show.

The English season 1, episode 6 recap – what is Cornelia’s secret?

Since all the cattle’s food is for the winter, Trafford wants to take the herd City Slickers’ style to Alberta. Why? Because he had enough of Melmont, who struck gold in Colorado and now moved back to Wyoming. Meanwhile, the sheriff discovers that the brand is on Billy Meyers and Timothy Flynn. That’s when Trafford comes clean about the massacre and who was behind it at Chalk River. In fact, Melmont is building his entire town over where the bodies are buried.

That’s when we get an answer to what is Cornelia’s secret. She has syphilis. She wears gloves to cover up the sores on her hands. They look just like the ones on Timothy Flynn’s wife’s hands. (I assumed they were marks from cowpox). It turns out that her son had it when he was born and died from it. This is why Cornelia pulled away from kissing Eli. And when we consider that Melmont appeared to be living with Cornelia at the time, is Melmont the father? Did he have syphilis?

This is confirmed later that the entire group of men involved in the massacre contracted syphilis. But from whom? The one they call the “Black Widow” at a brothel. That’s how Cornelia and her son got it when she began her relationship with him. However, Jerome McClintock, the leader of the death squad at Chalk River, is still alive. He shoots Trafford’s muscles and traps several of them in the Meyers home.

Jerome is dressed in all black and on a horse equipped with that Gatling gun. Yes, McClintock is the man who has been killing people and burning the hard rations. When Whipp escapes the home and shoots at him, his hood comes off and reveals his grotesque injuries from syphilis. A few moments later, McClintock dies, and we find out Trafford was killed in the flood.

The Meyers widow, Cornelia, Whipp, and the sheriff confront Melmont. He has the Meyers boy tied up. Cornelia and the father of her deceased child have a verbal confrontation over what has transpired between them. Melmont keeps antagonizing her and shows, under his lip, a sore. She raises her gun to shoot him but cannot. That’s when the widow pulls out her rifle and shoots the wealthy man in cold bold. The bullet goes through him and strikes Cornelia, but it hits her locket. Before Melmont passes, he takes a broken sword and stabs him in the heart.

To keep everything under wraps, the sheriff tells Whipp he has to leave. That means leaving Cornelia behind. She rides her horse up to him, and they say their tearful goodbyes. Before Whipp leaves, she hands him the seeds from the German Mennonites. Eli gives her that tiny bird skull.

The English season 1, episode 6 ending

The English season 1, episode 6 ends thirteen years later. Cornelia is in London and covers her face because of the sores. She visits Wild Bill’s Wild West Show. The son of Running Hawk and Touching Ground is there. He is playing Whipp in the show. The young man pulled back Cornelia’s veil and kissed her on the forehead.

What did you think of The English season 1, episode 6, and the ending? Comment below.

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14 thoughts on “The English season 1 ending explained – what is Cornelia’s secret?

  • November 12, 2022 at 2:25 am

    A fantastic series. Sometimes confusing but nevertheless, great to watch. I’d recommend it. I could fully understand her anger. The two main characters were terrific…..first class! The love was strong and deep. Terribly sad. Wish they could have had at least one proper night together. Somehow!

  • November 12, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    Well your recap is filled with errors. Melmont wasn’t “living with Cornelia at the time”. He obviously raped her. Yes he’s the father. A boy conceived by rape. That’s why he asks her if she killed the baby. Thinking she would hate a baby of rape by him. You don’t say Whipp stabbed him with a broken sword. The way you wrote it makes it sound like Melmont stabbed himself.

  • November 13, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    A first and only for a western. An actual super villain. Once I got over my shock of how consequential the disease is for all, I really appreciated it. The killer with the Gatling gun on his saddle was bonkers behind words (something that heavy on one side of the saddle would just drag it and it’s Rider upside down ) but I forgive them. Truly something new in a worn out genre. Very impressed

  • November 13, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    you need to correct – cornelia was very clearly raped by Melmont in england at the end of that earlier ep – not a secret from that point on.

  • November 13, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    I found some of the dialogue very hard to hear and comprehend but otherwise loved it

  • November 14, 2022 at 3:32 am

    Awesome cenamatography(sp). Confusing story line. Excellent acting. Hard not to watch.

  • November 14, 2022 at 6:31 am

    Great series, I agree some of the dialogue was hard to understand so I had the sub titles on. Truly good show though!

  • November 16, 2022 at 5:09 am

    You need to make corrections. Cornelia was raped. She’s lying on the ground, head bloody, because Malmount raped her. What? You thought he’d just demanded the sterling and in her shock had a faint? Also, he conned the money out of her. He lied about her Talford being in jailed for the massacre so he could steal her money. He also raped the Myers woman.

  • November 17, 2022 at 5:04 am

    Emily Blunt could make a great scene just by reading the back of a cereal box. However I found this series hard to watch because of the overly dark lit scenes, confusing storyline and dialogue that was so hard to hear and understand (accents) that I actually turned on the closed captioning. That said some of of the cinematography was awesome and captured the wide open spaces of the Old West. Made me want to buy a pair of boots and put the saddle on ole Bessie.

  • November 19, 2022 at 6:02 am

    Can someone comment on the meaning of Black Widow being in the traveling show cart and the deputy visiting her? Immediately thereafter we see Cornelia’s beautiful face transposed over her disfigured face as she is lying on the floor of the cart. (She was never in the show and apparently returned to England.)

  • November 20, 2022 at 12:01 am

    The black widow was originally a prostitute in the brothel that all of the men had visited. That’s why they all had syphilis. It seems the brothel was the source of the syphilis. Melmont was a serial rapist. I think the Director superimposed Cornelia‘s face over the black widow as artistic license. Just to make a point that Cornelia would one day look like that. Unfortunately.

  • November 26, 2022 at 2:24 am

    This review is absolutely riddled with errors. Melmont raped Cornelia. Could someone who actually watched it rewrite this please; it’s an insult to the show.

  • November 26, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Good tale worth watching, of lovers seeking home together against nightmarish odds
    In case you had little idea of how ‘the English’, as Native Americans called the White Man, took their lands, you will need a strong stomach for the 6 episodes of this powerful story with twists and surprises to keep you guessing throughout about cause and outcome. Filmed in Spain, the cinematography was stunning, as were the costumes, especially Cordelia’s even if fanciful as a wardrobe for an English aristocrat riding a wagon across the Great Plains.
    The acting though was patchy. Ciaran Hinds, Stephen Rea and Toby Jones always give absorbing performances and Chaske Spencer particularly had terrific presence, but the cable company shooter man Major Mackay couldn’t sustain an American accent (and put the stress on the wrong word in ‘they shoot grouse now’). As for the Melmont character, many have commented Rafe Spall stole accent and mannerisms from the role Tom Hardy played in Peaky Blinders but it suited the part so I wouldn’t criticise him for such.
    The narrative moving across time periods years apart was managed OK but the pace was inconsistent and the dialogue was largely opaque. There were too many action scenes with 2-dimensional characters who looked alike, with little development so I got a bit lost sometimes when they were referenced later in the narrative.
    But the spine of the narrative, the relationship between Cordelia and Eli was absorbing treated well even if the outcome was not wholly satisfying, the denouement in England set up 13 years after they had ‘found home’ in America.

  • November 28, 2022 at 2:34 am

    Amazing acting by lead characters. I did get a strong reference to Tom Hardy’s peaky blinder character from Melmont. Very different different & tragic love story with wonderful cinematography.

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