The third episode of The Woman in the Wall delivers revelations aplenty as not just Lorna but the audience themselves become increasingly unsure of whether they can trust what they’re seeing.
This recap of The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 3 contains spoilers.
The Woman in the Wall is about an unstable woman nursing a lifetime of trauma, so it stands to reason that it would continue to pile on questions that it refuses to answer.
But the fragile mental state of Lorna Brady doesn’t even seem to be the half of it. As of the third episode, a tantalizing hour with striking lighting, a much tighter embrace of the show’s underlying Gothic qualities, and a virtuoso Ruth Wilson performance, it’s starting to become clear that the audience can’t even trust what they have seemingly witnessed with their own eyes.
The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 3 Recap
We’ll get to the episode’s biggest reveal in due course since it didn’t emerge until the very end and there’s plenty more to unpack in the meantime. So, let’s start with some obvious questions.
Who is Olivia Cassidy?
Olivia is ostensibly the daughter of Aoife, the titular woman in Lorna’s living room wall, though that does seem to be in question.
After Clemence’s wake – remember she died in Episode 2 in sudden and obviously mysterious circumstances – Olivia approaches Lorna for help tracking her mother down. Since Aoife was looking for Lorna, it stands to reason she might be able to help.
Olivia identifies the burns on Lorna’s wrist as hogweed burns, similar to the ones Aoife herself had, which leads the two women back to the wailing woman’s house, where Lorna discovers a blue plastic bag hidden beneath a floorboard that contains multiple envelopes addressed to various women.
Olivia gives herself away, though, claiming an incoming call is from her father, who is currently languishing in jail, so Lorna makes a break for it at the first opportunity, and Olivia’s real motives remain unclear.
Is Olivia connected to the House of the Sacred Shepherd?
There’s a chance that Olivia could be involved with the House of the Sacred Shepherd, an organization that Detective Akande unearthed was connected to the Sisters of the Seven Joys convent.
Despite having supposedly ceased operation in 1979, the organization, which was an adoption agency devoted to “reintegrating” the children taken from the young mothers in the Magdalene Laundries by housing them with well-to-do Catholic families, seems to have continued its efforts to restore Ireland’s moral character in secret.
Needless to say, information about the rehoming getting out, much less getting back to the biological mothers of the children, wouldn’t exactly leave the church in good standing with a local community who’re already fighting to recognize the atrocities committed in God’s name through the laundries.
What happened to Lorna’s baby?
Among those who received word of their child’s true fate was Clemence, and Lorna is hoping for the same, but the envelope addressed to her yields a much crueler development – her child died of sustained shivering.
The death certificate was signed by Aoife and seems authentic enough, but with this being the kind of show it so obviously is, it wouldn’t be wise to take that as gospel.
Given the subject, it’s probably best not to take anything as gospel, the gospels themselves included.
The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 3 Ending Explained
At the end of the episode, Akande confronts Lorna about everything he has learned thus far, most notably her apparently burning Father Percy’s car, and the fact a local taxi driver dropped both her and Aoife at her home on the night of Halloween and the latter hasn’t been seen since, leading to the biggest revelation of the episode.
Becoming increasingly unhinged under questioning, Lorna starts to hear banging in the walls, and in a frenzy, she reveals to Akande that she killed Aoife and hid her in the wall. She takes an axe to the wall and discovers that Aoife’s body isn’t there.
Has it been moved? Was it ever there to begin with? Is Aoife alive and well? Was it all a dream?
As of now there’s no easy way to answer any of these questions, but one thing is pretty clear – people will be tuning in to find out.
You can stream The Woman in the Wall Season 1 Episode 3 exclusively on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.