By JASON MARTIN (@JMartZone – September 5, 2018)
As a child, Harry Ambrose didn’t just have to deal with a mentally unstable mother, he also had to grow up with the guilt of having set the kitchen fire that would lead to him leaving his mother’s care. It was a revelation that arrived relatively unexpected (even if we might have deemed it probable), but informs upon why this man is so empathetic with those that have committed crimes they can’t entirely explain.
It’s why he listened to Cora Tannetti. It’s why he doesn’t condemn someone for an action, even when it’s admitted. And it’s why he can talk to Julian, because he WAS Julian, in some respects, when he was a boy. He was scared, he was damaged, and he made a choice. It describes both children perfectly, and Ambrose’s desire not just to send guilty people to jail, but understand them and see whether the motive actually has validity or merit behind it.
Murder is murder, yes, but as we saw in Season 1 and as we’re seeing in Season 2, that’s not deep enough sometimes. He tells Julian, “It’s more complicated than that,” when Walker mentions his own guilt and the simple fact that he knows, as does everyone else, that he did kill Adam and Bess. Harry has gone through this on both the perpetrator and the investigative sides, and as such, he is willing to listen and allow for the possibility that the explanation could lead to exoneration, or at the very least protection.
A large portion of Part VI was devoted to an extended flashback sequence inside Mosswood Grove that illuminated us as to the events that occurred as Marin gave birth to Julian. During that time frame, the “work” changed. It became more violent and it became sexually abusive during sessions inside the barn and perhaps elsewhere. Once Ambrose breaks into the home of the man tailing Ambrose on behalf of the prosecution in the case, he discovers the missing tape from the library. It’s Carmen Bell’s 2002 deposition as she attempted unsuccessfully to get charges filed against Lionel Jeffries and Mosswood for what happened to her there.
She also gives information as to what exactly the Purple Lake is, mainly its location as a reservoir in the area, and that Jeffries convinced the group the only way to escape and erase trauma was to go straight into it. Later, divers find a car 30 meters down in the water, and a body inside in the driver’s seat. Heather’s reaction at the scene gives us all we need to know that she believes it to be Marin, though it’s tough to tell as it’s a skeleton and some hard to decipher clothing. But the age and size of the bones certainly gives off the impression she’s correct.
What’s less surprising than the sheer amount of new info we saw this week is that Vera had serious problems with Jeffries’ methods and protected Marin from what was likely to be a sexual assault at the hands of Glenn Fisher, who we learn through his paid escort from the strip club doesn’t like to have sex, but does seem to like violence against women. The markings on her feet match those we’ve seen elsewhere from Mosswood ladies, and though we don’t know exactly what they are or how they arise, we know it’s not good.
Vera’s bold act in that moment created a major impasse between her and Lionel Jeffries, one that we don’t necessarily see to completion. That means there are likely more flashbacks to come, and if Season 1 is a guide, what we HAVE NOT seen from the past is going to get us to the end game in a way where we find ourselves completely on Julian’s side, if we’re not already. I feel as if we are and have been since the outset, just as we were with Cora, but there are more layers to this year’s plot than the first. It’s why this season has been so relentlessly compelling and such great television.
It didn’t take long for Heather to reverse course on Ambrose once she saw that video. That’s as expected, and I’ve figured out the end of this season may well be Harry and Jack (and probably Heather) on a boat fishing, unless they go the sinister route on the way out the door. Vera is not the enemy, although it’s undeniable that the blurred face of the hooded woman favored her somewhat. Julian is now missing, disappearing out the window of the foster home, and based on everything we know, it would make total sense that Vera showed up and kidnapped the son she NURSED, which is pretty wild, and maybe a little creepy, but this whole show resides in that world.
With just two episodes left in this story, we’ll need to find Julian and determine if indeed, it was Vera who took him, or if Jeffries is somehow going to appear in present day (if he’s alive anyway, remember Vera brought him “apology tea,” and that’s not a beverage that doesn’t have a nefarious past in The Sinner. Also, just how dark and twisted is Glenn Fisher and how much ugliness exists in that family tree? He has power, but Vera believes Bell’s inability to get charges filed goes much higher than him, maybe to Jeffries but certainly to whomever might have been directly underneath him.
Ambrose has successfully, through his investigative efforts and putting fear into the prosecutor for Mosswood political contributions in the past, gotten Julian’s case kicked to family court and gotten the charges reduced to manslaughter. But now, Julian Walker is missing. Was Ambrose WRONG about the hooded woman being an illustration of guilt? Honestly, probably not, but there could be more than one answer here. We have no idea what happened just yet, but we’ve got our suspicions. Two hours remain and they’re likely to be filled with important tidbits. Pay particular attention to next week’s, as the penultimate is always the source of highest tension and highest drama. The finale is the chance to exhale. The next-to-last though is usually a doozy.
It’s going to be a blast to watch.
I’m @JMartZone. I tell you the truth.