USA’s The Sinner
Season 3: Part III
Directed by Andrew McCarthy
Written by Hannah Shakespeare
* For a recap & review of Part II, click here.
* For a recap & review of Part IV, click here.
Jamie is continuing to have a difficult time in the aftermath of Nick’s death. It starts to make Leela wonder if it’s about the baby, and if he’s worried about becoming a father. Suddenly her husband asks: “Do you believe in God?” He wants to believe in something, yet there are so many doubts. Leela’s about ready to drop that child and Jamie is bringing this up now. He thinks this is all a “spiritual Band–Aid” to give their life meaning. She’s rightfully appalled by his sudden attitude. She tells him it’s a privileged position from which he’s speaking, and he gets defensive over whiteness, ending things abruptly. But fact is, Jamie needs professional help. Serious, serious help.
In her studio, Sonya chats with Dt. Ambrose. He keeps questioning whether she knows Nick or Jamie somehow, or maybe forgot that they crossed paths at some point. She wishes there was something she could tell him. It appears she’s telling the truth. Meanwhile, she’s scared because there’s no explanation for why Jamie and Nick were digging a grave on her property. Yet. Ole Harry won’t stop until he uncovers the truth. That’s no help for Sonya when she’s home alone and worried about her safety.
At school, Jamie asks Emma to meet him later— off campus. Strange. There’s been an existential shift in general in the teacher. He’s mad-dogging guys for bad parking, now he’s curiously asking a student to meet him after hours and not at school. Sketchy, or no? Simultaneously, Dt. Ambrose is off finding more info on Jamie’s past. He talks to a guy who mentions the relationship with Nick, saying Jamie “fell under his spell.” The relationship brought about a change in Jamie. The guy lived with him during college. One night he found Jamie not speaking, sitting on the floor covered in dirt with bloody hands. “He seemed almost too alive,” says the former roommate. Jamie also attacked him during the same incident.
Later that day, Jamie meets Emma at a diner. He found out she’s taking Adderall so that she can study. He isn’t so much upset about the drugs, he’s upset she’s “killing herself” to be a good student. He doesn’t want her to pursue higher education simply because it’s what everyone else is doing. Really, it’s Jamie pushing the sadness and regret of his own life onto her. And all he’s doing is confusing this poor girl. He rushes off into the rain, though everywhere he goes he can’t stop hearing the digging of Nick’s shovel. He stands at a crosswalk and nearly steps in front of a bus, giving him what looks like a rush of excitement— the most life he’s had in his eyes for a while.
Good timing. Because Leela’s ready to give birth.
The paranoia keeps eating at Sonya. She might be starting to question whether she knows Jamie and can’t remember. She looks at a picture of Jamie online, trying to figure it out. Harry’s looking at an old picture of Jamie, the one from college. It’s an eerie picture. The detective notices a headboard nearby with the word UBERMENSCH (‘the overman’; see Friedrich Nietzsche) scrawled into it.
Once the baby’s born, Jamie can barely let the child out of his sight.
Particularly not with a vision of Nick haunting him, no matter where he turns.
At night, Jamie goes out for a stroll and sits on the curb. He’s not there long before Dt. Ambrose finds him, confronting him about whatever’s been happening. Harry tells Jamie he knows about the incident from college, and that he knows Jamie let Nick die the night of the crash. Yet the teacher’s confident because there isn’t any real evidence. Again, Dt. Ambrose will not let it go. He never does. The next day, Harry chats up Nick and Jamie’s old professor about Nietzsche and the concept of the Ubermensch. The professor tells him “many disaffected young men take to Nietzsche.” He explains the Ubermensch attempts to “forge new values” in a world post-Nietzsche’s ‘God is dead.’ Not a good mix for a couple sociopaths like Jamie and Nick.
Trouble at work, trouble at home— nothing is going right for Jamie.
All he can hear is the digging of the shovel. He sees Nick lurking right behind him, asking for the baby to be handed over. So Jamie gives him the child, then Nick starts to twist it and crush it in his arms. He comes to when Leela walks into the room. Thankfully there’s no harm done to the baby. But, my lord! The tension could make you sick.
A piece of Harry’s life comes out again: his father is dead. That’s why he has stuff from the Jefferson Veteran’s Home. It’s his dad’s belongings, or whatever was left. He doesn’t take much time to grieve, at least not openly. Not to mention Jamie is at the station and he’s rapidly falling apart. He is on the verge of a serious breakdown. So, Dt. Ambrose takes him for a psych consultation at the hospital, hoping to offer some help. “It‘s like Nick infected me,” Jamie says on the drive.
When they arrive, he has no idea he’s about to be detained against his will. Harry quietly alerts the staff, but Jamie’s already nervous. A doctor’s soon ready and makes the teacher feel at ease, asking the general intake questions like with all patients. Doesn’t take long for the doctor to get truth out of Jamie, who talks about what’s bothering him. Although it takes the same amount of time for him to figure out what’s going on, too. He walks out of there, followed by Harry attempting to convince him he needs help. Soon, he breaks into a full-on sprint, and the detective’s sciatica won’t let him go on a chase.
“… and pain is the gateway.”
With Jamie in the wind, anything could happen.
Part IV is next.