4×08: “Part VIII”
Directed by Monica Raymund
Written by Nina Braddock
* For a recap & review of Part VII, click here.
Harry goes back to the boat disposal yard where he sees the Valerie has been torched. He hears the Percy in his head, wondering if they can just give up the search. But Harry won’t stop, not until he knows the truth. At home, Meg’s having breakfast with her sons, though she’s not happy with them. She also knows Harry’s too smart not to figure everything out entirely. Colin excuses what they’ve done by making it all about money, whereas Meg doesn’t like how they did it. Sean wants to go see Chief Lou, tell the truth. Mom says: “We stick together. There‘s no other way.”
Don gets a surprise when he comes downstairs in the morning, discovering the former Dt. Ambrose in his kitchen. Harry wants names, or else things will get much worse for Don. Though Don won’t budge, resting on there being “no hard evidence,” particularly thanks to the arson the night before. Soon, Chief Lou comes by to arrest Harry.
When Chief Lou takes Harry he brings the retired cop out by the water, then he takes off the cuffs. He knows Harry was right about a bunch of things, from Verne killing Brandon to Officer Josh being on duty when Percy showed up the night she died. Turns out that Lou was never in on it, he’s just a shitty cop who doesn’t pay attention enough to the men around him. He feels terribly guilty for everything that’s happened. “Nothing‘s ever what you think it is,” says Harry, and after four seasons of The Sinner with all its unsettling, twisty mysteries, he ought to know. Thankfully now Mike’s out of jail and back to his family. The big mystery’s left unsolved, so far.
The Portland cops are passing things off up the “chain of command” because the smuggling ring on Hanover Island is connected to a much bigger operation. This means they no longer care about Percy’s murder, or how it ties into the operation itself. This, once more, leaves Harry to try get at the truth behind the smoke and mirrors. Harry uses Chief Lou to track down the address connected to an unknown number from Verne’s phone, giving him something to go on, hopefully. A while later he goes to the area where he figures out the number’s from a payphone—the one we’ve seen Colin go answer, right across the road from his house. When Harry goes up onto the porch he sees Meg there, along with Mike and Stephanie Lam.
Harry goes back to see Chief Lou and that evening they look through the Lam’s finances. Seems the Lams have a ton of money to use, and it’s money they don’t seem to be making from regular legal business. Harry also comes across a land deed, for property on a place called Crescent Island, sold to Mike by Sean “for $10.” This sends Harry further out onto the ocean, to Crescent Island, which is a small, rocky strip of land. It’s on that small island where Harry finds a plate of dried oranges and another tiny jade statue like the one from C.J.’s place.
Back in Clark Harbor, Harry goes to see C.J. on the wharf. He shows the younger man the jade statue and mentions Crescent Island. He asks whether this statue is for C.J.’s brother Bo, who’s supposedly in Hong Kong. Up until two years prior, Bo was home and working on the boats. Now, Bo’s buried on Crescent Island. It’s not something C.J. wants to talk about, even if he fondly remembers his brother and all their old dreams they shared.
Harry next goes to visit Sean and confronts him about Crescent Island, as well as Bo’s grave. He wants Sean to break free from the family narrative and secrets. He knows the way secrets haunt people. They’re interrupted by Colin and Harry’s about to be angrily drove off before Sean admits they killed Bo. Sean tells Harry the story about Bo stealing from the Muldoons’ traps, which prompted Sean, Colin, and Percy to confront Bo. The four of them went out on Colin’s boat one night and the Muldoons stopped out on the water for a private talk with Bo. Sean demanded “two grand” from Bo to replace what the family lost, but Bo says he didn’t steal from the traps, that he only took the boat out. Bo argued with the brothers until Sean started fighting with him and chaos erupted. Bo fought with Sean and Percy grabbed a gun from inside. Moments later, Percy accidentally shot Bo and killed him, precipitating everything that came later in Percy’s life. That night was also when Sean got his shoulder injury, helping to carry Bo’s corpse, beginning his long bout with drugs.
What about the Lams?
Meg told them her sons met with Bo about the count in the traps, then Percy admitted to shooting him. Grandma tried to convince Stephanie and Mike not to ruin her granddaughter’s life, calling it “a horrible mistake.” Eventually the families came to an agreement because Meg was willing to pay any price to keep the Lams quiet. Mike bargained to get one of the Muldoons’ biggest fishing permits, though Stephanie didn’t want to be bought. He convinced his wife it was futile to fight the Muldoons legally.
So, because the Muldoons gave away their big permit, the family resorted to smuggling people in order to cover their losses. Sean admits it all to Harry and he’s willing to be arrested, to confess, while Colin storms off pissed. His mother begs him to reconsider what he’s doing, but he goes with Harry back to the police station anyway. Plus, Sean knows all of this is ultimately the reason he lost his daughter.
Finally we see Harry preparing to leave the chalet and the island. He gives Sonya a call but only reaches her voicemail. That afternoon, Harry and Chief Lou go to see the Lams, letting them know there won’t be any charges for covering up Bo’s death. Harry tells the family he believes Percy felt deep guilt for what she’d done; that’s also the moment C.J. discovers the truth about her and his brother. Must be devastating for C.J. to hear, all around.
Chief Lou is a sweetheart. He thanks Harry for everything, giving him a tasty candy, then gives the former detective a big hug before they part ways. The only thing Harry needs to do now is shake off what’s been haunting him all this time. Well, not just yet. Harry sees Meg’s car outside the church, so he goes inside and has a talk with the woman. He says he only wanted to find justice for Percy. Meg questions whether Harry thinks “the world is a better place now.” He can’t answer her definitively, either. But he gives Meg the piece of rope Percy knotted, then leaves.
A flashback to the night Percy died.
Up at the house, Percy already had her bruised head, and Meg found out from Colin that her granddaughter was starting to crack because of the Bo situation. “We‘re poisoned,” said Percy. She felt as if she’d ruined the family because of killing Bo. She lashed out at everybody in the family, from Colin, to dad, to grandma, exposing them all for their bullshit. She was sick and tired of holding in the guilt. She told grandma she wanted to go see Chief Lou. That wasn’t something Meg could allow. And Percy realised it wouldn’t do anything even if she went to the cops anyway.
Back out at the cliff, Harry takes a last look at the ocean beyond Clark Harbor, like a goodbye to Percy. He understands how Percy tried to run from herself after being forced into silence by her own family. She ran for a while but her family wouldn’t allow her to leave, not entirely. She tried seeking spirituality, for a way out of her guilt, but the circumstances of her life kept her from ever truly escaping. One question remains: who was out there with Percy the night she died? Nobody. It was the memory of Bo haunting Percy, following her everywhere she went.
At the station, Sean’s joined by Colin. The brothers tell the truth together.
On the cliffs, Meg goes to see Em at the teepee structure.
On Crescent Island, the Lams visit Bo’s grave as a family.
In a sense, Harry’s journey through life has been similar to Percy’s, in that masculinity and patriarchal expectations, along with cop culture, have prevented him from telling his truth, perpetually holding him back from ever truly seeing himself. Can he survive without the detective work that gives him purpose? Can he spend retirement with only himself and his thoughts? Or will he now, after all he’s learned from the lives of others, be able to confront the parts of himself and his personal history that continue to haunt him? Here’s to hoping.