The Sinner – Part 8

USA’s The Sinner
Part 8
Directed by Tucker Gates
Written by Jesse McKeown & Tom Pabst

* For a recap & review of Part 7, click here.
Pic 1Cora (Jessica Biel), with the help of Dt. Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), has finally remembered what happened that night, up in the cabin near the Beverwyck Club. Or at least she remembers Phoebe (Nadia Alexander) dying, Frankie (Eric Todd) trying to save her life with CPR. She still doesn’t recall the truth about the man in the mask, the syringe scars. So Harry’s digging further into the story, the club, those involved.
And still, Cora is in jail. Trying to remember what happened. She sees that masked man. Hears him: “Tell me.” When she responds with not remembering, he soothes her with a syringe and a “good girl.” Terrifying.
So, who was trying to get her to forget what happened that night? Somebody involved with J.D. surely. But who, exactly?
Pic 1AWell, when Harry tracks down a private medical clinic looking for a guy named Duffy, Daniel Burroughs, a white guy and a black there both make a run for it. Things go haywire. Duffy pulls a gun, then Officer Caitlin Sullivan (Abby Miller) puts a few shots in him. Is there more to Caitlin than we’ve been led to believe? Maybe I’m thinking too much. Either way the cops are left with half answers, seeing as how one of the men’s dead.
Who shows up at jail to see Cora? Her mother, Elizabeth (Enid Graham). Her daughter tells her about the night Phoebe died, how she met a boy, fell in love. Of course mom doesn’t want to hear any of that. Although the parents never called the police that night. Elizabeth says she heard them whisper “about Florida” and running away. But with a sick girl out there? Part of me thinks Elizabeth was happy. She’s an awful, awful woman.
In court, Cora decides to say her piece. She speaks to Frankie’s parents directly, apologising. “That is not who I am,” she weeps before telling the court about the people still out there, who held her hostage, buried her sister in the woods. However, it’s all done, anyways. She gets a minimum of 30 years in jail. Looking on, Mason (Christopher Abbott) is devastated, and Dt. Ambrose is, too.
So with our girl facing 30+ years in prison, what’s next?
One thing finally strikes me is that Harry isn’t just a masochist sexually. His job, in part, is masochism. Police work, the real stuff – not dealing with stolen BBQs like he is again, after the big case is finished – is like being in a masochistic relationship, where nothing feels good, it’s all pain. And now, returning to that regular, droning work, Harry’s truly tortured. Likewise knowing that out there are the answers to a dark puzzle, the last remaining pieces.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.24.07 PMMeanwhile, Cora wants Mason, her little boy to move on. He won’t have any of that, he insists they’re coming back next week, and every week after that. I love the character development in Mason, as well. He’s been amazing. Abbott really brought out the emotions of this guy, and also we see how Mason went from a sort of jealous man to a wholly devoted, understanding husband.
Harry just won’t let up, though. He goes back to that clinic, seeking more clues. This leads him to find Maddie (Danielle Burgess). She’s got a little kid now, a girl named Winter. She changed her named, all of it. A “toxic relationship” with J.D. prompted the 180-degree turn in her life. She was there at the Beverwyck that night, but claims to have left before everybody else. But this also gets the detective aiming closer in the right direction, concerning J.D’s pill business.
Suddenly Cora’s been taken somewhere. To meet Harry. In fact, it’s the Belmont home, Frankie’s parents. She goes upstairs, but nothing seems familiar. Until she’s in a room where the wall’s paint is cracking; underneath is that wallpaper, reminiscent of the dollar bill. Hiding in plain sight. The key to her trauma.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.34.05 PMFlashback to that infamous night. Frankie calls his father to come out to the Beverwyck. He rushes there and finds a dead Phoebe, Cora unconscious on the floor. His son explains what happened, wants to go to the hospital. Yet J.D. claims he’ll tell everyone about Frankie having sex with a sick girl, high on pills. This leaves dad and the drug dealer to deal with the body, and a very much alive Cora. They even cart the two into the woods in a trunk together. They dig a hole; in goes Phoebe. That’s exactly when Cora wakes up, seeing the abandoned bus in the trees. Frankie’s dad almost kills her before deciding on a different course of action.
So he brings her home, bloody and beat up. Mom’s involved at this point, Frankie is highly disturbed to see what’s going on. After that, Cora is kept in that room, tended to by the masked man in scrubs – dear ole dad – who dresses her wounds regularly, filling her veins with drugs to send her into oblivion. He and Mr. Lambert are still tied together by their nasty deeds, leading them deeper into business together; well, by blackmail.
When it’s time, Mr. Belmont digs into her arm with a needle, making her look like an addict. He brushes her hair, washes her, buys new clothes. A pretty good cover-up. Only now Dt. Ambrose and Cora, together, have completed the puzzle. So the truth is revealed, in that the Belmonts effectively killed their own son. When Cora confronts the father, she explains “I remember your eyes” and that she understands he did it for his son. Doesn’t make it any better.
Later in the car, Harry talks about understanding Cora, about blaming himself; just as she does. We get a bit of insight into his life, his past. “We didnt do anything,” he tells her in comfort. And finally, we take a look, briefly, at why Dt. Ambrose is who he is, a masochist, a man always trying to put himself back together. A beautiful bit of backstory in a subtle moment of dialogue.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.40.50 PMBack in court, things are different. “Extreme emotional disturbance” takes a murder charge down to manslaughter. Cora is ordered to a psychiatric facility, rather than prison. She’ll get therapy, some genuine counselling; she’ll get help. And her family will be able to see her more, plus now they know the truth, the devastating events which led her to that day on the beach. Only two years, then she’s free. In some ways, this has helped Harry free himself, though ultimately he’s freedom is up to him. He has to find a way of dealing with the past: either his masochism, or emotional catharsis.
My favourite part of this series is that it helps us look into the lives of women accused of murder. Sure, there are legitimate cases. But there are far too many out there, most of which are likely unknown, where women have been brutalised by men, in so many terrible ways, leading to them committing a violent, or seemingly crazy act. Only to bear the brunt of the law where previously those men against which they acted were given leniency. The Sinner‘s examination of the case of Cora Tannetti is a great template for that whole idea, representing a microcosm of a harsher reality in this 8-part series.


Banshee – Season 4, Episode 8: “Requiem”

Cinemax’s Banshee
Season 4, Episode 8: “Requiem”
Directed by Ole Christian Madsen
Written by Jonathan Tropper

* For a review of the penultimate episode, “Truths Other Than The Ones You Tell Yourself” – click here
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 1.37.27 AM Farewell, Banshee – we hardly knew ye! This show matured as it went. Despite how others saw the serial killer storyline this season, I dig it. Capped off a wild series of events from day one. Now, we’ve arrived at the series finale.
All roads end here.
Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) and Clay Burton (Matthew Rauch) find the outside of the mayor’s house crowded with Nazis. Of course Calvin Bunker (Chris Coy) steps out front threatening some serious violence. A back and forth ensues until Senator Mitchum (Dan Butler) arrives to stop the entire thing. He is in line with Kai: “You have been misled by this imbecile,” Mitchum tells the crowd concerning Calvin. The Brotherhood has national concerns. Banshee isn’t the centre of the universe. And Cal literally gets bitch slapped. There’s no telling what carnage may come in this final episode after these intense actions.
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 1.38.12 AM Hood (Antony Starr) arrives to say goodbye to Deva (Ryann Shane), as she heads off to college. She’s worried about not fitting in, that her messed up life has done a number on her. But her father assures she’ll work through it. She is a tough cookie.
Over in jail, Agent Veronica Dawson (Eliza Dushku) and Sheriff Brock Lotus (Matt Servitto) are trying to get to the bottom of everything involving Declan and his serial killing. They’ve got Lilith in the box. More lunar cycle madness like one would expect from a total psychotic. Then Dawson brings up Rebecca’s murder. Another exception aside from one other woman mentioned.
With a new man running things for the Aryan Brotherhood, Kai has things under control with his drug shipments. At the same time, you know who Carrie motherfuckin‘ Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic) is watching on. Meanwhile, Kurt Bunker (Tom Pelphrey) and Lotus are investigating the Nazi clubhouse massacre a la Burton. Carrie keeps Kurt up to date, and Brock interrupts their call. So now the plot thickens.
Dawson receives a visit from Hood. She then tells him Rebecca didn’t die at the hands of Declan Bode. Somebody made it look like Bode in order to make it look like the serial killer.
Immediately, Hood thinks Proctor. Who wouldn’t? Did Rebecca do one last thing to drive him over the edge? Perhaps he flew into a weird uncle erotic rage and killed her, then tried to cover it all. But why would Proctor go to such lengths? He could make her disappear off the face of the planet, that’s his deal. I don’t buy it for a second. He loved her. A bit too much.
Out on an airstrip, Proctor meets his latest business associate, Emilio Loera (Nestor Serrano). The big deal is going down. Except Carrie and Job (Hoon Lee) bust up the party. SO BAD ASS how Carrie throws off a smile when the back of the truck comes open. Milicevic is one of the most kick ass actresses on television. Ever. And the writing helps her really break out. Loera appears to let them go, no harm and no foul.
Yeah, right. But Carrie’s prepared – an RPG comes flying through to blow up the truck. Who’s holding it? Brock Lotus, undercover wild man. They all make a clean getaway, hilariously I might add.Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 1.52.44 AM Brock: “That’s right. Someone just blew up your fuckin drugs.

When the smoke clears on the other end, Clay lays waste to the others around him. He and Proctor brush themselves off and head out. Yikes.
With Dawson, once again Hood proves his thief skills. They get themselves into a tool shed where eventually he uncovers a few secrets. A cellar leads them further down where they find traces of blood, some weapons, strange dolls. A whole mess of weird, unsettling things. Then Hood finds Rebecca’s necklace, too. But doesn’t tell Dawson.
Kai is thinking of what happens next. Out of nowhere, Hood rams into Proctor and Burton sending them over a cliff, into a ravine. A nasty little accident. Busted up, Kai confronts Hood who has questions needing answers. Kai swears he didn’t kill her.
All of a sudden, Clay is gone. He did the deed. I’d honestly not expected Burton, yet it’s so perfect that it’s him. Now he’s on the end of both Hood and Proctor’s anger. Although Hood’s the only one fit to fight. And fight they shall. This might be the ultimate Banshee showdown. Two of the baddest ass fighters of the series. While they’re duelling, Kai hallucinates Rebecca walking through the ravine.
Hood is being choked out and he flashes back to all those fights, all the deaths, the people left in his wake and near him. Such a gorgeous tragic moment, like a Greek tragedy almost seeing Hood give himself over to death instead of continuing to fight. Then a flash of Deva brings him back. He takes the savagery to Clay, manhandling him to the ground and beating him senseless. Headbutt after headbutt until Burton is bloody pulp. He drags what’s left and leaves it right on Kai’s lap. Literally. A flash to what Clay did to Rebecca is chilling, as these are the most words we get out of him in the entire series strung together, and they are frightening. All the same, Kai sort of sees that he’s created the monster, he saved him and turned the man into a machine of death. Yet still, some satisfaction comes in snapping Clay’s kneck.
Clay (to Kai): “Everything I did, I did for you.”
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.10.57 AM Back to Kurt and Maggie (Casey LaBow). They embrace as she gets ready to head out. Then Calvin appears from the distance. A brother showdown. Heat radiates off their burning stares. Betrayal is hot and steaming between the two. And instead of shooting his brother, Kurt engages in fucking Spartan warfare with him after Cal pulls brass knuckles. Another amazing fight. All around, this show has the best fight choreography of any series, and beats many films, too. The actors are also so versatile. They put in top notch performances, then they further get physically involved to do a host of fighting and some stuns. Really remarkable for a television series, as far as I’m concerned.
But here, the showdown ends with Kurt pulling the trigger, as Calvin walks towards him uttering threats. Even in the moment, Kurt weeps, holding his dead brother in his arms.
A beautiful montage here. Moving music to accompany the heartbreaking people we watch, from Kai to Hood to Kurt and Maggie, a dead Clay laying in the ravine alone.Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.20.47 AM Hood’s still gearing up to say goodbye. To Banshee. To everyone and everything. There are things that could keep him sticking around, or keep him from floating at least. He just doesn’t feel it’s worth it. Time to get away. Especially now with his own daughter moving on. Before Dawson leaves him in the motel, she drops a file on his bed – his file, an arrest report. The real Hood, whomever that might be, is in those pages. She knows him. And she still wants him, despite that.
At the station, Lotus and Bunker go over what exactly happened between the two brothers. Things have changed for Brock and he makes it clear: “What I do know is that to do this job sometimes you gotta take off these badges and get bloody.” They’re letting things stay hush hush on the shooting. Fuck White Supremacy.
A nice Old West staredown between Hood and Lotus happens and it’s the perfect send off from these two, as a pair that grew to understand one another, somehow. Then it’s over to Carrie’s place, as Hood does the rounds. All that history between them, so heavy and emotional. Their theme that plays throughout the series is a KILLER, tugs my heartstrings immediately when I hear it. This scene gave me chills.
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.24.04 AM Hood: “You know the whole tiall those years in my cell, you were always there with me.”
Carrie: “Im still there with you. And Ill always be here.”
Hood: “No one else. Nobody ever really knew me.”
Carrie: “Please don’t forget about me
Hood: “Never

Meeting Sugar (Frankie Faison) and Job at the bar, Hood gets a drink in him. Certainly Job is ready to get going, so he heads out. Not before dropping some serious cash on Sugar; his “tab” as he puts it. Things are ending nice and sweet for the old crew.
Not for Kai, though. Big black vehicles are rolling into town. The cartel likely is not happy with the Mayor of Banshee. And up the driveway to his place they go. The last stand of Kai Proctor, one television’s best villains in years, a complex and driven and wild man. He heads out to meet a string of men, machine gun in hand. The guns start to blast, and that’s it.
At Sugar’s, he and Hood drink, laughing it up one last time. They remember that first day or two, reminiscing, and loving having gotten away with all the shit they concocted. With all the craziness behind him, Hood walks out of the bar and onto something else. Somewhere else. Another life. He speeds off on that motorcycle he rode in on originally, down the highway and out of Banshee. Forever.
Forever? Yes. Hood is free of the past. He’s walked out of Banshee, out of Lucas Hood, and now he’s free, just like that fateful day when he left jail four seasons ago.
Sugar: “The past has kept you locked up long enough. Today theres really only one question left to ask yourself: what are you going to do now?”
Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.40.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.41.49 AM An amazing series. I keep going back and rewatching many episodes, seasons. Head back to look through my recaps/reviews. What were your favourite episodes? This finale was incredible and fit very well. Love that we never found out Hood’s real name, or did we? Try zooming in on that file Dawson left him. Maybe there’s nothing (hint: there’s nothing you can see clearly I don’t think). And that’s better off. Because it wouldn’t have made anything better. He’s proper mysterious. Leave it at that.
After the credits, Sugar packs things in, too. He heads out the door and onto something fresh. A nice if not odd little ending. Will these characters meet again? Who knows these days with all the revivals, we could see another mini-series down the road. Or maybe not. Either way, we’re left with four incredible seasons that got better with each passing episode. Drink it in. They don’t make ’em like this every time around.