The question in the title of this The Sinner episode 2 review is the very basis of this show: Why did Cora kill Frankie?
Going into this episode our assumption was that this was going to be a season-long mystery. However, at around the thirty-minute mark of this episode, we started to wonder and think that we were going to be getting more answers far sooner than we initially expected. As it turns out, Cora did know Frankie, albeit with a different name, following a hookup that the two had years before. It was a one-night stand, and after the fact she found herself pregnant and interested in taking her own life. Eventually, she found herself hospitalized with significant injuries and with the fetus dead.
Through all of this, Ambrose started to figure out that the motive was there, and this all of a sudden wasn’t an insanity case as it first appeared … or, was it?
Well, one of the great things about The Sinner just so happens to be that it makes you think one thing, and then flips it around on its head. That was clear as the episode progressed.
Other layers of the investigation
What also makes this show so interesting through two episodes is learning more about the supporting characters and where they fit into the case. Like any other limited-series smart detective, Bill Pullman’s Ambrose is a guy deeply conflicted and struggling with stability outside the job. This is a guy who is disconnected from part of his family, and is still trying to piece things together after so many years. He’s also going through a separation in his relationship that is adding to his challenges. Therefore, he’s throwing himself into his work. What he found during his research was especially shocking, including that Frankie wasn’t even on the same coast at the time of the one-night stand.
Meanwhile, we also learned a little bit more about Cora’s husband Mason, who met her when she was working at a restaurant and the two quickly hit it off. Through his discussions with one of the officers (someone who he knew from years back), he was told a little bit about her one-night stand.
Then, there were also the flashbacks to Cora’s childhood, and how her religious upbringing and the sense of guilt and pain she suffered as a result of that further influenced her present. With this sort of trauma, it’s ultimately not a surprise that she is so broken.
Everything comes to a head
At the end of the episode, we saw Ambrose arrive to see Cora with what he’d learned: Much of the story she told him was a lie. Maybe she thought Frankie was the man she was with and she wasn’t, or maybe the entire thing was a fabrication. What he was determined to do was use the music from her past as a trigger, a way to bring her back to some of what happened.
This is when Cora snapped and unleashed all over Ambrose: His tactic worked when it comes to getting her attention, but he learned very little about what really happened. The assumption to make, for now, that this was a revenge killing … but revenge for what? That’s the mystery still at the heart of the show. All he knew was that Cora hit her the same number of times in which she stabbed Frankie. There was a number pattern behind what she was doing and didn’t even know it.
Following this, Mason revealed a lie that he told to the cops: He does know the guy who supposedly was with years year before. We’re talking about the real one, as opposed to the guy she pawned Frankie off as. Mason set up a meeting with one of his old contacts.
The Sinner episode 2 was sensational, just as the first episode was before it. Jessica Biel and Pullman were fantastic in their own right, and the mystery continues to develop. The show is doing virtually everything that you would want at this stage in its two-episode life, whether it be pacing itself perfectly and giving you a steady stream of answers. Grade: A.
What did you think about The Sinner episode 2? Be sure to share some of your thoughts in the comments!
Meanwhile, head over to the link here in the event you want some other news when it comes to the show, including a preview for what is coming up next. (Photo: USA.)