The Sinner episode 4 review: Ambrose sees the forest for the trees

Sinner episode 4 reviewWhile much of the bulk of the story of The Sinner has revolved in part around Cora, what made episode 4 such a firecracker was actually Detective Ambrose. This is a man who continues to try and understand the truth about Cora, even when he doesn’t have to. This, in turn, has caused her to form some sort of attachment to him. Since her arrest, this is the first time that this has happened. He cares about her, and around the 45-minute mark of the episode we understood more why. He was a broken person in his own right, struggling to break free of his past.

One of Ambrose’s moves within this episode was to get Cora a form of therapy in order to better understand where she was back so many years ago around the Forth of July. Through these techniques, Cora remembered J.D., and a conversation that he had with a blonde woman named Maddie. Judging from what she saw here, he offered a drug and she willingly took it.

As the results of this therapy unfolded, it turned out that the memories Cora had from a few years ago were reasonably accurate. He found the woman, and pinpointed her at the same tavern as her and J.D.; with that, the next mission was figuring out where they could have went next. There was a memory that she had after that of a water tower, and from that, Ambrose wanted to take his next leap forward. The problem from there was that nobody else wanted to bite on his wild goose chase. The only person willing to do some investigating on the fly was Mason, which makes sense given that he needed some sort of peace of mind. He went and tracked down J.D. on his own, creating a false identity for himself and looking to see what was going on at his home — a drug trade.

While Mason was running away from this scene (and eventually tried to turn the evidence over to his childhood cop friend), Ambrose found out a little bit more about a woman that knew Maddie, J.D., and by extension Cora back in 2012. At the next therapy session with Cora (which he was allowed to attend), he learned even more. Cora and Maddie were, at one point in their missing time, were hunted for something that they did. She found herself eventually at the place that we’ve seen before — there was the music, the wallpaper, and the man in the mask, but nothing else and nothing concrete.

One of the bigger mysteries at the moment is this: What’s with the school bus? Cora continues to have visions of a bus passing her by as a child.

Therapy was working for Cora to a certain extent, but not enough to get immediate answers. Ambrose overstepped even being in there in the first place. He’s also allowing this case to overwhelm his personal life where he thinks that romantic walks in the woods are really just excuses for him to look for clues on the case. The two were in the woods when they found — wouldn’t you know it? — an abandoned school bus. Somehow, this was connected to Cora and her memories … and the same goes for the body that he found out there in the woods next to it.

Yep, it turns out that there may have been a separate, previously-unidentified trauma from Cora’s past. How it is linked, however, is a mystery that blows this case wide open.

The childhood flashbacks

We’ve seen in the past how sheltered Cora and her sister were, and the weird power dynamics that exist between the two of them. Here we saw a teenage version of the character go through with the plan to have sex with a neighbor. Why? It seemed to be for the sake of the story, and the dependent bond that the two shared.


Episode 4 continued to be fantastic, but also a story steeped in mystery. Whose body is that, and how deep is Ambrose going to get? One way or another, it’s clear that we’re pretty darn addicted to this show. Grade: A-.

What’s happening next on The Sinner episode 5?

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