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The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1 Part 1 Review- Theories And Clues About The Spookiest Season yet

Easily the scariest season of the Sinner starts tonight with two simple questions. What happened to Percy and why?

The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1 finds brilliant but tortured Detective Harry Ambrose one year removed from Jamie’s tragic and twisted death. He has retired and is vacationing in Northern Maine with Sonya, an incredibly nuanced Jessica Hecht who is back for Season 4. She is protective and gentle when she needs to be but also has accepted his more violent predilections. He is trying to regain his life with someone who seems to both understand and love every aspect of him, including his penchant for punishing sex. Harry can’t outrun his past, though, no matter how hard he tries. Trouble always finds him.

The thing that has made The Sinner so good over four seasons now is Bill Pullman’s subtle performance as Harry Ambrose. He is such a gifted detective but haunted individual. Harry has been through the fire and came out singed but hopeful. That doesn’t mean he has left his past behind, though. Instead, he self sabotages and harms in evident and emotional ways, all while guiding investigations into unrelenting hellscapes of deceit, cruelty, and depravity. Now he is truly in uncharted waters where there are things he can’t possibly understand lurking in the woods outside his vacation home, and the mysteries of the sea loom large.

In The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1, that trouble comes from thoughtful and enigmatic Percy, a fantastically dead-eyed Alice Kremelberg. Kremelberg(Orange Is The New Black) is hypnotic as this season’s victim. She encompasses a wellspring of terror, resignation, and desperation with only a glance of her wide eyes and a quietly spoken request. She is a tough and well-respected lobster fisherman from an influential family. Shortly after arriving in town late one night, Harry sees Percy shouting at someone to leave her alone. She is clearly troubled, and he follows her onto a cliff where he thinks he watches her jump.

He calls the local authorities, who search the cliff and waters below but find no sign of her. At first, they are wary of his involvement and his faculties, but as days pass and Percy remains missing, they realize he is the only person in town equipped to find their family member. Conflicting eyewitnesses place her driving in her car thirty minutes after Harry saw her, and her car is found abandoned in a deserted part of the island. In addition, strange totems were placed in the woods that Percy stared at just before Harry thought he saw her jump. Blue rope tied in an intricate knot, a cross necklace, and a small green figure to name a few. What do they mean, and are they the reason she is missing?

In The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1, the local police department is mostly well-meaning but ineffective. They don’t get a lot of crime and what they have is normally small-time stuff. Joe Cobden(Living In Your Car) is pitch-perfect as daffy but likable Sheriff Lou Raskin, riding out his time before his own retirement. He knows he needs help and recruits Harry early on. Percy’s family doubts Harry initially but changes their minds rather quickly. Percy’s grandmother Meg(Frances Fisher) is the matriarch of the Muldoons and raised Percy. Her mother abandoned her as a baby, and no one has seen her since. Is she somehow involved, or did something terrible happen to Percy’s mother all those years ago, and the cycle has started all over again? It wouldn’t be the first time that the sins of our past haunt us in the present.

Something troubled the young woman. Meg said she was keeping secrets and collecting weird things, including blue rope that looked like the kind Harry found near the cliff. She was contemplative and melancholy both with Harry and in a memory Meg has of her. Something hurt her in the fifteen minutes she was in the bathroom of The Knot on the night she disappeared, and she was scared of someone she saw by the sea’s edge. The hooded figure can’t be seen clearly in the camera footage, but Percy’s subservient behavior and despair speak volumes.

There are so many questions swirling around Percy and the island she has always called home. Is this hooded person related to the women who are cackling and groaning like witches near Harry’s house? One of them looks like Meg Muldoon. Are they praying to the sea gods for Percy’s return, or is there something more sinister at play? It’s a small island; surely they knew Harry would hear them. As Percy tells Harry, whatever he thinks happened to her isn’t even close.

Once more into the abyss, we go with Harry in The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1. He is an obsessive searcher for the truth. It is what makes him such a gifted investigator but also profoundly damaged. He struggles with self-doubt, self-acceptance, and destabilizing PTSD. Sonya is a balancing force for him, but you can’t help but think this might be the case that unravels him. The poor man is barely sleeping and has stopped taking his antidepressants. Is he hallucinating all or some of what we see? Anything is possible with turf feuds between the Lams and the Muldoons, witches in the woods, shady isolated homesteaders, and missing mothers.

More than any other episode, The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1 feels like a moody exploration of sea-faring folklore and monsters from the deep who have come ashore to steal our sons and daughters. Something happened to Percy, and it isn’t as simple as what and who. Just like in previous seasons, the why of it all is more important than anything else. This season feels like a witchy version of Broadchurch ready to capture spook-starved audiences of police thrillers. Those who wished there had been just a touch of something supernatural in Mare of Easttown and those hungry for Harry’s private demons to be unleashed one more time are in for a treat. Let’s hope the truth doesn’t kill him. Find all our The Sinner coverage here.

Stray Thoughts:

  • This isn’t the first time we have been tricked with a supernatural angle. The cult from season 2 gave magical vibes but in the end, were all too human. It is doubtful there are actual witches and sea gods terrorizing the island.
  • Percy’s mother is also missing although Meg says she left. What if she never intended on abandoning Percy? If there was something horrible that she was hiding was that secret too close to being revealed?
  • Do the rival fisherman family know more about Percy’s disappearance than they are admitting?
  • What does Percy’s father know about her disappearace and Percy’s mother?
  • Meg had a quick change of heart. Is she trying to manipulate Harry?