Cora Tanetti can now move on in peace.
We’ve made it to the last chapter of a great mini-series! If you haven’t caught up yet on all the episodes, don’t worry – all eight episodes are available on USA’s official website. In a rather different approach than past roundtables, this week’s questions are more reminiscent than others. However, before we get into it, let’s take a look at what happened on this week’s episode.
Beginning immediately after Cora (Jessica Biel) remembers what happened on the night of July 3rd, the screen quickly flashes to a scene of Cora in jail with her mother during visiting hours. As we all know, this is the first time Cora’s mother has come to visit Cora in jail throughout the series’ entirety. While here, Cora tells her mother that it was not her fault Phoebe died that night. Phoebe was the happiest she’d ever been and Cora makes sure to stand her ground by telling her mother this. Cora even pushes the boundary further by telling her mother:
“I’m more free now than I ever was with you.” ~ Cora
YAS Cora! After this, Cora heads back to court for her final trial. She ends up apologizing to Frankie’s family for his accidental death and attempts to make a plea that she is innocent. Of course, this doesn’t end up doing anything as Cora waived her right to a trial in the series’ first episodes. Taken away after her plea, Mason (Christopher Abbott) comes to visit Cora. He promises that he and their son Mason will visit her every week until her release. Cue the tears.
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After, Ambrose (Bill Pullman) connects more dots together. Since most witnesses (J.D, Frankie, etc) are dead, Ambrose comes to the conclusion that Maddie is the only person who has answers to what happened on the night of July 3rd. Maddie ends up telling Ambrose that J.D would not leave her alone after that night. J.D apparently wanted to start a large drug business (not a surprise!?!) with her, but Maddie refused. This information allows Ambrose to discover that Frankie’s father was a primary dealer alongside J.D’s drug business. In fact, on the night of July 3rd, Frankie’s father kidnapped Cora, kept her hostage and sedated her so heavily with drugs that she would not remember what happened to her.
Ambrose recognizes this vital information and tells Cora everything. Cora remembers this truth based on what Ambrose discovers and confirms this story to present as evidence to the jury- despite the fact that she waived her right to a trial. After a while of deliberation, the judge ultimately ends up reconsidering Cora’s sentence from 30 years in jail to a sentencing in a psychiatric ward with parole. You’ll have to watch the scene for yourself, but it was pretty magical. After earning a lighter sentence, Cora and Ambrose embrace for the last time. Ambrose tells Cora that everything is going to be okay, and she tells him thank you. In one last shot, Cora turns around and smiles at Ambrose as she walks out of the jail building’s doors. Cue the tears, AGAIN.
Before we start crying again, let’s welcome our roundtable for one final time.
Sophia (@sophiarxcx) – Host, TV Newbie
Michelle (@Contessa_966) – Writer, Tweeter of TV Shows, Live Music Fan, Hockey Girl & Wiener Dog Mama!
Michelle (@gollegly) – Freelance blogger – Jessica Biel Central @jessicabielcom
Ally (Jessica Biel FB Group): – Jessica Biel Fan, Lover of television, Avid reader
1. If Cora’s parents cared so much about her and Phoebe, why did they not call the police after realizing they were missing on that night?
Sophia (@sophiarxcx): I have a feeling that Cora’s parents never really cared for Phoebe and Cora in the first place. It seems like her parents are convinced of this perfect image of having healthy children and a healthy religious life – that they never even got the chance to know who both of their daughters were as real people.
Michelle (@Contessa_966): I think that this answer is two fold. First I think that the mom knew the girls might have planned to run away. After realizing they were missing she probably snooped on the computer and saw the plans for Florida. She didn’t want to be portrayed as a bad mother, and admitting that your children ran away from you doesn’t make you look so great. She couldn’t bear with that fact. Though I also think that Frankie’s parents probably paid them off, maybe after a month of having Cora they paid off the parents just to give them some closure. That’s why they then lied about saying Phoebe died a month after Cora went missing.
Michelle (@gollegly): Cora’s parents are far from what caring parents act like. Though, I believe her mom was honest when she said she thought they ran away. That was their plan and if she overheard I’m sure they prepared for it. In the end, the entire situation was the parents fault. Emotional abuse can cause kids to go down so many wrong paths.
Ally (Jessica Biel FB Group): Maybe Cora’s parents believed that if the police responded to their call, they would discover how poorly both Cora and Phoebe were being treated at home. I don’t know, I think both of them were crazy and didn’t care for their kids.
2. If you were Cora, would you have waived your right to a trial?
Sophia (@sophiarxcx): Never. I think that Cora’s situation was special as she was not in the right mindset to make this decision. But honestly, even if I was guilty, I would never waive my right to a fair trial.
Michelle (@Contessa_966): No. Cora should not have waived her right to a trial. I think that she wouldn’t have except for her mother locked eyes with her in that court room and it upset her. Cora spent years being told by her mother that everything was her fault, including everything with Phoebe being sick. That conditioned her to always just feel like things were her fault and that she is guilty, no matter what the case is. If her parents had not been in the court room that day I’m not sure she would have waived her rights to a trial. But she sure shouldn’t have.
Michelle (@gollegly): No. If I were Cora, I would have recognized that I was in a weird mental state. Even right before it happened, swimming in the lake to just be alone. Something was off and I hope I would have recognized it.
Ally (Jessica Biel FB Group): No, but then again I hope I would have had a good enough lawyer to convince me to make the right decision and go to trial.
3. Are there any questions you have for the show’s writers that weren’t answered in the series? If so, what are they?
Sophia (@sophiarxcx): I want to know more about Detective Ambrose’s past. I also am wondering what else happened in the Tanetti household- especially to Phoebe. I wasn’t a fan of Phoebe until a few episodes ago, but I probably would have been more empathetic towards her if I saw more of her backstory.
Michelle (@Contessa_966): It would be nice to know why JD was killed. I mean he was a terrible human being and involved in a lot of drug dealing, so it doesn’t surprise me that he ended up murdered. But was that murder Cora related in any way or was it just because he was into a lot of bad crowds.
Michelle (@gollegly): What happened with Harry Ambrose in his childhood is the biggest question left unanswered. But with the way the last scene was shot, I think they did that on purpose. I am hoping they will bring back another season to delve in deep into Harry’s background. There has to be a reason he enjoys pain, and loves to be surrounded by nature. I’m guessing it was his escape when he was younger.
Ally (Jessica Biel FB Group): I would like to know who and why J.D was killed and would have loved to see Mason’s POV more in the episodes.
4. Finales can be either extremely satisfying or disappointing in terms of narratives and wrapping up storylines. We want to know, what are your overall thoughts on the finale of The Sinner? What was your favorite moment from tonight’s episode?
Sophia (@sophiarxcx): In general, the series finale tied things up pretty well. I think that mostly everyone’s storylines were wrapped up, besides J.D’s and Maddie;s. While this was not my favorite mini-series I’ve watched, I do think The Sinner was extremely well-written. My favorite moment from Wednesday’s episode was the final look between Cora and Ambrose. It was so beautifully shot and got me very emotional.
Michelle (@Contessa_966): My biggest thought was that this show overall was so well done. The twists and suspense each week. The fact that fans theories were running so wild and out there means that the show was doing it’s suspense spot on. Sure the ending might not be as exciting as some of those fan theories were, but the storyline still wrapped up well and was satisfying. If you had known the whole time what the end was, or didn’t hop on all kinds of crazy theory trains then it means that the writing, twists and dramatic suspense wasn’t done well. The fact that it could have been any one of those crazy theories is what’s important in the end, the show drew in so many fans and so many theories and that is how you build a fanbase.
Michelle (@gollegly): The Sinner was an amazing story. The way that the characters were so well developed and portrayed was unbelievable. One of the best TV shows I have seen in a long time. My favorite part was after Cora was sentenced to 30 years. Mason brings Laine to see her and when she questions whether they should continue to do this, Mason tells her he will be there next Thursday and every Thursday after that. To me that shows that he finally understands that she went through hell and is understanding that this entire thing was not her fault. It gave Cora hope and unconditional love, which in the end I think that is all she has ever wanted.
Ally (Jessica Biel FB Group): As a fan of Jessica, I’m glad I watched the series. I think that the finale was perfect and gave us just enough information to feel satisfied about Cora’s story. While not every question was answered and not every storyline was wrapped up, I think that the series was really great.
5. Lastly, if you could tell Cora one thing right now, what would you tell her?
Sophia (@sophiarxcx): It’s your time now. Take this time to forgive yourself for your mistakes, and live everyday like its your last. Remember that Phoebe would want you to be happy – and take her love around with you everyday.
Michelle (@Contessa_966): Get away from your in-laws. You’ve been living in a world where everyone around you is the one making your decisions. Mason loves you and will very clearly stand by you. He should also stand up to his parents for you, which I believe he started to do. Be with your husband and son and be happy. Don’t let toxic people stay in your life.
Michelle (@gollegly): It’s over. The secrets, the lies, the emotional abuse is finally over. Get the help you deserve these next 2 years then go home to your husband and son and never look back. This chapter of your life can finally come to a close. Be happy.
Ally (Jessica Biel FB Group): You’re going to be okay. You know what happened now and can move forward to a better life. Take Mason, take your son and get away and never look back. You’ve got this girl.
Final Verdict: Jessica Biel delivers in USA’s intriguing, well-written and intense mini-series.
Eight chapters later and we have made it to the end of an amazing mini-series! USA, known already for its fantastic programming, successfully pulled through with their latest mini-series The Sinner. While Jessica Biel delivered a consistently wonderful portrayal of Cora Tanetti throughout the series’ run, the writing on The Sinner is what stood out to us the most. If a series does not have good writing, it is very evident on-screen and does not translate into a good story. On The Sinner, the writers did a great job at keeping fans intrigued week after week despite its short run. While many episodes ended in cliffhangers, these moments were essential in pushing Cora’s narrative further. Seriously, it was so good!
And of course, we have to take our hats off to the rest of the actors and actresses on the series such as Bill Pullman, who gave a great performance as Detective Ambrose – a fan favorite! Ambrose was an essential character to the series, who although having personal issues himself, managed to help Cora when no one else wanted to. Nonetheless, while it is definitely hard to say goodbye, we think it’s time for us to move forward. We hope that all of you who’ve watched The Sinner enjoyed each episode, and of course, lets thank our beautiful roundtable guests for giving us their insight over the past eight weeks. I can only assume now that Cora is living in peace right now, right? Until next time Sinners.