The heart-pounding final moments of Part V zoom into this week’s sixth outing with Mason (Christopher Abbott) walking up to J.D.’s home, gun in-hand. The episode is also very flashback-heavy and we learn more about the conversations and events that led to Cora (Jessica Biel) being with J.D. on July 4, 2012. Then at long last, Cora remembers what happened to her in that basement. All that and more in this week’s recap below.
[*Warning, recap contains spoilers]
Someone got to J.D. first.
Upon his arrival, Mason ducks around the corner while two other men leave the premises. Sneaking through the back door with his gun at the ready, Mason enters the back workroom where some construction machinery is running unmanned. That’s when he notices the body. Now shot bloodied and strewn in the middle of the floor, the J.D. Mason was looking for is no longer alive. With his baby crying in the other room, Mason calls 9-1-1 using J.D.’s phone to report that someone has been shot. He leaves the phone there and flees.
Harry blames Anne for J.D.’s death
J.D.’s death to an apparent homicide (was it the two men Mason saw before entering J.D.’s home?), Harry arrives to the scene of the crime angry that Anne called in J.D.’s girlfriend for questioning. He reminds her that doing so was against his better judgement, and now two days later, J.D. is shot dead at close range. “Someone is getting nervous about Cora Tannetti,” Harry warns. “Like a spider in your brain, that woman,” Anne responds. “And the worst part is you feed it.” Anne, to Harry’s (and many viewers’) bafflement, continues to deny that any of the events since Frankie Belmont’s murder are connected.
Mason becomes a suspect in J.D.’s murder
We never said that Mason was good at covering his tracks. Seemingly within hours of the case opening, Mason is found on a security camera a block away from J.D.’s home driving toward the property. Anne thinks that that equates guilt, case solved. But Harry is characteristically not convinced. “An air conditioning service man offs a guy because his wife dated him before they got married? It doesn’t add up,” he tells Anne (Joanna Adler). He goes on to break it down for the captain, step by step: Cora went out with J.D. in 2012 and isn’t seen for another two months. Then in speaking with a therapist, she remembers meeting Madeline, and now it’s been determined that Madeline has been missing for five years. Then Cora remembers some landmarks that leads them to a body in the woods in the backyard of the Beverwyck Club, a club that has a history of sexual allegations and huge settlements; but whatever happened to her there is kept secret by the Beverwyck lawyer, which is the same guy repping J.D. And now shortly after, J.D. is dead. “That’s the math on this,” he concludes. Anne says that all she heard was not the question that matters: Why did Cora Tannetti kill Frankie Belmont? Harry remains stumped.
Later, Mason explains while being questioned by Anne that he’s the one who called the police when he found J.D.’s body, and that he was going to his house to tell him to back off and to intimidate him after J.D. put his father in the hospital. He admits, too, that he was armed. Anne is setting the stage of her case as a “you went for revenge” narrative, and it’s working. Meanwhile, the suspected getaway car of the other two men at the scene of J.D.’s death is found: a black Pontiac Grand Am with Jersey plates. However, Anne is treating the murder of J.D. and Cora’s case as two separate cases, so she hands jurisdiction over to Harry’s partner, Leroy.
Cora further refuses plea bargain and persuades Harry to let her out
Cora continues to refuse to plead guilty to a murder she does not remember committing (in this case, the Madeline’s murder). Even after her DNA is found on the blanket containing Maddie’s remains, Cora turns down her lawyer’s advice and really only trusts Harry on the case. She then calls Harry and tells him that he needs to get her out -- that if she could see the bar or the woods or the Beverwyck Club, she imagines that the memories would come to her. Harry, deflated, says that it’s a state matter now and that he’d be out of line continuing to give her preferential treatment in her case. “You’ve given up,” Cora says. “I can hear it in your voice.” She pleads with him that he’s all she’s got. Against his instinct, he goes to Anne and asks to bring Cora to the Beverwyck Club. She agrees, with the understanding that Cora will likely tell them exactly what she did once she’s there. But they have to get permission from the judge, who immediately denies his ask. In a desperate attempt to overcome this final hurdle, Harry brings up the dirt that he has against the judge (he pulled her over when she was driving drunk years earlier) and essentially blackmails her to give her permission. “Are you really gonna pull that for this?” Harry nods yes, and the favor is sealed.
Cora doesn’t remember anything -- the first time
Harry is granted two hours to bring Cora to the Beverwyck Club, and by the time they get there, they only have 30 minutes to explore the premises. Upon their arrival, the club’s management greets them with open arms, saying that the board has allowed Harry and Cora full access to the premises. Apparently, they have nothing to hide. Cora at first looks at the front door of the building with an eerie recognition, and soon exclaims that she’s been there before. Harry knows right where to take her: the basement where he saw the ski masks. She explores the dark storage space trying to find answers, but comes up empty-handed. “I’m trying, but I can’t just make it happen,” she laments. Before they know it, time’s up and they have to head back. On the way home, Cora and Harry take a detour past Cora’s childhood home. Looking up at the old house, she tells Harry about her and Phoebe’s plans to runaway to Naples, Florida and take on the world together. It insights the rare occasion of Harry opening up himself, saying that his time in Cape Coral left him longing for its thick ocean air; “It felt like silk,” he says. “I wish I was there now,” Cora says. “We could go,” she adds hopefully, but they both know that’s out of the question. Cora then asks if Harry’s wife asked him to move out, and he admits that she had. “I’m not easy,” he says. “I’m not good at talking.” “Me neither,” Cora says. After those reflective moments in the car, Cora gets out and walks to the front stoop of her house. Feeling something swell inside her, she tells Harry that they have to go back to the club, despite technically not having the time to. “I have to try. Please.”
“I remember now”
Harry and Cora arrive back to the club and this time, Harry undoes her cuffs. They’re already in trouble for staying late, might as well make the most of it. His phone begins ringing, and it’s Dean from the medical examiners office -- a call he has to take. While he’s on the phone, Cora goes into the club by herself. When Harry comes back inside, she’s nowhere to be found. He runs through the library and eventually out to the back, frantically in search for her. Did she run away? Did someone take her? Running through the courtyard and down a hill in the backyard, he comes upon an old house with stone walls, much smaller in size than the larger club above. It’s immediately clear that it’s not just any house; it’s the house. Harry finds the front door ajar, and Cora is standing in the living room in front of the doorway to the basement. “That’s it. It happened down there,” she says. “I feel sick.” “Cora, you don’t have to do this. It’s up to you,” Harry comforts. But they both know that this is their only shot to finish the puzzle. She creeps down the stairs, tears in her eyes, and just as she reaches midway down the stairs, she stops. “I remember now,” she says. And the screen goes to black.
- As we said, Episode 106 was very flashback-heavy, and we learned a whole lot about the deeper intricacies of Phoebe and Cora’s relationship and of the days leading up to her disappearance with Madeline and J.D. Let’s start with Cora’s relationship with Phoebe. Phoebe’s health is shown worsening throughout this chapter, culminating in a stint in the hospital after she passes out as a result of her T cells running low. Cora joins her in the hospital bed and cuddles her to sleep, showcasing just how close these two sisters have become. That closeness is pushed to its limits, however, when Phoebe’s intense curiosity and jealousy of Cora and J.D.’s sex life gets worse as she and Cora get wedged further apart. During a particularly trying bout of sickness, Cora comes to Phoebe’s bedside only to be interrogated about her time with J.D. Then prompted by Phoebe’s begging, Cora kisses her the way that she and J.D. kiss and…touches her the way that they touch. We don’t know how far they go, but it’s certainly more hot-and-heavy than two sisters have any business being and Cora’s hands were in places that they don’t belong.
- We then learn that the weekend of July 4, 2012, Cora and J.D. had planned to run away together. Annoyed by the power that Phoebe has over Cora’s mood and the fact that she’s never truly present (she’s always checking her phone, for example), J.D. says that she and Phoebe need distance. “If Phoebe really cared about you, she’d let you go,” he says. “She’d let you live your life.” He later says that “[Pheobe] wants your life for herself. She’s a vampire, and as long as you stay with her, you’ll be a shell.” It’s after he says that that he goads Cora into meeting at the bar on Saturday night and tells her to pack a bag with a change of clothes; when they’re done celebrating the Fourth, she’ll come home with him, and she won’t go back. Then, against her better judgement, she concedes and gives him her phone.
- In the present day, we learn that Mason hasn’t totally ignorant to Cora’s internal struggles. For the first time in a long time, he and his incarcerated wife seem to find some common ground in that they both lied to each other. “For a long time, I felt like something was wrong. I was afraid to find out the answer,” he says. “Were you ever really happy with me?” he asks. “Yes. I was,” Cora responds.
- And lastly, Harry’s personal life -- dating and marriage specifically -- are a mess. He’s moved out of his wife Faye’s house, despite his efforts to fix things with her through therapy, and after a particularly depressing encounter with Sharon, where he makes her choke him so hard he loses consciousness, she walks out on him. “That’s it; we’re done.”