We’re rounding the bend on the final hours of The Sinner’s third season, and things are getting increasingly fraught for Harry, Jamie, and the company they keep. Catch up on it all with this week’s recap of Part VI below.
A flashback shows us Jamie’s early days with Nick.
This week, we see a college-aged Jamie and Nick connecting for the first time as Nick introduces Jamie to his darker philosophies. It begins when they meet in a philosophy course and Jamie speaks up to question the teacher’s interpretation of God, arguing that such a higher power could be man-made within the connection between two people. Nick jumps to his defense with more evidence of the argument, and a bond is formed.
Later in Jamie’s dorm room, they share that they’re both from broken homes with absent fathers, and when Jamie decides to stay at school while his widowed father vacations with his new stepmom for Thanksgiving, Nick jumps in and offers to stay with him. It’s over that break that Nick introduces Jamie to the readings of Nietzsche, übermensch, and the abyss. Nick scrawls “übermensch” into Jamie’s headboard, so he doesn’t forget, and Nick reveals the whirlybird (the paper decision-maker) and his fascination with fate. He shows his dedication to the things he can’t control -- and tries to bring Jamie along -- by standing on a bridge on campus, much like they later stand on the edge of the roof of his hotel the night of Nick’s death. The whirlybird tells them to jump in the water below, and Nick does, but Jamie panics and refuses.
Over Thanksgiving dinner in the dining hall, however, Jamie reconsiders jumping after a pep talk. “Don’t you get it? You’re supposed to be scared. You signed a contract. When you were born, you made a deal with fate; we all did,” Nick says. “If you agree to keep living, you have to accept the terms: You aren’t immune to anything, you can die at any moment, and anything you gain in this life, you’ll eventually have to lose… It’s the truth. The crime is pretending otherwise.” Nick concludes that the reason you jump is because it’s terrifying and you want to live. And so, they go back to the bridge. It’s the middle of the night, and they can’t see the water below. Nick reassures Jamie that the only reason he was able to jump before is because they were together; no one can get through life alone. And with that, Jamie takes a deep breath and steps off the ledge.
Jamie becomes even further alienated from his own life.
Part VI opens with Leela meeting with Harry and asking for details on Kyle’s murder: Did Jamie do it? She admits to having an affair while Jamie was having a depressive episode a few years earlier, and because Jamie stayed by her side, she feels the need to try to be there for him now. But she can’t do that if she doesn’t know the whole truth
Harry tells her that all signs point to her husband as Kyle’s murderer. But still, Leela decides she needs to see Jamie, and she agrees to meet him in a public park to talk the situation through. He explains that he’s always felt that everyone is living their lives falsely and that Nick was just the person to articulate it for him. Then to her anguish, Jamie confesses to killing Kyle: He says that Kyle was trying to help him, but then he turned on him, and in Kyle’s betrayal, something came over him and he couldn’t stop himself from lashing out. “I need help,” he pleads. “I need you.” But Leela, dumbstruck and tearful, says she needs to leave, and does.
He next sees Leela when he goes to a local auction where she is selling some of her store’s products -- and it immediately goes downhill. First, he interrupts a conversation Leela is having with a potential investor, and makes them feel like they’re not giving her enough money for their bid. Once they’re scared off, Leela asks him calmly to leave, explaining that it’s a small town, and she needs customers, not gossip. When he refuses, Brian intervenes, and Jamie’s temper flares; he refuses to back down, causing a hush to fall over the room. Vic happens to be at the auction and recognizes Jamie; while he doesn’t have cause to arrest Jamie for the suspected murder, he does take the opportunity to tell Jamie he needs to calm down and leave. Walking him to the back stairwell, Vic locks him out of the building and turns to walk away -- but stops in his tracks when he hears what happens next. Jamie gives a blood-curdling scream; he takes a chair and smashes it against the stairwell’s walls before throwing it down the stairs and punching the wall with his bare fist. His behavior is angry, psychotic; he begins sobbing. Speaking with Harry later, Vic says that he’s afraid Jamie is a man on the verge and they need to find a reason to take him in.
That’s when Vic gets a phone call: It’s Jamie saying that he’s parked outside the school and wants to meet with Harry. Figuring it’s their best shot at getting a confession and bringing him in, Harry -- who until now had been locked down to desk work -- is put back on the case and readies to leave. He instructs Vic to track his phone but to only come for him if he hasn’t heard from him by morning.
Harry agrees to play along with Jamie’s games—to devastating results.
For what may be the last time, Harry gives in yet again to Jamie’s magnetism. He agrees to meet Jamie in the parking lot, but there’s something else going on; Harry is obsessed. He wants to understand everything about Jamie: What makes him tick, and why do they feel such an unlikely, dark bond with one another? “It’s strange, isn’t it? The one person I need to talk to is the guy trying to lock me up,” Jamie says.
Standing face-to-face, Jamie says that the reason Harry hit him the other night was because he’s afraid and that he needs to learn to embrace the fear because “that’s when something new opens up.” He continues, insisting that they want the same thing: To step into the abyss and to find some kind of relief. Much like Nick showed him all those years ago, Jamie wants to take this opportunity to show Harry. “It’s the only way you can really understand,” he says. Harry agrees, and they get in the car.
Cut to the woods: Jamie and Harry are carrying wooden planks, a shovel, and a lantern—destination unknown. But then we see it: a grave. Jamie, meanwhile, is singing Nick’s now-infamous “prickly pear” rhyme; he explains to Harry that it’s a T.S. Elliott poem about fear and how people circle and circle what they want but never reach it.
Standing beside the grave, Jamie reveals what we’ve long expected: the planks and the piping were tools for Nick and Jamie to bury one another for hours at a time, and that’s what Jamie wants to do with Harry on this night. Getting that close to death is the only way to touch the void and to overcome delusion. “We did that for each other, and now I want to do that for you,” Jamie says. “There’s a more honest life than the one we’ve been living, and I know you felt it, too. This is our chance to find it.”
Harry, while tempted, isn’t convinced that Jamie would dig him back up, but Jamie says that leaving him underground would defeat the whole purpose of the practice. “I can’t do this alone. I need you.” For proof, Jamie gives him a written confession to both Nick and Kyle’s murders; he instructs Harry to bring it in the ground with him and that if he doesn’t dig him up, he’ll be found with the confession and Jamie will be thrown in jail. But he must agree to burn the confession if he does dig him up. “After we do this, you’ll realize that a confession doesn’t even matter,” he says. And so they flip a coin, it lands on tails, and Harry gets in the grave.
As the dirt fills up above him, Harry seems agitated; he checks his phone, and there’s no service; he nervously eyes the piping to make sure he’s remembering to breathe. A moment passes as Jamie finishes filling the grave, and then he betrays his promise: He pulls the piping up from the grave, leaving Harry to suffocate. The screen cuts to black as Harry calls for Jamie in a panic.
ADDITIONAL TAKEAWAYS, ADDITIONAL CLUES
● What is Sonya doing, exactly? We see that she’s now painting portraits of Jamie from the photos she took of him at the train station. But still, she’s unsatisfied. That all changes when her security cameras alert her of a stranger on the property; it’s Jamie, and she allows him to come into her home. While she first approaches him with a gun, their conversation soon mellows. When he sees the photos and drawings of himself, he becomes hostile, but she explains that she’s been having more trouble than usual capturing him the way she wants. Sonya grabs her camera and begins photographing Jamie in the living room. She asks him to take off his clothes, and he obliges. There’s an electricity between them, and perhaps an understanding. Sonya says she’d never tell Harry about their interaction, but in future conversations about Jamie, she runs to his defense, saying that he’s just one of many wounded little boys who want to be seen.
● Emma continues to be affected by the pressure from her parents. During an AP exam (which against Fiona’s instruction, Jamie comes to moderate), she begins seizing on the floor due to taking too many Adderall in preparation for the test. Later in the hospital, Jamie apologizes to her. “We have to be there for each other. Most people don’t understand. But we have to keep going. We do. Even when it’s hard.”
● Harry’s relationship with his daughter is again on the rocks. After Eli witnessed his grandfather punch Jamie in the driveway, it’s apparently all he can talk about and he’s been acting it out ever since. Harry’s daughter is of course unhappy with his behavior and tells Harry she thinks it’s best if they don’t see each other for a while.
● And lastly, Leela: She could be the one to finally put Jamie away for Kyle’s murder. Going through the garbage, she finds the bloodied tissues she used to wipe her husband’s ear from the “mosquito bite” he scratched open. Now she knows it’s Kyle’s blood. She takes the tissue and puts it in a plastic bag. What she does with it next, we’ll have to wait until next week.