Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is called back to his home town of Keller, New York to advise the daughter of his childhood friend. It’s Heather’s (Natalie Paul) first case as a detective and it’s a weird one. Two adults have been found poisoned to death and the only suspect is a teenage boy named, Julian.
As Harry helps Heather investigate they realise that Julian was a resident of Mosswood, a mysterious local community who live cut off from society. It also happens to be the community that Heather’s former best friend, Marin (Hannah Gross) disappeared into several years before. Harry realises that to get to the bottom of why Julian did what he did he will have to find out what has been happening at Mosswood. The deeper they dig the more they realise that a lot of Keller’s residents know more about Mosswood than they have been letting on. Meanwhile Harry’s demons are resurfacing all over the place and he might not be able to escape the past before he escapes Keller.
So what I liked…
The whole Mosswood cult story line was really interesting. Seeing how their goal got twisted and changed and how a lot of the town’s leaders were complicit was really gripping. Vera (Carrie Coon), Mosswood’s de facto leader is a great character and Coon does an incredible job with someone so complex.
I also liked getting a feel for Harry’s past and understanding why he seems wracked with guilt and also why he has so much compassion for those that are accused. Bill Pullman continues to be stellar and his and Coon’s interactions are dynamite.
This season got a lot of flack compared to the first one but I was still gripped. Maybe because I’m just interested in cults. Thematically parent-child relationships, and what it means to be a parent, are once again at the forefront. It seems that as a whole the message The Sinner is trying to send is that the way we are raised shapes our futures.
It wasn’t all sunshine though. Once again the plot is full of holes and unresolved questions. I am still somewhat unsure as to why Julian actually did poison Adam and Bess. It seems almost incidental to the “what’s up at Mosswood” story line. I also don’t get what happened to “The Beacon” (Brennan Brown). I don’t buy that he just “wandered off” one day. It is disappointing that The Sinner is so focused in some ways and then just straight up lazy in others and it suffers somewhat in the fact that you know from the first season to question every “fact” you are presented. I found Heather to be a bit meh in comparison to Harry and Vera and I am not sure Paul’s performance stands up. Finally I know this is fiction but really Julian looked absolutely nothing like his ultimate biological parents, which was just odd.
If you enjoyed the first season of The Sinner, I imagine you’ll enjoy this one too. I know I did. I am not sure that a third season is warranted though.