All the promotional images released by the USA Network in association with The Sinner finale (Episode 8) have one thing in common. They all take place in a courtroom. The last time Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) was in court, she plead guilty to the murder of Frankie Belmont.
Several episodes later and with the help of the determined detective, Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman), Cora has pieced together the fragmented memories of the night before she disappeared for two months, several years ago. As it turns out, that night set the events of the entire series in motion.
Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 7 of The Sinner.
In Episode 7, viewers learned that Cora’s recollection of that night had been coming to her in bits and pieces that were not always accurate. For instance, she remembered J.D.’s on-again/off-again girlfriend, when it was actually her sister that was with her at certain points in her memory.
So what exactly happened that night?
To recap, on the night Cora is planning to leave her family behind, her sister Phoebe (Nadia Alexander) insists she tag along with Cora to the bar to meet J.D. (Jacob Pitts). At some point in the evening, Phoebe realizes her sister is planning to bail on their household. As she has done so many times throughout the series, Phoebe weaponizes Cora’s guilt to get what she wants — a night out with Cora.
As the night wears on and drugs are taken, J.D., Cora, and the rest of the crew go to the private club Ambrose has been investigating. When they arrive they are met by none other than Frankie Belmont (Eric Todd). He immediately takes a liking to Phoebe and as the night progresses, Cora watches as her younger sister’s true aim is revealed; losing her virginity.
Longer story short, that is exactly what happens. In the midst of it, Phoebe goes into cardiac arrest and Frankie tries to resuscitate her through CPR. During that process, he accidentally kills Phoebe, as the song that sparks Cora’s fury plays in the background.
She rushes over to help Phoebe and starts hitting Frankie in the exact pattern she attacks him in at the beach. The same pattern Ambrose noted earlier in his investigation.
So what does all of this mean for The Sinner finale?
We still don’t know why J.D. and his friends kept Cora hostage for two months and what they did to her during that time. The finale will have to resolve what exactly occurred and whether or not, Frankie was involved. His actions in Episode 7 did not hint of a deranged individual. Will what Cora remembers next change that?
What happens to Cora after Episode 7 concludes is not the only mystery left for the finale to solve. When they were interviewed by Ambrose, Cora’s parents claimed that Phoebe died the night Cora disappeared. The presumption at that point was that Phoebe had died from her illness.
Now viewers know that is not exactly how that happened. So how did Cora explain her sister’s death, if she never came home after that night? How did her parents even find out Phoebe had died?
Can Cora go free?
Given what Cora has remembered about Frankie, he was not a bad guy. Let alone, one who deserved to die. So why did he do as a witness to the crime suggested? Why did he not fight back against Cora when she was attacking him? Will the finale resolve that question?
That will be one of the key questions surrounding whether Cora can go free. The other fact is that Cora did attack Ambrose when he played the song, in the exact same manner. The only thing that saved Ambrose was that she did not have a knife in her possession. Frankie Belmont was not as fortunate.
Since Cora subconsciously attacked Frankie, can she be held criminally responsible? She inadvertently went into the trance that resulted in her killing Frankie. She didn’t mean to kill him.
She just happened to have a knife in her hand when the song came on and it caused her to go into the fugue-like state that resulted in her violent outburst. Could the D.A. change the charges in light of this new information?
How will The Sinner end?
If Cora is given a light sentence, viewers could see her reunite with her husband and son during an epilog. Mason (Christopher Abbott) has been devoted to her throughout her arrest and incarceration.
Will Cora reunite with her family, when all is said and done? Find out when The Sinner finale airs on the USA Network on Wednesday, September 20 at 10 p.m. EST. That’s not to say The Sinner is definitely over for good. Variety recently reported on the possibility of there being a Season 2. As with the buzz surrounding other limited series, only time will tell.
[Featured Image by Peter Kramer/USA Network]