The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8 Review: Cora's Fate

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The benefits of a writers' room were glorious as The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8 brought the limited series to a close.

Once the explanations for multiple hanging threads were made available, a good detective could have pieced some of them together with the circumstantial evidence offered during the investigation.

While there weren't necessarily details for all answers provided, they were good enough that the ending made watching the whole worthwhile.

Cora's Fate - The Sinner

As if Cora's life wasn't miserable enough living with Phoebe's manipulations, she also got to wonder forever more about why her mother never even thought to look for them after they "disappeared."

Well, despite Mom's odd behavior throughout Cora's life, it turned out her reasoning wasn't all that nefarious. It was a combination of selfish and pitiful, and maybe, if you look hard enough, with a magnifying glass, considerate.

Look, I'm not going to stand up for Mama Dearest who, even when her eldest was behind bars managed to have nasty things to say to her, but if we can take life's circumstances and consider Cora mentally deficient, we can do the same for Mama.

What is Next? - The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8

By the time the girls were older, Mama was a mess of a human being, let alone a mother. She was competing for the affections of her ill daughter and her husband with her eldest daughter. That's messed up on any level. 

But she also never went to any lengths to deter them from their dreams of running away, either. With the power she had over Phoebe and Cora, she could very well have put the kibbosh to their plans to run away, even if she thought they would have never made it out of the house.

That she didn't and subsequently didn't call the police believing they had made it off to Florida suggests that a part of her, even if it was only the very smallest of the whole, wished them a teensy bit of happiness.

You don't have to agree, but that's my professional opinion after years of being a human.

Mason Listens Intently - The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8

Farmer finally came into her own just as the case closed. Better late than never, right?

Look, I'm sorry this Tennetti angle didn't work out. It was still good police work.


She gave props to Ambrose for busting the opioid ring and unwittingly planted the seed for what would later be the connection he needed between JD and Frankie and the Beverwyck Club.

Tying together the medical clinic, the opioid prescriptions, JD's blackmailing and Frankie's dad was quite a swing and hit for Ambrose. Of course, he needed to get Cora out of prison to identify a room at Frankie's house to finalize his thoughts on the matter.

I wonder how often people are let out of prison to go and stop around a place they may or may not have been held hostage after they've pled guilty to murder with the same stipulations as Cora.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say the dramatic use of this particular plot device is more likely to happen than it ever would in real life. 

As an example, think about this: Murder investigations are often closed after an arrest. It doesn't matter if the arrested person is convicted or not. The investigation is over. 

What is the likelihood the state would want a convicted felon tramping around if they didn't even put up a defense? It would be one hell of a hurdle. It worked like a charm in this case, but in hindsight, it makes a lot of sense looking back why people who look guilty or even say they are still plead not guilty.

It keeps their options open.

Where Is Cora Headed? - The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8

Such as they were, Cora wasn't supposed to have a lot of options. But Ambrose wasn't going to let that be the case.

We never discovered his deal, but he admitted to Cora he often took the blame for things that are not his fault, and that was why he identified with her from the very beginning. He even began using the pronouns "us" and "we" while talking about why they don't deserve to shoulder all blame for all things.

Their pasts were ugly, and they suffered at the hands of others. So, abuse. Child abuse of some nature. Ambrose didn't know what to do with all of the guilt and other baggage he hefted around with him.

He was incredibly impressed with Cora and how she stood up for herself, never allowing herself to be the patsy in this case. 

Does he make it out of the series unharmed, though? The final look at his wrist had me a little concerned. I guess we'll never know if that was a good sign or a bad one, but it didn't make me want to bust out the champagne.

What is Next? - The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8

When you look past everything else, giving in to the fact Cora got her second chance at defending herself despite her guilty plea and the assertion she would never try to appeal the decision, the ending was a happy one.

Cora killed someone in cold blood. Sadly, it was the very man Frankie's dad hurt her trying to protect.

It was you. I remember your eyes. I know you did it for your son.


The irony of that couldn't have been lost on the poor man. If he'd not come to his son's rescue like he did, if he'd only called the police, JD would have probably been spending real time behind bars, Frankie maybe some time, but he'd be alive. 

A son who is alive and well if not a little behind in his studies would always take precedence over one who is dead. But Frankie was, ultimately, the good guy. He didn't do anything wrong until his father got there. He walked away because his father told him to do it.

So Cora and Frankie were both products of their parents, in the end, and they came together in a cruel way.

Cora will get the help she needs to deal with the memories that have come flooding back as well as a lifetime of abuse by everyone in her life. What more could she have wanted after all was said and done?

After you have had the time to watch The Sinner online, be sure to share your thoughts with us here in the comments. 

What did you think of the series as a whole and of the ending as he was delivered? 

Good luck finding your next satisfying mystery!

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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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The Sinner Season 1 Episode 8 Quotes

I'm gonna find a witness who was there. Now we have motive. Now you have a defense.


Look, I'm sorry this Tennetti angle didn't work out. It was still good police work.