With The Sinner Season 3 Episode 8, the arc came full circle.
And it was heartbreaking.
Just like Jamie before him, now Harry cannot stop looking at the blood on his hands, hands that will always be responsible for taking a life.
What makes that life different than any others that Harry might have taken in the line of duty is that, like Jamie with Nick, Harry had a choice to make.
Jamie was unarmed when Harry shot him, and Harry shot him anyway. It was a deliberate choice.
But did Jamie really give him any other choice than to stop him?
Jamie was almost unrecognizable as he descended further into violence. He looked withdrawn and sullen, and he had dark circles under his eyes. The irresistible and handsome teacher had morphed into a killer.
He had taken everything he despised in Nick and acted on it. From allowing Nick to die to keep him from his inner turmoil and harming others, Jamie walked the very same path, paper finger game and all.
You have to wonder, though, if his first try at the game had landed on Eli if the whole thing would have ended differently.
Harry knew without a doubt that there was still a kindhearted man inside of the husk still housing Jamie. Harry never considered that Jamie would pull the rug out from under him and shoot his grandson when the gun was inches from Eli’s head.
And Harry was right. Eli was a means to an end. In this case, it was Jamie’s end, and until he was lying dead on the floor, it probably seemed like the only way out for him.
Jamie had fed Eli milk and cookies upon his arrival at Harry’s house. He wasn’t going to hurt Eli.
The same can’t be said for Sonya, though, and her behavior is downright scary. Everything inside of her was begging her to see things with Jamie through to the bitter end.
She didn’t know if that end meant her life, but she’d pinned her hopes on getting through to Jamie much like Harry did.
Except Jamie went in for the kill. Sonya and Harry weren’t equals in Jamie’s eyes, even if Sonya is a lot more like Harry than even he would probably care to admit.
Dabbling with darkness can lead you down strange paths, but it also led Harry and Sonya to each other, so something positive did come from their terrifying encounters with Jamie.
Harry: Why didn't you leave your house when I told you to?
Sonya: I, I knew it was dangerous, but I, I just couldn't stop myself.
Harry: You want to see him again.
Sonya: I thought that maybe I could reach him. It was like a test. I wanted it. I wanted to survive it.
And Sonya has struck up a tentative friendship with Leela, who probably needs someone who saw the darkness inside of Jamie even more now that he’s gone.
She’ll never be able to understand what happened to her life, to her love. But with insight from Sonya and Harry, there is a chance she’ll get closure on the beautiful and broken man she loved.
I’ve always wondered what it must be like to be on both sides of a killer. Whether being the killer or loving them. The finale did a great job making it clear that your response to any situation isn’t ever going to be as expected when you’re the one at the center of it.
Having grown so cynical, Jamie’s appearance at Leela’s back door was concerning. He looked just this side of crazy, and it wouldn’t have been surprising had he started bashing his head on the window.
Instead, they shared several moments of silence in which each of them drank in the other. It was easy to imagine they thought of all that was and all that will never be in those moments.
There was no better indication of how wrong everything had gone than the fear Jamie encountered when he realized help wasn’t going to arrive at Harry’s in time to save him.
Sonya: What was he like at the end?
Harry: Scared. He. He was [cries].
His fear was palpable and honest. Surely nobody sets out to end the way Jamie did. To kill and be killed he was merely a victim of circumstance.
Jamie was on the edge of the ledge again and again, but his sorrow after allowing Nick to die before he could hurt anyone else affected Jamie in ways he couldn’t have imagined.
His continuing protests that he’s a good person and could get his life back on track even after he’d turned a nightmarish corner from which he could never come back prove that none of it was planned.
Jamie was walking in Nick’s shadow and following his path through that stupid game of chance thinking he’d unravel a deep mystery that only he could solve. Instead, he died and took others down with him whether by death or a life of regret.
Harry, Sonya, and Leela will always wonder what they could have done to stop Jamie. They’ll analyze every interaction with him for the rest of their lives. So will his affected students and who knows what others he encountered along the way.
Will The Sinner return for another season? We have no idea. But knowing Harry touched the darkness he’s danced around since we met but also found Sonya who understands him, I’d be OK if the series didn’t return.
But it given what we've learned about Harry so far, it would be an interesting turn to watch him struggle with his bloodstained hands.
There are probably other avenues to take with the character, too, but if we don’t meet again, The Sinner has entertained us well and given us a lot to think about in its three seasons.
Hit the comments with all of your thoughts on the finale.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.