The Sinner – Part I
By: Nicole Dintelman
If you missed USA’s new limited series “The Sinner,” go find episode one and catch up now! The series stars Jessica Biel as Cora Tannetti, a seemingly normal wife and mother. However, on an outing with her family to the beach, Cora snaps and something sinister happens. We’re pretty sure this show is going to be spent trying to figure out why someone so normal would do something so heinous. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Jessica on our TV screens in a television series and we’re all in for this one! Let’s get started with our recap for Part I!
Cora is on the phone at work informing a customer when they will receive their air conditioner when her father-in-law, Ron (Robert Funaro), and husband come in. Her husband, Mason (Christopher Abbott), pulls her down on his lap. Cora gets back up and gets in her own chair. Ron compliments Cora on how great the books look and tells her that pretty soon he won’t even have to come into work anymore. On the drive home, Cora is telling Mason that she doesn’t think he has the guts to stand up to his mother. Cora tells him that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t have dinner with his parents after spending the entire day with his dad.
Mason tells her it’s not right to just come take Laine (Conner Jackson), their son, after she’s watched him all day when all she wants to do is have dinner with them. Cora tells Mason that he’s a momma’s boy. Once they arrive at Ron and Lorna’s (Patti D’Arbanville), Lorna tells Cora not to get Laine out of his high chair because he hasn’t finished his dinner. There’s nothing we hate more than a bossy mother-in-law. Cora obviously doesn’t want to be there and it’s after dark before they make their way next door to their own house. Yes, we said next door. They spend every waking hour with her husband’s family.
Cora is brushing her teeth when Mason comes into start romancing her from behind. He tells her it’s Friday night. Apparently, that means it’s sex night. She gives in finally and he places her hand on his manhood and tells her that’s what she does to him. Cora tells him that she’ll be in in a minute. She takes a pill from the medicine cabinet. She’s obviously not into Friday night, but gives in because it’s her wifely duty to do so. Mason participates in Friday night, but Cora looks like she’s anywhere other than in the bedroom.
Ron is mowing the lawn at 6am the next morning so Cora starts cleaning the house. She removes everything from the cabinets, scrubs the fridge, folds all of the clothes on the floor – OCD much? Mason wakes up and tells her that he told his mom they would come over for dinner after they go swimming. Cora asks him why he would do that and he says because he just loves his mom so much and he can’t stay away. Cora asks him if he did really and he says no she asked and he said no.
Lorna tells them not to let Laine get too much sun as they’re leaving for the beach. A friend asks Cora and Mason if they want to join her family at a picnic table, but Cora says no as they’re going to sit on the beach, but they’ll come back and visit. Cora tells Mason she’s going to go for a swim so he’ll need to watch Laine. Cora swims out past the buoys until she’s in nothing but open water. She then submerges herself underwater. It’s unclear if she’s trying to drown or what exactly she’s doing.
The friend that invited them to join her and her family come over to ask Mason where Cora is and he tells her that she went for a swim. He stands up and looks for Cora. He tells the friend that he doesn’t see her. He goes down and starts to look for her calling her name. Cora swims to the surface and starts to swim to shore. Mason asks her what she was doing out that far because he couldn’t see her. She tells him that she just wanted some quiet. They settle back on the beach and Cora begins peeling a pear for Mason.
There is a group of people in front of them drinking and having a good time and Cora doesn’t seem impressed. The girl starts playing music and the guy tells the girl to turn it off. Mason tells Cora to relax, that they’re just having fun. The girl changes the song and the couple start to make out. The song triggers something within Cora and she slips into a trance of some kind. She gets up and starts yelling: “Stop it! Get off her!” She is also stabbing the man on the beach at the same time. Everyone on the beach is frantic.
Covered in blood, Cora just stands there unsure of what just happened. The police come and arrest Cora. She asks the officer where her husband is and tells her that her son needs to eat. She sees Mason and Laine by an ambulance and starts to call out to him, but Mason ignores her. Creeper alert: There’s a man in a car watching a waitress in a diner. He receives a phone call which makes him leave his spot where he’s lurking. The man, who happens to be the lead detective on Cora’s case, arrives at the scene on the beach.
Detective Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is being filled in on the specifics of the case by Detective Leroy (Dohn Norwood). Detective Leroy tells him that the victim is Frankie Belmont (Eric Todd), 29, down from the city. The medical examiner arrives and says that he can’t remember the last time he’s been out there. Detective Ambrose says that they haven’t had a homicide in two years. Cora is being photographed at the police station and her clothes are taken as evidence. She’s then given a shower to get the blood off her skin. While showering she remembers praying with her dad as a child.
Mason is with his parents and tells them he should go to the station. Lorna tells him that he needs to eat something. Cora tries calling Mason but he ignores her call and she doesn’t leave a message. What would you say to your wife who you just witnessed kill someone in cold blood right in front of you for absolutely no reason at all? Detective Ambrose and Detective Leroy come to question Cora before she is arraigned and moved to the county jail.
Cora tells them that she already answered questions for the officers so she doesn’t understand why she has to answer them again. Cora says that she’s been married for three years and both of her parents are dead. Cora tells Detective Leroy that she doesn’t want a lawyer. She’s guilty since she already confessed. Detective Leroy asks her to describe how she killed Frankie Belmont and Cora tells him that she stabbed him with the knife that she was using to peel fruit for her son. Cora tells the detectives that she doesn’t know Frankie. She says that she’s never met him before in her life.
Detective Leroy asks Cora why she killed Frankie and she tells him because they were playing their music and they kept turning it up. Detective Ambrose tells Cora that people don’t usually stab people for playing music and Cora says that she knows. Detective Ambrose asks her if she can tell them anything that will help and Cora says that she just doesn’t know. The Chief says that he just got a call from his daughter and she knows Cora and she just doesn’t seem like the type. She’s a friendly mom she volunteers at the Y.
Detective Ambrose tells Detective Leroy and the Chief (Adam LeFevre) that when women kill it’s usually people they are intimately involved with. Detective Leroy doesn’t think they need a why. They have witnesses and a confession. It’s a slam dunk case. Detective Ambrose says that she attacked him in public, there are wounds everywhere, it’s emotional. That’s why it doesn’t make sense. The Chief says he’s already getting too many calls on it. He wants them to call and get it filed.
Mason drives to the station to see Cora but can’t make himself go in. He turns around and leaves. Detective Ambrose knows that there is just something off here. He knows this is not an open and shut case. The officer tells Cora that her husband didn’t come to the station or call and that they’re transferring her to the county jail. It’s getting real for this suburban mom! That night in her cell Cora hears that song in her head again. She gets the guards attention and tells him that she needs her sleeping pill. He tells her that he can’t help her. Cora is literally going crazy.
Detective Ambrose is still looking at crime scene photos. He decides to leave and shows up at the waitresses house that he was stalking earlier. Interesting footnote: She’s not his wife and yes he has one. He asks her if she missed him and he knows she’s been having some company. She tells him that she has this one guy that likes to bring his buddy. Ambrose asks how that works, two at once. She tells him not to tell her that he’s jealous then smacks him. The lady tells him to get down on his knees and steps on his fingers, at least now we know where his blue nails came from. She also pulls down her pants and instructs him to get to work.
As the sun is coming up, Detective Ambrose is at the makeshift memorial at the beach. He heads over to the Tannetti residence to talk to Mason. He asks Mason if he’s been to see her yet and Mason says that he will. Detective Ambrose asks if they’ve been having trouble and Mason says no. Detective Ambrose says that something is keeping him. Mason tells him that he doesn’t really know what to say to her. Mason also tells him that after he attacked the guy that Cora went towards the girl, Leah (Teri Wyble), and told her that she was safe now, he’s gone. Detective Ambrose asked Mason if it seemed like Cora thought she was saving her. Mason says that’s what it looked like.
Cora doesn’t look like she’s had any sleep at all. She’s remembering the day they brought her baby sister home from the hospital. Her mom tells her that when she was a baby she took up all her strength so when her sister Phoebe came there wasn’t any left for her and that’s why she’s so sick. Her mom tells her that she prayed and it worked. Phoebe is blue and taking shallow breaths. She does not look healthy at all. Talk about a messed up situation for a child to grow up in.
Mason finally comes to visit Cora at the jail and she asks how Laine is. Mason tells her that he’s fine, but he’s confused. Mason tells her that he’s sorry he didn’t come the day before, he’s been going over everything in his head. Cora tells him that she thinks there is something wrong with her. Mason says that he doesn’t understand why, but maybe that it’s just something that happened. Mason asks Cora what’s going to happen now. Cora tells him that they’re going to take her to her hearing and she’s going to plead guilty.
Mason asks Cora if she’s going to get a lawyer and Cora tells him that she did what she did. She tells Mason that whatever he has to do now she won’t blame him. He was such a good husband to her and he should move on. Cora tells him that she never thought she would have a normal life and she did and it’s because of him. Mason tells her that he has to go. Detective Ambrose gets a call from Detective Leroy who wants to know why he’s still investigating the case. Ambrose tells him that if he can prove that Cora was in some kind of delusional state then he’s going to bring that to the judge.
Detective Leroy tells Detective Ambrose that the arraignment is at four. Ambrose goes to see Leah in the hospital. Her friend Patrick is with her because Leah is sedated. Detective Ambrose questions Patrick again, even though he says that he doesn’t want to answer questions. Patrick says he was sitting on his towel the entire time then he tried to stop the bleeding. Ambrose asks Patrick if he works out because he’s in great shape. Patrick says thanks and yes he does, but why. Detective Ambrose asks him why didn’t he get up to try and stop Cora? Mason Tannetti got up and ran from about 15 ft to stop her, yet he was right there and didn’t move. Patrick says Frankie grabbed Cora’s arm. Frankie is a strong guy and could have forced her off of him. Patrick tells Ambrose that it looked like he recognized Cora and let her go.
Detective Ambrose asks Patrick if it seems like Frankie knew Cora. Patrick says that from where he was sitting it did. He also tells him that with adrenaline that the mind can play tricks on you, but he’s pretty sure about what he saw. Cora is at her arraignment and is charged with second degree murder. The judge asks if she understands the charges and if she’s ready to enter a plea. Cora says yes but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out what that plea is! Oh, how we love a good cliffhanger!