the sinner season 2

Last night, The Sinner came back to TV for its second season. If you missed last season, you can read all about it in my season one review. But in short, season one was about Cora Tanetti, a woman who kills a stranger on a beach but doesn’t know why. This time around, the story focuses on Julian Walker, who mysteriously kills his parents and again, we don’t know why.

We don’t really find out all that much in the first episode. And to be quite honest, it’s still really confusing but intriguing. But I wouldn’t expect anything less considering the story didn’t completely unfold until the end of last season. Everything seemed fine for a while: Julian and his parents are on their way to Niagara Falls, their car breaks down, and they walk to the nearest motel and stay for the night. Then morning comes and Julian gets his parents some tea and then his parents start choking and they die. After they die, primarily in front of their own son, Julian moves his father out from the bathroom and cleans up the puke off his mother’s face and later puts rocks on her eyes. Then at some point, he goes out the window of the motel and goes to hide in the woods.

Later, Detective Novack gets to the scene, eventually finds the kid in the woods, and calls her old friend, Detective Ambrose to help her out with the case. Julian gets sent to a foster home for the time being and doesn’t speak for a while but does go to, what I assumed was court-mandated therapy. Later, Novack and Ambrose find that all the evidence points to Julian as being the killer but Ambrose wants to hold off arresting Julian because he wants to find out the why of it all. And Julian’s only 11 years old so he’s obviously trying to figure out as much as he can before they send him off to prison.

ambrose and novack

We don’t end up finding out a whole lot in this first episode, but here’s what we do figure out:

  • Julian knew exactly what he was doing; he used a plant he knew was poisonous and used it to make the tea he gave to his parents, and knew it would kill them
  • That woman who might’ve been his therapist is also his mother? – There’s no evidence of her actually being Julian’s mother other than the fact that she says that she is.
  • Julian’s parents planned on doing something to their son – they packed bags for themselves but didn’t pack one for their son, ultimately meaning that they were going to leave him somewhere. For whatever reason.
  • The town, Keller, is a religious one. Now I only mention this because the preview for next week’s episode looks like it’s going to dive into this. Apparently Julian’s mother, or the woman who claims to be his mother, is a part of some type of cult. Having something to do with the idea that everyone has a shadow version of themselves, which is what I’d guess is the bad or evil within everyone. Coincidentally (but probably not coincidentally), Julian mentions that he has a shadow version of himself by telling the woman who claims to be his mother, that he became Shadow Julian.

When I first heard Julian mention Shadow Julian, I initially thought that they were going to look at mental illness this season. But then Detective Ambrose started talking about how religious Keller was when he was growing up (because Ambrose is actually from Keller) and the preview for next week’s episode mentioned a cult so I was obviously wrong about that. It would’ve been interesting if that was the route that the writers took opposed to going back to the theme of religion, but it’s still interesting nonetheless.

the sinner

A lot of what happened in this episode was shocking but not all that revealing at the same time, which is what really drew me to the show during its first season. However, it also means that I’m going to be asking a lot more questions while watching the show until the finale, where I’d expect for it all to wrap up. Last season, I watched the first episode but then ended up binge-watching the rest once the finale aired, just because I couldn’t wait week to week, which makes me think that the show would have also been really successful on a streaming network like Netflix. But what did you think of the second season premiere of The Sinner?

The Sinner airs on Wednesdays at 10/9c on USA

Samantha Nguyen covers entertainment news for MFST. You can follow her on Twitter @mzsnguyenthai and @mzsamnguyenthai. Also click here to read her personal blog.

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