"Another story of male overreach."
Surely, those are not innocuous words. Said early in The Sinner Season 4 Episode 1, Sonya was reading them from a fable about Hanover Island.
As that's the island where Harry Ambrose and his girlfriend, Sonya, have gone to refresh after the events of The Sinner Season 3, it's hard to dismiss them.
If anybody were going to find themselves embroiled in a mystery while attempting to get some R&R, it would be Harry Ambrose.
If you watch The Sinner online you know Harry was not only deeply affected by Jamie Burns's death, but he was always just deeply affected.
On top of everything else that we had learned about him, taking that whacked-out trip that Jamie sent him on only seems to have made it worse.
But Jamie also connected Harry with Sonya through sheer fate. It appears to be a lasting union, but you have to wonder if going to the island could do them more harm than good as a couple.
Right off the boat, Harry seemed annoyed when Sonya mentioned his insomnia. He excused himself before taking a bite of his lobster roll -- which is sheer lunacy if you ask me -- because Greta brought up their Jamie-induced trauma.
And it was his need to escape and regroup that led Harry to Percy Muldoon, who sure seems to be a kindred spirit.
Percy: Has she spoken to you yet?
Percy: The ocean.
Harry: Mmm. I don't think so.
Percy: She will. She's in a mood today.
Harry: How can you tell?
Percy: It's like a vibration or frequency or something. Does that sound weird?
Harry: Nah. It's... I usually even wonder if nature notices us at all.
Percy: I think she does. Yeah, all the time.
She listens as intently to the ocean as Harry examines everything around him. He sees things in situations that others miss. It seemed that if Percy hadn't disappeared, she and Harry would have gotten along well and would have had a lot to teach each other.
Harry is a master of pain. He not only has it, he craves it. Ol' shifty eyes has something special with Sonya, but you can tell that every kindness she shows him makes him uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, it's not the same kind of uncomfortable feeling he needs in bed when his only way to achieve pleasure is to feel threatened. That hurts my soul.
Still, it's hard to imagine Harry embracing retirement. From our perspective, Harry's career was intrinsic to his identity.
I feel like I'm losing my bearings a little bit. I can't stop thinking about what could have happened to her. I'm not so sure that's a good thing.Harry
That's got to be why Sonya recognizes a change in him. He's energized from having the opportunity to do what he loves. Well, that and going off of his meds. Will the mystery and lack of medication ultimately be good for Harry, or will it be the opposite?
Remember after everything with Jamie, how lost I was? I was painting absolute crap for months on end, and you couldn't solve it for me, as much as you wanted to, and I can't solve this for you. I want to, but I can't. I can only listen and be here.Sonya
The promos for The Sinner Season 4 say, "Her secrets could drown them all." Everyone will go down a path as dark and dangerous as Percy's trip to the bluff.
Getting caught up in this particular mystery with the enigmatic Muldoon family will test Harry's reserve. It will test his relationship with Sonya. It could test his sanity.
But, damn. Hasn't it already grabbed you by the throat?
Just how troubled would you have to be to disappear into the sea off of a dark bluff? Very. But it's precisely the kind of case that snags Harry. If it seems impossible, he clings to it like a liferaft as he tries to solve it, tending his inner turmoil as he goes.
The Muldoon family is already fascinating. Matriarch Meg (the ridiculously talented Frances Fisher) seems intense on a regular day, so being confronted with the idea that Percy could have been so tormented that she'd take her own life will be hard on her.
She's grasping at straws, trying to understand. What does it mean that Meg recalled the day Percy picked up a discarded rope from the boat since the rope symbol was found placed specifically in the middle of the forest?
Meg: That's trash, honey.
Percy: Not if you give it meaning.
They say that one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Percy finds meaning in things that others would discard.
As someone who has a similar nature, I know that having that amount of empathy and care for the little things makes you far more aware of the bigger things, too.
I'd venture to guess that all of the trinkets Harry found have a similar story of meaning for Percy.
And if she held that much close to her chest, we can only imagine what secrets she has been hiding that will drive the mystery and everyone near their breaking point.
And that's not even all that's going on just a day or two after Harry and Sonya's arrival on the seemingly idyllic island.
There is racial tension with a Chinese family of fishermen who dared to open up a restaurant. They're constantly going toe-to-toe with the Muldoons.
You just know they're going to figure into the mystery somehow. But how?
And there is even more to make this visit to the island a little odd. The moaning and groaning and other sounds coming up to the house made me think of leprechauns. Of course, it was something human, but what an oddity.
The water has great meaning to an island. It speaks to you. You use it to worship. You use it to relax. You use it to die.
It would be nice if this trip allowed Harry to heal from the Jamie-induced trauma. He needs a win, but something tells me that he will not be Percy's savior, no matter how badly everyone wishes it could be true.
Percy: Whatever you think it is, you're probably wrong.
Harry: I know.
Percy: I could be anywhere. Please, find me.
And what about that opening line above? Will we discover Percy's fate tied to male overreach, or might male overreach be her saving grace?
All of this gives Bill Pullman some extraordinary places to take his dispirited detective, much to our benefit, if not Harry's.
We're ready for another twisted, winding road with Harry leading the way.
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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, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.