The Sinner Season 4 Episode 2 Review: Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda


You can tell Harry has been out of the game for a while because of how easily he pushed his instincts aside.

Harry saw Percy jump off a cliff, but the lack of a body and the belief by family and others that he didn’t see what he saw sent Harry into an investigation of a potentially living victim on The Sinner Season 4 Episode 2.

We’ve heard repeatedly that this season is about guilt, and it seems like Harry’s guilt might be leading him astray.

But still, ol’ shifty eyes can make anyone squirm, can’t he? That piercing gaze takes in everything around him, and his half-smile offers no comfort to those questioned.

Harry always looks like he needs more time to process what he hears, and that processing time won’t be beneficial to anyone who isn’t being truthful.

David Lam is one of those people.

He doesn’t know anything about Harry Ambrose, so lying made sense to him in the moment. When your fingerprints are found in the vehicle of a missing woman, you probably want to buy yourself some time.

David is head over heels in love with Percy, but she is just as enigmatic with him as she is to us.

He was enchanted with Percy, watching her coming back from a morning on the water. But with all the photos he has of her with her one-time boyfriend, it’s an infatuation that began quite early.

It’s creepy to think that he was lurking around snapping photos of her, and it was made creepier that he uses those photos, even if they were of Percy and Brandon, to get his rocks off.

What brings someone sexual pleasure is so personal that even seeing it portrayed on-screen can be jarring.

But then we learned more about CJ and Percy, and she dragged him down a dark path, introducing him to drugs that he’s clearly hooked on now.

That combination of need and frustration led to a physical altercation between CJ and Percy on the night she disappeared. A knock on the head like that could have altered her thinking leading her to make questionable choices leading to her disappearance.

Then again, CJ could have nothing at all to do with it. Percy cared for CJ even if he didn’t fully realize it. She was just struggling more than she could explain.

CJ: What’s going on?
Percy: I need to tell you something. I need to tell you. [crying] You’re gonna hate me. OK, um. I, um. Shit. I can’t. Um. I’m a horrible person.
CJ: No, you’re not.
Percy: Yes, I am.
CJ: You can tell me. I won’t judge you. [kisses her]

She tried telling CJ more than once what she was afraid of, but she couldn’t do it. She believed herself to be a horrible person who could unwittingly endanger anyone she confided in.

So, instead of sharing her secrets and freeing herself, she kept them buried deep inside, which must have ultimately led to whatever happened to her.

All of the talismans she placed around the island — the blue rope from Meg, the jade figurine from CJ — meant nothing before she had them in her possession, and we can only wonder at the purpose she gave them. But you don’t display items like that without an intrinsic value.

Those items seem to have a story of their own that will help unravel Percy’s story as we discover where she got them and why she held onto them.

CJ’s guilt over his last conversation with Percy was eating at him, but by the time he opened up to Harry, I believed him saying that hurting her once was more than enough, and killing her wouldn’t even be an option.

OK. I’ll tell you, but you have to understand. She wanted me to hurt her.


Sadly, what he learned about the jade figurine only hurt him more. Life is full of misunderstandings, and we too often fail to engage out of fear. Dealing with the what-ifs when the future is ripped away from you can be the worst guilt of all.

So, it’s not a surprise that the Lams are protecting CJ, nor is it a surprise that the Muldoons have already determined that CJ is at fault for Percy’s current state.

But human behavior is impossible to gauge.

I think Cal Lewis said, “The only real philosophical question is suicide.” You either accept the absurdity of life, or you opt-out. I feel like we all have moments when we’re fighting ourselves, when ourselves have just become unbearable.


If you watch The Sinner online, you know Sonya and Harry’s conversations this season are deep and meaningful.

When we first met Sonya, she was looking for something she thought she could find through male nudes. After meeting Harry, she’s more reflective and offers insight into Harry’s train of thought.

When she was standing on the cliff, trying to understand what Percy could have felt the moment she walked off the cliff, Harry manifested Percy looking for answers.

Percy: Do you really want to bring her down into the dark with you?
Harry: I don’t want to lose her. What did he do to you? CJ?
Percy: You know I can’t answer that. I’m just a voice inside your head.

The more he does that, the more ravenous his quest will become. He and Percy connected when they met. He felt a kindred spirit. He’s not letting go until he knows what happened to her.

I would tell you, and it would explain everything. But I can’t. They won’t let me.


Harry has had these feelings before. Every season, he finds someone that he cannot get out of his head. He will grab on and hold tight where others would let go.

His The Sinner Season 3 experience with Jamie Burns left a gaping wound. Harry went through so much trying to understand Jamie, and Jamie still died in his arms in the end.

You can bet that changed him. Now, whoever hurt Percy might be who pays for it.

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.

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