'The Sinner' season 2 episode 5 lifts the cover from who Vera Walker really is
As one of the strongest female characters on TV, Carrie Coon has given Vera the boldness that her character demands.
The last scene in episode 5 in 'The Sinner' Season 2 leaves Vera Walker (Carrie Coon) at her most vulnerable. As the camera zooms into her face, Vera appears to be terrified to hear what Lionel Jeffries (Brennan Brown) suggested about Marin (Hannah Gross). It is not yet known what she does next; hopefully, that will be disclosed in episode 6 but her actions will certainly have some irreparable consequences.
In the last four episodes, the script lured the viewers to almost settle for Vera being the ultimate badass in the story. She was the woman who has been extremely tight-lipped, divulging not an iota of more than what she intended. She was portrayed as the character whose charisma is not only destructive but enticing. She almost became the central character in the story, almost as the master who pulls the strings of her puppets to make them believe what she wants them to. However, episode 5 saw her in a completely different light, and this again proves that good characterization doesn't necessarily need a source material.
But we will come to that later. As of now, here are the top 5 profiles of Vera that were revealed when the cloak was removed in episode 5:
1. Vera, the disciple
Vera's devotion towards Mosswood is undoubtedly unfeigned. When she speaks of Lionel Jeffries as the man behind the establishment of the commune, the sheer admiration is extremely evident in her tone. When Harry (Bill Pullman) asks her about the portrait upon the mantle, Vera addresses to it as "The Beacon". She goes on to say, "He was the leader of Mosswood back when Mosswood had a leader." She also tells him that the cabin they are in belonged to Lionel, and this was the place where he did most of his meditation.
Vera was probably the only one in the commune who recognized Lionel's work in its true sense. Episode 5 reveals several such instances where Vera has suppressed her own doubts in order to put her leader's words first. No other scene other than the one where Vera meets the calf can explain it better. When Lionel brings in a calf to Mosswood, Vera immediately takes it in her care like her own pet. As she feeds the animal, Lionel confides his ideas within her. In a rather iffy manner, he tells her, "there's a violence in it...in us, and we have to accept that. But we can't destroy each other either." Lionel indicates that in order to attain their own moment of catharsis they would have vent out all of their vile thoughts by sacrificing the animal.
Vera is taken aback at the idea. Although she seems to not completely agree with it, she remains silent. Only when Lionel asks her to name the animal, she asks "why"? Lionel tells her, "The more we love him, the more he will embody our human frailties." Vera follows Lionel's words and accompanies him to the sacrificial rituals. However, in the last scene when Lionel speaks the very same words for Julian, she looks at him flabbergasted. There are probabilities that Vera must have rescued Julian and done away with Lionel, or she might have tried killing both...that's not known yet. But Vera certainly remained Lionel's most faithful disciple for as long as it was needed.
She does not complain when she is almost assaulted by a man who treats her as an object for his release under Lionel's instructions. In fact, she defends him when another follower shows some doubts about his methods. However, when she finally encounters Marin and realizes what could happen to her and Julian, it becomes a blow to her loyalty.
2. Vera, the friend
Vera's affection and sense of protection towards Marin is a complete deviation from the Vera whom we saw in the first few episodes. Vera was a woman who seemed to have the least regard for anyone other than the people of her commune. However, when Marin confides her secrets within her Vera takes up the responsibility to help Marin go through it all.
Although it can be said, that Marin gave Vera the chance to have the upper hand in a conversation, Vera was nevertheless drawn towards Marin and the secret that she carried around with her. Her affection was so strong that when Lionel indicates that Marin could share a similar fate as that of the calf, Vera is immediately caught off-guard- her face clearly depicting her fear of losing yet another one under her watch. She always seems to act according to what would be appropriate for the situation but in Marin's case, she takes a step ahead.
Vera's actions could be perceived as the result of her devotion towards the commune but she isn't someone who has caused any harm. She is a woman who holds certain things dear to her, and Marin probably turns out to be one of them. But at the same time, she has blind faith in the commune and the way it works. Although her faith towards the end of episode 5 is kind of shaken, yet she doesn't let anyone else know. The present-day Vera is just as adamant as her master.
3. Vera, the conductor
Vera truly was a friend to Marin. But it wouldn't be wrong to say that Vera enjoyed playing the upper hand when it came to the 18-year-old. In one of the scenes when Marin had just arrived at Mosswood, Vera shows her around and tells her, "We are all each other's conductors here". She also takes the responsibility immediately to call up Dr. Poole for Marin's aid.
The only aspect about Vera that remains unchanged is her tendency to take up the lead in any circumstance. There was possibly no need for her to take up Julian (SPOILER ALERT) as her own kid but she did, and she made sure till the end that Julian remains away from the rest of the world. As she had earlier said that Julian is now a "new man", Vera wanted to pass down all that she had learned from Lionel to Julian. Why? Was she asked to do so? No. But since the beginning Vera considered herself to be conductor right next to Lionel, the leader. Even when Bess expresses her doubts regarding Lionel's methods, Vera at once says, "Every experience is part of the work, you know that."
However, in that instant what really sets her apart from the commune members is when she says, "It's just a moment. It passes." Vera not only learned what Lionel had to teach but she inculcated those very learnings within herself recreating a new being who was without fear, without boundaries, an all accepting person. Probably Vera is the only reason why some people still retained their faith in the commune.
4. Vera, the lover
While Vera's dedication towards Lionel is beyond the shadow of a doubt, her love for him is just as unequivocal. She certainly follows every footstep that he takes but her immense admiration for him soon becomes the source of the growing weakness within her.
Vera might seem to be indifferent towards a lot of things but the look of envy isn't easily avoidable when she sees Lionel welcome Marin into his room. She waits by the door for a while to listen to what they talk about, and probably witnesses the entire conversation. Vera also reveals Marin's secret to Lionel telling him, "I thought you should know." But what actually indicates Vera's true inclination towards Lionel is the fact that she takes up (SPOILER ALERT) his son as her own. She even tried to mold him into the man that Lionel has always been as she tells Harry that Julian is a "new kind of man" who was capable of things that no one could fathom.
If Vera truly finds love in Lionel is not known but she certainly did go through her own share of traumas which have made her the tough person that she is today.
5. Vera, the mother
After all, Vera has always been a mother to Julian. Since her appearance in the show Vera has claimed Julian to be her own son, and that he was kidnapped by Bess and Adam when they tried escaping Mosswood. However, as Heather (Natalie Paul) kept insisting it has been finally discovered that Vera (SPOILER ALERT) is certainly not Julian's mother.
When Heather encounters Vera in court, she lashes out at her claiming Julian to be Marin's son. Although Vera denies all the charges, she, later on, confesses to Harry that she indeed is not his mother. It is not about what Vera said to Harry, it is more about how she said it. She tells him, "I raised Julian. I have done everything to protect him. I am his mother. Something as trivial as biology does not make it any less true." Her sheer desperation to be recognized as Julian's mother speaks volumes for her. Vera is always caught off-guard every time she hears that Harry had met Julian without her knowledge.
She certainly was possessive about the boy and has established that she wouldn't bear anyone standing between her and Julian. Although Julian was born out of Marin, he was raised into a "new man" with exceptional abilities by Vera. She is seen trying her best to get Julian out of the prison, but it is doubtful if she is doing it solely for her son.
Vera has come out to be a complete woman in episode 5. She has been a lover, a teacher, and a mother. She is bold, new, charismatic, and beautiful. But what completes her as a woman is her tendency to sympathize. Vera, so far, has been the only character who has not harmed anyone directly but only time will tell if she is the real savior or the real sinner in 'The Sinner' season 2.