'The Sinner' Season 3 Episode 7 Review: Will Ambrose's questionable methods overshadow Jamie's confession?

For a detective to be so heavily invested in the inner workings of his suspect's mind and actively participate in his impulses can never end up well


                            'The Sinner' Season 3 Episode 7 Review: Will Ambrose's questionable methods overshadow Jamie's confession?
(USA Network)
ADVERTISEMENT

Spoilers for 'The Sinner' Season 3 Episode 7

After indulging in drinking, parties, overspeeding and even allowing Jamie Burns to bury him alive in a proper grave for six hours, detective Harry Ambrose finally obtains the confession he was seeking from the murder suspect. Jamie writes it all down in a piece of paper that Ambrose has no qualms setting fire to, sort of burying the hatchet in exchange for Jamie showing him a part of his death-obsessed void and impulses, all triggered by his now dead friend, Nick Haas.

ADVERTISEMENT

But right when one would think why Ambrose would voluntarily let it all go away, it is revealed that Ambrose had been recording Jamie's confession in secret all along and plans on using it to convict the seemingly regular high school teacher and new dad who has been on quite the rampage recently. But with Ambrose's complicity in some of the crime scenes blatantly pinpointing Jamie, will the confession be dismissed? That's the question Episode 7 asks.

ADVERTISEMENT

The episode opens with Ambrose hallucinating inside the grave Jamie left him in; he first sees his family and it looks like it's Thanksgiving, but his father won't come out of the washroom. The second hallucination shows an abusive mother who accuses him of abandoning her, before trying to coerce him into borderline sexual abuse. The third hallucination has him lie down on a grass field, with Sonya bathing his bare body — something that the curious painter and possible love interest of Ambrose's compares to baptism later in the episode. While these three distinct hallucinations don't necessarily have a direct impact on Ambrose's plans for Jamie, it does spur him further towards having a little more faith in this great beyond Jamie kept bringing up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Later, when Jamie comes and rescues him, he repeatedly asks the older man what he hallucinated, while insisting that he had to leave Ambrose in there gasping for breath to have him convinced that he was going to die. Jamie claims and admits it's what Nick used to do until it got too much for him and he decided to snap ties with Nick. But he also admits that this teasing sensation of being inches from death is what got him to commit those murders, and not his own self. Whether Ambrose fully believed in Jamie's duality or not, is a coffin that hasn't been nailed. But his interest has sure been piqued just the way it always is with his murder suspects who commit crimes for no foreseeable reason. More than pity, for Ambrose, it's a borderline empathy where he can associate with the empty hollows these eponymous sinners feel - and that is exactly what puts him in such a spot later when Jamie is being tried in court.

ADVERTISEMENT

Apart from a script that keeps you on the edge of the seats even if the action isn't picking up all the time, it is Matt Bomer's nervous outbursts as Jamie and Bill Pullman's not-so-convinced dilemma portrayed through Ambrose that is sure to draw viewers in. In the scene where Jamie is being arrested from the school premises, his face portray a look of horrified shock mingled with a certain smugness that can only come from an inherent duality controlled by Nick, even from beyond the grave. Similarly, when Ambrose is being toasted by Vic at the club, or even when he is confronting Sonya about not disclosing her using Jamie as a muse a while ago exhibit a visibly distressed, yet aloof exterior as his stick nature tries to contain it all — all of which reflect in the courtroom later.

ADVERTISEMENT

And this is exactly what doesn't work in Ambrose's favor; even with him advising an order of protection for Leela against Jamie, or with Jamie seeking out his underage student the moment he gets out of jail, there's a visible shift in Ambrose's stance where he feels almost guilty for the schemes he employed to get the confession out of Jamie. The man goes to visit Jamie in jail and he himself is at a loss for words when Jamie's lawyer asks him in the trial why he felt so compelled to reply. Could this be Ambrose's interest in pursuing beyond the extent of what Jamie has shown him? The hallucinations opened up a whole see of suppressed memories for him that Sonya claimed needs to be addressed in therapy. But for a detective to be so heavily invested in the inner workings of his suspect's mind and actively participate in his impulses can never end up well. 

ADVERTISEMENT

'The Sinner' airs on Thursdays at 10 pm on USA.