By Matt Cabral
March 19, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT
Zach Dilgard/USA Network

The Sinner's penultimate episode picks up right where last week's left off. With Detective Ambrose six feet under.

Eight hours beneath the dirt has taken its toll. He's hallucinating badly, seeing a variety of bizarre visions, from a dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner at his house to an awkward meeting with his young mother. That box of his dad's personal effects — the one he's been avoiding all season — pulsates and leaks on a table, while Sonya washes a nude Harry in the woods.

Just as he seems to be accepting his fate, Jamie frantically digs him up. As the disoriented detective stumbles and gasps for air, Burns explains why he pulled the air hose from the hole. “You had to believe you were gonna die. It's the only way. Nick did the same thing for me.” Of course he did.

Back at Harry's house, they set fire to Jamie's written confession, per their pre-burial agreement. As Ambrose adjusts to life back above ground, Burns comforts him. “You've been through the worst of it. Now you just need to process it all.” Feeling their bond's been cemented by Harry's near-death experience, Jamie opens up. He talks about his rocky relationship with Nick, and why he let his former friend die. The two share a long hug, Burns leaves, and Harry checks his phone to confirm he's recorded their conversation.

Ambrose brings the recording to the station and plays it for Detective Soto. “You got the confession. Congratulations!” Harry's not really in the celebrating mood. He insists Soto secure the warrant for Burns' arrest and go scoop him up. He then heads to Sonya's house, where he shares the twisted turn of events that led to him getting the confession. She advises him to seek some professional help, given the probability of PTSD setting in after being buried alive. He tells her he was comforted by her appearance in his vision. “It made me feel calm.”

Meanwhile, Jamie's confidently quitting his job, handing his relieved boss a term sheet. Their meeting is interrupted, however, by Detective Soto and two uniformed officers. As he's cuffed, read his rights, and marched passed his students — including Emma — Jamie looks absolutely shell-shocked.

Things are going better for Harry, who's being celebrated for his collar. At a “cop party,” glasses are raised in his honor, while some fun jabs are taken at his unorthodox methods. But again, the detective's not really up for celebrating. He heads back to Sonya's, where she fesses up about her weird encounter with Jamie. Surrounded by paintings of the nude Burns, the two argue. Harry's none too happy she kept all this from him. He not-so-subtly accuses her of being intimate with him. He leaves, angry.

Sitting in a jail cell, Jamie's looking sharp in fresh prison garb. Lela and a lawyer have come to visit him. He's shocked to discover Harry recorded their conversation. A million emotions wash over him, but anger and betrayal are the two that seem to stick. “That detective tricked me!” The attorney talks of having the confession tossed out as inadmissible, but Lela wants her husband to confess his crimes and accept his guilt. Jamie likes the lawyer's idea better.

After finally opening the box his dad left behind — which contained a blank Las Vegas postcard, a book on WWII, and a toaster instruction manual — Harry also pays Jamie a visit. He concedes to sharing a connection with him but says he was just doing his job. “I'm sure you feel betrayed.” He apologizes. Jamie listens, then spits in his face.

The next scene sees the two sitting across from each other again, in court. The recording's being played for the judge. On the stand, Harry insists the confession was not coerced. Burns' attorney has a field day during the cross-examination, breaking out all the greatest hits from Harry and Jamie's unusual relationship. Everything from the hotel party (yes, that pic of the girl massaging Harry finally comes back to haunt him) and the car chase to them planting a tree together is laid bare. “Seems like your relationship with Mr. Burns is very complicated,” sums up the lawyer.

The judge seems especially dumbfounded by the fact Ambrose allowed Burns to bury him alive. Jamie's lawyer argues harassment, emotional manipulation, and pressure to comply. He makes a convincing case. Hours later, the confession is ruled inadmissible. Burns is a free man.

He immediately heads home, where he's met by a cop enforcing an “order of protection." He wants to talk to his wife and see his son. The officer isn't having it. Lela comes out, gives Jamie his jacket, and asks him to leave. He questions the protection order. Lela says Ambrose advised it. As tears run down both their faces, she insists he leave the property.

Jamie returns to his hotel, where he stares in the bathroom mirror. A hand rests on his bare shoulder. Nick Hass is back in the house. The vision of Burns' dead friend picks up a pair of scissors. While calmly and quietly reciting his favorite “...prickly pear...” verse, he cuts Jamie's hair. Standing before a sink full of his freshly shorn locks, Burns rubs his head and gazes approvingly at his new look.

Appearing decidedly more dangerous with the new 'do, Jamie waits for Emma outside her apartment. She's understandably surprised to see Mr. B and his new haircut. He wants to take a walk around the block. She's hesitant, but he presses. He reminds her not to forget everything they'd talked about, “staying on that path and asking the hard questions.” Before he leaves, she asks where he's going. “I'm not sure. It's all in process,” he replies.

If it's up to his wife, however, he's going back to the big house. With her baby by her side, Lela sits in the police station conference room, the zip-locked bloody tissue in front of her. She tells Ambrose, his superior, Soto, and NYPD Detective Jones about the night she wiped the blood from his ear, as well as Jamie's confession to her about murdering the man at the party. Jones asks if she'd be willing to testify. She agrees and asks if they can do something to help him.

While they have everything they need to bring Burns back in, Ambrose and company have no idea where he is. The last place they'd probably expect to find their suspect is on the golf course where Harry's boss plays. But that's exactly where he is, stalking the clueless golfer while he tries to save par. As the detective attempts to work his way out of a sand trap, Jamie grabs and iron from his bag, before introducing it to his face.

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