In its penultimate episode on September 13, The Sinner crossed the line again with a scene in which teen sisters Cora (Jessica Biel) and Phoebe (Nadia Alexander) kiss each other and Frankie (Eric Todd). Frankie and Phoebe then have sex on the couch while Jessica Biel gets intimate with her boyfriend J.D. (Jacob Pitts) and another man on the floor in the same room. From the series that brought us an incestuous scene between the sisters last week, Part VII met my newly-lowered expectations.
It’s Phoebe’s nineteenth birthday and, as older sister Cora sneaks out of the house to see J.D., she threatens to scream and wake up their parents if she can’t come along. Suffering from a heart condition and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Phoebe is house-bound and desperate to get out and experience life. Reluctantly, Cora takes Phoebe to meet J.D. at the bar where he offers them both drugs. Cora declines, but Phoebe takes the pill, which J.D. says is “some molly and other stuff” before her sister can stop her. They then go to a party where Phoebe meets Frankie, to whom she is instantly attracted. In this scene, she is already high on the pill she’s taken and wants Cora to take drugs, too.
Phoebe: JD, we have an emergency. There’s a damsel drowning in self-control.
JD: She is, isn’t she? She needs help.
Phoebe: Give her a hit. It’ll loosen her up.
Cora: I don’t want any.
Phoebe: No. You deserve to feel good. Come here. Let yourself go for once.
JD: -Just have this little one.
Phoebe: Now, Frankie’s turn. It’s just us. It’s good. Your turn. You’re the giant.
Phoebe knows that she may not live long, and makes it abundantly clear to Frankie almost from the moment they met that she is eager to lose her virginity before she dies. Apparently, she also thinks it’s of the utmost importance to try drugs and potentially initiate an incestuous three-way in her limited time on this earth. Cora has always let Phoebe have her way, knowing that she is gravely ill. She tries to stop Phoebe from taking the pill because she’s afraid taking drugs could kill her, but almost immediately does drugs herself when Phoebe asks her to.
If only that was the weirdest part of this scnene. What’s going on with this show wanting to show sisters in sexual situations with each other? Fortunately, this week, it was only one kiss between the sisters before Phoebe encourages Cora and Frankie (to whom shes’s already decided to lose her virginity) to kiss each other. Later in the show, they do have sex right next to Cora, who is also having sex, but looks over at her little sister being deflowered and smiles. Then again, the cocaine has certainly hit her system by this point because, a few seconds later, she allows another man to have sex with her while JD strokes her hair.
As per usual, none of this added anything to the plot. It seems that the writers didn’t have much faith in the story if they feel the need to add in these salacious scenes to get viewers. As for me, I would much rather have had an episode that focused on the central mystery and moved the plot forward. The total amount of plot in this episode was, generously speaking, five minutes out of the hour.
There’s only one episode left of The Sinner, and one can hardly wonder what else it’s going to do to live up to its name.