‘The Sinner’ Finale: Creator on the Masked Captor’s Identity and What Season 2 Could Look Like


[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from the season finale of “The Sinner.”]

“I know you did it for your son,” Cora Tannetti (Jessica Biel) tells the man who had imprisoned her for two months, during which he shot her up with heroin and obliterated her true memories. It’s a curiously generous statement for her to make, but it’s not the first time that “The Sinner” has found sympathy and common ground for people’s failings.

USA Network’s summer psychological thriller began with Cora stabbing Frankie Belmont (Eric Todd) to death seemingly without provocation during a day at the beach. It turns out that five years ago at a party, Frankie had tried and failed to revive Cora’s sickly sister Phoebe (Nadia Alexander) with whom he had been intimate. A song that was playing at the time of the tragic accident was the same song that triggered Cora to attack Frankie during that day at the beach.

The season finale reveals the author of Cora’s deeper psychological trauma: Frankie’s father Dr. Belmont (Christopher Innvar). In order to protect his promising med student son’s reputation, Dr. Belmont sent his son off to California for a job and took care of covering up Phoebe’s death without his son’s knowledge. Part of that cover-up involved holding Cora prisoner in a small bedroom and giving her heroin until she was addicted and her arms were scarred up. During these two months he also brainwashed her into forgetting the events of that fateful night and into thinking she was a drug addict and female escort.

In adapting the German novel “The Sinner” for the USA miniseries, showrunner Derek Simonds was satisfied with keeping the biggest reveals – the parts that Frankie and his father played in Cora’s trauma – the same for American audiences.

Jessica Biel and Christopher Innvar, "The Sinner"

“In the end, I’d say the big reveal and such are faithful to the book,” Simonds said in an an interview with IndieWire. “The thing that I love about this material is that it engages like a great suspense novel should, but every reveal and twist — and there are a lot of them – deepen the humanity of the characters rather than cheapens the humanity of the characters.

“There’s a lot of thrillers that by the third act, characters start acting in really extreme, unbelievable ways,” he added. “Someone you sympathized with suddenly is just plain old evil and they’re sort of reduced to a bad guy. ‘The Sinner’ never jumps the shark that way. It never exaggerates human behavior or resorts to cheap shocks. The reveals end up showing a lot of parents and children doing the best they can in tragic circumstances, and then the shame that results from that and the consequences of that shame. It feels like a very human story that could happen in the house next door versus a really overblown stylized gruesome thriller.”

The Creepy Ski Mask

One difference in the series is that Frankie’s dad hides his face behind a ski mask, instead of relying on Cora’s faulty memories to protect his identity.

“That’s one aspect that was not in the book at all that we created for some additional mystery and also just to make the backstory more plausible,” said Simonds. “If Dr. Belmont was keeping Cora for two months in her room, why would he show his face to her if he really wanted to hide his story. So that was something that we put a lot of logic that we parsed in the writer’s room.”

The imagery was effective, especially since the ski mask was a dark beige color, which made it appear more like a burlap sack, sort of like the one used on scarecrows.

“Our props master Duke Scoppa brought in a whole range of masks. This particular one, we all responded it,” said Simonds. “It was a vintage hunting mask for cold weather hunting. I think I responded to it partly because of the beige, that there’s something plush and kind of friendly and comfy about the material. It’s like a stuffed animal. Yet, when you put it on, it creates these dark holes for eyes and a kind of creepy, unknown face. So it’s this scary Muppet kind of [character], which is disturbing… and kind of unnerving.”

PTSD and Trauma

Jessica Biel, "The Sinner"

“The Sinner” isn’t only an exploration into the events of that one night or what Dr. Belmont did to Cora afterward. How her religiously fanatic mother raised her and the ways Phoebe took advantage of her instilled a deep sense of guilt and shame in Cora. She was already primed her for the shameful narrative that the doctor fed her. That deep repression of actual facts is also what led Cora to snap at the beach.

“We did a lot of research about PTSD in particular, the performance PTSD psychosis that Cora suffers from where she’s actually reenacting the moment of trauma,” said Simonds. “We talked to several social workers and psychologists who also work in the justice system and evaluate prisoners and suspects. This was a part of the story that we wanted to take very seriously. This is a genre story, it’s a psychological thriller and we wanted it to be entertaining, but we also wanted it to be responsible and speak authentically to these issues and ground them in as much reality as the story could in the time that we had.”

Simonds has been gratified that many viewers are responding not only to the mystery aspects of the show, but also to the psychological issues.

Nadia Alexander and Jessica Biel, "The Sinner"

“It’s fascinating the responses from people. For instance, the incest scene in Episode 6 between Cora and Phoebe, there such a range of reactions to that scene,” he said. “There were people who were incredibly offended and wanted to stop watching the show because we portrayed that scene. Then there were other people who really responded to exactly how traumatized Cora was, how she had lost her agency, how she was being manipulated by her mother and then her sister and JD. They saw what we were trying to say psychologically with that scene. It just reflects to me how open or not open people are to the sort of relating to others, how easily we can either judge or empathize.”

Continue reading for the trouble with Harry, Season 2 possibilities>>

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Southern Guide to Tashlich


Tashlich is an ancient symbolic ritual among Jews where we scatter crumbs from our pockets into a body of water with fish. As our friends below nibble it’s symbolizes parting ways with our sins. We say a few psalms, make personal commitments to change for the better and then shift to atonement in preparation for Yom Kippur.

If you are anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line, I invite you to a special Southern tashlich service. Bring your appropriate baked good tomorrow afternoon:

If you gossip too much: deep dish peach cobbler

If you are too affectionate and cause your partner to be late: spoonbread

If you are way too Lowcountry for your own good: rice waffles

If “it’s always complicated” and you have layers of issues: Smith Island cake

If you’re Always getting in trouble: Hot water cornbread

If you are too New Orleans for your own good: beignets

For bland sins: water challah

For really tasty sins: extra egg challah

For hardheadedness: beaten biscuits

For sins of cultural appropriation and overall racist b.s.: Aunt Jemima pancakes 

For sins that even G-d doesn’t understand: gluten free buttermilk biscuits 

For the sin of looking at somebody else’s form: Apple dumplings

For the sins of addiction: Krispy Kreme fresh off the conveyor belt

For the sins of going to funerals just for the food: caramel cake

For the sin of driving people crazy: pecan pie

For the sin of having bad taste in recipes: Frito pie

For the sin in having bad taste in presidents: Cheetoh pie 

For the regret over a Stein vote: Grasshopper pie

For the sin of always judging the hats ladies wear to services: lemon meringue pie

For the sin of being too Conch: key lime pie

For the sin of being too damn good: peanut pie

For the sin of being too eastern Kentucky for your own good: stack cake

For the sin of killing people with kindness: sweet potato pie

For the sin of writing this and laughing at my own jokes: cornbread

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

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‘Stargate Command’ Launches With Exclusive Content From Original and New Series


After rousing the crowd at Comic-con International: San Diego with the announcement of a new original series “Stargate Origins,” MGM has now released the All Access pass for the new digital platform “Stargate Command.” Fans can use “Stargate Command” to interact with and celebrate the franchise’s decades-long history.

Stargate Command, available online as well as on iOS and Android platforms, offers two forms of membership: a free version and an All Access paid version that costs $20 (a flat fee that will cover their membership through mid-May 2018).

All members will be granted a weekly newsletter, fan forums, polls, quizzes, and more. Paid members will receive exclusive insider content such as the new series “Stargate Origins,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Stargate: Universe,” “Stargate: Atlantis,” the original film, and every subsequent movie released. All Access also includes a seat in a virtual writers’ room and a limited-edition version of the “Stargate Origins” pilot script.

Read More: ‘Stargate Origins’: New Prequel Series with Female Director and Lead Goes Back to Where It All Began – Watch

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of spinoff series “Stargate SG-1,” which followed the 1994 Kurt Russell film, “Stargate Command” will also host the original series “Stargate Origins,” is

For those unfamiliar with the “Stargate” franchise, the premise revolves around a secret team of military officials who travel through wormholes to other places across the galaxy. They end up facing various enemies and meeting characters from all different walks of the universe, aiming to discover the origins of it all. The new series, “Stargate Origins,” will follow Catherine Langford, whose father, archeologist Paul Langford, discovered the Stargate in 1928 when Catherine was a young girl. The 10-episode series will premiere on “Command” later this year.

“Stargate Command” was released worldwide for anyone to access on Sept. 20, 2017 through their website, the iTunes Store, and Google Play.

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I’m not even linking to the story because it’s that stupid. I can’t be bothered.

Hobby Lobby, which I would never patronize because of their stance on birth control, etc. sells decorative cotton. Once upon a time, so did I. Big deal. It’s not racist to sell cotton. Don’t make me clap it out. And the Nashville situation, nope, miss me with the outrage.

It’s a plant with a tortured history but it’s still beautiful dried and has been used for generations to decorate in the South during and after the autumn harvest.

When I grew and sold cotton it was exclusively bought by African Americans. I never once heard anyone chastise me for selling a racist product. Why? Because it’s one person’s uninformed opinion is getting racial flashpoint attention while the orchestrated plan to take away our voting rights, health care, civil liberties and freedom of speech are on the verge of success, but some y’all wanna gripe about decorative cotton.

We were growing and picking and spinning and weaving cotton long before our Ancestors ever heard of a white man. It’s a plant with African, American and Asian origins. I write about picking it in my book, The Cooking Gene, where I talk about our unique relationship to this plant and what it meant to our people’s history and cultural experience. Many people have no relationship to the material culture of our collective past. This harms us far more than some dead cellulose on a branch.

Symbolics over substance. Done. It’s over. Systemic racism is a lot harder to deal with but symbolic racism feels good when we beat it back. But the heads grow back like a hydra. It’s useless. And some of it isn’t racism, just perception. 

Statues falling while systems remain is not enough.

Racism is an evolving, invisible pathology, an immortal disease, symbolics come and go.

Sessions, Kobuch, Miller, Bannon and the like are far more dangerous than a dead branch with lint on it. 

That sugar on every table in virtually every restaurant in America has killed more Black people than cotton. From being the crop that sparked the slave trade to killing many of its workers within 7 years to diabetes today, sugar is racist AF compared to cotton. Sugar represents five centuries of inequality, but sugar and grits, right?

I don’t ever want to have to write anything that remotely sounds like I support Hobby Lobby in any matter ever again. And by the way, until you’ve done this for 16 hours…

Keep your opinions to yourself.

By the way there are Black companies trying to keep Black farmers on ancestral land like http://www.blackcotton.us/ so check them out. Buy some cotton decorations from them. 

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‘Cooking Gene’ Follows History of Food, Family | Atlanta Jewish Times



Some people just get it. 

I don’t know what to say other than you’re welcome. 😊✡Shana Tovah U’metukah! Have a happy and sweet New Year, filled with happiness and joy. 

It’s been a swirling two days….time to rest before the next chapter. 

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