Three Pines (Season 1), Episodes 3 & 4: Death, as it turns out, can’t keep its ragged claws off the opaque terrains of Three Pines. A town that is as territorial about its dreadful secrets as it is steadily protective of its people will, in one way or another, invite insensate trouble. The Prime Video original takes the road less taken by the genre shows and looks through the novel series by Louise Penny for new mysteries every week. Held together by detective Gamache and the evidently secretive town, The Cruellest Month Part 1 & 2 introduces another crime–not as bewildering or unusual as the last one–but crucial for taking a look at what lies below the surface of Three Pines and its people.
It’s too soon to effectually determine whether CC De Poitier’s death will be important down the road. But the disappearance of Blue Two Rivers will most likely be solved progressively through the entire season while Gamache, Jean-Guy, and Isabelle get entwined in new cases that are sure to cloud the horizon for the elusive townspeople. Through the evocative moments that compel Gamache to reminisce about what surely was a consequential childhood, we get a look at what it is that the abstruse detective keeps buried.
Three Pines (Season 1), Episodes 3 & 4 Recap
With the department trying to keep Armand Gamache away from the disappearance of Blue Two Rivers, Gamache gets sent back to Three Pines to solve another missing person’s case. We get a peek at what goes on inside the haunting grounds of St. Anthony’s residential school and witness the murder of Marc Fortier. Looking through the basement of the infamous school, Gamache unearths Marc’s body from a suffocating chamber used to punish indigenous kids. What was once the home of CC De Poitiers was supposed to be burnt to the ground by the townspeople. The only thing stopping the arson was Marc’s murder which Gamache and his faithful colleagues are now expected to solve.
Gamache and Jean-Guy pay Marc’s best friend, Hayden, a visit. Marc moved in with Hayden and his musically-gifted daughter Sophie when his wife passed. The friends helped each other out through the thicks and thins, but Hayden doesn’t seem as broken up about his best friend’s death as Gamache expected him to be. In Hayden’s words, Sophie is a goody-two-shoes with a disease that lowers her vision. She is bound for a music school, and her protective father has planned to accompany her on the daily commute instead of letting her move out. However, Gamache finding empty bottles of booze in her room tells a different story.
In Marc’s room, Gamache finds old pictures of Marc’s father in a janitorial outfit standing in the foreground of St. Anthony’s. Conversations with the townspeople repeatedly bring up the idea of a certain “Caretaker” who once traumatized the indigenous kids and now haunts the residential school. On a dinner invitation to the Morrows’ home, Gamache and Jean-Guy witness Bea lashing out at Peter for trivializing the pain and the torture her community has gone through in that school. Gamache soon learns that the Caretaker was none other than Marc’s father. Driven by the guilt of his ancestor, Marc wanted to build a memorial for the victims of St. Anthony’s. And what puzzles the investigation and possibly sets Bea as a suspect is that she happened to be against Marc’s memorial.
Nichol’s discovery of a goose key-chain in Marc’s belonging drives Gamache and Jean-Guy to pay Ruth a visit. There they learn that Marc was renting her secluded cabin for painting in peace. While looking through Ruth’s cabin, Gamache and Jean-Guy hear a rustling outside. Peter Morrow is found trying to flee the area and gets brought in for questioning. Now the prime suspect in Marc’s murder, Peter attempts to explain that the incriminating text messages giving off the idea of an affair between the two are misleading. He was, in fact, meeting Marc for therapy sessions and only went to the cabin to steal the laptop containing the private information he had disclosed to Marc during said sessions.
Meanwhile, Isabelle makes a startling discovery that once again opens up the case of Blue Two Rivers’ disappearance. Now certain that the photograph was photoshopped, Isabelle visits Kevin’s house to look for clues. Although nothing comes out on the first visit, the second time she goes there, she finds bleach spots on the carpet and the wooden floor underneath. Forensics figure out that the floor has traces of Blue Two Rivers’ blood. With no news of Tommy and Blue, Kevin is now the prime suspect.
Gamache pays Bea a visit to ask about her disapproval of Marc’s idea of building a memorial. Bea herself was a victim of the horrifying abuse that went on by the nun-run institution that tortured indigenous kids in the name of civilizing them. She was locked in the very basement as a child for two days, and when she got caught trying to escape with her brother and two other boys, she was dragged back in by Marc’s father–the caretaker. Bea’s trouble with Marc’s gesture lies in her more than justified anger toward white people’s guilty conscience, stealing the voices of the indigenous community and making it all about themselves.
Upon learning that Bea went to the residential school with Arisawe Two Rivers, Gamache is again at the Two Rivers’ household to ask after the three boys that escaped and allegedly drowned in the river. What Arisawe has to say about the poor boys’ fate makes the appalling institution’s history look even darker than it seemed before. According to Arisawe, the boys were murdered by the caretaker and buried in the basement. Gamache goes back to Three Pines and maniacally digs up the ground of St. Anthony’s. His heart sinks when he finds the boney remains of the little boys. Apologizing to Isabelle, haunted by the terrors committed against the people of her community, Gamache and Jean-Guy send the boys home.
After saying a heavyhearted goodbye to her brother, Bea sits down with Gamache to talk about her alleged involvement in Marc’s murder. Setting Gamache’s focus straight, Bea tells him about the argument between Marc and Hayden. With newfound evidence proving that Sophie was involved in the vandalism of St. Anthony’s on that fated night, the investigated turns to take a look at the music prodigy and her father.
Three Pines (Season 1), Episodes 3 & 4: Ending Explained
Who killed Marc Fortier?
In a hidden crawl space at the crime scene, Isabella discovers a piece of pivotal evidence that changes everything they thought they knew about Marc. She finds Marc’s phone, and while looking through it, they learn that Marc wasn’t without money. But with the money he had, he purchased a ticket to New York. Nichol recovers further evidence containing voice notes shared between Marc and Sophie. While, like Gamache, I also expected (and hoped that I was wrong) that Marc was having an affair with Sophie; the voice notes had another story to tell.
Marc was helping Sophie to break out of her high-handed father’s controlling hold and get into NYU to study music technology. Unlike the image provided by her father, Sophie isn’t a disabled teen who needs constant supervision. All she desperately wanted was to get away from him, which is what Marc was helping her with. But down the string of revelatory voice notes, they discover Marc wasn’t comfortable keeping something big from Hayden. At that point, the father and daughter both seemed to have plausible motives for murder.
When Gamache and the rest reach Hayden’s house for further questioning, they see that the family is gone. Hayden has taken Sophie against her wish and left. A cat-and-mouse car chase has the police following Hayden and Sophie, and instead of pulling over, Hayden continues to convince Sophie that she can not be on her own. Dramatically stopping the chase is a massive bear right in the middle of the road. Gamache instructs and aids Sophie in safely getting out of the car. Even when he’s getting arrested for the murder of his best friend, Hayden is strong in justifying his crimes for his distorted sense of fatherly love.
Gamache isn’t one to be convinced by Hayden’s argument that Marc’s death was an accident. His skull was clearly and deliberately bashed in. The kind of passionate and enraged determination it takes to end someone’s life that brutally can only be premeditated. After closing Marc’s case, Gamache is called back in for an incident at St. Anthony’s. He returns to find that the town has successfully destroyed the monstrous building. The understanding smirk exchanged between Gamache and Bea in front of the burning residential school suggests that nobody has to pay for the crime.