Another week, another mystery based on the novels of Louise Penny. “Three Pines” Episodes 3 and 4 covers “The Cruelest Month,” the story of what follows when the locals gather at the old building of St. Anthony’s. Let us say again that we haven’t read the novels. But we are aware that plenty of creative liberties have been taken to connect the storylines and fit them within a few episodes. We cannot judge whether the essence of the original story has been lost or not. But we can decide whether what we are watching is interesting. Last week’s storyline had us feeling that it was a tad too abrupt. This week was a lot better paced. Let us go through it.
The Murder Of Marc Fortier And The Mystery That Follows
Inspector Gamache is on his way to Three Pines to investigate a missing person’s case. After Missy’s death, he has become a lot more serious about Blue’s case, but his superiors are yet to be convinced. When he reaches the town, the incident has already occurred in the old residential school, which was previously CC de Portier’s house. A little investigation leads them to the hidden body of Marc Fortier. It is no longer a missing person’s case; it is a murder. The inspectors decide to talk to the family first, but Marc lives with his best friend Hayden and his daughter Sophie. Upon meeting the family, they find that Sophie is a musical prodigy who is fiercely protected by her father due to her medical condition. The inspector also finds some photographs in Marc’s room, which he realizes are of the school. In Sophie’s room, inspector Jean Guy finds a few bottles of alcohol, indicating that she might not be living as sheltered a life as they think.
These third and fourth episodes of “Three Pines” were less about the mystery itself and more about the horrors of the residential school. Indigenous children were taken away from their families and forced to study there, where they were treated as less than human and given an inordinate number of punishments. Armand deduces that the locals had gone there to torch the place down when their plans were interrupted by the kids and the ensuing tragedy. As the investigation continues, it comes to light that Bea Mayer was one of the students. It was mentioned before, but now proper attention is being shed on it. They also find that it was Marc’s father who was the hellish caretaker of the school. The Inspectors discovered that Marc wanted to build a memorial for the victims of St. Anthony’s, but Bea was against it. Anyone would think this to be odd, as it should technically make her happy. But it takes looking at the larger picture with sensitivity to realize that this is just another instance in which the voices of minorities are taken away from them. First, their families have been torn apart under the pretext of introducing them to a “more developed society.” The level of ignorance one must have to think that their cruelty is tough love for a community. And even after realizing the problem, to still not have the grace to let the community have its own voice but make it all about the oppressor’s guilt. No wonder Bea was mad. It wasn’t about Marc’s intentions. It was about the result. If the oppressor wants to assuage his guilt, it must be on the oppressed community’s terms. Anything else is just lip service that the world can do without.
Bea and Ruth were with the townspeople on the night of the murder, contrary to what they had said. Agent Nichol also finds a hidden key in Marc’s belongings. It clearly belongs to Ruth, and when they ask her about it, she tells them that it is for the cabin in the woods, where Marc would often go to paint. As the Inspectors reach there, they find a man trying to run away from the place. When they follow him, it turns out to be Peter Morrow. Upon interrogation, he reveals that he had been there to delete the therapy notes from Marc’s laptop because he did not want anybody else to know what he had told him. This turns out to be right later on, and Armand advises him not to keep the matter a secret, at least from his wife.
Concerning the case of Blue Two Rivers, Isabelle figures out that the photograph is photoshopped. She notices that neither Blue nor Tammy have the flash of the camera reflected in their eyes, unlike the rest of the people. Something has happened to them, and somebody is desperately trying to cover it up. This reopens the investigation, and Isabelle goes to Tommy’s house. She finds that there may have been an incident there, and forensics confirms her suspicions when they find traces of blood. It is an indication that Blue’s case is going to be treated seriously as a missing person’s case and not ignored further. Meanwhile, it is discovered that Arisawa Two Rivers, the grandmother of Blue, was also a student at the residential school. Even this fact was mentioned in the “Three Pines” Episode 2 by Missy, but it is now that it has been taken with some relevance. Armand asks her about the three boys who went missing from the school, one of whom was Bea’s brother. Arisawa tells them that she suspects that those boys were killed by the caretaker and buried in the basement. Armand investigates this and digs up the basement. To his horror, he finds it to be true. As Isabelle says, the presence of those three skeletons means the presence of many more. This is just one of the many examples of the horrors that an entire population, driven by the idea of white supremacy, has inflicted on indigenous populations. The moment Armand Gamache and Agent Nichol apologize to Isabelle, who is witnessing the history of the cruelty inflicted on her people, is representative of what we all owe to the ones treated badly by our ancestors.
‘Three Pines’ Episode 4: Ending Explained – Who Killed Marc Fortier?
Isabelle has managed to retrieve Marc’s phone from the abandoned house. On the phone, voice notes are being exchanged between Sophie and Marc, where he is telling her that she has received a full scholarship from NYU to pursue a BA in music technology. But he also wants her to be honest with her father and says that if she doesn’t tell him, then he will. From the looks of it, Sophie might have wanted to kill Marc so that he doesn’t stand in the way of her freedom from her overprotective dad. When they go to Sophie’s house, they find that the father and daughter have left the place. Hayden is driving Sophie to New York, and he tells her that they are going to be living together while she pursues her dreams. But what Sophie wanted was independence to forge her own path, which she won’t get if she lived with her father.
Hayden was under the impression that it was Marc who was encouraging Sophie to detach from him, but Sophie tells him otherwise. As they are being chased by the police, a bear stands in the way of their car, forcing Hayden to stop. Sophie is brought out, and Hayden is arrested. He tries to claim it was an accident, but Marc was found with his skull bashed with a rock. Clearly, the murder was deliberate and driven by anger. The case of Marc Fortier is solved, but Three Pines does not cease with its secrets. Armand receives a call that there has been an incident in the town. He rushes over to find that the old residential school is on fire. From the satisfied looks he sees on the townspeople’s faces, the culprit is clear. They receive his nod as “Three Pines” Episode 4 ends here.
What To Expect From The Coming Episodes of ‘Three Pines’?
Episodes 3 and 4 of “Three Pines” clearly struggled with balancing the murder mystery with the larger story of the school. There was more of the latter, and while we understand its importance, it took away from the fact that we tuned into this show expecting it to be investigative. That element of it has been rather underwhelming so far. As for the coming episodes, now that Blue’s case is being taken seriously, there will definitely be more progress there. We suspect that next week we will see Ruth Zardo’s character come into the limelight. She has been the most interesting one so far, and we are curious to know what she can offer. Something else we have realized is that this town works as a unit, be it in the case of CC de Portier or Marc Fortier. We want to know how that came to be. As for the criticism, we have to mention that though the series comments on the white savior complex, it still suffers from it. But the rest of the discourse regarding the independence and oppression of minorities is being handled with reasonable sensitivity. As long as next week’s episodes get their pacing right, we will have enough faith in the entertainment value of the rest of the series.