Finally, It’s the moment we’ve waited for ever since we were introduced to the adult Joanie (Anna Paquin). Joanie was front and center serving attitudes, facetiousness and scowls. We have a better understanding on how trauma affects a family. On some level we did get answers, raise more questions, and most noteworthy, a surprise appearance. There’s a lot going on in this episode to prepare for the looming finale. Furthermore, will Joanie finally discover that Ben (Ramon Rodriguez) killed her mother? (SPOILERS AHEAD)
So, let’s start with Joanie and the creepy EJ ( Michael Braun) at the cemetery. Honestly, I thought she was going to have sex with him right there, albeit, she did wait until later (the backseat of his jeep). As she gets ready to leave on her bike, EJ notices two flat tires and offers her a ride home, to which she doesn’t hesitate. EJ even made a comment alluding to Joanie’s risky and defensive behavior.
During the car ride, EJ explains that he’s an epigeneticist, however, I’m still not sure where he’s been lurking, So, he basically studies how genes activate and deactivate. He’s been examining the Lockhart’s and how trauma is passed down in a family. It’s never been a shortage of trauma for the Lockhart clan. Joanie and Alison (Ruth Wilson) share a lot of similarities that result in their manic and self-destructive behavior.
EJ tells Joanie information that she never knew, ironically, she was at the same beach where Alison died. He also told her about the police files that was miraculously left after the police station flooded. During the trip to the station, Joanie read the report about Alison’s death. Later that night, EJ comes over and they head back to the beach to see the super moon. Based on the current that night, Joanie compares from the weather patterns on the night of Alison’s “suicide” and calculated that drowning was not possible, since the tide was too low. Of course, Joanie and EJ have sex, where she showcases her autoerotic asphyxiation. EJ acknowledges her behavior is due to inherited trauma associated with grief.
Joanie returns home with the memories of Alison haunting her. She hangs out with Paul (Lyric Bent ) and their kids (Jaidyn Triplett and Mykai-Michelle Harris). Luisa’s (Catalina Sandino Moreno) return lets us know that they never lost touch, resulting in Joanie calling her “mom.”
Luisa and Joanie discuss Alison and whether her death was truly a suicide. Luisa asserts Alison’s struggles and pain, confirming what Joanie knew. But the truth is, Alison was finally getting her life together. She was actually happy and becoming comfortable with herself.
Fast-forward to Joanie’s next meltdown. When their high-tech system alerts them to the oxygen pressure failure in the garden, Joanie notices the strawberries are bad and starts throwing them out. Paul attempts to calm her down. They talk, prompting a confession about her infidelity. It seems like this was the out she wanted. I mean, her daughters told her she “hurts them all the time.” Paul orders her to get out. After pleading to no avail, she leaves and goes to EJ’s house.
This was a pivotal moment for Joanie. Her hard exterior shell broke. She became vulnerable and the only person she felt comfortable with doing it with (literally and figuratively) was a stranger. Her dedication to work was not about the way it made her feel, but , how it prevented her from committing suicide. She used work to cope with everything around her. Joanie talked about trying not to be anything like Alison, but, ended up more like her.
During this time, we understand how Cole’s (Joshua Jackson) trauma of losing Alison, made him overprotective and somewhat of a savior. Consequently, Joanie was burdened by the role of his daughter and semi-companion (not in that way). As much as Cole took care of Joanie, ironically, she had to take care of him. After she left for college, Cole moved back to Montauk and started piecing information on Alison and Ben. Cole died from a heart attack and he was alone.
EJ showed Joanie the box she originally threw out. Seems like EJ had plans of his own. She couldn’t understand why her dad kept information on Ben. EJ alluded to the fact he could have been Cole’s lover. In a flashback, Joanie is with Cole and Alison in happier times, as a man passes by Joanie and Cole, he turns back to face Cole, who remembers him. Alison introduces Cole to Ben. For that reason, Joanie awakens and realizes that Ben was in fact her mother’s boyfriend and not her dads. Hence, the revelation…Ben is the one that murdered Alison.