Too many shows have popped up in recent times where woman-on-woman violence or presenting women as spiteful and unstable revenge-seekers has become a common theme. In times when social media is replete with memes that sport the caption “Women (teacup emoji),” shows and movies like For Her Sins only contribute to the trope that women are hysterical and unhinged. Airing on Channel 5, the 4-episode show leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, not just for the multiple plot holes that make the series stink but also for how unbelievably gullible the protagonist is. Starring Jo Joyner and Rachel Shenton as Laura and Emily, respectively, this is one ‘psychological thriller’ you won’t regret missing out on. Here’s a brief recap of For Her Sins.
How Does Laura Meet Emily?
Laura Conroy is a mother of two and is trying her best to keep her 7-year-old daughter Eliza from causing trouble while handling her infant son. One day at the park, Eliza goes missing, and as Laura searches for her frantically, she spots her daughter being taken away by a woman. The woman, Emily, says she was taking Eliza back to help her find her parents, and Laura meets her once again the next day at Eliza’s school. Laura’s daughter is very troublesome, but Emily somehow finds a way to calm her down every time. Soon, Laura and Emily become friends, and before long, they’re having dinner together at Laura’s home, although it’s obvious that Emily has some hidden agenda.
What Brings Emily To Tears?
Laura is presented as a confident lawyer, but nothing about her says confidence; instead, she’s a fidgety and nervous wreck, and it’s immensely easy to manipulate her, as Emily constantly does. Laura’s husband, Rob, returns from work, and Emily, who visits the Conroys every day now, sparks fights between the couple at every possible opportunity. To make matters worse, Emily places a knife in Eliza’s school bag, and when her parents are called, the situation points towards Laura being a bad mother. However, she doesn’t even have the slightest idea that her whole life is being picked apart by the woman, who seems way too friendly with her and makes constant references to a secret Laura holds very close to her heart. However, Emily changes the topic immediately, and Laura doesn’t suspect a thing. It’s annoying how many times the same thing keeps happening, and yet this hotshot lawyer remains clueless. On top of that, Laura admits to her gal pal that she’d had a relationship with her colleague Tom before meeting Rob, and that night, the whole office is going out for drinks, and she asks Emily along. As Laura is getting ready in the other room, Emily fishes out a secret box from under Laura’s bed with newspaper cuttings about a child drowning, and she tears up. By this point, you can guess the rest of the story and how this ‘psychological thriller’ might end.
How Does Emily Sabotage Laura’s Night?
At the bar, Emily invites Tom to their table, and when neither he nor Laura is looking, she spikes their drinks. They get hammered, and then Emily gets them into a hotel room, which she booked using Rob’s credit card. After Laura and Tom have passed out, Emily strips them naked and orchestrates the room such that it indicates the former lovers got together for one more night of steamy lovemaking. She even takes a picture of Laura’s unconscious self through Tom’s phone and shoves Laura’s bracelet under the bed. The next morning, Emily hurries Laura to wake up, and as the woman panics over cheating on her husband in the lounge, Emily (pretending to be Laura) tells the receptionist to look for her bracelet and call her husband, Rob, in case the hotel finds it. By the time Laura gets home, the welfare services people have left, and Rob is concerned, but Laura lies and says that she is with Emily. Later on, Emily shows up and says Laura had booked a day for the two women in a spa. She shows Laura’s unconscious picture, which she claims Tom had forwarded to her. For every question that you raise, For Her Sins comes up with the argument that ‘oh, they were blacked out,’ but even if they were, it doesn’t justify half the things that happened.
How Does Rob Find Out Where Laura Was?
At the spa, after gaslighting Laura into doing what Emily feels will only ruin her life further, she wants Laura to stay back, but she needs to go home to her husband. When Laura refuses, Emily throws a tantrum and smashes a mirror, making Laura stay. Meanwhile, Rob gets a call from the hotel saying that they’ve found Laura’s bracelet. By the time Laura and Emily get home, Rob is fuming, and the two have an argument while Emily keeps villainizing Laura to Eliza. This little girl, though, is exceptionally rude, and it becomes apparent with every episode of For Her Sins. Honestly, before returning to work, the parents needed to take their daughter to a child psychiatrist to ensure she’d not grow up to be someone like Emily.
Emily had convinced Laura to call Tom over and explain that it couldn’t work out between them the next night because Rob would be leaving for his trip. However, to spark further discord, Emily told Rob to go back and be with Laura just so that he could witness Tom holding Laura’s hand and leave. For a moment, Laura did suspect something when she learned Emily didn’t have a child of her own, but she threw such a hissy-fit that gullible Laura was manipulated into apologizing profusely. When a reporter showed up and referred to Laura as Katherine, Emily capitalized on Laura’s emotional breakdown to get a confession out of her about how an accident had claimed her friend’s brother’s life when they were kids. Laura also reveals that Katherine had been her real name. As it turns out, the reporter was Emily’s ex-husband, and she sent all the proof to him to publish a story, but nothing came of it. Another plotline just went astray.
How Is Emily Exposed To Rob?
The next morning, Emily spikes Laura’s tea once again, and when she’s looking for her phone, Emily pours boiling hot water on her hand and leaves with Laura’s phone, locking the door from outside. Before passing out, Laura finds Emily’s brother’s photograph where Eliza’s picture used to be in a photo frame and realizes who Emily really is, but she can’t keep her eyes open any longer. Emily goes back to her apartment and calls Rob and poisons his mind against his wife before trying to make a move on him, but he pushes her off, and all the photos Emily had collected on Laura are exposed. As a scuffle breaks out because Rob spots Laura’s phone in Emily’s bag, the psycho hits him on the head with a mortar bowl and takes off. She takes Emily from school and carries Laura away from her home, but she is unaware that Laura has alerted her mother, Maggie, about Emily’s real identity. As children, Laura and Millie—Emily’s real name—got into a boat on a lake, and unbeknownst to them, Millie’s little brother had snuck in, and he’d fallen into the water when an argument broke out between them. Maggie had advised little Laura to forget any of it ever happened, and she moved her to a different city and changed her name.
Does Emily Get Vengeance On Laura?
Laura’s past has caught up with her in the form of Emily, and now Laura is unconscious in her car as Emily takes Eliza and locks her in a lighthouse where Emily and Laura used to visit as kids. Maggie has called the cops, and they’re on their way to this secluded location while Emily drags Laura to the point where the accident happened decades ago. After a lot of threats and swinging a knife wildly, Emily makes Laura confess that she’d indeed pushed Emily’s brother into the water, and even though Laura had tried saving him, the kid had drowned. By then, Eliza escapes the lighthouse and calls out to her mother as Emily and Laura begin struggling and fall into the water. Laura, being stronger, manages to hold Emily’s head underwater and would’ve killed her tormentor if not for Eliza screaming from the top of the cliff. Laura drags Emily to the shore, discards Emily’s phone that she was using to record Laura’s confession, and before you know it, Eliza is a well-behaved child playing hide-and-seek with Rob in their home. The ending has been rushed so much that the makers even forget that Eliza hated her mother for some unknown reason.
At the end of For Her Sins, Laura goes to meet Emily in prison because she’s overcome with guilt for what’d become of Emily once Laura’s mother saved her daughter from the mess. As kids, it’d always been Emily who looked up to Laura as a big sister or friend and followed her around everywhere, as the flashbacks suggested. Laura had enjoyed being the leader of the two, given her bigger physique and being older than Emily. However, the tiny Emily had filled Laura with the confidence to become the leader, and she fed off of the attention Emily gave her. After the accident, Emily was treated as her brother’s killer, and now she’s in jail, but Laura misses Emily because this psychotic woman had helped Laura feel alive. Why? Don’t ask. For Her Sins refuses to delve into the psychology of its characters, and basically, this is what happens when you stretch a two-episode story to four episodes and struggle to find an ending.
For Her Sins is a bad example of what psychological thrillers could look like and shouldn’t be trusted to deliver a satisfying experience because it doesn’t. Laura should be awarded the top prize for being a dunce who can be gaslit and manipulated so easily that if it weren’t for her mother holding a big position in a firm, she’d be struggling to hold a job. Emily doesn’t get to kill Laura nor expose her for what Laura had done as a child, and she ends up in jail, but given the number of crimes she’d committed, the system seems far too relaxed on her. Laura, on the other hand, after being drugged and kidnapped, her husband almost dying, and her daughter being held hostage, seems way too forgiving and seeks to make amends with Emily. It seems that before Emily is taken to a psychiatrist, Laura needs to book an appointment there too.