‘Insomnia’ Episode 6 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Emma Rescue Her Family?

After building up a psychological thriller mixed with possibly supernatural elements over the course of the first four episodes, Sarah Pinborough’s Insomnia took a dramatic turn in the fifth episode, which led to the series suddenly adopting an unexpected revenge thriller twist in the sixth and final episode of the season. The result is a divisive, kind of confusing conclusion, which might not sit well with some viewers, as in the guise of subverting expectations, the series dropped a much more interesting plot development for a simplistic, run-of-the mill ending. 


Previously, after getting arrested on suspicion of killing her mother, Emma was later released with the help of her law firm colleague Faisal. Memories of her childhood days spent in the orphanage St. Agnes came to Emma’s mind, and she vaguely remembers getting almost drowned to death after her sister Phoebe pushed her. As Emma decided to revisit the orphanage, Phoebe found out about her misadventures of previous night and tracked down Caroline to question her about them. However, as Phoebe drove to the orphanage upon knowing Emma would be present there, Caroline followed and inexplicably ran her over upon getting the chance. As Phoebe regained consciousness, Emma learned from her that her elder sister was trying to save her from drowning and had been trying to protect her since childhood. On the other hand, Caroline has a mental breakdown after returning home and finding out that her mother has taken her own life. During the final moments of the penultimate episode, Caroline goes to Emma’s home with a sedative-infused cake. The eventful finale of the first season brings about the most clichéd conclusions viewers could have possibly imagined for a thriller like this, although there are enough hints to possibly do a course correction with future continuation.

Spoilers Ahead


Did Emma remember her connection with Caroline?

The finale begins with a flashback to Caroline’s childhood, as she is seen along with her parents when their car gets caught in an accident. Through the course of the episode, it is revealed that Caroline’s parents wanted to adopt Emma from St. Agnes orphanage, and little Caroline was jealous and insensitive enough to push Emma into the pond. Phoebe, who had witnessed the events unfolding, saved Emma, but unfortunately ended up getting blamed for the incident and was separated from her sister. On their way home, young Caroline had a heated argument with her parents as she was unwilling to accept Emma as her sister, and in the heat of the moment, Caroline’s father lost sight of the road ahead, which resulted in a fatal car accident. Later, it is revealed that Caroline’s mother became paraplegic due to the accident, and Caroline’s father was severely injured, while Caroline survived without much harm. Frightened and devastated, Caroline tried to ease her father’s agonizing last moments but ended up unwittingly suffocating him to death. The incident traumatized the kid enough to lead her psyche to go down a dark path, which is showcased in the final episode of the season. Also, ever since her mother became paraplegic, Caroline had lost her freedom as she spent her entire life taking care of her.

At present, Emma decides to stay with Phoebe at the hospital, and after Phoebe wakes up, she reveals the truth about Caroline. Emma remembers things properly this time around and realizes that her first meeting with Caroline outside the hospital might not have been as coincidental as she initially thought. Emma suspects foul play after Caroline remains unreachable, and she decides to visit Caroline’s home, where she finds out about her mother’s death. Caroline’s identity is confirmed after Emma recognizes her childhood pictures and realizes that she is up to no good after finding the medication bottle empty. While Emma drives to her home, she informs the authorities about the possible situation at her house.


What was Caroline’s motivation?

As the scene shifts to Emma’s house in the present timeline, where Caroline is speaking with Robert, as she reveals her identity as Emma’s friend and shares that Emma had spent the previous night at her house, Robert curiously invites her in. During the conversation, Robert takes pity on her after learning about the recent death of her mother, and out of generosity, he invites her to have dinner. As Robert and Chloe eat the sedative-infused cake, they faint, letting Caroline assume complete control over the house. Caroline seems to be injected with a newfound sense of freedom, as she wants to step into Emma’s shoes, even if it is for a night. However, Will, who didn’t join his family at dinner, remains unaware of any of this. 

Before losing her senses, Chloe texted Julian to meet with her outside their house, and after waiting for a long time, Julian decided to check up on her by venturing inside the front yard of the house. Caroline meets with him and, to avoid suspicion, ends up killing him by slicing his throat. As she pushes Julian’s body into the house pond, Will notices her from his room and lets out a cry in fear, which alarms Caroline. However, before she could find Will, Emma arrived and broke into the house. 


Without allowing Emma much chance to assess the situation, Caroline holds her by the knife and blames her for the entire predicament. Since a young age, Caroline had harbored only resentment for Emma, and in her mind had held her responsible for the fateful accident which changed Caroline’s life forever. It is revealed that when Emma visited her sister, Phoebe, while meeting their mother, Patricia, for the first time in a long while – Caroline was also present and had recognized her. She deliberately caused the cycle accident to get acquainted with Emma, who had no recollection of her childhood. A vindictive Caroline had also killed Patricia, framing Emma for the incident. Caroline further confesses that she ran over Phoebe in fear of her past actions getting discovered by her. Upon learning how Emma’s life turned out to be polar opposite to that of Caroline, in her jealousy- she decided to take over her home in the most heinous way possible. Caroline’s psychopathic tendencies were apparent from her vicious killstreak, and now Emma sees the full extent of it through Caroline’s remorseless confession of her crimes. 

Was Emma able to rescue her family at the end?

Emma tries to reason with Caroline and pretends to agree with her in hopes of getting Caroline to lower her guard. However, Caroline recognizes the ruse pretty easily, and a scuffle ensues between the two, which ends with Emma getting stabbed. Caroline makes her way to Will’s bedroom and tries to suffocate him to death with a pillow. However, a profusely bleeding Emma manages to gather all her strength to reach Will’s room just in time to knock Caroline out with a cricket bat. The entire scenario plays out quite similar to her childhood memory of her mother Patricia trying to suffocate a young Phoebe, and Emma is hit with a traumatic feeling of déjà vu. Due to the immense physical and mental agony, Emma faints, and right at the moment, the police arrive at their house. The hidden cameras planted by Emma previously have the video footage of Caroline’s psychotic rampage – which will provide enough evidence to the authorities to restrain her. 

The following scene opens several months later; Emma and Phoebe have completely recovered from their injuries, and other members of Emma’s family too seem to be in better shape. Emma has joined a new law firm, and she is moving to a new home with her family in an effort to leave the traumatic past behind them. Phoebe and Emma have a heart-to-heart conversation and have seemingly reconciled with each other. Emma shares her realization that the cryptic numbers their mother, Patricia, had mentioned in her trance-like state exactly match the timings when Emma went through a similar trance-like experience and also with the timestamp when Caroline’s psychotic episode at their house began. She believes that Patricia’s condition was a premonition of sorts that tried to warn Emma of a terrible future. Phoebe isn’t totally convinced, but she acknowledges that Patricia’s afflictions have led them to their present state after all—for better or worse. As the episode ends, Emma seems to have grown to have a more sympathetic perspective towards her deceased mother.

However, the final moments of the finale show Will is going through the same generational curse, as he continues banging his head on the wall and scribbling cryptic numbers on the wall – unbeknownst to anyone else in the family. As we discuss speculations for a possible second season, we will discuss more about this particular plot point. 


Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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