‘The Burning Girls’ Recap & Ending Explained: What Did Jack’s Nightmares Mean?

Directed by Charles Martin, The Burning Girls revolves around several secrets in the small village of Chapel Croft. The ominous fates of many people in the village and the secrets behind them get unveiled through various courses of events. The wonderful cast of the series includes Samantha Morton, Conrad Khan, Ruby Stokes, David Dawson, Rupert Graves, and others. The six-part horror-suspense thriller has elements of social injustice, the supernatural, mystery, action, and a lot more. There are, however, several influences from other series and films, including Carrie, Burn the Witch, Witch Hunt, and others. Will the mysteries of the several deaths around the village be resolved? What twists and turns are yet to be uncovered? Let us see!

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens With Jacqueline In Chapel Croft?

The Burning Girls brings out the strange events that happen with Jacqueline, also known as Jack, the new vicar at Chapel Croft, and her daughter Florence after coming from Nottingham. Jack comes across stories of how the previous vicar, Reverend Fletcher, hung himself in the church and also gets to know about the popularity of the Harper family in the area. Joan, a fellow villager, informed her of the myth surrounding the two burning spirits that were frequently sighted in the chapel. She gets to know that something ominous befell anyone who would see them. It was not long before Jack saw the spirits, and they started haunting her in her dreams. They seemed to be asking for Jack’s help in finding salvation after their deaths. The moment Jack meets Simon Harper, a wealthy trustee of the church, she knows that there is something off about him. She starts digging into the death of Reverend Fletcher, and a lot of new secrets start pouring out.

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What Did Jack’s Nightmares Mean?

After coming to Chapel Croft, Jack visualized the spirits of the two burning girls, resulting in her getting nightmares. She had nightmares about Wrigley crucifying Florence as a result of her concern for her daughter’s safety. Later, Jack’s motherly instincts are proven to be right when the murderous intentions of Wrigley are revealed. Both Jack and Flo also have constant visions of the burning girls in their dreams, and the visions are supposed to be the harbingers of something ominous. However, it was later clear that the spirits were seeking help to reveal the truths that had been buried for centuries by the Harper family.

Jack uncovers Abigail and Maggie’s dead bodies in the chapel vault, which was supposedly the Harpers’ family graveyard. One day, after Florence gets a vision of the burning girls in the chapel, her feet get stuck in a dent on the floor. After saving Florence, Jack further digs into the dent to find the hidden obituary. The two burning girls tap on a particular coffin to give her a message. On opening it, the skeletons of Maggie and Abigail are revealed. Jack also comes across the body of Benjamin Grady, which further reveals deeper secrets about the family.

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What Was The Secret Of The Burning Girls?

The Burning Girls focuses on a past event that occurred in the village. Two girls, Maggie and Abigail, were burned to ashes by the villagers, who accused them of being witches. Jacqueline found many documents proving the Harper family’s involvement in the murders. She finds out that the family had gained their riches hundreds of years ago from the king by providing them with information about the hiding space of the two girls. They were burned by the villagers and buried inside the chapel vault. Jack stumbles upon an opening on the floor, inside the chapel, leading her to find a tunnel to the vault where all the bodies of the Harper family were kept and were revered as martyrs. On climbing down, the spirits of Maggie and Abigail guide Jack to their coffins, and she later calls the police, revealing the secrets of the Harper family. Fletcher had dug too deep into this matter, which had been the cause of his murder. The wealth of the Harper family was built on the deaths of the two innocent girls. Surprisingly, Benjamin Grady’s body was also discovered within the vault.


Who Was Benjamin Grady? Why Was He Murdered?

The story swings back in time, showcasing the lives of two rebellious girls from the village, Merrie and Joy. The handsome curate of that time, Benjamin Grady, had an intimate relationship with Joy and ended up impregnating her, and when she told him this, she got no aid from him. Joy later went to Merrie and told her about her problems, and being the best of friends, they decided to run away from the village. Clara murdered Joy while she was waiting for Merrie to arrive. The hypocrisy of religious leaders like Grady is revealed in The Burning Girls. The way he uses young women and takes advantage of their vulnerable situation denotes his perverted nature and how his manipulation has helped him get blind followers like Clara. There was a jealousy factor at play, as Clara was in love with Grady, and she had strong motives for the murder. She was also involved in covering his sins and had helped hide his body in the vault. She had done it so that the reason for his murder would not be revealed to the villagers, hence saving his dignity.

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Merrie’s religious mother thought that her outrageous daughter had been possessed by some evil spirit that was making her go out of hand. She had called Grady to purge her daughter through exorcism, and he had taken full advantage of the situation. He raped Merrie constantly behind closed doors. Merrie asked for help from her brother, Jacob, who was initially hesitant but later stabbed Grady to death. Merrie’s mother called the current vicar of the time, Marsh, seeking his help in hiding the murder. It was later revealed that Marsh had decided to help cover the murder so that the wrongdoings of Grady did not come to the forefront, hampering the reputation of the church.


Why Did The Whole Village Hate Merrie And Joy?

Merrie and Joy were two 15-year-old girls who were resentful of societal norms and did not like the religious confinement of society. They were rebellious and liked breaking free from the norms. The girls didn’t buy into religious beliefs too much, which is why Merrie could burn the Bible.  At her age, she did not know how to express her angst against society and ended up expressing it through her anti-religious activities. These facts caused Joy and Merrie to become outcasts in society. Merrie had resorted to drugs to escape her delusional mother, and Joy had gone astray and fallen in love with Grady, resulting in her getting pregnant at a young age. How the villagers perceived them was the reason why they didn’t bother to search for Merrie and Joy after their disappearance. In the old days, there were a lot of social barriers that were put in place for women who were thought to be rebellious, and Joy and Merrie tried to break free from that. It can be said that they were the modern versions of Maggie and Abigail, who were also free-spirited girls. Just as Maggie and Abigail had been burned after being accused of witchcraft, Joy and Merrie had also been made outcasts and were not thought of as a part of society due to their rebellious natures.

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What Was Lucas Wrigley’s Real Motive?

Lucas Wrigley had come in disguise as a friend to Florence. Despite warnings from Jack, Flo was very much into Wrigley. He had lied to her about his physical deformity to gain her sympathy because he had a hidden motive. Whenever he was around, Flo was always in some trouble, which had almost become a pattern. While with Lucas, she was attacked twice by Rosie. Rosie’s behavior was primarily a result of the instigation of her father, Simon, who supported her in everything that she did. He was responsible for the erratic behavior of his elder daughter.

Later, when Jack goes to Lucas’ house, she finds his aunt, Saffron, lying dead on the bed, revealing that Wrigley had murdered her. Lucas later attacks Jack and takes her hostage. Florence also gets kidnapped by Lucas and Rosie, and then he reveals his true self! He was actually Rosie’s lover, who had acted on her whims. Rosie wanted Jack and Flo dead because they were probing into her familial past. They also confess to killing Fletcher and making it look like an accident because he was also digging up the Harper family’s past. The clashes lead to the chapel being burned down with Wrigley in it, and Rosie gets arrested on the revelation of the Fletcher murder case. However, later, Jack and Flo manage to escape the scene with the help of a vagrant, whose real identity is revealed later.

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What Was Jacqueline Brooks’ Real Identity?

A mentally unstable vagrant is seen frantically searching for Jack all over Nottingham. He also commits a few murders in his quest for Jack. When he finally arrives at Chapel Croft, he visits the old house of Merrie, where he seems to be waiting eagerly for someone. We often see him noticing Jack and Flo from afar, but never approaching or harming them. Later, when Rosie and Wrigley attack Jack and Flo, the vagrant saves them, which makes us curious about his relationship with Jack and her daughter. We see Jack going to Merrie’s deserted house with food and water for the vagrant. It is then revealed that he was none other than Merrie’s brother, Jacob, and Jack was Merrie herself. She had returned to the village to unveil many secrets and avenge the death of her best friend, Joy.

Jacob had helped Merrie murder Grady because he had seen Merrie suffering every day. The main reason for their suffering was the orthodox beliefs of their mother. Both Jacob and Merrie displayed rebellious attitudes at such young ages because of their mother’s religious fanaticism. In the old days, there were a lot of social evils that the common people were unaware of, making it easy for the preachers of religion to take advantage of them. They were both going through the same hell because of the set of beliefs that their mother followed. Initially, Jacob decided not to help Merrie because he was too afraid of his mother. However, later, as he sees his sister suffering, he musters up his courage and helps Merrie by killing Grady with the knife from his own exorcism toolkit.

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Final Thoughts

The mini-series is chock-full of secrets, and one twist after another keeps the audience glued to their seats. The elements of horror, thriller, and black magic make The Burning Girls one of a kind! It is replete with elements of horror due to the ample imagery of dead animals and birds in almost every episode. The element of social injustice has also been portrayed, as it explores the unfathomable practices of witch-hunting in the past. The way innocent lives were lost to the atrocities of society has been brought out. The element of death looms large in the series as the secrets behind the deaths of many characters unfold. Despite having such a complicated plot, the director has managed to beautifully handle all the points, leaving no loopholes behind.


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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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