‘The Lake’ Season 2 Recap & Ending, Explained: Will Justin And Riley Get Back Together?

Season one of The Lake was about showcasing the family dynamics of stepsiblings, Maisy and Justin. It seemed like an advanced version of Modern Family. The last episode gave us an indication that Maisy’s mother would play a crucial role in the next season. So, let’s find out what this season has in store for the audience.


Spoilers Ahead

Justin And Riley’s Wedding

Justin is back at the lake, awaiting the return of Billie. Riley and Justin got back together in the last season, and it’s been a year ever since. Riley asks Justin to marry him because he feels it is the right time to do so, and it would also allow Justin to stay close to his family cottage, even though it’s filled with people he despises. Justin initially hesitates because of the divorce, which puts a lot of strain on him. But he agrees because he loves Riley, and the couple announces their engagement during a family dinner at Maisy’s. They plan to have a quick wedding at the Boathouse because they don’t want to make a spectacle out of it, and it will be proof of how they want to emphasize taking their love to the next level.


The wedding forces the local resident Maureen to move her event to some other day, which shows the influence Justin has on the locals to be able to get the Boathouse on short notice. The man purchases firecrackers to be lit after the ceremony, but things go awry very quickly. Justin has a panic attack during the ceremony because reality hits him like a wave and forces him to run away. The Boathouse is set ablaze by the firecrackers, and it does not survive the fire. Despite Justin’s repeated claims of his non-involvement, he is adamant about finding out who the arsonist is. Other than his heartbreak over leaving Riley at the altar, Justin has no reason to destroy the Boathouse, but again, if not Justin, then who?

Billie’s Change Of Mind

Billie reaches the lake with a firm mind that she will spend only a week with Justin, after which she will intern with a climate change office. She meets Forrest, a volunteer who plants trees has arrived at the same place, and the attraction is instant. Billie’s mind goes into an indecisive mode because she is hesitant about taking up the high-value internship because she is unsure if she took up the job for herself or to impress her parents. She turns down the internship to be a tree planter. Billie does this not because of her attraction to Forrest but because of her interaction with another tree planter, Ivy, who helps her pursue ground-level work to combat climate change. She decides to do the work and not just walk the talk. Ivy and Forrest’s words had an impact on her because a young Billie is free to experiment with her career choices if it gives her the right experience.


Mimsy’s Cancer Diagnosis

The audience is finally introduced to Mimsy, Maisy’s complicated mother. It is understood from Mimsy’s difficult, opinionated, slightly controlled, freakish, and constantly lying behavior that Maisy can never hope to get along with her mother. The audiences are not shown Mimsy’s history with the family just to be able to understand why she behaves this way. It is easy to conclude where Maisy gets her traits from, even if she tries to deny them. It would remind you of Claire’s relationship with her mother, Deedee, in Modern Family.

On the night of Justin and Riley’s engagement announcement, Mimsy reveals that she does not have much time to live, implying that she is suffering from a terminal illness. Maisy is suspicious of her mother’s words because, as her only daughter, she is aware of the emotional tactics her mother has resorted to in the past. Maisy and Mimsy’s fractured bond is the reason why she plans to be a better mother to Killian and Opal.


Ending Explained: Will Justin And Riley Get Back Together?

Justin is adamant about finding the culprit of the boathouse arson because he wants to prove his innocence, and he is hoping his effort will change Riley’s mind about their breakup. Justin is  the case of a man who feels overwhelmed when things go right for him.  In his hunt, he ends up finding an unexpected ally in Maisy. It needed to be done because there was no way, in a small community such as this, that he would be able to get things done otherwise. His initial findings led him to think it was Mimsy who committed the crime, and he shares the same opinion with Maisy. She utilized this information to blackmail her mother into knowing more about Mimsy’s illness. This proves Maisy has severe trust issues because of her mother, which extend to her personal life.

She is relentless, even though Opal tries to make her understand that everything cannot be a conniving scheme to undermine Maisy as a daughter. Opal works as a balancing force between the mother and the daughter because, despite his age, he is the smartest of the lot and has the ability to understand. Mimsy also feels an attachment to the kid because of the bond they share as a grandparent and grandchild.


Billie loses her job as a tree planter, but she ends up making friends with siblings, Ivy and Forrest. Billie is attracted to Forrest, but Ivy also shows an interest in her. This confuses Billie for they are her friends and she does not want to come across as someone leading them on. Finally, Billie chooses to be with Forrest. The girl’s confusion arises because of her constant battle to choose between her feelings regarding following the path she has chosen for herself in terms of her career. It is something every 18-year-old goes through because the hormones do not allow them to look beyond a certain romantic attachment. But again, the siblings showing interest in the same girl comes across as a weird part of the narrative. As an audience, we wonder if it was done to grab attention and create an awkward scenario. Billie’s meeting with her mother helps her understand why she probably should not be taking so much burden on herself. It is probably okay for her to make mistakes, for they will help her make better choices in the future. Billie finally needed her mother because it was only her who understood her daughter’s personality, and Justin turned out to be a good friend but he probably cannot help Billie make life decisions.

Maisy’s discreet blood test on her mother confirms a cancer diagnosis, and ever since, the woman goes through an existential crisis. It finally dawns on her that Mimsy might not live that long. Maisy is not sure how she should feel for her mother because of all this. She cannot act selfishly, as her husband Victor and child Opal help her feel at ease. The woman is a classic example of a control freak who always wants things a certain way. Mimsy is aware of this quality of hers and works around it to push her buttons. But this time, Maisy does not allow her to do that because she realizes she probably has to be there for her mother despite their complicated relationship.


Justin thinks he has finally nabbed the arsonist and gathers everyone on a boat in Hercule Poirot’s style of laying down his suspicions in a bid to corner the culprit. But the culprit turns out to be Maureen Henderson, who was always called by an inappropriate name for the last 20 years for falling in love with a married man and getting together with the same person. Her reasons for lighting up the Boathouse stems from the fact that people’s perception of her has never changed in the last 20 years, despite a steady marriage with whom she had an affair. This throws light on how constant shaming of women is a common phenomenon in close-knit communities, and we remain unaware of any long-term impact of that. Maureen is not apologetic for her behavior because she has come to hate the boat house and what it represents. Maureen’s case is one of the many examples of women being targeted for breaking up a marriage, but a husband’s is never questioned. Hopefully, her outburst will change the perception people have of her and let her live the life she wants. Knowing how judgmental people can get in this community, it would be hard for them to shed their old behavior, but slow and steady is the way.

The last episode of the second season of The Lake ends with Mimsy coming to terms with her daughter’s need for the family cottage. She agrees to give Maisy the family home, provided she shares it with Justin. Maisy is happy about both the news and the fact that she is finally coming to terms with it being okay to have Justin around and realizing it probably won’t be that bad. They would be sharing the home on a 60:40 basis, and Justin agrees to it because he feels the same as Maisy. The stepsiblings’ dynamics, by the looks of it, are on the same page to regain their home, and as an audience, one can only hope nothing else will make things worse between the two of them.


Riley and Justin make up because Riley also realizes he missed him during his project in Paris, Ontario, and he would want to make things right between the two of them. Riley suggests having a kid, which shocks Justin. This shock is probably reminiscent of how he felt when Billie was born and given up for adoption. The man still does not trust himself to be a good father figure or a communicator, that makes him act on his first instinct, which is to run away from the scenario instead of facing the situation at hand. Justin will probably be okay with the idea of having another child but will have an emotional crisis soon. He will also have to factor in Billie so that the girl does not feel left out. Hopefully, all these aspects will be discussed in the next season of The Lake, and I, as a viewer, cannot wait to see a mature Justin.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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