Living with My Mother's Killer (2024) Movie Script

Hey! Hey!
Hey, taking someone
else's mail's a felony.
So is breaking and entering.
Finally, she returns
from writing camp.
Thought you'd become
the next Hemingway and
leave us all behind.
I'm getting there.
Halfway done with
my first novel now.
It's good to see you, Carson.
It's good to see you too, Mara.
Mara! I told myself if I
had to wait one more day
I was gonna drive up there
and take you home myself.
So, tell me, you
win a Pulitzer yet?
Part fantasy, part sci-fi,
but this time, the
heroine saves herself.
Oh, I knew I raised you right.
Mr. Guttman! Just give me
one minute to check him in.
Wait, you're checking
guests in now, too? What?
She didn't write,
she didn't call.
Sorry. Meant to, just got busy.
With what, exactly?
Let it loose in a
guest suite yet?
I was waiting for you.
Joy, get that thing outta here.
- Oh.
- No, Mom.
It's fine. Just another
thing to get ruined.
There are some things you
didn't miss out on this summer.
- Is she sad about the sale?
- Furious.
It was her father's home,
but what choice do I have?
I never thought I'd
run this place alone,
let alone be an evil stepmother.
You know, I wrote a story
about one of those, too,
from her perspective.
Please tell me
she gets redeemed.
You left out a lot
in your letters.
Staff's gone, Mom's
running the place.
Joy's running from my mom.
I don't think anyone wanted
you to worry while
you were gone.
Wouldn't have left if I had
known things were this bad.
Mara, you got dreams.
Don't feel bad that you
went to go chase them.
Well, I appreciate you
helping out my mom.
She has a lot on her plate.
Of course. Now, is it my turn
to hear about your book yet?
It's an epic tale about
intergalactic espionage.
What happened to
write what you know?
Oriana isn't exactly
a page turner.
I wouldn't be so sure.
Old house, kooky guests.
I'd read it.
Glad to know I have a fan.
So, what have you been up to?
You're looking at it.
Come on, Oriana can't have been
your only adventure this summer.
Without you, there weren't
many adventures to be had.
Hey, you guys need to stop it.
Hey, he was talking to you.
Yeah, well, tell
your handyman here,
his work could use
some more work.
- Ow!
- Hey!
I'm so sorry Ms. Ellis.
Please, I need this job.
I wish I didn't have
to do this Carson,
but I have no choice.
Mom, you can't fire him,
he was defending me.
- He also assaulted a guest.
- That kid deserved it!
Carson, wait.
This is all my fault.
- No, it's not.
But it will make for a good
story one of these days.
If you write about it,
make sure to put he
cried like a baby
when he got a taste of
Hemingway and the handyman.
So, what are you gonna do now?
Same thing you will, survive.
Dear Hemingway, when you're
famous, don't forget about us.
Mom, are you there?
Warm, light,
in cold, tired eyes.
I will get that fixed for
you right away. I'm so sorry.
Have a nice day.
I should have known you'd
be one of the first to rise.
You know, the early
bird catches the worm.
And the early bird
watcher catches both.
No, please, Mr. Guttman,
that's on me.
No, no, no, I insist.
Thank you.
Oh, um, how's the
hot water working?
Uh... don't worry about me.
I come here every year for the
heron migration, not the shower.
You're my favorite guest.
You deserve great
birdwatching and warm showers.
And you deserve a rest
every now and then.
- Did you say rest?
- Mm-hmm.
I don't know that word.
Sounds nice, though.
You enjoy those
birds, Mr. Guttman.
I once heard the ghosts of
things that never happened
are worse than the ghosts
of things that did.
That it's the unknown
that truly haunts us.
What we could have done.
What could have been.
These unanswered questions are
the engine behind our desires.
Our dreams. Our
search for the truth.
But the real truth is,
these questions of what if,
can also drive us to madness.
It is only when we let go
that the haunting finally ends.
And then, we go back to living.
It's time we let go
of the ghosts, Carson,
and get back to dreaming.
Best, Mara.
This was the last letter I sent.
For Carson, soon he'll be free.
Get to start a new life.
Become someone new.
But for me, where my story goes,
that is still left
to be written.
Beautiful, Mara.
This is exactly the kind of
writing I've been waiting
to see from you.
I know these letters
and this relationship
are incredibly personal
but it's honest.
Wait, so, did that guy kill
you mom or not? I am confused.
Carson pled guilty to
involuntary manslaughter
but has always
maintained his innocence.
There's still a
lot of questions.
Like what?
Zelda, maybe take your
curiosity from Mara's work
and put it into finishing
your own assignment.
That's it for today.
Don't forget, final projects
are due at the end of this month
and I expect to see
pages as you go.
Mara, you happen to take a look
at any of those grad
programs I sent you?
Not yet, Dr. Fischer.
I might be able to sneak your
work to an old colleague at NYU,
just to help tip the scales.
- You would do that for me?
If the rest of
your final project
is as good as today, then yes.
Thank you. I just
need to figure out
the story after these letters.
When does Carson
receive this one?
He should already have it.
- Hi, Peter.
- Oh, hey.
Sorry to keep you waiting.
No, this is great. It
saves me the drive.
Whadda ya got? Flyers.
A historic bed and breakfast
now gracing the market
with its enchanting allure.
Enchanting allure?
- What's wrong with that?
It's kinda like a diplomatic way
of saying the place has a past.
Well, you're the writer. I'm
just the ex-husband realtor.
- That's what's missing.
- Is it?
Mm-hmm. Ex-husband realtor.
How much do you think it
would cost to reprint?
Well, we won't need to reprint
because I might have
a few potential bites.
I'm still working out the
details but I will let you know.
- That's great!
- Mm-hmm.
Are the buyers gonna be
able to see it in person?
Yeah, well, that's the plan.
Oh, please don't
spring them on me.
Joy wants a 24 hour heads up.
What, so she can booby trap the
place and scare everyone off?
I could give you
a month's notice
and that would not
get Joy on board.
Peter, she has
been through a lot.
Yeah, and you've been
through a lot, too.
The sooner you say goodbye
to Oriana, the better.
I have. I have said
goodbye in many ways.
I know. I'm really proud of you.
Just wish that could've
happened when we were together.
Yeah. But, even if it
did, you probably still
would've left your dirty
clothes on the floor, so.
- Thank you for the flyers.
- Yeah, anytime.
Listen man, now I'm
no parole officer,
but I am here to
supervise your transition.
And I'm here to tell you man,
it's gonna be tough out there
those first couple days.
Have a look at these.
Plenty of resources in town.
I know finding a
job can be difficult
so, I'm gonna give you a few
weeks to secure something.
Is there anything else I
could help you with today?
Yeah. I need to
find this one place.
I'm sorry about earlier.
I can come off as
a little bit harsh,
as my therapist would say.
I prefer passionate. It
has a nice ring to it.
- I really need to get going.
- Just one second.
Listen, this true crime
stuff is kinda my thing.
I didn't mean it that way.
I'm just saying this class is
my last credit before I graduate
but I'm actually a
criminology major.
And you're shooting at cans
when the target is literally
right in front of you.
Your story is not finished
because you don't know
what happened to your mom.
Let me help you
find the real truth.
Believe it or not,
I have learned to live
without the truth.
Yeah, I'm not buying it.
You're right, there
was a time I couldn't.
But you learn to
live with the past
and you learn to help yourself,
and that is exactly
what I'm doing.
That was new.
Stop, don't do that.
You're irritating them.
Well, they don't do
anything besides watch us.
They're boring pets.
Well, they're not really pets.
They're more like my friends.
- Friends?
- Yeah.
How can you be friends
with poisonous frogs?
Well, they're not all poisonous.
I mean that one is.
Joy... Oh, my God.
The gardener? Seriously?
- I was just on my way out.
- Mm-hmm.
- Hi.
- Hello.
Dining room's a mess.
Okay, well, I was
gonna get to it.
Please, I can't keep
tabs on everything.
Kitchen and food service
are your responsibility.
Okay, I'll make it happen.
Hey, I know things
have been awkward
with the house on the market.
Well, your mom
left Oriana to you,
not me, so you get
to call the shots.
You know that's
not how I see it.
Well, I don't
recall asking Peter
to put up that
for sale sign, so.
- Thank you.
- Mm-hmm.
You know, it'd be nice to
do some dishes in hot water.
I know.
Garbage disposal's broken, too.
Are we gonna get a real
handyman anytime soon?
We need money for
a real handyman.
I'll add it to my to-do list.
Well, I guess we both
have a lot on our plate.
You didn't happen to see
a reply from Carson
in the mail, did you?
Mara, I told you,
that is your thing.
I don't wanna be involved.
I know.
But it's for my class.
Using the letters
for my final project.
Are you sure this
is a good idea?
I don't wanna tell
you what to do
but you've just been
doing so well lately
and I would just hate for you to
slip into like, another spiral.
I'm not slipping into anything.
I wrote the letters
to move on and I have.
Detective Mara has
officially retired.
You know, once Oriana sells,
we both get a fresh start.
We can find new dreams.
Hey, hey, whoa. Are you okay?
- Yes, I'm fine.
- Sit down.
No, no, no, I'm fine,
I'm fine, I'm fine.
Have you been to the doctor yet?
- Yes.
- And?
He said it was stress related.
Wonder where that comes from.
- Is it me?
- It's you.
I am who I am, okay?
Is it really your story
if it begins where
another's ended?
- Oh my God!
- Uh...
Zelda, what are you doing
here? This is trespassing.
- Just visiting, late at night.
- Is that a tape recorder?
Uh, you can't hack analog.
Plus I'm a sucker for the click.
- No, absolutely not, no way.
- You should hear me out.
- No, no! Not a chance.
But I've been looking into the
case all day and you're right.
There are inconsistencies
all over the place.
For instance, the
placement of the bodies.
Your mom had to have
been pushed from above.
You don't understand.
This isn't good for me.
But I need your help
to access the files and
question the police.
You're not gonna get it.
In case you change your mind.
You should really
get that fixed.
Please, listen to me. I
promise, I'm so close this tim.
Why can't you just
believe that it was him?
Because he wouldn't do
something like this!
- Then who is it?
- I don't know.
That is what I'm trying to
prove. Please. She was my mom.
She deserves concrete answers.
No. She deserves peace, Mara.
Oh, sorry. Hey. Hang on.
Uh, this door. Hang on.
You push, I'll pull.
Sorry, this door is like the
bane of my existence. Uh.
What did you say?
You mean, you
don't recognize me?
I guess 14 years changes a face.
- How are you...
- I got released.
And you came here?
Well, yeah, I didn't
know where else to go.
I should've, I should've
written you beforehand.
Let you know.
You never responded to my
last letter or mentioned.
I wanted to. I did.
It's just uh,
look, your last letter said
you were selling Oriana
and uh, I was afraid by the time
I showed up that you'd be gone.
Shoot. Uh, you stay
here. I'll be back.
What's up? You look like
you've seen a ghost.
Funny you say that. Um,
Carson got released.
He's here.
He's here? Like,
right now at Oriana?
- Yes.
- Why?
I think he genuinely thought
he could show up here.
Did you tell him that he could
come here in your letters?
Okay. Uh...
I just knew you reaching out
to him was gonna be a bad idea.
Listen, I think you
writing to him was like,
a really honorable
and great thing to do.
Everybody thinks that.
But this is real life now.
This is our house. He's a
stranger and a murderer.
He is not a murderer or
a stranger. I know him.
Yeah, sweetie, you
don't know him.
You knew him for like, a
couple weeks when you were 16.
I can't think of another
reason that he's here
if except to get revenge.
- You don't know that.
Well, I mean, that's
what he did at first.
Listen. You listen to him.
I'd rather kick him out.
Hey. What are you doing here?
Joy. Hey, uh, it's
nice to see you, too.
Are you gonna explain yourself
or do you need the cops to
check your pockets for cash?
Look, I heard a
noise in the kitchen.
I think your disposal's broken.
I could fix it, if you want.
Okay. Uh, you know,
don't worry about it.
I'll uh, I'll just get going.
What, that's it?
Look, 14 years ago
I was a punk who lost his job
and stupidly thought
the only way to fix it
was to get drunk and
take what wasn't his.
So, I broke into
Oriana, but that's all.
I would never hurt your mother.
Look, Susannah died that night
and who knows, if I hadn't been
there, she might still be alive.
For that, I am eternally sorry,
and I promise to spend the rest
of my life doing whatever I can
to make it up to you.
Mara, you cannot
honestly believe him.
The man pled guilty to murder.
Involuntary manslaughter,
and it was a plea deal.
He was young and had
inexperienced lawyers.
What else was he supposed to do?
Innocent people take
plea deals all the time.
I cannot believe we're
doing this again.
He was trashed, he
broke into the house,
and he was found at the bottom
of the stairs with your mom!
It's all there!
- No, it's not.
It never has been.
But him being here could finally
give me clarity on that night.
Okay, so that's
what this is about.
What happened to Detective
Mara retiring, huh?
You've been doing so well.
I don't understand why you
just wanna throw it all away.
Because she was my mother.
You will never understand
what it has been like
to live in this
constant unknown.
Besides, he just got released.
Where else is he supposed to go?
That's not your responsibility.
It's his parole officer's.
There are resources
for people like him.
He deserves a second chance.
I don't like this, Mara.
Joy, I promise, things will
be different this time.
Do you think he knows
anything about water heaters?
Thank you, Mara. This
is more than generous.
I'm happy to help.
We can't pay you.
But uh, you'll get room and
board free of charge, obviously.
You're giving me a fresh start.
That's worth more
to me than money.
Last handyman used to live here.
We never cleaned out his stuff.
Anything else you need we
should have up at the house.
It's perfect.
Feels like I was
just here yesterday.
Uh, so you'll be in charge
of handling all the repairs.
That's all the wear
and tear with the BNB.
Everything inside and out.
Probably just don't
go in the green house.
I don't think Joy would
want you in there.
I'm nervous, sorry.
Mara, hey, look.
I'm still the same
guy who's been
at the other end
of those letters.
Well, I think that's
what makes it strange.
You know all these
details about my life.
More than Joy. More
than anyone, really.
Yeah, it's strange
to see you, too.
I mean, you were the only person
who gave me hope in there.
Made me feel like someone out
here actually cared about me.
I did. I do.
I just think I need
some time to adjust.
Yeah. Yeah, I understand.
Hey, uh, I hope this doesn't
make things more strange.
It's not much but...
I saw it in town and I thought
about all the great things
you'll write with it.
That is very sweet. Thank you.
And hey, you know, when things
feel a little less strange,
um, maybe we can
catch up some more.
Off the page.
- I'd like that.
Mara did what?
Believe me, I pushed back,
but you know how she is.
She just...
- Calls the shots. I know.
I hate how she just
walks all over you.
I didn't mean it that way, 'k?
I just think that anyone
in their right mind
would know that
this is a bad idea.
But we've had a few of
those ourselves, right, so.
I need you to keep
an eye on Carson.
Okay? I don't trust him.
You shouldn't.
Joy, is that you?
Zelda, if you are here...
I just took my first
warm shower in five days.
And you just walked through
the front door without a creak.
I'm just getting started.
I need you to order another
case of the Chianti.
I'm down to the last bottle.
He has been out there all day.
Mara, did you hear
anything I just said?
- Yes.
- Pfft.
What? I'm just
impressed with Carson.
You noticed the
hot water, right?
He fixed the water heater. He
didn't find the Holy Grail.
Hey, I can finish up here.
You get started on dinner.
I won't say no to that.
- You've got to be kidding me.
- What?
Zelda, that classmate who
wants to write about us.
Mara, I don't want
her around here.
I'll handle it.
Hey. What was that about?
I don't know, she was just
asking me a bunch of questions.
Why, you worried about her?
- No. No, no, no.
She's harmless. She's just
trying to dredge up the past.
She's really not warming
up to me, is she?
Hey, Mara. Mara.
Mara. You okay?
Yeah, yeah. Sorry.
Sorry, I just get
dizzy sometimes.
Joy. Um...
If it helps, it took her a year
after our parents got married
for her to call my mom by name.
- It's quite the power move.
- Yeah, yeah.
They were constantly at
each other's throats.
You don't remember?
To be honest, whenever
I thought about Oriana,
I just always think of you.
Honestly, I don't think my
mom really wanted this place.
It was Joy's dad's home.
So, when he passed away,
Joy was stuck with us
and we were stuck with Oriana.
But not for much longer.
That is a conversation
that deserves a drink.
Well, I could use a drink.
I haven't had one since...
I cannot remember since when.
It's Italian night tonight.
We got good wine. Joy
makes a killer gnocchi.
You should come.
You sure that's a good idea?
Yeah. No one knows who you are.
Be like our little secret.
All right. Yeah, I'd like that.
- All right. I'll see ya there.
- 'K.
Hey. Got a minute?
Drew. Haven't had the chance
to formally introduce myself.
You're really helping
clean up the old place.
Yeah. I'm just doing
whatever Mara needs, so.
Good. Well, Joy, she
needs to be left alone.
You understand?
Wow, you clean up nicely.
- Could say the same about you.
- Thank you. Take a seat.
Wow, uh, thanks
again for the invite.
This looks amazing.
There's so much I wanna ask you.
You know, I always meant
to come visit you but...
It was...
No, I understand. I do.
So, um, tell me about Peter.
You got married but
split two years ago?
Somehow, we've managed to
remain friends, which is nice.
Yeah, it was actually my divorce
that prompted the
letters to you.
I needed to move on
in a lot of ways.
You know, I figured you'd
already moved on from Oriana,
the way you wrote.
- What do you mean?
- I don't know, you just um
you just always talked
about becoming a writer.
Seeing the world.
All your dreams.
After everything that happened,
I couldn't just leave Joy.
I had been wondering,
being here,
has it brought back any
memory of that night?
I wish I could
remember something.
Anything, Mara.
But I was so drunk that
night, I blacked out.
The first thing I
remember was waking up
handcuffed to a hospital bed.
Zelda, no, please, I
don't want you here.
You need to listen to me
this time. You're not safe.
- Is everything okay?
- Yes, Zelda was just leaving.
I'm not gonna ask you
again. Please leave.
I've been doing some
digging and I have a hunch.
- A hunch?
- It's more than that.
You don't know
anything for certain.
I know for certain that your
new handyman is Carson Pierce.
Okay, Mara, enough. I'm sorry,
you need to leave. Come on.
Joy. Give us a second, please.
How did you know
that was Carson?
I told you, I'm good at
this true crime thing.
You can't tell
anyone about this.
I won't. But I need you
to tell me everything.
I can't do my job unless...
This isn't your job.
And you trying to make it yours
is starting to affect mine.
I'm sorry, but I
wouldn't be here
if I didn't think you
were really in danger.
I found something.
A piece of evidence the
police thought was nothing
but I believe could break
open this whole case.
Point to a new suspect.
I can tell you, but not here.
9:00 AM on campus.
You'll be glad you
gave me another chance
because together, I think we
can get some real answers.
Why investigators paid
no mind to this evidence,
I'll never know.
But I believe this will point
to the true murderer
of Susannah Ellis.
And I believe this person...
Chill, Zelda. Chill.
You solve true crime.
You don't live it.
Please, help!
I didn't think that Mara Ellis
had time to leave Oriana.
Ooh, he's got jokes.
I finished up work early
around the property,
so I thought I'd grab a bite.
- Nice.
- Got any new listings?
Yeah. Couple reflipped it.
Honestly, it's a cheap remodel.
How somebody would prefer
something like this over Oriana,
I will never know.
I do.
Yeah, well, not everyone
feels the same way.
I got a call from
a potential buyer.
Yeah, a horse racing
family from Kentucky
who is looking for an historic
property with a ton of land.
It's a great fit, if
you ask me, right?
So, is it good next
week if I bring 'em by?
Yes! That would be perfect.
Okay. Haven't seen
that smile in a while.
What's new with you?
Wait, if it's a new guy, I
don't wanna hear about it.
No. No, it's nothing like that.
Did get a new handyman.
Ah, okay, well that explains
the afternoon jaunt.
You finally have
time for yourself.
- Exactly.
- Hmm.
- I gotta say, I missed this.
- Yeah.
So peaceful away from Oriana.
And spoke too soon.
Hey Mara. Uh, sorry
to bother you.
We have a bit of a
problem back here.
Will you be home soon?
Yeah, yeah, just
wrapping up here.
I have to go.
Duty calls. I
should do the same.
I will call you this
week about the listing.
- Mm-hmm, yeah.
- All right?
- Okay, bye Peter.
- Bye.
- Everything all right?
- Yeah, where were ya?
I was running errands.
Why? What's going on?
You should see for yourself.
What do you think caused this?
Oh, it's probably some
guests messing around.
- How long for the repair?
- I can fix it, no problem.
But you know, we should probably
figure out who did this.
Do you have any cameras?
Haven't worked in years. I've
been meaning to get them fixed.
Yeah, I can call the
insurance company.
See if maybe we can get a
deal on a whole new system.
Yeah, that would be a
huge help. Thank you.
Yeah, that's what I'm here
for. Hey uh, you know,
since dinner got cut
short last night,
I thought maybe we
could, I don't know...
I'm sorry. I have
so much work to do.
We'll talk later, okay?
Hey, you've reached
Zelda. Leave a message.
Well, that about does it.
You'll have all the
access you need, anytime.
Great. It's nice to have eyes
on every corner of this place.
Yeah, you can never be too safe.
Only thing is, I didn't
put one in the basement.
I wanted to ask your
permission first.
Thank you. Should
definitely put one in there.
And since we're going
down there, I thought
maybe it's time that I try
to see if I can remember
something. Anything.
- No, you don't have to do that.
- No, Mara, I do.
I mean, if I can prove
that I wasn't involved
then not only do
we get the truth,
but I get my reputation
back, my life back.
Okay, if you're sure.
Sparking memory isn't easy
but there are ways to do it.
If it means freedom, I'll
try anything at this point.
I mean, there is
one small problem.
It's kind of a work day,
so I might need to ask my
boss for some time off.
Consider it granted.
Okay. Now, if it gets too
much for you at any point,
we can stop.
Yeah, yeah, same goes for you.
- This is where...
- Mm-hmm.
Wow, it is surreal to be back
in the spot where my
entire life changed.
Yeah, mine too.
God, there are so many times
that I wondered where
your life would be
if that night had
never happened.
And if I hadn't broken in,
that maybe you wouldn't uh...
God, this is all my
fault. I'm so sorry.
Hey. Don't do that.
It was not your fault.
Someone else wanted
her gone, not you.
Did you ever think I was guilty?
Not for a second.
Carson, there are just so many
questions about that night.
It doesn't add up.
You were the only one who could
know what really happened.
I feel like you were my
missing piece in all this.
Well then, let's see if I am.
I looked down from
the top of the stairs
and saw her body
on top of yours.
Why was I underneath her?
Well, the prosecution tried to
make it seem like you fought her
or lost your balance
and then fell.
Hmm. But that doesn't
make any sense.
I mean, we both didn't have any
defensive wounds on us, right?
No. It was just Mr. Guttman
here that night.
All the doors and
windows were locked,
so no one could've
gotten in or out.
Right. And where did I come in?
You came in through the window.
You broke it. Glass
was scattered.
And then, you dripped
blood up the stairs.
Never made it to the top.
Yeah. That is what
your lawyers proved.
Blood stopped there
and there was no trace of your
footprints inside the house.
All right, where do we start?
Rapid eye movement therapy
is supposed to unlock trauma.
- Okay.
- First step is close your eyes.
All right.
Then to the beat of the music,
move your eyes back and forth.
- Like this?
- Think so. Now breathe.
And let whatever comes
your mind take over.
I don't know.
If I felt um... I felt fear.
Fear of being caught.
But that's all I got.
You were sweet to
try. Thank you.
Hey, put the song back
on. Yeah. Try again.
I heard a voice.
Your mother's voice.
She was talking to someone.
We wanted something from her.
He was angry.
- Hi, Mr. Guttman.
- Hey.
- Do you have a moment?
- For you, always.
I was hoping you would go over
the events of that
night with me.
Oh. That was a long time ago.
And I'd be lying if I said
I hadn't tried to forget it.
I know.
I wanted to hear
directly from you.
Please, Mr. Guttman.
I came rushing down the stairs
when I heard you screaming
and found, you know...
I was wondering if you noticed
anything beyond the house?
- Beyond?
- Yeah.
Perhaps there was someone
else in the house.
No, I was the only one
there, until the police came.
I have one more question.
Do you recognize
any of these people?
Maybe from your time
at Oriana that trip?
He was here that day?
He used to come around
from time to time.
I knew him because he was that
jerk that used gill netting
for fishing, which are a
high threat to seabirds.
Never liked him.
He was a loan shark
back then, too.
How fitting.
It's hard to imagine your mom
hanging around a
place like this.
I don't know. Maybe we're
jumping into this too fast.
We're just asking questions.
Yeah, but I mean, it made
sense that he was around.
My mom owed him money.
Hey, just because he might
not have been the one
who pushed your mom, doesn't
mean he didn't want her dead.
Trust yourself, Mara. I do.
Joy can't know about this, okay?
It'll be our secret.
Who's asking?
You don't look like you're
in the market for bait.
But if you are...
No. I'm Mara Ellis.
Susannah Ellis' daughter.
I heard what happened to her.
Where were you the
night that she died?
It's been a long time.
I can't say I recall.
Well, that's convenient.
Well, I was on a fishing trip.
I wasn't even in this state.
I mean, you could've ordered
someone else to do it.
Why would I do that? I
was in the loan business.
Not the murder business.
Did you say was?
Well, I put that life far
behind me. I moved on.
She owed you almost 10 grand.
That's not the kinda thing
you just move on from.
It's just pennies compared
to what other people owed me.
I'm sorry about your mom.
But if you're looking
for her killer,
you're in the wrong place.
Thank you for your time.
Hey, what kind of
illness did she have?
- What did you say?
- Susannah. The illness?
She borrowed all that
money for medical bills.
Did they ever get around to
figuring out what made her sick?
My mom wasn't sick.
I thought she
borrowed that money
to help keep Oriana afloat.
You thought wrong.
Mara, talk to me.
What's goin' on?
She was sick.
My mom was sick
and I had no idea.
Why didn't she feel
like she could tell me?
Maybe if I had have known,
then she wouldn't have...
Don't even go there, okay?
I uh...
I actually know how you feel.
I don't know if you knew,
but my mom was also sick.
She was suffering so much that
she couldn't take it anymore
and um...
I was eight.
I didn't know she took her
own life until years later.
I am so sorry.
You know, for the longest
time, I thought if I had been,
if I had been different, better,
that she wouldn't have
done what she did.
It consumed me.
Sometimes these things,
they take hold, you know?
Driving you mad. It's...
I know exactly what you mean.
And you would do anything
to make it go away.
That's the ghost that's
haunted me my whole life.
Seems like the same
ghost has haunted you.
I feel that.
But we can never
blame ourselves. Ever.
I just wish we could've
ended the trail with Barry.
Would've been a bit too easy.
But we will find the
truth. Okay? Together.
Hey, hey!
Let go of me! Don't
touch me! Mara!
Mara? Mara?
Whoa, whoa, whoa,
what's going on?
- He attacked me.
- Are you okay?
Yeah, he attacked me!
He snuck up behind me!
He grabbed my arm, and when I
ran away, he chased after me.
- Joy, please, it was a mistake.
- Back up!
Okay, what is going on?
Look, I saw someone
snooping around.
My instincts took over,
and yes, I did grab Joy,
but only 'cause I thought
she was an intruder.
I mean once I realized
my mistake, I let her go.
I only chased you 'cause
I was trying to explain.
- What were you doing out there?
- Excuse me.
Whatever I damn well want.
This is my house, too,
until you sell it.
I should be able to
go wherever I want,
anytime I want on
my own property!
You're right, and I'm so sorry.
Save it! I don't wanna hear it!
Joy, please.
It seems like this was just
one big misunderstanding.
Hey, look, I didn't mean to...
It's late.
Peter. Uh, yeah,
we need to talk.
I think it's happening again.
Yeah, and there's something
else you should know
about our handyman.
What the hell were you thinking?
Lower your voice.
You put everyone in
this house at risk.
You got a problem with me,
you should say it to my face.
Okay. I don't trust you.
And I don't want you
staying here at Oriana.
Well, that's not
up to you, is it?
Peter stop. That's
enough. You should go.
Oh, like hell I am. I'm not
leaving you here alone with him.
I think she can handle herself.
Can she? Thank you so much for
enlightening me about my wife.
You mean ex-wife.
Oh, my God. Peter!
- Mara, I-I...
- Leave!
Oh, my God, are you okay?
Yeah, I'm just glad
you didn't get hurt.
I'm so sorry. I don't know
what's gotten into him.
- Any chance you got a bandage?
- Yeah.
Hey. What happened?
Carson happened.
And you're right,
something's off about him.
Thank you. For some reason,
Mara doesn't see it.
We need to get him outta
here. Away from you and Mara.
Okay, I can help with that.
Be careful. We don't
know how dangerous he is.
Hi, I'd like to enquire about
a recently released inmate,
Carson Pierce.
What happened here?
Had a run-in with the vase.
Well, good for the vase.
Joy, look, I really feel like
if you gave me a chance,
we could get along.
Not unless you leave Mara alone.
I know what you're doing. I
see the way you look at her.
I don't know what
you're talking about.
Don't do that. Mara's never
gonna go for you, okay?
I would never let that happen.
Okay, let's see. Show me.
Oof, that is a pretty
deep gash you got there.
Hmm. You should
see the other guy.
What's so funny?
Ah, it just makes me think
about the last time I saw you.
How so?
That boy you hit.
I gotta say, you take a
punch far better than he did.
You know,
I never got the
chance to thank you.
For defending me.
Well, you took care of me then
and you take care of me now.
I don't know how I
ever got so lucky.
I've always been a big
fan of second chances.
Maybe you could give
Peter one for me.
Yeah, sure.
Thank you.
- Hi.
- Do you have a sec?
I think I...
I think I might've been
wrong about Carson.
He seems like he might be
helping you get some answers.
Any interesting leads?
Yeah. I found out Mom
was sick before she died.
She was sick? Sick with what?
I don't know. That's what
I'm trying to find out.
Okay, well, you should
go figure it out.
- You really mean that?
- Yeah. I've got Oriana. You go.
Thank you, Joy.
Hi. I'm enquiring about
the medical records
for Susannah Ellis.
No, she hasn't been a
patient there for many years
but I was hoping to
acquire them, if possible.
Yeah, yeah, I can wait.
Yes, do you have them?
What do you mean
they were picked up?
By what family member?
Did you say Z. Ellis?
Yeah, we don't have a...
You sure about this?
Yes. It's the only way
to get him to leave.
Did you try asking nicely?
Okay. Okay, I'll do it.
Zelda, I'm serious. I'm not
playing these games anymore.
- Mara!
- Dr. Fischer. Hi, how are you?
I'm fine. You
missed class today.
You've actually
missed two in a row.
I completely forgot.
And I emailed you about
your final project.
Yeah, I know. Yes, I've
just, I've had a lot going on
but I promise, I am
planning on getting to it.
Anything you wanna talk about?
It's complicated.
Well, I still wanna
help you with NYU
but I can't read through
pages you haven't written.
Dr. Fischer, was
Zelda in class today?
No, she wasn't. Her bag
was found in the hallway.
She's always losing things.
I'm actually supposed to be
meeting up with her later.
I could drop it off.
- I'll be expecting that email.
- Okay.
Z. Ellis?
Did you do it?
Just like you asked.
Can I get a thank you?
Not really in the mood
right now, Drew. Sorry.
Zelda Yenga here,
and I've finally gotten access
to Susannah's medical records.
No, that sounds stupid.
Let me take that back.
- Hey.
- Hi.
Yeah, I just wanted to thank you
for putting me back
together earlier.
- My pleasure.
- Where did you find that?
Um, don't tell Joy.
I tried to see Zelda today.
Turns out she's been missing.
She didn't show up to
our meeting or class.
Maybe there's something on
here she found that I haven't.
Still digging for answers?
You are one determined woman.
Thank you. But I have to
put that on hold for now.
I had a run-in with my professor
and I'm falling behind.
You really did
become a detective.
Yeah. It was too
much for most people.
Not for me. I'll do
whatever it takes.
Have to get Joy and
Peter on my side now.
Hey, why don't you
get to writing,
and if I find anything,
I'll let you know.
Got it.
Well, that's the last of them.
Anything about my mom's illness?
Nothing, no. How's the
writing coming along?
It's coming.
Can I see?
Oriana has felt as much of
a cage as it has a home.
This place keeps me
chained to mysteries
I may never understand.
But when birds leave
their cage, they can fly.
When I leave Oriana, I'll
first have to find my wings.
I didn't realize
you felt that way.
Neither did I. Until I wrote it.
Fingers crossed my
professor likes it.
You don't need a grade to
tell you what I already know.
You are a writer
through and through.
Well, I don't need
a grade for that
but I do need one
for grad school.
You didn't mention grad
school in your letters.
It's not for sure
but I'm applying.
5Dr. Fischer has an in at NYU.
Wow, okay, so you...
You'd move to New York
and leave Pelican Ridge?
And then what?
Find my wings.
Hey. Sleep well?
Oh, what time is it?
- Just after nine.
- Oh, shoot.
Made you a coffee.
Thank you. I gotta go. Oh.
Here, I'll help you.
Thank you again for
your help last night.
Of course, yeah.
You gotta be kidding me.
Oh, no, it's not
what it looks like.
Really, Mara? Him?
I was working, I fell
asleep. That is it.
Okay, well, while you
were falling asleep,
our deposit bag was stolen.
- Are you sure?
Yes, I'm sure, and I'm sure
he's the one who took it.
Okay, let's not go throwing
around accusations.
Well, all the security
camera footage was deleted
and he's the only one
who knows how to do that.
I'm sure there is a
logical explanation.
He's the only one
who would take it.
Joy, stop. I'm serious. Stop!
Stop! Get off of me.
What did you do with it?
I don't have it, Joy.
Joy. Hey! You need
to apologize now.
Over my dead body.
You just accused an
innocent man of stealing.
I am so sick of you defending
him. I'm sick of him.
Then leave! I'm selling
the place anyway.
So, you'd rather have
him here than me?
When you are acting
like this, yes.
This whole thing is insane.
What's insane is you trying to
solve a crime with the person
who probably committed it.
He probably has
you so distracted
you didn't even notice
him taking the bag.
- You don't know him.
- You don't know him!
You knew him for two
weeks when you were 16.
You can't trust him!
He's taking advantage of you!
You're leaving?
Yeah. Yeah, I don't really
think I have a choice.
I mean, I'm making
Joy feel unsafe, so...
No, she has always been
dramatic and distrusting.
Sure, but I'm only
making it worse.
I don't want you to leave.
I know.
But the whole reason you hired
me was to make your life easier.
Not more complicated.
Listen, why don't I just
talk to her and see...
Mara, it's okay.
Look, I care about you enough
to know that I need to move on.
Where will you go?
I don't know.
But you don't need to
worry about me. All right?
Look, my time here has
been the biggest blessing.
For that, I will
always be grateful.
One last thing.
I'm not really one
to point fingers,
but as a handyman, I kinda
see and hear a lot of things.
I wouldn't put stealing
the money past Drew.
You keep an eye on him. Okay?
- Bye.
What the hell are you doing?
I could ask you
the same question.
- I didn't take that.
- What's it doing in your truck?
I don't know. Maybe ask the
felon living under your roof.
I need you off my property, now.
Screw this family.
Help! Help!
- God! Joy!
- No, no! No, no, no!
- I can't lose her!
- I'll get her.
I'll get her, okay?
Joy! Joy, come on, let's go.
Mara! Hey, Mara?
Mara! Hey, wake up!
There she is.
Hi, Peter.
Hey. Doctor said you
had a panic attack.
They took some blood
tests just to be sure.
Oh, my God, Joy.
No, Joy's okay.
She's back at Oriana.
Just minimal smoke inhalation
but the frogs and most
of the plants survived.
What about...
Carson left.
It's all my fault.
No. No, you were just trying
to do the right thing.
I'm lying here
and I still don't know
what happened to my mom.
I'm sorry. I am so sorry.
You don't have anything
to be sorry about.
Will you stay with me?
Sorry, Mara. I can't today.
But I will stop by Oriana
tonight. I promise.
- Okay.
- Okay?
- I'll see ya later.
- Okay.
- Hey.
- Hi.
- Here you go.
- Thank you.
I'm so glad you're okay.
- Oh, please. I'm fine.
I cancelled the reservations
for the next couple of weeks,
so it's just gonna
be you and me here.
The doctor said
you need to rest.
Like, really rest,
like for real.
Can you do that for me?
Okay, good.
I'll be downstairs
if you need anything.
Thank you.
It's me.
Hi. What are you doing here?
I had to come see if
you were all right.
I am. Joy is too.
You saved her life.
Well, I'm glad to
hear you're both okay.
Hey, do they know
what caused the fire?
No, they're still
investigating it.
Carson, I'm sorry,
but if Joy sees you.
No, I'll get going.
I just, I forgot a few
things in the back house.
Actually, do you
wanna come with me?
There's something
I wanna show you.
Yeah. I'll just get dressed.
All right.
- Hi. You must be Vinny.
- Yeah, I am.
- Peter Blyer.
- Great to meet you.
Yeah, thanks for seeing me.
Ah, so glad I could
squeeze you in.
I've been looking
into your employee
and seems like you
must've made a mistake.
Um, well, I don't understand.
How could you not know Carson?
Aren't you the only
supervisor in the area?
I am. See, that's the thing,
Carson wouldn't be under my care
since he's still incarcerated.
Wait, wait, what? What do you
mean he's still incarcerated?
Yeah, he's not set to be
released until next month.
Do any of these
men look familiar?
There. That's Carson.
Nah, man. That's Trevor Walker.
Who the hell is Trevor Walker?
That's Carson's cell mate.
Huh. What is all this?
I just thought we could
use a better sendoff.
After all we've been
through, the way we left off
just didn't feel right.
That's really thoughtful.
I have something for you.
This was my mother's.
I want you to have it.
Sorry. Um, oh God, I'm
sorry. I have to take this.
Hello? Where are you?
- I'm at home.
- Is Carson there?
Peter, please don't start.
Mara, I need you to
do whatever you can
to safely get away
from him, now.
Peter, you're scaring
me. What's going on?
Check your email.
I don't understand. Why are
they calling Carson, Trevor?
Mara, Carson's... oh!
Oh, my God.
You look just like her.
Get away from me.
Now please, just let
me explain. Okay?
Who are you?
You know exactly who I am.
Hmm? More than
anyone in the world.
You see me.
And I see you.
And once we're in New York...
- What?
- For your grad program.
Oh, my God.
We'll uh, we'll be away from
Oriana. From Joy. From Peter.
It'll just be the two of us.
- Joy!
- Oh, no! No!
I really didn't wanna do this,
Mara, but you've
left me no choice.
And don't call for Joy. I
have no problem shooting her.
What do you want?
Write one final letter.
A goodbye letter.
Letting everyone know that
you will be just fine.
And don't do anything stupid, I
don't want to have to hurt you.
What do you want me to say?
That you fell in love with me.
That we ran off together.
But in your own
words, of course.
You always make things
sound so much better.
That's it.
I promise I'll take care of you.
And soon, you'll love
me the way I love you.
You're in love with me.
From the moment I first saw
your picture on Carson's wall.
And then, when I stole
your letters to him,
I knew you were the
perfect woman for me.
So, I started writing you
and I fell more in love.
I mean, I thought you felt the
same way but when I showed up
I saw that you needed more time.
To realize that
you love me, too.
Maybe we need to
reintroduce ourselves.
Our real selves.
I'd like that.
I'm Mara.
No! No! No!
Why do you all have
to do this, huh? Why?!
Please, Mara.
Hey. How ya feelin'?
I'm okay.
I talked to the prison. Trevor
worked in the mail room.
They think he intercepted
the letters about a year ago
and started writing
as Carson then.
- Oh, my God.
- I know.
For a year, I
communicated with him.
I mean, how could you
have known? It's okay.
This is really nice, you know.
Doing this together,
the two of us.
Right where we belong.
The house is on the market
though, Joy, so please,
don't start.
Well, actually, I um...
I had Peter take it off.
Mara, you just got
out of the hospital.
You can't handle
a move right now.
We have interested buyers.
Mara, what are the two
of us even gonna do?
Be realistic, right? Like,
where are we gonna go?
If things go my way,
I will be at grad school
in the fall in New York.
In New York?
You're going to New York.
When were you uh, planning
on telling me that?
I mean, honestly,
Joy, I didn't tell you
because I knew you'd freak out.
This place is the
only thing I have.
I know. But maybe
it's time to move on.
I couldn't get
into the basement.
But it gave me time to sneak
into another part of Oriana.
Little did I realize, there,
I'd find the missing ingredient
that cracks open the case.
And that ingredient is
epibatidine, AKA frog poison.
It causes dizziness, and
in high doses, paralysis.
Because the judge was so quick
to pin the murder on Carson,
no one did a toxicology report.
But Susannah's medical
records showed tiny traces
of epibatidine in her blood.
I believe this points
to the real murderer,
and that person is...
Peace offering?
I put a little
something extra in it.
You'll have to let me
know how it tastes.
I'm actually, I'm gonna
go lay down for a bit.
I still don't feel very well.
Let me know if
you need anything.
Shh. Shh. It's okay.
Just let it take you.
Okay? A few more seconds of this
and it'll all be over, okay?
I never wanted this to happen
but you just couldn't
stop snooping.
You and that Zelda girl.
Did you know a
poisonous dart frog
can produce enough toxins
to kill up to 10 people?
Don't worry, I diluted it.
I don't wanna kill you.
I learned that
lesson from your mom.
- You...
- Poisoned her. Yeah.
For a couple weeks actually,
just to see what would happen.
And then, she put up
that for sale sign.
That was the last straw.
That night I upped the dosage.
I wanted her to suffer.
To feel a semblance of
the pain that I felt.
She was taking away
my father's home.
But then...
Joy, honey. Go
back to your room.
I didn't mean to overdo
it with the poison.
What happened to her
was not my fault.
She was gone.
Carson showing up
was my saving grace.
And then, I thought the two
of us would just continue
to live our lives here
together, at Oriana.
But you had to go and be
just like your mother.
Trying to sell it.
You brought this on yourself.
You waited 14 years
to find out what
happened to your mother.
Now you're about to find out.
Don't move. I'll be right back.
- Hey.
- Hey.
- Hi.
- How's she's doin'?
Oh, you know, she's uh, just
rolling with the punches.
Oh, well, that sounds like Mara.
No, wait, wait, wait.
Poison's wearing off.
Mara? Mara?
You know, I really
do love you, Mara.
But I love this house more.
In the end, the ghosts
that consumed me,
saved me.
Redeeming both their own story
and giving me an
opportunity to forge mine.
All of that because you
wanted to sell the house?
I don't think anyone but
Joy will ever understand
how much Oriana meant to her.
This story is
worth being shared.
My colleague at NYU agreed.
Said if you want that spot
in the fall, it's yours.
Do we start spreading the news?
New York, New
York, here we come.
I knew you could do it.
All right. Here we go.
Think the buyers will
take care of this place?
Yeah, I know they will.
We better get going if
we're gonna make it on time.
I'll be right here. Take
all the time you need.
Um, I gotta say, I didn't
really think we'd be meeting
under these circumstances.
It's really you.
It's really you.
I'm so sorry.
No, I'm so grateful.
If only I had just done...
No, don't. Don't.
We don't have to talk
about the past anymore.
Then what do we do now?
Look to the future.
I'd like that.
I would, too.