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'MaryLand' Recap: Episode 3

Daniel Hautzinger
Richard looks upset in a hallway with Becca behind him
Richard arrives on the Isle of Man, unhappy with his late wife. Credit: Monumental Television and Masterpiece

MaryLand is available to stream. Recap the previous episode. 
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This episode contains discussion of suicide.

As Jim gets out of his car at his late mother-in-law’s secret home on the Isle of Man, Rosaline leaves to let him and her sister Becca have a conversation about their marriage. Becca feels like she has to deal with everything domestically with no help from Jim; he bristles that he’s been busy the past week keeping track of their daughter Molly as she dates a new boyfriend, but didn’t tell Becca so as not to worry her.

Becca has plenty to worry over, as she reveals to Jim in explaining her mother’s secretive life and suicide. She then steers the conversation back to her marriage, saying she’s not happy. She feels like Jim calls the shots in their life, what they like and dislike, while he thinks she won’t let him be his own person.

“I don’t want this life,” Becca yells. Jim leaves to go find a room at a local inn.

Meanwhile, Rosaline has again found her mother’s friend Cathy and asked her about Mary. Cathy assures Rosaline that Mary was proud of her.

Rosaline returns to Mary’s house to find a man wanting to talk about repatriating Mary’s remains to England. She sends him away; she and Becca still need to discuss it. But that means things are finally wrapping up. Becca says they can rent out the house after they leave, even though Rosaline says Mary wouldn’t have wanted that.

But then Mary’s boyfriend Pete arrives with one more disruptive piece of information: he thinks Cathy may have given Mary the morphine she used in her suicide. Cathy “looks after people who are dying,” he says, and Mary was planning her own death after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis even though Pete told her he would take care of her.

The sisters go to Cathy and directly ask her about the morphine. At first she pleads ignorance, then admits that Cathy took the morphine from her without her knowledge – that’s what she was looking for in Mary’s bathroom when she first visited the girls at the house. The morphine was for Cathy’s own use in pain relief, although she mostly uses cannabis. She’s a sort of “midwife for dying,” who helps people through their ends.

Cathy shows the sisters a video she helped her mother make. Mary nervously says that when she dies, she wants to stay on the Isle of Man. Cathy explains that Mary didn’t think she would get the care she needed as she deteriorated with her husband Richard back in England – and she told Richard that, as well as about her diagnosis. She feared Richard would nevertheless make her come back to England.

Cathy wouldn’t have helped Mary die by suicide; she’s angry with her for doing so, and still wants her here, alive.

Rosaline is more upset than Becca, given the connection she has made with Cathy. She insists on going to the police, ignoring Becca’s objection. Becca goes in the opposite direction to find Jim.

At the inn where he’s staying, she tells him that she kissed another man the previous night, but it was stupid. The conversation is interrupted by Jim’s cellphone: it’s Richard, and he needs to be picked up from the airport on the Isle of Man with Jim and Becca’s daughters.

Becca had no idea her father was coming, but he received a letter from Mary that led him there. He immediately asks about repatriating Mary’s remains. The sudden visit at least gives Becca a chance to talk to Molly about her new boyfriend, and to kindly tell her that she and Jim worry about her. When she has a chance, Becca calls Rosaline to tell her that Richard has arrived.

Rosaline was picked up from the police station by the taxi driver Jacob; she didn’t tell the police about Cathy after all. She notices that he has a card reader in his taxi; he told her he only took cash in order to ensure he could meet her again. He asks where she wants to go, but she lets him decide. This time, as they drive over the “fairy bridge,” she indulges his little bit of superstition.

She explains that her current anger still stems from decades ago, when Becca took care of her while she had cancer. She knows she should be grateful but is instead resentful, because Becca’s life has always gone so well. Jacob points out that it’s not going well now, and Rosaline agrees.

During the drive, she gets a call that her biopsy turned up negative; she doesn’t have cancer.

Jacob brings her to a forest he frequented as a child, and urges her to swim in the freezing water with him. As they dry off and warm up, they kiss.

So Rosaline is a bit disheveled when she arrives at a restaurant to meet her whole family. Richard says that he has arranged Mary’s repatriation, and Rosaline and Becca quietly say that Mary wanted to remain on the Isle. Richard worries about what people will say, angrily retorting that Mary cheated him out of the life he was promised, before storming out. Jim follows.

Richard asks Jim to take him to see Pete, whom Mary mentioned in her letter to him. He rings the doorbell, looks at Pete, and leaves. He returns to sleep at Jim’s inn while Becca’s daughters go with her and Rosaline to Mary’s house.

Becca finds a letter from Mary there, brought by Jim with the mail from their house. She asks Rosaline to read it with her – no more secrets, she says. The letter says that Mary wrote to Richard and Rosaline as well, and apologizes for not sharing Mary’s life on the Isle and for any pain she has caused. Mary couldn’t let her life not be her own again, because of Alzheimer’s. She loves Becca and Rosaline, and they have made her proud. Live free, she ends.

That last line angered Richard, as he tells the sisters when they meet him the next morning, especially since he feels Mary abandoned him. But the sisters are insistent on respecting Mary’s wishes; they won’t let her remains leave the Isle. Richard tells them it’s not what he wanted but they can do that, then angrily leaves to return home.

Becca goes to have another conversation with Jim. She fears that she’s in a similar position to her mother before she began a secret life. She doesn’t know how she wants things to change, but she wants to figure it out with Jim, for them to grow together and talk and plan. Jim says he struck gold finding Becca. They kiss, but are interrupted by a phone call from Rosaline: Cathy wants to see her and Becca.

Cathy says the police came to see her – Rosaline may not have spoken to them, but someone did. She told them the truth. She tells the sisters that she didn’t harm Mary, and never meant to. Rosaline promises that they will speak to the police and tell them Cathy was simply trying to help her friend.

As Becca and her family pack up to return to England, Rosaline says she’s going to stay on the island. She saw a job advertised, and can prepare the house for renters – and spend time with Jacob. Mary’s funeral will take place there in two weeks; she hopes Richard will come around.

Before Becca leaves, Rosaline tells her that she loves her and doesn’t want them to be so distant anymore. Her cancer as a teenager messed up their dynamic – she has also told Becca that her recent biopsy was negative – but they both still just want a sister. Becca walks to her car, but runs back to Rosaline for one last hug.