The stress of the evening doesn’t end here for Rach, as she returns to her flat for the first time in four days. She’s spent the last four nights at Janet’s, and shockingly, her husband Sean wants to know why. The ensuing conversation is tough, and murky, and hard to watch at parts; it’s also untypical in terms of how most women are portrayed on TV when it comes to matters of the heart.
Rachel had earlier told Janet that she just wanted Sean to know that “he doesn’t own me.” But when Sean confronts her, it seems to be even more than that, that she “can’t do this 24/7,” that it has nothing to do with him; it’s her. When he asks exactly what “this” is that she can’t do, she replies simply, “I want to be on my own.” She then asks him to move out. He doesn’t take it well.
I understand Sean’s frustrations here; if my wife stayed away for four nights in a row I’d be pissed, too. But it couldn’t be clearer that he just doesn’t understand who she is, and never has. While it was wrong for Rachel to go through with a marriage that she knew deep down wouldn’t work, she’s also never really covered up her personality. If he thought marriage would suddenly turn her soft and intimate and nurturing, he must have been living under some delusions of his own.
It seems to me that when a man refuses to be tied down, he’s seen as independent and complex; people accept it as part of his personality, a sort of rebel without a cause, something almost esteemed. Yet when a woman desires the same things, men literally can’t even understand it, and it’s seen not just as part of who they are, but something that’s wrong with them. Sean will tell Rachel later that her issues around refusing to commit are “all in her head,” and he remains convinced that she’ll come around eventually.
Speaking of complicated women, Helen, meanwhile, has recovered from her suicide attempt and is at her flat when Janet comes to tell her the news about Sheila. Helen’s partner remarks that they’ve had a few nasty phone calls along with things pushed through their door; a few moments later, everyone ducks as someone throws a rock through the window. The press also somehow know about her suicide attempt. For whatever reason, people are out for Helen’s blood.
She gets brought in for yet more questioning by Janet, although at least this time they get to sit in the room with the blue couches instead of the accusatory interrogation room. Helen tells the harrowing story of she and her sister Julie discovering one of the boys in the cellar when she was 12, bound and blindfolded and dirty, and how Julie cut through his ropes in hopes of his getting away. It seems this is probably the homeless man who Janet talked to last time, who did get away, who ends up being a key part of this whole investigation. Helen seems to genuinely not know that all the boys were tortured this way, including her own brother. God, Helen’s life really sucks.