REVIEW: The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair (S1 E4/10)

At the end of episode three of this paper-thin whodunit, it was revealed that murdered teen, Nola Kellergan, had some secrets of her own. Not only had she endured a beating from her hyper-religious mother, but she was also seen getting into the car of the chauffeur to one of the richest men in America’s northeast.

More tidbits were revealed tonight.

We spent quite a lot of time in 1975 in this episode. Nola was distraught when she found out that Harry had been seeing her waitress colleague, Jenny, who, in turn, was all fluttery-eyelashes in love with the feckless author. They went out to the movies where, coincidentally, Nola and her father were also in attendance. Nola slapped Harry.

But then a moment of clarity from Harry. When they drove to a secluded, lovers’ lane-style spot and Jenny started making moves, Harry pulled away and told Jenny that this wasn’t right. Damn straight it wasn’t right. Throughout these four episodes, Harry Quebert has revealed himself to be a bit of a coward and a fool. A writer, yes, but displaying none of the emotional intelligence you’d think a man of his intellect would, could or should. He’s getting himself into all kinds of scrapes when all he had to do was say no each time. This is one of the most infuriating things about this series – Harry himself. He’s just not very believable, nor is he someone you sympathise with. He’s just a bit of a drip.

Back in ’75, Nola wasn’t only dealing with Harry’s betrayal – she was also still taking a beating from her mother. Interestingly we never saw her mother in shot, or anywhere else for that matter, as she meted out her cruel abuse. We’re seeing everyone else, including actors playing 1975 versions of their characters now heavily proselytised in 2008 to make them look older. So why wasn’t Nola’s mother ever shown?

Something to think about.

Whatever the reason, poor Nola was at the end of her tether: she was lovestruck and spurned, bruised and battered. She saw no way out of her situation (her preacher father purposefully and shamefully crept into the garage whenever his wife beat his daughter, turned up the jazz music to high volume to drown out the thwacks of the ruler on Nola’s skin and her screams. What a bastard.)

Back in the present day, an older Tamara came to visit her daughter in the diner, and ran into Marcus. She told him in no uncertain terms that she thought Harry was the murderer and explained to him why. We went back to 1975 to see younger Tamara host a grand dinner party to announce the engagement of Jenny and Harry – a little bit jumping the gun there – and when Harry didn’t show she was apoplectic. (Really, Tamara’s rampant matchmaking was a thing to behold – both comical and terrifying.) She stormed round to Harry’s and saw that his door was unlocked (Harry really has to stop leaving his front door open) walked into his living room, and found a note to Nola professing his love for her (Harry also has to stop leaving notes professing his love for 15-year-old girls lying around his house). Tamara took the note to the police, and then Nola went missing.

Back in the present day, Marcus was investigating the rich dude. His name was Elijah Stern and Marcus had been warned not to implicate him unless he had some concrete evidence – the rich man would come down on him with a legal ton of bricks. So Marcus went to his country pile anyway and questioned him. The chauffeur’s name was Lucas Caleb (never trust a man with two Christian names), who, Stern explained, had died some years ago and told Marcus that he had kept Lucas’s room intact out of respect for the young man.

Marcus feigned a trip to bathroom to snoop around Lucas’s room, where he found a portrait of a naked Nola under a sheet.

Looks like someone else was in love with Nola besides Harry.

Paul Hirons



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