The mystery picked up, and the tensions in the town rose (as did the libidos).
It would be incredible if the rest of the series were like the last seven minutes of The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 4.
This episode saw a significant improvement but still fell short of something spectacular.
Outside of the final seven to eight minutes, this episode proved to be boring like the others.
The mystery of the Serpent got a whole five minutes of development, and the romances took an unexpected (and, honestly, unwelcome) turn.
Despite all of the relationship-building that the writers built for Martha and Spencer (granted, it could have been for platonic purposes), they completely dumped it!
Instead, after Cora’s birthday party that Luke threw for her, Luke and Martha managed to spend some intimate time together.
After consuming a LOT of alcohol at the celebration, Luke and Martha start to make fun of Will and Cora (totally out of character for Martha).
After they finished making fun of Cora, they had a moment with each other, which led them to head upstairs to Martha’s room to get intimate.
Seeing these two have sex after building the relationship between Martha and Spencer (and teasing the relationship of Luke and Cora) made us a bit mad.
Naomi continued to get haunted and terrorized by her mind, and she (along with Aslandogdu) once again proved to be one of the best parts of the episode.
Aslandogdu’s performance continued to impress us, and she’s stood out since The Essex Serpent Season 1 Episode 3.
During this hour, she convinced herself that she also sinned and tried her hardest to find the pastor before disappearing.
Hopefully, she comes back alive (or as some ghost) because we love seeing her on-screen.
The episode did contain more intrigue, and even though we weren’t happy with the romance developments, they provided for some scandalous TV.
The Serpent itself needs to get more focus, and with only two episodes remaining, we hope that some headway will be made.
The final scenes gave us what we wanted from this series, but it took three previous hours and most of this segment to get there.
After Cora’s birthday party, her son goes out in the middle of the night to visit Cracknell, whom he finds on the ground, dying.
The next day, however, Cracknell is found with his neck snapped.
The entire town blames the Serpent and “the woman marked by the devil,” Cora.
Cora knew that her son watched Cracknell die, but she lied to the group of townsfolk.
Things escalated very quickly when Will, The Vicar, held her back from attacking Matthew, Will’s assistant at the church, revealing the scar on her neck.
The townsfolk thought that the scar on her neck was the devil’s mark when it was actually from her dead husband’s abuse.
Cora runs away from the group of men, with Will chasing after her trying to ease her mind.
After chasing her down for a while, she stops to confront him and yells at him, offended that he didn’t defend her against the mob.
Instead of defending himself, he claimed that he loved her, which caused them to stop in their tracks; then share an intimate kiss.
The following scenes were told all at once and left us on the edge of our seats (for once)!
Matthew slaughtered Cracknell’s goat and painted crosses on all the houses in blood, Cora and Martha left Essex, and Cora and Will had sex outside in the marsh.
These scenes proved stressful, scary, and intimate, something we don’t usually get to see on The Essex Serpent.
Naomi going missing and Cracknell’s death proved to be enough for the townsfolk (especially Matthew) to lose control of their minds.
Now, of course, this series wants to make the Serpent and its influence metaphorical and present without showing it outright.
Sadly, shrouding the Serpent in mystery while constantly showing bits and pieces fails to work for the show.
The characters and writing try to convince us that the show is creepier this way, but each episode fails to provide us with anything other than a minor mystery.
Hopefully, with only two episodes left of this six-episode miniseries, the show puts itself together by sticking with the intensity and urgency of the last final scenes from this hour.
Will, The Vicar, is going through an emotional change in his life by falling in love with another woman, but he also will have to deal with Stella’s illness.
Stella’s sickness got discovered by Luke during the birthday party, and he offered to care for her whenever she could make it to London — no appointment needed.
Luke’s compassion shown here (for a woman hiding her illness) again made us think he’s a better man than we initially thought.
We initially thought him to be a bit sleazy and that he only wanted to get into Cora’s pants.
His sleaziness got confirmed when the heart surgery’s success and fame went straight to his head, but he keeps showing us slivers of compassion that change our minds.
Whether he continues to pursue Cora (or Martha) will remain a mystery for now, but we hope that he continues his moral trajectory.
While the show only has two airings left, there are MANY unanswered questions that they better be able to answer.
What’s going on with Naomi?
Will The Vicar leave his wife for Cora?
Will Cora survive this ordeal (there are a few hints that she may not survive/lose her mind)?
Will the miniseries get better?
We hope all these questions (and the many others that we have) get answered when the show wraps up.
So Fanatics, what did you think? Are you counting down to the end like we are?
Let us know in the comments below! The Essex Serpents Airs of Apple TV+ on Fridays.
Michael Stack is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.