Anatomy of a Scandal – Season 1 Episode 6 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Guilty Or Not?

What happens before the final day of court?

Episode 6 of Anatomy of a Scandal starts with Sophie arriving to see Kate in her office. She wastes absolutely no time asking about Holly Berry. Sophie knows there’s something awry here, given she recognizes similarities with the way Kate and Holly organize their notes.

Kate keeps her cool and manages to shake off Sophie’s questions. When she heads out, guess what happens? Yep! Another Dutch tilt camera movement, as Sophie realizes that Kate is definitely Holly.

Kate heads off to see Ali, worried that Sophie is going to tell James and, by extension, the police. So does Sophie go to the police? No, she heads home to see James instead, who happens to be asleep in bed with the kids. At east for a while anyway. James surprises her and heads downstairs, warning Sophie that the jury could vote against him.

What happened at Oxford that night?

It’s here James admits that he passed Holly at uni and they did have sex together but he’s 100% convinced it wasn’t rape. He didn’t realize she was a virgin and attributes her hesitancy and fear deriving from that.

James also continues on, telling Sophie the truth about disposing the drugs that night, and admitting that Sophie was her alibi that night. Sophie is shocked, given she didn’t even know that she’s been implicit in everything that’s happened.

Is James Whitehouse found guilty?

The final day of the court case take place. Kate and Angela both do their closing statements; Angela’s is all based on evidence, Kate’s is based on emotion.

After four hours, the jury come to a verdict. Is James Whitehouse guilty of rape? The jury confirm he’s not guilty based on what they’ve heard. Chris speaks to Sophie up in the benches, telling her their boy has “dodged another bullet”, as James is let go and allowed to resume his normal duties as MP. Kate leaves the courthouse after exchanging a glance with James. Kate is seething with anger and bashes her TV with the remote.

Did James actually assault Olivia?

Meanwhile, news breaks of the Labour MP for Penthorpe, Malcolm Thwaites, being arrested for soliciting young male prostitutes for sex. That man, if you’ll remember, is the same one who wrote that letter in Latin to James back in episode 1.

In private, James admits to Sophie that he did actually call Olivia a prick tease but it was all part of the game they were playing, something they were used to and what had never been a problem before.

Based on this, it’s safe to assume that James did rape Olivia, and he’s managed to weasel his way out of a conviction. The use of the word “prick tease” is also something Kate is aware of too, given she recognizes the language from her own horrific experiences.

What does Sophie plan to do?

Sophie is shocked and heads off to see Ali again, trying to enlist her help in finding Holy. She acts shiftily, claiming she doesn’t know where Holly is and that she’s off in Liverpool. Only, this conflicts with the story about her going abroad, but does match up with Kate’s story about going to Liverpool.

Ali immediately rings Kate when Sophie leaves and lets her know, going on to confirm that Sophie knows that James lied in court. Off the back of this, Sophie decides to leave her husband, packing up her things and admitting she feels ashamed. James drops to his knees and apologizes. Sophie is unable to stay and prepares to tell their kids “the core truth.”

How does Anatomy of a Scandal end?

We then cut forward in time. Kate heads off and meets Sophie, who apologizes for what happened to her in the past. Sophie has done her homework and has spoken to an acquaintance in the press. A lot of things happened the night Holly was raped, some of which could be prosecuted in court. Sophie wants to “course correct” the past, and part of that comes from giving Holly/Kate a second chance.

As we cut across to the Commons, both James and Tom are arrested while Sophie heads off with the kids. Kate meanwhile, prepares for court.

The Episode Review

So Anatomy of a Scandal bows out with a conclusive chapter that paints James as a big villain and shows that Kate is a victim in all this. But then there’s another victim too, isn’t there? Where is Olivia? After showing up sporadically through the episodes, we don’t even see her for the rest of the case -not even for the final verdict! We don’t even see her reaction at the end, nor does she even get a part of this rallying call to bring justice to James! Why is she not there on the rooftop? Does she not deserve to be there?

The sequel bait ending is also a little disappointing too, and I’m struggling to see how this is going to be renewed. Of course, it really depends how many people watch this and get invested but personally, the way that this sexual abuse has just been nonchalantly shrugged off in favour of more thrills and different elements of the past feels quite disingenuous.

What began as a political scandal and a relatively interesting case about right and wrong – diving into abuse and who is actually telling the truth – soon balloons into a melodramatic soap opera, with Kate’s past somehow remaining under the radar. Would the authorities not have done due diligence to find out who she is prior to changing her identity?

However, it looks like season 2 (if this is renewed) may change tact and have both Tom and James on the witness stand to talk about what happened with Alec and the past. Unfortunately, neither character is particularly likable so I guess we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for a guilty verdict.

Ultimately, Anatomy of a Scandal ends with a disappointing conclusion, one that could – and probably should – have been so much better.

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