Shardlake – Episode 4 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Episode 4

Episode 4 kicks off with Shardlake coming to after being knocked out on the streets. To add insult to injury, he realizes he’s been robbed, and his coin purse and boots are gone, stolen by petty thieves.

Who is the rightful owner of the sword?  

After freshening up, Shardlake visits Oldknoll at the Tower Armoury. He presents the sword to Oldknoll and asks him to trace its origins. After examining the sword, Oldknoll identifies it as belonging to John Smeaton, the father of Mark Smeaton. Mark was the musician executed for his alleged affair with Anne Boleyn.

Following Mark’s execution, John suffered a stroke and passed away. This disclosure shocks Shardlake, leading him to speculate whether Robin Singleton was killed in revenge for Mark’s death, considering Robin’s involvement in the events leading to Anne and Mark’s executions.

Later, Shardlake meets with Cromwell and shares his speculation about Robin Singleton’s murder being linked to revenge for Mark Smeaton’s execution. He plans to question Smeaton’s remaining family to learn more. However, Cromwell advises him to return to Scarnsea and retrieve the letter of surrender instead.

During their conversation, Cromwell also hints that Smeaton might have been innocent and that Singleton could have fabricated evidence to incriminate Anne Boleyn. After checking prison records, Shardlake discovers that a woman, probably Smeaton’s sister, visited Smeaton while he was imprisoned. 

Who is behind Orphan Stonegarden’s death?

Shardlake returns to the monastery with the land receipts from Copynger and Goodhap’s horse and prepares to confront Fabian and force him to surrender the monastery.

During supper, Shardlake dramatically places the sword, land receipts, and surrender papers on the table and reveals that Simon’s death was not an accident but a cold-blooded murder, an attempt to silence him because he was a witness to another murder.

Simon had witnessed the death of Orphan Stonegarden, who fell victim to the lust of one monk living within the monastery walls. Shardlake reveals further evidence of the monastery’s wrongdoing, showing that Brother Edwig had been embezzling taxes from the land sales for his own gain.

He had also stolen the golden chalices, framing Orphan for the theft. Edwig had made unwanted advances towards Orphan, and when she rejected him, he murdered her and portrayed her as a thief who had fled. Not just that, Edwig was also behind Brother Gabriel’s death. 

Shardlake declares that these are the crimes that will lead to the closure of St. Donatus.  When Edwig tries to escape, Jack Barak pursues him, but Edwig manages to evade capture. However, later that night, Edwig attempts to kill Shardlake, forcing Shardlake to defend himself and resulting in Edwig’s death.

Who killed Robin Singelton? 

The letter arrives from London, confirming Shardlake’s suspicion that Alice Fewtere is actually Smeaton’s cousin and the woman who visited him in prison. It is also revealed that Alice is the one who killed Robin Singleton as revenge for Mark’s unjust execution. Also, the lover Alice mentioned to Jack was none other than Mark Smeaton, who was forced to give a false confession so Cromwell could impress the king. 

Now, Shardlake plans to take Alice to London for a trial, but Jack is hesitant as he has developed feelings for her. Also, Jack’s dreams of marrying Alice and having a happy life with her now seem like a distant fantasy, as Alice is the murderer they’ve been searching for.

However, in the morning, Alice escapes through a trap door, but Shardlake, rather than pursuing her, decides to lie in his report that Alice drowned in the marshlands while fleeing so she can have the peaceful life she deserves.

As the episode comes to a close, Fabian has no choice but to sign the surrender documents, handing over all the monastery’s wealth to the King of England.

The Episode Review

Shardlake is a brilliant show that delves into the controversial topic of Queen Anne Boleyn’s death. In history, Queen Boleyn was accused of adultery and ultimately beheaded, with evidence suggesting she had an affair with a musician.

However, there are lingering rumors and modern historians who believe she was actually innocent. They argue that she was framed by Lord Cromwell on the king’s orders, who had his sights set on another wife.

Perhaps Shardlake is a way to shed light on this lesser-known perspective, suggesting that Anne Boleyn’s execution was an injustice.

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