Three Pines – Season 1 Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

The Hangman – Part 2

Episode 8 of Three Pines starts this finale with a look at Gamache’s past. Specifically when his parents were killed in a car crash. Gamache survived, and it’s something that’s haunted him ever since. Still, we’re back in the present for now and Gamache deliberates over how to handle the ballistic report. Knowing that Pierre was the one who shot Blue – and he happens to be over playing cards with the family that night no less – makes things suitably awkward.

Does Gamache inform the police about Pierre?

With Kevin dead and the case turned to that of a homicide, Gamache brings up the white pine needles and a parable that claims that appearances can be deceiving. As he stares daggers through Pierre, his wife picks up on the signals and Gamache reveals the truth to her in confidence.

Gamache shows up to see the Superintendent in the morning, informing him of Pierre Arnot’s involvement in the case and what happened. The man agrees to hand it over to internal investigations and get right on resolving the matter urgently.

Who is James Hill?

Back in Three Pines, Gamache is determined to resolve this case as quickly as possible. A returning Jean-Guy joins Isabelle and our protagonist as they deep dive into the history of the residents, intending to find out what the connection to James Hill happens to be.

It seems that James Hill came to Three Pines after a big accident that occurred on the road. There’s no conviction for the driver though, while Hill worked to try and get justice for five years. When he couldn’t, he moved to Ottawa, taking a job in the records office. He believes that one of the kids is actually in Three Pines, explaining what Hill was doing there, wanting to cast vengeance.  Of course, this whole ordeal is too much for Gamache to take, given his own history and past involving car crashes.

Jean-Guy deduces that Hill’s plan was to find and kill each of the four kids from that fateful day at the crash. However, whoever these kids are they got to Hill first and hanged him to cover their own backs.

Who are the kids?

After doing solid police work, Gamache orders Jean-Guy to head home and surprise Enid. The thing is, he and Enid are actually breaking up. Speaking of surprises, Agent Nichols overhears a couple of officers talking about how Pierre isn’t the one being arrested. It’s Gamache. She’s shocked and hurries out without being seen, intent on tipping off our inspector.

Meanwhile, an unknowing Gamache heads back to the Bistro again, where he speaks to Olivier about the fight that occurred that night between James and Gabri. Now, a witness actually puts Gabri running out of the forest around the time of the murder, which doesn’t look good. He claims he went for a run, but Gamache brings up Gabri’s shaky alibi, including how he happened to have Hill’s wallet in his pocket. According to Gabri, Hill intended to give it back when he left it in the bistro but when Hill came in, kicking and screaming, it slipped his mind.

Gabri knows who the kids are in town and eventually reveals as much to Gamache. It’s Angela and Mike Blake. Gabri is in the clear, although he did find Hill’s hanged body and ran away in shock. As Angela and Mike pack their things and try to high-tail it out of town, their cover blown, Gamache tasks Isabelle (and Jean-Guy who shows from the Bistro) with finding them while he himself rushes off to settle this Pierre situation.

What happens with Angela and Mike?

Angela and Mike try to escape Three Pines, with a car chase ensuing. However, Angela and Mike lose control of their car and go tumbling off the bridge out of town, capsizing upside down and falling to their doom. The thing is, Jean-Guy was driving but completely over the limit. Isabelle is shocked and decides they should get their story in-check, notably that she was driving and he was riding shotgun.

Is Gamache killed?

Gamache shows up at Chowski’s cabin but the place is a mess. It looks like some sort of fight has broken out, while Daniel Chowski’s badge is still inside. That’s important to note because out in the yard, Gamache watches as Pierre burns Kevin’s truck and concocts a story that Chowski is completely to blame for all of this. Only, Chowski happens to be inside the burning truck.

The truth is, Pierre was running a scam but makes it out like it was all Chowski. They knew Kevin’s truck was full of tobacco and pulled him over, threatening to take them in unless they gave a cut of the profits. Blue filmed them, talking about sovereign rights, while Tommy jumped in the way of Chowski, who shot him. Pierre panicked when Blue ran and ended up shooting her.

With the video on her phone, it would have ruined him. And finally, the piece de resistance sees Pierre get his gun and shoot Gamache in cold blood. When Jean-Guy and Isabelle show up, they find Gamache lying on his back and struggling to remain conscious. As for Pierre, he’s gone.


The Episode Review

What a way to end this season! That’s one frustrating cliffhanger if I’ve ever seen one and with Gamache’s life hanging in the balance, it’s anyone’s guess over whether he’s going to come out of this on top or not.

The show has done well to keep things interesting and although the Hanged Man case hasn’t quite been as endearing as others in this season, its certainly worked to whet the appetite for another series to take hold and really lean into adapting more of the books.

Agent Nichols has been severely underutilized here though and feels like a bad archetype of goofy cops, while we don’t see too much of Isabelle’s past, which is a bit of a shame. However, that could change if this one is renewed.

The final twist with Pierre is a good one and something you’re unlikely to guess, while the cases have been decent and well written across the board. This has been a solid crime drama and certainly worth watching. Fingers crossed for season 2!

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You can read our full season review for Three Pines here!

  • Episode Rating
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3.5

19 thoughts on “Three Pines – Season 1 Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained”

  1. Just found this series by accident and enjoyed it very much. Different plots than the “same old” police dramas. Enjoyed the characters, who also were not the usual “cookie cutter” characters. Especially enjoyed the ethics of Gamache, who went above and beyond to find the truth. Season 2 please, with Gamache surviving!

  2. Armand is such a good example of humanity and doing the right thing while showing that he is fully human with nightmares and an unresolved past. Season two, please.

  3. Great “outside the box” show. Love the interconnected story arcs. Better and deeper than the “Death in Paradise” series on PBS. It’s great to see native Canadians getting good roles too. Shocking ending! Season 2 could continue the search for Hill’s killer (there were 4 sets of initials on the list) and for Pierre.

  4. I’ve been a huge fan of Penny’s work since Still Life was published in 2005. Since then I’ve read all her books and am now captivated by A World of Curiosities. I was excited to hear that Alfred Molina was playing Gamache in the Prime series Three Pines although I’m always apprehensive about changes to the fundamentals that make Penny’s books so special. The ensemble cast exudes an authenicity that is gritty, raw, and powerfully human. After the shocking and unexpected ending to episode 8, there most definitely must be a continuation of the series! Well done!

  5. Love all of Louise Penny’s books and was thrilled to discover this series on Amazon. Yes, frustrating finale in the final season 1 episode, and I hope Amazon won’t leave its followers up in the air. That would be hugely disappointing.

  6. I liked the series. I completely feel manipulated by the ridiculous ending. He was allegedly a skilled detective. I won’t be watching anything further. Completely manipulative ending.

  7. There has to be a season two now. this is not technically one of her books in the series it a good one.
    one note , Armand was NOT in the car when his parents died in a car crash but he is still having nightmares
    about the accident and puts himself in there with them. A little confusing for people who have not read the books I think.

  8. Great show, great acting, great storyline, well worth watching. Even got my husband hooked on this show. Please keep many seasons coming. This is one of the best shows I have seen in a long time.

  9. This was an incredibly frustrating end of Season 1! Such beautiful acting between the inspector and his wife….he can’t be dead.

  10. This amazing series must go on! There is nothing like it these days! Great mystery & exciting story lines! Fab acting!! Looking forward to more! SOON‼️

  11. I just happened to find this show, they got me hooked and revived-up for more. Please don’t stop like this more, more, more. We want to know about the background of the people running from their past!

  12. Don’t end this amazing series at this point. It is a study in human nature, kindness, rage, pain as well as love. So well done, just fascinating. Bring on Season 2. Please

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