Tiny Beautiful Things – Season 1 Episode 8 Recap, Review & Ending Explained


Episode 8 of Tiny Beautiful Things does feature two timelines, but due to the unresolved issues in Clare’s past and how they surface in the present, we’re recapping the episode in the single frame.

The chapter opens with an adult Clare and Frankie walking with Lady to the spot where Frankie is buried in real-life. She asks Clare to dig for her ashes, but when she refuses, Frankie starts doing it herself.

The torrid nightmare ends and Clare’s reality begins, although telling the difference is becoming quite the task. A voice-over of a Dear Sugar letter reveals its writer as a man who has found love again after 20 years of marriage. When is the right time to say, “I love you”? And what is it all about?

Rae walks into the basement, where Clare is sleeping again after Danny expressed his wish to separate at the end of the last episode.

What is the truth about Gene, Clare’s father?

She tells the truth about who gave the envelope, and that is when Clare starts spiraling. Her father, Gene, abused Frankie. He neglected his children and thought having them was a mistake. In an incident from her childhood, we see Clare absolutely terrified as she dropped a bottle of alcohol at the supermarket. The shopping trolley was already full of them, indicating Gene had a severe drinking problem.

Clare tries calling Lucas and then when she calls “Home,” which is Frankie’s place where Lucas now lives, Gene picks up. It is almost as if Clare has trouble focusing on anything other than the fact that Gene is at Frankie’s place.

What incident from the past affected Clare the most?

In a flashback, we see Clare sitting by Frankie’s side and she groans in pain as the morphine dose dwindles. An orderly tells the young Clare that Frankie’s doctor is leaving for the day.

She catches up to him and he is patient and straightforward in answering her questions. The morphine is administered every 12 hours, the cancer is untreatable, and based on current reports, Frankie only has another 2 weeks to live. She tries calling Lucas but he doesn’t pick up. Frankie sees that she’s anxious and asks her not to call Lucas anymore. Frankie knows his son loves her but cannot bear to see her like this. She wants Clare to stay but she picks up her coat and leaves.

This is the incident adult Clare later refers to when she meets an adult Lucas at Frankie’s house, which has now been bought by Gene. A young Clare goes, despite her mother’s pleadings, to fetch Lucas. Clare has to drive a long way to and fro, and on the way she tells Lucas about the time Frankie has left. They wonder who will care what happens to them after Frankie dies. Clare certainly doesn’t expect Gene to care, as he abandoned them a long time ago.

When the brother-sister duo come back the next day, Frankie has already passed. Clare is inconsolable and extremely indignant. She screams that she can never forgive Lucas for it. He retaliates by saying it was Clare’s “choice” to fetch him. No one asked her to and she cannot deflect her heartbreak and anger about life onto others.

Where are Clare and Rae driving to in such a hurry?

During the car ride, Clare wants very little detail of what Gene said to Rae. She tries to go over the brief and unremarkable meeting with pinching scrutiny but isn’t able to tell Clare much. Clare is completely consumed by something that is eating her up inside. We learn what thing really is when they reach Frankie’s house where Lucas lives now. We go straight to where Frankie is buried and Clare uses the shovels she bought at a stop to dig Frankie’s ashes out.

The reason is that she does not want her (Frankie) to live with Gene. Such is her abhorrence of her father that Clare seems so frightened and disgusted that Frankie’s head remains of years are in the same place as Gene. Lucas comes out with Gene and tries to convince Clare about the changed dynamics of his relationship with their father.

Lucas says Gene has become sober and is a changed man. He bought the house when it was about to be foreclosed. But Clare is not ready to listen. She does not believe a man like him can change and walks away, threatening Gene not to hurt Lucas.

A powerful creative choice to bring up those unresolved feelings from the past is to use the imagery of young Lucas and Clare instead of the adult ones. Rae and Gene remain their present versions while the other two change, depicting how they have not been able to move beyond that incident at the hospital.

How does Clare’s story end?

Rae sobs inconsolably and tells Clare the truth. She told Lucas about the college fund. Clare inadvertently revealed in the previous conversation that she and Danny are getting divorced, but Clare reaffirms that Rae is not responsible for anything that will happen to them.

Clare laments not being with Frankie when she died, which still haunts her today. “Love is Sugar’s genesis story,” Clare writes. Love can be in different forms within you. Things like betrayal and sorrow can dwindle, but only temporarily.

Despite their spat, young Clare and Lucas bury Frankie’s ashes together. In the present day, Clare and Rae take mattresses and sit under the night sky, as Clare did with Frankie back in episode 4. Clare suggests the man from the letter to tackle love at every opportunity he gets. We see Danny has gone to Mel’s office, indicating that she is the woman Danny is leaving Clare for.

Clare and Rae embrace and say “I love you” to each other. Be brave, be authentic, and practice saying “love” to the people you love the most.

Clare suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night. She finds her dying mother on her bed in front of her. It is almost vindication for Clare, as Frankie looks at her gently. “Love,” says Frankie. Clare says it back. She then pulls the plug, indicating that she has finally forgiven herself for not being there the day Frankie passed.

The Episode Review

It is a happy ending indeed for our protagonist. The season finale draws curtains on an emotion-filled story about Clare and her unresolved issues with her mother’s death. The final showdown between Lucas and Clare was crafted in a similar fashion another recently released series was – Beef. In the end, the siblings brought up their issues from the past which they never got past. The creative choice was a bold move, one that works wonderfully in hindsight.

Tiny Beautiful Things has a gentle messaging that’s not delivered in the most structured and refined manner, but it is emphatic enough to charm you and saddle you with a responsibility to love those around you.

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You can read our full season review for Tiny Beautiful Things here!

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