In season one of the tv series, The Sinner the main character Cora becomes violent upon hearing an obscure familiar song that unknowingly relates a past traumatic event that she has blocked out.

Cora after attack

The song, out of universe, is by a band called Big Black Delta titled, Huggin & Kissin.

In Season two viewers are introduce to a new case, but again in relation to the season one character, Detective Harry Ambrose. The story so far is about a boy named Julian Walker accused of murdering two adults when they seemingly abduct him from a cult, in which the boy grew up in, and where another backstory-character named Maureen mystery disappeared after joining the cult many years ago.

This cult was originally run by a psychotherapist referred to as The Beacon who used unorthodox and seemingly deadly approach in allowing it's members to violently act out emotions or past traumatic experiences, which in turn seems to get passed on, possibly by proxy and hypnosis, to all members. There are public therapy sessions and private therapy sessions, but in the private sessions a metronome device is used, emulating sounds similar to amplified heartbeat.

Harry & Vera Therapy Session

I'm trying to find a video clip/image of the metronome in use, but so far no luck, but the sounds coming from the device used are VERY similar to droning pulsating drum beats in the (Big Black Delta) song that triggered Cora in season 1.

So my question is, are these sounds only thematic to retain certain elements/concepts (pulsating sound in relation to trauma, blackouts, and acts of violence) or are they somehow more directly related?

Please Note: I recognize that season 2 isn't quite finished and that the series has yet to be renewed for a third season, but it is possible that there is an interview somewhere that might outright denounce the possibility of direct inverse relationship between the noises in question.

In addition to explain the purpose of this question, I think it would be likely that, at some point, Detective Ambrose would recognize this correlation and would ask this question himself. This would then add to the plots of both seasons, upon recognition, while enriching Ambrose's ongoing story as a character.

  • 1
    I think it's a metronome which, I think is supposed to help induce a meditative state.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:16
  • Yes! Thank you, that is it. Should I edit the Q to be more precise? Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:18
  • Music & Rhythms are, from my limited knowledge, common pychotherapy tools. I think your linkage is little off between S1 & S2 personally but there is a reasonbale question there about the purpose of the sound perhaps.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:21
  • I respectfully disagree. It is no doubt in my mind thematic given that rhythms in the music triggered Cora, but my question is not about whether it's a theme, but to what degree is it a theme, because it could be more directly relate should of say the in universe musician from season 1 used a metronome in his music and/or relates in any way to Mosswood and/or it's members. If Harry wouldn't be the story-axle character that relates strongly to both cases, I would agree that it is more than unlikely directly relatable. Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:37
  • It would be a plot hole for Harry not to notice the relationship between them, should the character survive the season. What are the chances that both cases would feature sounds triggering people and/or help cultivate violent acts? Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


So my question is, are these sounds only thematic to retain certain elements/concepts (pulsating sound in relation to trauma, blackouts, and acts of violence) or are they somehow more directly related?

I think the device you are referring to is an electronic metronome which, I believe, can be used, the right hands, to create meditative/hypnotic states.

We never see Harry take a sip of the tea she offers him once he arrives at her cabin after stumbling through the forest until nightfall (“It’s not Jimson weed,” she archly assures him), but we do see the electronic metronome, pulsing its blue-hued light, meaning there’s really only one likely explanation for Harry suddenly waking up in the Rockford Lodge Motel with no memory of how he got there. Vera Walker and her machine managed to hypnotize him, or drug him in some other unknown way.

The AV Club

We've seen the device a few times in Season 2, including in "therapy" session with the boy, Julian, as I recall.

There are suggestions on the internet that "interactive metronomes" can be used as treatment options for ADHD, stuttering and occupational therapy but I'm not qualified to comment further on those.

Given that we have possibly seen the metronome used to hypnotise the detective, it's not unlikely that it has been used offensively by the Mosswood folks before. This may be carried forward in future episodes but I do not believe that there is a linkage between S1 and S2 as you seem to imply.

  • Although I still think it's possible there *could be a linkage, since Julian has used the device and like Cora has shown instances of violence, I appreciate the real world medical-therapy aspect you provided. +1 Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 17:58

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