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Perry Mason Season 1 Ending, Explained

August 10, 2020
6 min read

Perry Mason’ Season 1 comes to an end with the trial of Emily Dodson wrapping up with a shocking twist. In setting the ground for Mason’s further adventures, the series also lets go of the expectations that the audience must have had with the finale. It doesn’t give a proper closure to the case, neither does it allow Mason the moment where he uses his exceptional abilities in the courtroom to prove his client innocent and reveal the real perpetrator. There are things in life that are never resolved, and you have to make your peace with that. Season 1 ends on this bittersweet note. But what does it mean for all the characters? If you haven’t caught up with the show yet, head over to HBO. SPOILERS AHEAD

Perry Mason Episode 8 Recap

The episode begins in the aftermath of the riot at the cemetery on the day Sister Alice McKeegan tried to resurrect Charlie Dodson. Birdy is concerned about her daughter, who had run away after seeing that her mother arranged for another child to be replaced by Charlie. Meanwhile, Emily Dodson is heartbroken over the disappearance of her son’s body and is ready to accept her guilty verdict in the court.

Perry Mason decides to put Ennis on the stand and make him confess to everything, but Ham Burger tells him that this is not how things work. No one ever confesses on the stand. Della advises him to put Emily on the stand, and despite his strong disapproval, he goes forward with it. But not without ensuring that nothing goes wrong.

Does Perry Mason win the case?

The show had uncovered the complete story behind Charlie Dodson’s disappearance and death in the penultimate episode of the series. We knew exactly what happened to the little boy, and for the last episode, the show left us wondering what would happen to his mother.

Even though we know Emily is innocent, we have no way of knowing whether the jury feels the same. There is a better chance of them finding her guilty than innocent, and that’s what irks Mason as well. He knows that in the absence of any strong evidence, the jury is much more likely to make Emily pay for a crime she didn’t commit, which is why he leans on Strickland to make sure they don’t lose this case. They just need one jury member to do the trick, and so, they pay off one of them.

At the court, with no unanimous verdict, a mistrial is declared. This is not a win for Mason, but he certainly hasn’t lost either. What makes it more interesting is when it turns out that they didn’t need to pay off the jury member. Two of them had already made up their mind about Emily’s innocence, which means that Mason could have done it without pulling off any tricks. What this means for Emily is that she is off the hook. The DA declares that they would be pursuing the case again, but in the absence of any new evidence, their chances are not so good.

What happens to Emily and the Church?

Though Mason couldn’t bring the truth about Detective Ennis’s involvement in Charlie Dodson’s death to light, he did reveal the shady practices of the Radiant Assembly of God. Now that Burger knows that the trail of money will lead him to bring down the institution, he goes after it, which means that the church is as good as gone. Moreover, with the disappearance of Sister Alice, who else is magnetic enough to get the congregation back to its previous strength?

Birdy McKeegan is not ready to give up, though. She uses the new baby to create her own church, the one of the Reborn Babe. Even Emily becomes a part of this sham. It’s not that she doesn’t know that the church is a fraud. It’s not that she doesn’t know that the child she is holding in her arms is not her son, not with those short arms and brown eyes. It is simply that she doesn’t know what else she has now. She has walked away from getting hanged for the murder of her own son, but that doesn’t mean she gets her life back just the way it was.

Her destitution and suffering have made her desperate to find something to cling to, something that gives meaning to her life now. So, even when she knows that her son is not coming back, she accepts the new child and decides to be in on Mother McKeegan’s act just to have some peace of mind of her own. In a conversation with Mason, Sister Alice tells him that he is desperate to believe in God, to believe that there is perhaps some higher power. The same holds true for Emily as well.

The Ending

The season ends with Perry Mason and associates becoming a proper thing. Now that he has established his name and has left behind the farm to Lupe, he is ready to jump into the life of a lawyer. Della makes it clear that in some time, she would be clearing the bar, and then Mason and associates would be Mason and Street. They even get a new client, a certain Mrs. Eva Griffin, a nod to the case in the Perry Mason books. Paul Drake, too, gives up his title of a police officer and starts working for Mason as a private investigator. Strickland, on the other hand, decides to go work for Burger, which means that there would be some friction between these old friends in the future.

The audience also gets some consolation of justice when Holcomb turns on his partner, for whom he had shown such loyalty all this while. He had been shocked when he discovered that Ennis was involved in Charlie’s death, but he was not ready to give up on him. Perhaps, Mason’s closing statement in court made some impact on him and he decided to get Ennis out of the way, lest he should repeat such an act again. Ennis is caught off guard by Holcomb and is murdered.

Finally, the season is closed with the discovery of Sister Alice. It turns out that after running away from LA, she dyed her hair black and gave up her majestic persona to work as a simple waitress at a diner. She still believes in God but she is not going back to leading a church. She tells Mason that both of them are tired of being alone and they will be like that, no matter what. As she walks away, Perry too, walks away from the case of Charlie Dodson by letting go of the thread he had been holding on to all this while. It is time to move forward.

Read More: When Will Perry Mason Season 2 Release?

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