Lies and cover-ups start to unravel in dramatic penultimate episode of The Cry

Alistair's the absolute worst, isn't he?

The Cry – Joanna

With just one episode left to go in BBC four-parter The Cry, we’re circling closer and closer to the truth. But the full story is still just out of reach as we put the final pieces of the puzzle together.


Now we finally know (spoiler alert) what happened to Noah on the night of his disappearance. But the dramatic twist at the end of episode three reveals there’s much more action to come…

Here are all the big points from the penultimate episode of The Cry:

Joanna’s trial is for ALISTAIR’s murder!

The Cry courtroom scene

Since the first episode of The Cry, curious viewers have been wondering why Joanna (Jenna Coleman) is on trial at a courtroom in Scotland, if this relates to Noah’s disappearance in Australia. And why on earth isn’t Alistair (Ewen Leslie) in the courtroom, too?

But now we have our answer: Alistair is dead.

Not only is he dead, but Joanna is accused of killing him. So did she do it? (And if she did kill him, can we blame her?)

The non-linear timeline leaves us with LOTS of questions about what happened between the moment Joanna “woke up” to her husband’s lying and manipulation, and the moment when she’s standing sombrely in a courtroom halfway across the world.

How did Alistair die? If Joanna is the murderer, will she get away with it? Do the police also know the truth about Noah’s death? (Her chat with the court-appointed psychiatrist hints that they do not: “I was betrayed, that’s enough for you to know.”)  And has Noah’s body been discovered or is he still “missing”?

Alistair says Joanna killed Noah – but is he lying?

The Cry Alistair

Alistair is a piece of work, isn’t he? We said it from the moment he took out his earplugs to order Joanna to deal with the crying baby within the first few minutes of the drama, and things have only got worse from there.

As the truth unfolds, we learn that – after the heart-wrenching moment when Joanna discovered Noah cold and lifeless in the back seat of the car – Alistair quickly came up with an explanation that put the responsibility for Noah’s death directly into her hands.

It’s obvious what happened, explained Alistair. Joanna had two plastic liquids bottles on the plane: one with strong painkillers for her, and one with low-dose teething medication for Noah. She must have mixed up the bottles and poisoned the baby to death in a terrible and fatal moment of carelessness.

To avoid Joanna being sent to prison for manslaughter (and therefore jeopardising his custody battle for daughter Chloe), he came up with a plan to “outsmart” the police. That evening he went off and got rid of Noah’s body, and later that night they staged the “kidnapping.”

But do we buy Alistair’s explanation? Not entirely.

When Joanna insisted she had taste-tested the medications to make sure she gave Noah the right liquid, Alistair told her she’d been “out of her mind” and was misremembering. When she later pointed out that she’d actually had a conversation with another passenger on the plane about why she was doing the taste test, Alistair told her “you can’t trust your memory.” Classic emotional manipulation and gaslighting.

Alistair seems to have a lot at stake in making Joanna think she killed Noah, and that this cover-up is all for her benefit. BUT: what if it was Alistair who gave the baby the powerful painkillers that killed him?

After several hours of Noah’s screaming on the plane, Alistair eventually peeled off his eye mask and pulled out his earplugs to begrudgingly look after the baby while his exhausted wife got some much-needed rest.

So what if he was the one who mixed up the bottles while she was sleeping? Or maybe he actually gave Noah a dose of Joanna’s painkillers on purpose to shut him up for a bit and accidentally killed him instead?

At the end of episode three, those questions seem to be occurring to Joanna for the first time. Does she trust her memory – or her husband?

The police are finding cracks in Alistair and Joanna’s story

The Cry

Like a classic narcissist, Alistair believes he is very, very smart. But is his cover-up as clever as he thinks?

Now the police are starting to find holes in Alistair’s story. “There’s no physical evidence of Noah at the cottage,” Peter tells him. Surely they’d have had to change his nappy at the cottage – so why wasn’t there a nappy in the bin? What did they have to eat? Did either of them leave the cottage before they drove to the shop where Noah was “kidnapped”? Alistair is not too pleased about having to answer those questions.

Soon the police may start asking more questions, like why was the barbecue clear used if Alistair said they only had sandwiches that night. (He won’t want to tell them that he burned the gloves he used to bury Noah’s tiny body.) It’s also possible that someone (maybe even Alexandra) saw Alistair head out in the car on his morbid mission.

The deeper the police dig, the more panicked Alistair gets and the more he doubles down on the cover-up. He hires a publicist, sets up a TV interview, spies on the police investigation and pays a journalist to discredit the police officers involved.

He also begs and threatens Joanna in a desperate attempt to stop her from telling the truth about Noah’s disappearance. Alistair is the mastermind – and he’s also a master manipulator.

Alexandra was emotionally abused

The Cry Alexandra

Talking of which – poor Alexandra! She had nothing to do with Noah’s disappearance, but now people stare at her in the street like she’s a murderer.

After Chloe confessed to having stolen Noah’s striped bootie from Joanna’s handbag at the crime scene, the police had to admit their key evidence against Alexandra (Asher Keddie) was flawed – but she’s still caught up in this whole ugly business. And in the meantime, her ex-husband Alistair is still in town to keep her on edge.

You can see why she’s on edge, because Alistair’s interactions with both Alexandra and Joanna increasingly reveal his true nature. Here’s a man who won’t let anything stand in the way of what he wants.

When Joanna kicks him out of the hotel room, he’s straight around to his ex-wife’s to wheedle his way into the kitchen, taunt her with painful memories of his multiple affairs, yell in her face and even try to kiss her. He sees she’s absolutely terrified – and it gives him pleasure.

He’s also extremely cold towards Joanna, warning her to “think very carefully about your next move” and telling her: “Be very careful, Jo.” She’s scolded and dismissed, ordered around, belittled, and guilt-tripped. Is it any wonder she’s on trial for his murder?


This article was originally published in October 2018

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