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The Sister episode one questions and theories

All the questions you have about The Sister's opening episode, starring Russell Tovey, Bertie Carvel, and Amrita Acharia.

The Sister

Episode one of ITV’s The Sister, based on Luther creator Neil Cross’ book Burial, left us with plenty of questions – and while the complete series will now be available to binge-watch on ITV Hub, it’s understandable if you need to catch your breath and go over everything we’ve learnt so far.

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The first of four episodes introduces us to Nathan (Russell Tovey) and Holly (Amrita Acharia), a married couple who have been together since 2013 – and who met almost exactly three years after Holly’s sister Elise (Sex Education‘s Simone Ashley) went missing…

Their married life has had its ups and downs, including their struggle to conceive, but by and large they’ve had a happy marriage. But when an old acquaintance of Nathan’s, Bob (Bertie Carvel), comes knocking on their door, he threatens to expose a huge secret.

*Warning: spoilers ahead for The Sister episode one*

Did Nathan kill Elise? Is she dead?

The Sister
The Sister (ITV)
ITV

It seems pretty certain early on that Holly’s beloved younger sister, Elise, is dead – especially given Bob’s statement: “We have to move her soon.”

He appears to be referring to Elise’s body in the woods, which somehow both he and Nathan know about – as far as Holly and her parents know, Elise is still missing and her body hasn’t ever been found.

Nathan is also hoping Nathan will help him move the body before housing developers accidentally uncover it. As Bob admits near the end of the episode, he’s scared to do it alone – although could there be another, alternative reason for wanting Bob there?

But if Elise definitely is dead, then how did she die? Did Nathan accidentally kill her? And how was Bob (who, we learn from flashbacks, turns out to be a ‘ghost whisperer’ or medium whom Nathan met while working in radio) involved in her death?

Did Nathan sleep with Elise?

From flashbacks, we learn that Nathan was there at the New Year’s Eve party where Elise was last seen – something he definitely left out when he started dating her older sister, Holly, in 2013, three years after Elise’s disappearance.

We also see Elise and Nathan making eyes at each other during party once he arrives. The attraction is there, and it could explain why the pair may have ended up in the woods together.

But if it turns out that Nathan had sex with Elise, before going on to later marry Holly, it puts a creepier spin on the proceedings – and adds another layer to Bob’s apparent disgust at the beginning of the episode, when he realises that Nathan’s wife is also Elise’s older sister.

Plus, it might also explain why Nathan feels so haunted by Elise… and why her spirit could be angry at him.

Did Elise’s ghost turn the light on?

The Sister
The Sister (ITV)
ITV

Ah yes, the shiver-inducing ending to episode one saw Nathan alone in his house, unable to reach Holly by phone. Anxious about why she might be home so late, he becomes more frightened still when he hears a creaking, and seems to be aware of a presence.

And whatever he’s been telling Bob, it definitely seems to have experienced a ‘haunted’ feeling before, because he says aloud, “Is that you?”

Clearly talking to what he believes to be Elise’s ghost, he asks her to “do something” so that he knows she’s there – and on cue, the outdoor garden light flicks on.

Was it her ghost? An electrical malfunction? Someone else entirely, who’s been listening in to him? Perhaps we’re not supposed to know for sure – but fingers crossed we find out.

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You can order Neil Cross’ Burial from Amazon. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.