Bad Mothers episode 5: Did Anton actually kill Charlotte?

Bad Mothers on Sundance Now.. Daniel MacPherson as Anton Pooley. Image Courtesy of Sundance Now
Bad Mothers on Sundance Now.. Daniel MacPherson as Anton Pooley. Image Courtesy of Sundance Now /

Did Anton kill Charlotte on Bad Mothers? Bad Mothers episode 5 thinks so.

According to Bad Mothers episode 5, Anton is a killer. But also according to this week’s episode of the Sundance Now TV crime drama, he’s losing his marbles. So which one is it? Is it both?

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains discussion about the latest episode of Bad Mothers. The episode is now available for streaming on Sundance Now.

Episode 5 sees Sarah (Tess Haubrich) starting to believe that her husband killed her ex-best friend Charlotte (Melissa George). Charlotte’s son Julius confesses to the crime after overdosing, but the evidence doesn’t support his statements. It’s strangulation, not the fall down the stairs, that killed her.

With no other suspects, and having seen her spouse explode in a fit of anger earlier, Sarah ends the episode admitting to Danielle (Jessica Tovey) that Anton (Daniel MacPherson) must be guilty.

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But not so fast. Though Sarah might be doubting his innocence, this episode says a lot about Anton, despite the fact that Daniel MacPherson only has a handful of scenes. And if anything, it’s pointing the finger away from him.

What makes Bad Mothers so compelling is that it gets under the skin of its characters. It could have easily been a superficial, gossipy murder mystery with no real substance, but it has much more to offer than meets the eye. And that includes with Anton, who continues to be stuck behind bars while declaring his innocence. Honestly, he’s not that hard to believe.

Part of that has to do with Daniel MacPherson. He’s so genuine and vulnerable in his performance that you see the pain and desperation come through. Even in shows where there’s a big reveal, the person playing the murderer usually has some kind of tell, whether they’re doing it on purpose or the writing has them pinned in a certain way. MacPherson doesn’t have that. What he does have is the ability to portray Anton cracking under pressure.

Bad Mothers hasn’t had a lot of time to focus on it, but imagine how he must feel. He’s on the verge of losing everything—his freedom, his family, the career that was so important to him—in one fell swoop because of a mistake he made (cheating on his wife). He had one glimmer of hope when Julius came forward, but then that gets promptly dashed. Of course he’s going to be furious. He’s been mostly alone, left to stew on the utter chaos his once-perfect life turned into.

As Tess Haubrich discussed in our interview, that’s the theme in Sarah and Anton’s marriage and the show overall: that what was perfect isn’t so perfect after all. Like Sarah, Anton had everything and now he’s grasping at straws.

It’s also not implausible that she would begin to question him. Episode 5 ends without presenting another obvious suspect in Charlotte’s murder. To Sarah, there’s no one else she can think of who could have done it. And even if she could think of someone else, all the previous guesses she’s had so far have been wrong. That look on her face in the final scene isn’t just doubting Anton, but it’s also doubting herself, too. Sarah’s biggest, most defining, most admirable quality is her loyalty and it doesn’t look so great right now.

But just because Sarah is waffling about Anton doesn’t mean that Bad Mothers is setting him up to be the guilty party. It means that both these people are struggling and unsure of themselves as we pass the halfway point of this poignantly addictive show, and they need a lifeline. As strong as they both are, they can’t do this on their own anymore.

The real message of this episode is that it’s okay to break.

Yet if Anton didn’t kill Charlotte, and Julius didn’t kill her, and it’s not Kyle, who could it be? Who will be the next suspect to emerge—and will they come forward before Anton completely falls apart?

Next. What Daniel MacPherson says about Anton. dark

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