The Clearing Episode 4 Recap and Ending, Explained

Created by Elise McCredie and Matt Cameron and based on JP Pomare’s 2019 novel ‘In the Clearing,’ the Disney+ (Hulu in the US) series ‘The Clearing’ tells the story of Freya (Teresa Palmer), a single mother living with her son Billy in a remote house in rural Victoria. When Freya was younger, she went by the name Amy and was part of a cult-like community, the Kindred. The narrative shifts back and forth between the past and the present, depicting how the past can cling to a person even years later. In episode 4, ‘The Foundling,’ with Anton’s return to the town, everything in Freya’s life faces additional danger. The police make important discoveries in the case of the missing girl in the present time. In the past, an elaborate plan to hide the truth is revealed. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘The Clearing’ episode 4. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Clearing Episode 4 Recap

The episode begins in the past with medical professionals examining the rescued children, trying to understand the extent of physical and mental abuse they have endured. It turns out Christine isn’t Freya’s biological mother. She is most likely a child protective services employee attached to the Kindred case. And that’s how she and Freya meet. In the present time, Freya visits Henrik in prison. During the investigation, Freya’s diary effectively doomed Henrik, landing him in prison, while Adrienne escaped to somewhere in France. Freya believes she is losing the house because the cult is making regular payments to Henrik to maintain his silence.

It appears that every adult in the Kindred was aware of Colin’s involvement in the cult, even though he didn’t know what they were up to at Blackmarsh. Of all the children, only Anton remains staunchly loyal to the cult and its leader. One by one, these children are returned to the families they were taken from until only Anton and Freya remain. As their families can’t be traced, the police can’t rule out the possibility that they are Adrienne’s biological children. Anton is already 16 years old and extremely hostile to the world around him. As he tells Freya when they are alone, he has plans to get a place of his own.

Image Credit: Ben King/Hulu

Joe takes Freya home and attempts to convince his wife to let her be part of their family, but she points out that neither of them knows how to raise traumatized children. Freya is eventually placed with Christine, who tries her best to give the young girl the life she has been denied until this point. But Freya still struggles, as even though Christine is wonderful, the rest of the world isn’t.

In the present day, Anton’s return troubles Freya. Despite what they were put through, he still harbors unquestionable loyalty toward the cult. Seeing him play with her son, Freya makes a decision and tells Billy that Wayne is his father. We are not entirely sure whether this is true, but she lets Wayne spend time with Billy. Unbeknownst to her and Wayne, Anton tracks down their daughter, Max, and begins his attempts to brainwash her.

The Clearing Episode 4 Ending: What Does Anton Want?

Throughout most of the episode, we get an impression of Anton as a rootless wanderer with little to his name. He has spent ten years in Thailand with nothing to show for it. And now, as that money has dried out, he has returned home to serve as a henchman to whatever is left of the cult. But as the ending of the episode reveals, it all might have been an act. He attends a private gathering of the cult where Dr. Bryce Latham is speaking, and it appears that he has a family. The moment he enters the house, his demeanor changes and the wild look vanishes from his eyes. Now it’s equally possible this is the character he plays, and the borderline unhinged person from before is his authentic self.

What Happened to Sara/Asha? Why is Henrik in Jail?

It is revealed in this episode that on Adrienne’s instruction, Freya wrote in her diary that Henrik took Sara/Asha to her home. At this point in the story, it’s safe to presume that Sara is dead. To protect themselves and the cult, it seems that Adrienne and Latham came up with the plan to put the blame on Henrik. They needed to ensure that Henrik would comply, and the demands of loyalty weren’t enough, so they apparently promised him monetary support, which is probably why Freya is losing her home.

Image Credit: Natalie Portanier/Hulu

So, Henrik is only meant to take the blame; someone else is responsible for what happened to Sara. We learn in this episode that Anton was with Amy and Tamsin when they abducted Sara, serving as the driver. When Sara demonstrated that she was too independent-minded to be indoctrinated, Adrienne likely tasked Anton with assimilating the young girl into the Kindred, just like she had told the other two abductors. In the present day, Freya returns to Blackmarsh, which is now an abundant property and finds the basement where Sara was kept. The implication here is that Anton is responsible for what happened to the young girl.

What happens to Carrie Anderson?

Carrie Anderson is the young girl who goes missing in the present day, triggering Freya’s traumatic memories about the past. While visiting Henrik, Freya learns from the news that a person of interest in the case was seen speaking to the girl. This man was caught on a CCTV camera from behind. Freya later discovers that Anton has a shirt of similar color patterns as the man in the footage. Moreover, he uses a van to move around, making Freya remember what happened to Sara again. She contacts Joe, who tries to pass the message to his former partner, Colin, but it turns out that Carrie apparently got lost. She presumably took shelter in one of the summer homes or abandoned properties in the area where Blackmarsh is until she was found.

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