Based on ‘In the Clearing’ by J. P. Pomare, ’ the Disney+ (Hulu in the US) series’ The Clearing’ is a tale of trauma and how it often turns a victim into a perpetrator. The plot revolves around Freya Heywood (Teresa Palmer), a single mother who is forced to relive her past after a local girl goes missing in rural Victoria. In episode 7, titled ‘This Too Shall Pass,’ Freya attends the wedding of a former child member of the cult, and the history behind Joe’s ousting from the police force is explained. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘The Clearing’ episode 7. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Clearing Episode 7 Recap
The penultimate episode begins with the custody hearing of Max, set sometime after Freya left Max in a car. Freya initially sits inside a toilet cubicle, slowly coming apart upon reflecting on how her life has turned out to be before she goes in front of the court. We learn how Freya’s relationship with Christine was so impacted that the former refuses to speak to the latter in the present time. Christine stood before the court and reluctantly admitted that Max wouldn’t be safe in the sole care of her mother.
A few years later, Adrienne comes to see Freya at a facility. Freya initially thinks that it was Christine who has come to visit her and loudly asserts that Christine isn’t her mother. But when she saw that it is Adrienne, her entire demeanor changes. It is absolutely unsettling and terrifying how much influence Adrienne continues to have over the years on the lives of her “children.” Adrienne gets Freya out, establishing the dynamic between them that we see in the present day. Freya is one of the few people who know that Adrienne doesn’t have dementia. A few more years pass, and Freya and Wayne’s paths cross again. They become intimate, and it is hinted that Billy is the result of that. However, when Freya asks whether she can be part of her daughter’s life, Wayne denies her.
Despite everything that happened, Wayne tells Freya at one point that he has never blamed her for it and always held the Kindred responsible. Toward the end of the previous episode, Freya finds out that Adrienne has started preaching again. All these years, she knew that she was doing an injustice to her “siblings” by going along with Adrienne’s charade of having dementia. Adrienne and Dr. Latham forced her into silence by threatening to take away Billy. Freya convinced herself that as long as the Kindred remained inactive and no new children were being taken, she could take part in the lie. But if Adrienne and Dr. Latham intend to revitalize the Kindred movement, it means that Freya actively helped their efforts to set it back up, and that notion is too much for her to bear.
Freya attends Gail’s wedding, to which Adrienne is also invited. It appears that not every child remembers their time at Blackmarsh with dread. Anton is not an exception, but one of those children who fondly remembers the Kindred. At the same time, there are those who vividly remember Blackmarsh as the horrible and unpleasant place it was. We learn that one of them currently suffers from anorexia, bulimia, and several other diseases all of which can be traced back to the malnourishment she suffered at Blackmarsh. Another one committed suicide after learning about the mistrial.
The Clearing Episode 7 Ending: What Happens to Billy?
Toward the end of the episode, Freya and Billy play their game. Freya goes underwater, and Billy keeps count to see how long she can hold her breath. When she resurfaces this time, Freya discovers her son isn’t there. In one of the earlier shots, we see Billy moving away, so he must have known whoever came to take him. It’s safe to assume that the Kindred is responsible for this, though it is unlikely they did it through Henrik. He has become completely disillusioned with the Kindred and Adrienne’s teaching. When he visits Dr. Latham’s home in this episode, he sees the man speaking to a couple. With the woman being pregnant, they must have reminded him of himself and Hannah and everything he has lost because of the Kindred.
So, it can’t be Henrik. If anything, his reasons for camping near Freya’s home likely involve the belief that he can save her and Billy. As we have learned in one of the previous episodes, these are his daughter and grandson. That leaves two possibilities: Anton and Max. Given that we see Billy moving away from the lake after he sees something or someone, it has to be one of them.
Why Did Joe Leave the Police Force?
In the present day, Joe is a broken man; he is no longer a police officer and is alienated from his family. In this episode, Freya finally reveals to him Adrienne doesn’t have dementia. Predictably, his subsequent reaction is of anger and frustration. He destroyed his life and career in this case and has nothing to show for it. He continued the investigation after the mistrial, but then, the September 11 attack happened, and suddenly, people around him started looking at him with suspicion, including the officers whom he had worked with for years.
Joe discovers that Colin was involved with the cult and confronts him. The other man admits the truth and explains the leverage the cult has on him. Joe becomes desperate, tries to put surveillance devices at Adrienne’s home, and is caught red-handed. This leads to his superior officer asking for his gun and badge. In the present day, a heavily intoxicated Joe gives a speech about Adrienne’s fake dementia, prompting Anton to attack him.