The StaircaseEpisode 4 covered Michael Peterson’s protracted trial and the jury’s decision to convict him, which resulted in the imposition of a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In fact, Episode 5 appears to take a break from the crime drama tone that predominated the previous episodes and focuses only on the relationships within the family as well as on Sophie Brunet, Michael’s most recent and possibly most enthusiastic supporter. Along with Michael’s own anxious and hopeless days in jail, the documentary team’s internal conflicts over how to make the final programme are highlighted.
The Staircase Episode 5 Recap And Ending
After serving six months in prison following the verdict, the episode starts in April of 2004. The author of the book struggles in prison because he doesn’t really have the choice of keeping to himself. Due to his well-known and publicised situation, practically every prisoner is familiar with him and will call out to him when given the chance. Michael maintains a somewhat cool demeanour despite having obvious cut marks on his face, suggesting that he has already been attacked by a fellow prisoner. One of the inmates, who goes by the name Big Ray, has a special interest in Michael and at times acts almost sympathetically toward him. When Michael was suddenly placed in the single-occupancy prison cell by the authorities because he was famous, Ray admits that the assailant had done so since the man had been next in line for it and had waited five years for it. Michael rapidly discovers through Ray that joining a group is necessary for his survival in prison because it is nearly impossible to remain alone. He meets the leader of one of these organisations through Ray, who promises him weekly protection from his attacker and his own gang in exchange for fifty stamps.
The defence team, led by David Rudolf, is currently preparing an appeal against the court’s ruling. Rudolf bases the appeal on arguments that the police’s snooping into and search of Michael’s computer were illegal and unconstitutional because they did not yet have the authorization needed to do so. If this assertion is true, all emails, pictures, and other significant pieces of evidence might be disputed, and Michael could be freed from jail—at least temporarily.
The children and brother of Michael struggle to pay the legal expenses and soon must sell off home goods to raise money. Michael hoped it would bring in a few million dollars because the property does warrant such a valuation. They also put the house up for sale. But his kids tell him that the house isn’t even worth a million dollars because of its terrible past, which is lowering its value. When Clayton and Todd visit their father in prison, the latter is still contemptuous of his older son and instead requests that Todd continue to pay for the items he purchases inside the prison to maintain his mental health, such as food, stationery, and stamps. One weekend Todd, who now resides in Mexico and operates a real estate company with a friend, becomes inebriated and breaks his pledge to send money to his father’s account while he is imprisoned. Since he can no longer afford the stamps he needs to protect himself from his enemies, Michael must now call Clayton for assistance. When Clayton pays him another visit, he now says that his fiancée is expecting a child, which means that Michael will soon become a grandfather. Michael can only pray that he is let out of jail prior to that. The entry-level administrator Margaret has since relocated to a new apartment in Los Angeles, but she still keeps in touch with her family by calling and visiting the Peterson home before the sale of the things. Even though Martha works for herself and lives elsewhere than Durham, she is frequently observed quitting her job out of pure annoyance. Martha is thought to be the most impacted of all the kids still connected to Michael since she exhibits symptoms of despair and may even be a marijuana addict. On her cellphone, she rarely answers calls and may only speak with the brothers when Margaret is there.
In The Staircase Episode 5, Sophie Brunet and the effects of editing courtroom film on her are prominently featured. Hours are spent reviewing the films, and she methodically cuts them into episodes for the TV programme. The show’s producer, Denis Poncet, is dissatisfied with how the episodes have been edited, particularly with regard to what has all been preserved and what has been cut, and this soon causes a divide within the team regarding how they perceive Michael’s behaviour in the case. He also begs his director, Jean-Xavier, to remove Sophie from the squad right now because of her obvious preference for Michael. However, the director rejects the suggestion, stating that Sophie did a terrific job. The key point of contention is how Michael is handled; according to Denis, the judge did not correctly view the man when he judged him guilty of killing his wife. Sophie in the documentary omits the information that Kathleen’s thyroid cartilage was discovered to be shattered because she feels it is unimportant and doesn’t warrant the time it takes up in the series, but Denis is adamant that it be added. Instead, he wants to cut a scene when Michael and Clayton are having a touching dialogue. The filmmaker concurs with Sophie’s claim that the particular sequence gives the entire production the much-needed balance it needs by enabling viewers to comprehend Michael more fully. After tremendous public acclaim, the show was finally released during a private viewing. Jean-Xavier tells Sophie, who is still on the team and in the location, that he thinks she brought the true soul to the job. Throughout this period, Sophie had maintained contact with Michael by giving him books and letters, which gave the prisoner some solace and hope.
Michael’s appeal against the court’s ruling is ultimately dismissed by a three-judge panel, who do concur with several of the defense’s accusations of judicial errors in the case. However, the denial is based on the argument that none of these errors had any impact on the jury’s decision-making process. Inadvertently, this would imply that the case would now be appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court for one last attempt to exonerate the defendant, but Rudolf cautions a distraught Michael that it might take years to succeed. Margaret’s Los Angeles home is now supplied with DVDs of the full documentary by Sophie. Larry Pollard, an attorney who lives next door to Michael in Durham, examines Kathleen’s autopsy photos as the daughter observes them. The two then pay a visit to Michael in jail, and they both appear delighted to have finally met.
Does Michael s Attitude Towards The Case Change After The Prison Sentence Begins?
Michael’s initial hope of being exonerated of the crimes, his anxious wait for his attorneys to present the appeal in his favour, and finally the crushing despair that gradually starts to set in once the appeal is rejected are what episode 5 of The Staircase, which is comparatively one with fewer factual details than the previous ones, builds up. Since starting his prison sentence, Michael has done everything in his power to maintain control over his life and his children. The only time things alter is when he gets severely shaken up by a fellow prisoner’s beating and develops a fear of being alone during lunch and in the yard. As Ray continues to become close with him, it appears that Michael’s ability to create a pleasant affect on some individuals is still intact as he receives assistance from him in this area. Ray stepped up and pledged to guard Michael in case he was assaulted when Michael had to spend a whole day without the protection of his group since Clayton had neglected to provide him money. This may serve as another evidence that Ray either thinks the man is innocent or that he is fascinated by him and has at least some level of sympathy for him. Around this moment, Ray notices how remarkably composed Michael is in his circumstances because he too had been very uneasy after losing. The two men are eating lunch together. In response, Michael queries, “Lost what?” Michael’s awareness of the notion that any court system would almost always decide against convicted criminals in any appeal was yet nascent. When his attorneys submitted the appeal, he continued to believe that he would soon be released from captivity. His own perspective on the issue does not alter in the slightest; he continues to hold that Kathleen died after tumbling down the stairs while intoxicated. He soon learns, though, that the appeal was rejected, and he witnesses it on the news that is broadcast on the jail television. Later, Rudolf phones him as well, and Michael finds it difficult to swallow the thought that he may have to wait years before the Supreme Court hears his defence appeal once more. When Sophie does finally arrive to visit him, the pain and anguish might change, and Michael might be about to spend the next many years in jail because of this fresh bond.
What To Expect From The Staircase Episode 6?
If given enough time, the show might eventually establish Michael and Sophie’s romantic bond. But with Durham attorney Larry Pollard, who is seen reviewing the autopsy images at the conclusion of Episode 5 of The Staircase, there is enough more crime thriller drama to return to. Then Larry looks up at the claws of a bird statue he has in his office, which foreshadows the owl theory that would shortly be put out. The next episodes will be intriguing to monitor for how Margaret responds to the documentary and how the audience as a whole views the documentary series.
See More: The Staircase Episode 6: Recap And Ending, Explained: How Does The Owl-Theory Affect Michael s Case?