It’s A Sin: Season 1/ Episode 5 [Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

In the finale, attempts at reconciliation are made, but is it too late to make peace with each other and the facts?

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Jill and Roscoe going to the Isle of Wight

In the finale, attempts at reconciliation are made, but is it too late to make peace with each other and the facts?

Director(s) Peter Hoar
Writer(s) Russell T Davies
Aired (Channel 4) 1/22/2021
Newly Noted Characters
Clive Shaun Dooley
Valerie Keeley Hawes
Oscar Delroy Brown

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.


All That Can Change In Three Years – Ritchie, Jill, Roscoe, Oscar, Ash

In November of 1988, Ritchie made it! He was on stage, with a role in Hay Fever, and a hit! But in 3 years, Ritchie is nearly bedridden and weak. The change is drastic, but with Jill, Roscoe, Ash, and the others, he is hopeful. Heck, even with gut issues and a form of cancer in his chest, Ritchie is still quite a bit spirited when forced to go into the hospital for an extended stay.

Oscar (Delroy Brown) talking to his son
Oscar (Delroy Brown)

However, during this time, the unexpected happens – Roscoe sees his father, Oscar, giving a man his final rights or praying with, if not over, him. Not only that, the man seems to have changed and even asks for Roscoe’s forgiveness. But It’s A Sin still seems uninterested in Roscoe and his family, so that’s skipped over.

When You Can’t Accept The Truth – Clive, Valerie, Ritchie, Jill

Instead, they’d rather double down on Ritchie, whose parents, Clive and Valerie, find out he is in the hospital and, after all these years, finally learn Ritchie is not only gay but has AIDS. Neither of them accepts this, but especially Valerie. In fact, when confronted about it, she is all but ready to blame Jill and get defensive.

Clive (Shaun Dooley) crying
Clive (Shaun Dooley)

Hence her snatching up Ritchie, who is guilt-ridden, taking him away from London, where he can get real help, and taking him to the Isle of Wight. Thus leaving him in his bedroom, stuck with a mother dealing with her own issues, as Ritchie wonders who infected him and how many he infected.

When You Choose Not To Acknowledge Fault – Valerie, Jill

When it comes to Jill, being that she is part of the community, even if she may not be queer, she makes every effort she can to make each person feel seen, loved, and valuable. At the end of the episode, she even visits a man she doesn’t know after hearing he had no visitors. So, as you can imagine, not being with her best friend of nearly a decade when he is dying, this doesn’t sit right with her.

So, she decides to go to the Isle of Wight, using Ritchie’s residuals from a commercial he did, and wait, call, and pester Valerie until she lets her see Ritchie, which she never does. In fact, she doesn’t even show her face until the day after Ritchie dies.

Valerie (Keeley Hawes) revealing Ritchie died
Valerie (Keeley Hawes)

Why? Well, to punish Jill. She knew everything, she spent an exuberant amount of time with Ritchie, and Valerie felt tricked. So how else could she punish Jill? Hell, how else but through separation could Valerie try to fit into the place Jill had in Ritchie’s life? Yet, with her knowing all his stories, just who he was when he was open and honest, there is a desire to apologize and hear those stories.

However, at this point, Jill is tired of being nice. She had to work so hard to see Ritchie and his mother put up a blockade. Also, in the long run, this was all her fault in Jill’s head. She made Ritchie feel the shame that didn’t allow him to be honest about his sexuality, his diagnosis, and that got dozens, maybe hundreds, killed. On top of that, Jill fathoms the loveless household Valerie raised him in is why he was so promiscuous and always looking for love in the form of sex.

Now, the whole loveless household bit was confusing, since Ritchie seemed a bit spoiled, but the point remains.


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Jill and Valerie

From the hospital to their final scene on that bridge, the battle between Jill and Valerie was beyond a whirlwind. It created the type of volatile intimacy in a moment that pushes you to take note of both actresses and remember their names. Be it Hawes getting defensive when Valerie was told she didn’t know her son and desperate to avoid criticism, or West, unleashing years of frustration in a moment of exasperation.

As Jill, West used her as a means to speak to every parent of a friend she witnessed dying or denied who they were and how they make people like Ritchie. Kids who, because they felt so unloved and safe in their own homes, they sought out any and every bed for some semblance of that love – no matter the consequence. And because they were all so desperate, they eventually became selfish, and thus a cycle of desperation, selfishness, and guilt began, and AIDS ended up being the only thing to stop the wheel.

Jill after telling Valerie off

Thus leaving both sides with immense guilt, for neither one seems to feel they did enough to stop Ritchie from slowly killing himself and others.

Low Point

Not Getting To See Roscoe Reconcile With His Family

Is it wrong I feel like they completely dismissed one of the best storylines they could have had? Roscoe is from a religious Nigerian family, basically had to leave or be shipped off to another continent, where he likely would have been killed, yet often his sole role was just to be comic relief. Then, when he sees his father, talks to him, for the first time in ten years, the conversation is cordial, and we don’t get to see or hear Roscoe reconcile.

Yes, we do see Roscoe go back home and see his mom, but outside of him entering the doorway, what comes next? Nothing. We don’t see him getting to see his sister without being secretive or her child. There aren’t welcoming arms or Oscar pushing for change amongst their family. It’s all about Ritchie, and while I get Olly Alexander is probably the most recognizable face, Ritchie’s story is also one of the most generic when it comes to stuff like this. So not exploring how others lived and survived was disappointing.

Jill Really Not Having A Life Outside Her Boys

While we love and adore West’s portrayal of Jill, I must admit when Valerie came for her and asked her about her life and the lie she believed she upheld, she had a point. Why did Jill not have a boyfriend in all the time we’ve known her or pursue one? Was she queer, asexual, or in love with Ritchie? It’s hard to know since the only thing in her life that didn’t revolve around Ritchie was her own steady acting gig. Outside of that, Ritchie was usually by her side or not too far away. And even though we met Jill’s parents, we don’t learn much about them either. Be it whether they were so progressive due to being an interracial couple or just seeing love is love? Never mind, like Valerie, you’d think they too would wonder if Jill has any desire for a relationship, even kids, considering she surrounds herself, nearly exclusively, with gay men.

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Jill Really Not Having A Life Outside Her Boys - 64%
Not Getting To See Roscoe Reconcile With His Family - 63%
Jill and Valerie - 87%


While an emotional ending, it's hard not to also be left frustrated as Ritchie becomes the clear lead and everyone else just a supporting part. The kind which may have had their occasional moment in the sun, but never long enough to feel properly featured.

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