Picnic at Hanging Rock: Season 1/ Episode 6 [Series Finale] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

While we do get an answer to the fate of Sara, as for Marion, Miranda, Ms. McCraw, and what will happen to Mrs. Appleyard? Well… Network Amazon Prime Director(s) Michael Rymer Writer(s) Beatrix Christian Air Date 5/25/2018 Actors Introduced Mr. Whitehead John Flaus The Night Before: Sara, Mrs. Appleyard During Christmas, as Sara spent time…

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Marion, Miranda, and Irma standing at the top of the rock.

While we do get an answer to the fate of Sara, as for Marion, Miranda, Ms. McCraw, and what will happen to Mrs. Appleyard? Well…

Amazon Prime
Director(s) Michael Rymer
Writer(s) Beatrix Christian
Air Date 5/25/2018
Actors Introduced
Mr. Whitehead John Flaus

The Night Before: Sara, Mrs. Appleyard

During Christmas, as Sara spent time at Miranda’s farm, there was talk of a wild horse. One which refused to be tamed and sought out its freedom by any means necessary. Which included galloping off a cliff. Taking note of this horse, it seems when Mrs. Appleyard cornered Sara in the tower, rather than suffer hours or days trapped, she might have leapt to her death.

Might being the keyword for while Mr. Whitehead believes the girl did that. After all, the cuts on her legs push the idea she wasn’t well, but there is no confirmation. Mrs. Appleyard, as usual, is vague and avoids giving clear-cut statements. So it isn’t clear if Sara jumped or was pushed. Heck, or if she was moved to seem like she jumped.


Sara lying dead.

You wanna know a handful of frustrating facts? On top of Sara dying, by whatever means, we don’t see or hear from Albert this whole episode. So that poor man is likely to miss his sister’s funeral. And of course, there is the need to be pissed we don’t even know for sure how the child even died. We’re just led to an assumption which, alongside the big mystery of what happened to the girls and teacher, just brings about a mountain of frustrations.

The Great Escape: Mrs. Appleyard, Tomasetti

With Sara discovered, and her figuring Arthur is after her, Mrs. Appleyard is ready to book it the heck out of there. Never mind the college nonsense, she’ll never be free or happy. Yet, according to Tomasetti, Arthur is dead. In fact, he has been dead for a while due to an infection caused by Tomasetti getting the bullet out. So all that Mrs. Appleyard has been dreading? It’s been in her head.

Which leads her to wander to the rock to take a look. Maybe see, after so many searches done, if she can find something the others didn’t.


Tomasetti revealing Arthur has long been dead.
No, no, Ar-Arthur’s gone.

The storyline I fathom many didn’t invest much in concludes. Arthur has been dead and Hester is crazy. Also, while Tomasetti may have been a thief in his old life, it seems he may have very well gone legit. Whoopie for him.

The Hanging Rock: Mrs. Appleyard, Miranda, Irma, Marion

Long story short, we don’t find out what happened to the girls. All we know is that Miranda dragged them up there to follow up on a vow they made at the college and after taking a nap up there, throwing their corsets, and Miranda acting weird, somehow Edith found her way back and Irma was found. Making perhaps the only interesting bit is how time seemingly is slower on the rock for we see and hear the people searching for the girls while they are on top.

However, as for why Irma was found when the rest weren’t? That isn’t answered. All we know is that when Mrs. Appleyard got to the top, with the whistle between the rocks playing tricks on her, she decided she needed to find freedom like everyone else. So she jumped to her death.


An imagine of the Hanging Rock.

You ever get the feeling that when someone wrote something, they probably thought the moment would be really cool or poignant? Maybe even a bit full circle? I get that vibe here and like many programs which comes off a tad pretentious, I’m left wondering if maybe I’m just not enough of an aficionado of media to get the deeper themes or if what is presented was probably grander on paper than film.

Because, honestly, what was the point of Hester climbing that rock than jumping? Outside of letting us know there will not be a sequel or follow up? Was her death supposed to further push the idea of freedom being jumping out and taking control of your life? Even if but for a moment before death takes you?

It wouldn’t be terrible if that was the point but considering how hard it was to care about Hester killing herself, I feel they would have been better off using someone else for it.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • Hester got her name, Mrs. Appleyard, from a tin of soap with the same name.


  1. We learned what happened to Sara.

Low Points

  1. Honestly, everything else. Not to rag on the show, since that is not the MO of the site, but Hester’s story was never pushed to be something you’d want to latch onto. It was your usual, “Yes, this person is cold hearted and a bit of a bully, but look at how bad their childhood was!” But let’s be real, no one cared or really asked. Especially once Sara got properly introduced because we had a kid who didn’t feel cheaply crafted for sympathy. And I could go on and on from not knowing what happened with Michael and Albert, us never seeing Scotland Yard land on the island, Hester committing suicide and so much more. Making her leap not so much an exclamation point for the show but a mercy killing. One letting us know, there isn’t a likely chance for us to ever hear about this mini-series again. Except when it is brought up to embarrass the actors involved.

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One Comment

  1. For what it’s worth, thankyou for sticking it out. I know it caused you much frustration, but it was fascinating to read your perspective on this series – you are not Australian and not familiar with the source material. When I first watched this series, I wondered if my resistance to it was because I wasn’t willing to let go of how much I loved the earlier movie version… but your blog made me realise it is just because the miniseries is poorly written and acted.

    Joan Lindsay’s novel was very loosely based upon real events, being inspired by unsolved disappearances in the Australian bush country (although so much embellished as to say “based on a true story” would be misleading).

    The first draft of Lindsay’s novel contained an explanation for the girls’ disappearance but her editor encouraged her to cut it out. It was decided that instead of being a mystery with a solution, the novel would be a drama that focuses on the emotional impact the disappearance has on those left behind – and how the lack of closure psychologically affected those who loved the missing girls. When Peter Weir made his movie version, he also thought it would be more effective as a story of how people cope with “grief without closure” in unsolved missing persons cases, rather than providing easy answers…. unfortunately such an approach only works when the characterisation is strong, and it is backed up by solid acting. Though the writers of the miniseries expand upon the backstories of each character, the details they supply often come across as contrived, manipulative, stereotypical and in some cases (Appleyard) implausible.

    In earlier versions there is no question about the fact that Sara killed herself out of an overwhelming sense of grief because she loved Miranda. There’s no question about Appleyard killing anyone because she’s not an impostor with a criminal past who needs to cover her tracks, but just an ordinary teacher.

    In the 90s a book was published called “Secret Of Hanging Rock” which purported to be the final chapter of Lindsay’s first draft, but its authenticity is disputed, some say it’s a literary hoax. Basically, that book explains that the girls encountered a supernatural force that transformed them into animals… Yvonne Roussea wrote an unofficial followup called “Murders At Hanging Rock”, which theorised the more mundane explanation that Albert and Mike teamed up to rape and murder the girls… Peter Weir claimed that Joan Lindsay told him the actual solution on the set of the 70s movie, but he has never disclosed to the public what exactly she told him because he found her answer anticlimactic. Weir said that he thought the heart of the story was not the disappearance itself but how it emotionally affects those who knew the girls, and it shows a greater respect for the audience’s intelligence if they are allowed to use their imagination to come up with their own answer, instead of having it spelt out.

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