The penultimate episode of Harrow’s second season, ‘Facilis Descensus,’ landed on ABC Sunday, 7 July 2019. The episode picks up the story immediately after the closing scene of ‘Sub Silentio.’

“Harrow” promotional poster. Image Credit: IMDb

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet seen the latest Harrow episode, stop reading now. There are spoilers ahead.

Screen Capture: Ioan Gruffudd as Dr Daniel Harrow in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

In the pre-opening credits scene, Dr Daniel Harrow (Ioan Gruffudd) and Det Bryan Nichols (Damien Garvey) are at the cemetery. Despite no one except Fern Harrow (Ella Newton) believing Francis Chester (Grant Bowler) is still alive, Harrow is adamant the body in the coffin does not belong to Chester.

We know from previous episodes in the season, Rhonda Roberts (Neveen Hanna) manipulated the evidence to show that Chester died in a prison fire. Consequently, the body Dr Laurie Badcoe (Geoff Morrell) did his original autopsy on was not Chester, but another prison inmate that had died earlier in the day. This inmate suffered a heart attack in the prison shower unit. Because of how effective Rhonda was covering her tracks, there is no evidence showing the body in Chester’s grave does not belong to Chester. Cue opening credits…

There is a Body in the Coffin…

Screen Capture: Damien Garvey as Det Bryan Nichols in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

Why would Chester go to all the trouble of burying Harrow only to dig him up again? If you recall back to the previous episode, when Fern was on the Betty, she was able to escape Chester without harm. He was on the boat with intent to kill Fern. That’s the only plausible explanation for Chester digging Harrow up again. It’s also the only explanation for why the original body was placed back inside the coffin.

Screen Capture: Ella Newton as Fern Harrow in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

Fern is safe. She is at the police station with her mother, Stephanie Tolson (Anna Lise Phillips). When Harrow and Bryan arrive at the police station, they are greeted by both Harrow’s daughter and his ex-wife.

Harrow needs to get his blood tested. Consequently, against Bryan’s wishes, Harrow leaves the police station and heads over to QIFM (Queensland Institute of Forensic Medicine). Obviously, Dr Grace Molyneux (Jolene Anderson), even though she has not worked at the Institute for very long, is the person he goes to for the blood test. Maxine Pavich (Robyn Malcolm) insists on seeing the blood test results as soon as they come back.

At the Betty…

Screen Capture: Ella Newton and Damien Garvey as Fern Harrow and Det Bryan Nichols, respectively, in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

On Harrow’s boat, Fern tries to explain to Bryan what happened. As Bryan looks around the main cabin of the boat, the detective finds Harrow’s cell phone. Chester must have left the phone on the boat. It adds weight to the possibility both Harrow and Fern are lying about what happened.

On further investigation of the boat, Bryan discovers a syringe. In a ceramic container, he finds several vials. “Whose are those?” Bryan asks Fern. The presence of several vials and a used syringe makes the detective believe Harrow is self-medicating.

As Fern leaves the boat, she receives a call from St Catherine’s Hospital. Callan Prowd (Hunter Page-Lochard) has Fern listed as his emergency contact.

Later, Harrow returns to his boat. Harrow, not surprising, is rattled by a sound from close by. With Chester wanting everyone he loves dead, it’s understandable the forensic pathologist will be nervous.

Screen Capture: Geoff Morrell as Dr Laurie Badcoe in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

When Badcoe arrives at the Betty, he tells Harrow about what transpired at his facility. Badcoe, because of what Rhonda did, is in serious trouble. Badcoe signed every document Rhonda put in front of him. There was no reason for him to not trust her. She even had his login information to the computer system. Consequently, she had direct access to archives. As a result, Rhonda has left nothing to prove anything Harrow is saying is true.

If Badcoe admits what he did, every case he ever worked on would be re-examined. Consequently, many convictions might get overturned. This would cause a significant problem for the department.

At the Hospital…

Screen Capture: Hunter Page-Lochard as Callan Prowd in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

Stephanie tells Harrow the delivery driver said that Callan came out of nowhere. He just stepped out onto the road without looking.

Fern tells her father that Bryan found drugs on the Betty. Because there is a stack of vials and a used syringe, Fern tells Harrow Bryan thinks he is using drugs. Chester must have planted the drugs on the boat to discredit Harrow’s claims.

Screen Capture: Ella Newton and Hunter Page-Lochard as Fern Harrow and Callan Prowd, respectively, in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.”

Later, the doctor tells Fern Callan has a subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma, typically associated with a traumatic brain injury, occurs when blood gathers between the inner layer of the dura mater and the arachnoid mater. It is often the result of a severe head injury. Fern sits by Callan’s bedside.

When Maxine visits Harrow at the hospital, she tells the forensic pathologist the deputy coroner is holding an emergency tribunal tomorrow to decide your future. Maxine remains adamant Chester is dead.

When Harrow uses the restroom, Chester uses this time as an opportunity to gain access to Callan’s hospital room. Chester injects Callan with succinylcholine before Harrow can get back into the room.

When Fern arrives at the hospital, Chester takes her hostage and makes his escape.

At Doug Hinton’s Office…

Screen Capture: Robyn Malcolm and Hugh Parker as Maxine Pavich and Doug Hinton, respectively, in the Declan Eames directed Harrow episode “Facilis Descensus.” With his back to the camera, playing Det Bryan Nichols, is Damien Garvey.

Bryan and Maxine meet with Doug Hinton (Hugh Parker) to discuss what to do next. While Maxine is adamant the body on the coffin is Chester, it does not look like the detective fully agrees with his girlfriend. When Doug asks Bryan what he thinks should be done, the detective suggests a formal identification of the body is the only thing that can be done.

When the detective suggests doing an ID on the body, Maxine’s face turns a whiter shade of pale. In a previous episode, Maxine destroyed evidence. She burned three blood sample slides in the QIFM furnace.

Later, Bryan meets with Louise Whitehall (Heather Mitchell). Before Louise Whitehall was Louise Whitehall, she was Louise Chester. She is Francis Chester’s mother. In the previous episode, Harrow went to Louise to request permission to exhume Chester’s body. She refused to give that permission.

Louise does not seem to get there are questions pertaining to the identity of the remains found in the coffin. While Maxine is adamant the remains belong to Chester, Harrow and his daughter are equally adamant that it is someone else’s body.

Body Identification…

Performing the identification of the body is Dr Lyle Fairley (Darren Gilshenan), Grace and Edwina Gharam (Faustina Agolley).

Francis Chester is a multiple murderer. Lyle tells Edwina he remembers the case well. Chester was an anaesthetist that immobilised his victims and strangle the females while their boyfriends watched. Harrow and Maxine found the evidence that convicted Chester.

“The key piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case were tiny traces of succinic acid that harrow found in Chester’s male victims,” Lyle said to Grace. “He claimed that it proved that Chester injected them with succinylcholine. But the defence argued that succinic acid naturally occurs in the body and, so, the evidence was dismissed.”

Harrow, not one to give up at the first hurdle, “found tiny traces of propofol in the female victims. … But unlike succinic acid, it is not naturally occurring.” Harrow found the propofol in the liver tissue of the female victims.

Screen Capture: Darren Gilshenan as Dr Lyle Fairley in “Facilis Descensus.” In the background, playing Edwina Gharam and Dr Grace Molyneux respectively, is Faustina Agolley and Jolene Anderson.

Lyle, Grace and Edwina compare the body they have on the table with the images from Badcoe’s original autopsy. It’s a perfect match. This body, according to the results, is Chester. Because the body Badcoe autopsied was not Chester, the one on the table is also not Chester. It’s the same body.

While it might seem Harrow got it wrong, Grace is not convinced. When Grace is reviewing computer files pertaining to the murders Chester committed, Maxine sees what the forensic pathologist is viewing on her computer screen. It is an image of the three blood sample slides Maxine destroyed in an earlier episode.

A DNA Test…

DNA is irrefutable. Grace suggests to Bryan that she compare a DNA sample with Chester’s original arrest swab. Unless someone has gotten to the swab, this should show Harrow is telling the truth.

Screen Capture: Darren Gilshenan as Dr Lyle Fairley in “Facilis Descensus.”

Grace persuades Lyle to let her run a DNA comparison with the sample on the national database. For a moment, it looked like the senior forensic pathologist was going to get in Grace’s way, but he agreed.

In the Kitchen…

Fern visits the restaurant where Callan works. When the owner of the restaurant discovers Fern snooping in the kitchen, he was not prepared to give her any information which would assist her in finding out what happened to her boyfriend.

Screen Capture: Grant Bowler as Francis Chester in “Facilis Descensus.”

When Fern returns to the restaurant kitchen, the owner tries to get her to leave. All she wants from him is that he looks at the image on her cell phone. She shows him a picture of Chester. He says that it’s Frank. Frank works in the kitchen.