How the 'Three Pines' Finale Sets Up a Potential Second Season

Showrunner Emilia di Girolamo breaks down the big twists and answers burning questions about the first season finale.
by Amber Dowling — 

Alfred Molina in 'Three Pines'

Amazon Studios

Warning: This story contains spoilers for the two-part, first season finale of Three Pines, titled "The Hangman," . Read at your own risk! 

Three Pines wrapped its inaugural season just in time for the holidays, but the Prime Video series' biggest gift to viewers was a bag full of twists. 

In "The Hangman" Parts 1 and 2, Gamache (Alfred Molina) solved the murder of a stranger found hanging in the woods. The case also led to an unexpected break in the case of Blue Two-Rivers (Anna Lambe), helping the team to finally identify the Sûreté du Québec members responsible for the brutal killings. 

Unfortunately for Gamache, the news wasn't great. As it turned out it was his long-time friend Pierre Arnot (Frank Schorpion) who shot the young woman, and he was willing to do anything to protect his secret. Meanwhile Lacoste (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) unknowingly got into a car with a drunken Beauvoir (Rossif Sutherland) to chase down the residents responsible for the hanging man's murder. In the end, Beauvoir's dangerous driving led the car ahead of them to crash down from a bridge and kill those inside. 

It all culminated with Lacoste and Beauvoir racing to Gamache's side as he bled out in the snow, thanks to a shot from his supposed best friend. Not only was it a dramatic way to close out the initial season, but it was also a slight departure from the Louise Penny books on which Three Pines is based. 

Here, Metacritic sits down with showrunner Emilia Di Girolamo to dissect the episodes' most shocking moments and to look ahead at a potential Season 2. 

Is Gamache dead?

There's no doubt Gamache will survive being shot, especially if Three Pines is renewed for a second season. He is the lead character, after all. However after a season of exploring the dead and the personal grief that Gamache feels over losing his parents at a young age, Di Girolamo wanted to bring the character close to death in order to really feel and understand what that was like. 

"It's about that moment of connection of death," she explains. "I think we live in a way now where we don't feel that connection to death — where we shut it away. Having lost people very close to me in my life, I wanted to look at that. Louise looks at death in really interesting ways in the books, and I felt it was an important part of Gamache's journey, and how it informs who he is and how he looks at death."

The creative adds that should a second season move forward, some time will pass between the finale and the premiere. For now, the bigger thing to address is how Gamache getting shot comes earlier in the series than in the books, as well as the fact that it's Beauvoir who shoots him in Penny's original story, not Arnot. (And for a much different reason.) According to Di Girolamo, that storyline decision will affect future episodes. 

"We have four novels set out [for Season 2] but there is some adjustment because of Gamache getting shot," she says. "And where he's been shot. He can't be shot twice. I can't say specifically, but there is a little twist around — a little change." 

How does Beauvoir's terrible decision play out?

Earlier in the episodes, viewers learned things between Beauvoir and his wife haven't been great. In fact, she left him — something Beauvoir chose not to disclose to Gamache. As a result, Gamache continued sending him home to spend time with her, not knowing how bad things were. In turn, Beauvoir turned to the bottle. And that's when he got into the car without thinking, to help Lacoste catch the bad guys.

That decision, along with Lacoste's rash decision to cover for her colleague, will inevitably come back around on both of them. 

"Obviously it sets up stuff in the relationship between Beauvoir and Lacoste and what she does that night and how that affects them going forward," Di Girolamo says. 

"There is more story to come, but that's all I can say," she continues, when pressed on whether viewers will eventually meet Beauvoir's wife. 

Is Yvette Nichol actually a good guy?

One of the biggest changes from the books to series was the overall likability of Yvette Nichol (Sarah Booth). In the novels the character is unable to get along with her coworkers and causes a lot of trouble for Gamache, even though she thinks she is in the right. In the series, Nichol was a character who brought comedic relief.

That was in part to add a much-needed lightness to Three Pines, and in part because of what Di Girolamo believes Booth brought to the role. Regardless, the writer promises there's more to learn about the character, and not all is as it seems. 

"Going forward we will see another side to her. I love it when you meet a character and they're just funny, and you think that's all there is," she says. "Then you find out more, and it's a lovely feeling as a viewer when that happens. When you get that real turnaround or meet someone and think they're all bad and really understand why and see the good. I love those kinds of reveals."

Will there be another season-long mystery?

While nothing official has been confirmed at time of press, Di Girolamo already broke stories on a potential second season. She says those stories follow the same format as Season 1, with murders-of-the-week and an overarching mystery for the detectives to solve. She adds she wants to continue building upon the real portrayals of Indigenous communities that the team put together in the first season, but by doing one very important thing: no more victimizing the members of those communities. 

"In Season 2 we're not going to have a story that's about Indigenous people as victims," she reveals. "That's not going to be there. We will look at other aspects of Indigenous culture and have those characters there, but in different ways. And we will have a serialized story as well."

Which books are coming next?

Should Three Pines return for a second season, it will need to dig more into the source material on which it's based. But while Di Girolamo knows which four novels she wants to tackle next, she's not ready to make that public. What she does anticipate is the same kind of creative challenges that came with adapting the first four novels from Season 1. 

"The books were written in the early 2000s, and there are elements that need to be updated," she says. "I wanted to take things Louise wrote, like police abuse of Indigenous people, but bring that forward and make it relevant for 2022. That was really tricky, especially balanced against these quite heightened, often bizarre murders-of-the-week."