Warning: This post contains spoilers.
It is officially winter in Osea and things are looking quite a bit different. For starters, gone is Jude Law's Sam, who is now the leader of this island cult. Oh, and has reunited with his son, who may or may not be dead after all. Honestly, I'm not so sure we can believe anything the Oseans tell us. For the next three episodes, Helen, played by Naomie Harris, is our guide to the island, which looks as if its seen better days since the summer. But who is Helen and why has she come to Osea?
The latter is the question everyone seems to be asking in episode 4 "Monday — The Mother," including Helen's two daughters, Ellie (Nico Parker) and Tallulah (Charlotte Gairdner-Mihell). Their mom says they've come to the island to celebrate Ellie's birthday. Helen swears it was planned long in advance, but abruptly leaving during a school day definitely gives the sense it was impromptu. Helen's mom's concerns about the trip also point to this being all kinds of sudden. Helen says they are there to experience the history, specifically the archeology since Ellie is such an archeology fan. Something we later learn isn't exactly true of her eldest daughter, who has found religion in recent months, a concerning development for her mom.
At every stop along the island, the universe seems to be urging Helen to turn back. She's dismissed from her Airbnb in a way that feels racist, though the owners swear its not. It's just a mix-up, they say. It's just not a good day for visitors. (The older woman also questions whether Helen's kids' father are white so maybe take this excuse with a grain of salt.) She's then turned away from the local hotel by an older fellow who is being accosted by a few suspicious-looking younger men when she walks in. Yet she keeps searching for a place. The man crying as he packs up his car doesn't spook her enough to turn around. Not even a disemboweled sheep and a makeshift gynecologist office could drive her away. To be fair, her car was stolen, but in the final shot of the episode, we realize why she just won't leave.
On little Lulu's iPad we see a family portrait that features Helen, the girls, and Sam. Helen is Sam's wife and she is there on a rescue mission. It certainly puts her "having a hard year" comments into context. We know she has been grieving the loss of her son, who was abducted by a stranger, for years. (This also explains why she freaks out at the thought of an older male stranger talking to her young daughter.) And now she has seemingly lost her husband to this mysterious island that looks as if it's seen better days.
All of this might be why his wife has chosen to use a fake name. Sam referred to her as "Cas" in previous episodes. She understands that all is not well here and can't risk being found out. However, it's unclear if the islanders know who she really is. The man in the brown hat seems to be her guardian angel, protecting her from Larry (John Dagleish) and watching over her in the pub after Mrs. Martin (Emily Watson) offers a room. The same one Sam once stayed in.
It's hard not to worry that the islanders led her here just as they did Sam. That this is a setup. That this is tied to another one of their religious rituals. For those who watched the 12-hour The Third Day: Autumn livestream, Osea's summer festival dedicated to a Celtic war included Sam going on a Christ-like journey towards crucifixion. We also can't ignore the Saxon necklace Larry gives Ellie when they first meet. The fish is a symbol of Christianity that very early on was used to distinguish friends from foes. Pagans also used it to represent fertility.
There is also the question of whether Mrs. Martin's story of a pregnant woman on the island being the reason for all the commotion is real. She says the surgery room Helen stumbled upon was a makeshift delivery room. This woman is about to give birth but doesn't want to go to the mainland. I go back to an offhanded remark Jess (Katherine Waterston) makes in episode 2 about getting pregnant "at the drop of a hat" after drunkenly sleeping with Sam. Is it possible Jess is about to give birth to another Osea heir?
Perhaps, the real key to understanding Helen and why she is there is to understand the meaning behind the name Cas. After all, the people of Osea believe so much in the symbols of English and Celtic lore. In English, the name, short for Cassandra, means "prophetess," the one who can speak on the behalf of a divine being. If Sam is their father, she might be the mother they need to bring Osea back from the brink. Let's hope she won't have to give her life to do so.