A Murder at the End of the World Chapter 2 Recap: “The Silver Doe”

Darby presses her ear to a door in A Murder at the End of the World
CR: Chris Saunders/FX

The following recap contains spoilers for A Murder at the End of the World Chapter 2, “The Silver Doe” (written by Brit Marling & Zal Batmanglij and Melanie Marnich & Rebecca Roanhorse, and directed by Zal Batmanglij).

I’d already inferred that Bill (Harris Dickinson) was dead at the end of Chapter 1, but it makes sense that Chapter 2 of A Murder at the End of the World opens with Darby (Emma Corrin) running for help. She gets Sian (Alice Braga), who administers CPR to no avail, but the more important thing is in how the cover story that Bill died from a self-administered overdose is already taking shape.

Andy (Clive Owen) is sympathetic, but basically ushers Darby away from the scene, and Eva (Britian Seibert) gives her some pills to help her sleep. And, after she trashes her room a bit, she does.

The next morning, Andy breaks the news to the group as a whole at breakfast, and they talk about calling off the retreat but decide not to. This is basically a submission to Andy’s will to keep the thing going despite the tragedy, even as the point he makes isn’t baseless. It would be throwing away the opportunity of this meeting of minds to go home in the wake of Bill’s death. I suppose the question is how much value there is to the retreat in the first place.

If the presentation Martin (Jermaine Fowler) gives us any indication, I would say: not much. He reveals that he has been working on his new film with the help of Ray (Edoardo Ballerini), and as much as Andy insists on calling Ray Alternative (as opposed to Artificial) Intelligence, this smacks of someone using ChatGPT or the like to write a film.

Martin’s argument—that Ray has seen and read everything—doesn’t land for me at all, and I’m not sure if A Murder at the End of the World intends to be endorsing it or simply employing it as a part of its setting.

I’m at risk of a rant here that would take me on a tangent, so I’ll leave it at this: When Martin asks Ray to write a new Harry Potter in the style of Ernest Hemingway, Ziba (Pegah Ferydoni) calls it a parlor trick, and I agree. Where I might go further than her is that I think the recited text is garbage.

Regardless, there is a question about the value of the retreat our characters are on, and even if words like “tech king” start making my skin crawl a bit at this point, Andy has said a number of things about saving the world from environmental catastrophe that make me want to believe he has good intentions. So mostly I have to chalk this up as an open question at this point.

Darby and Bill sit next to each other outside, wearing hats
CR: Lilja Jons/FX

The flashbacks in Chapter 2 fill in the development of the relationship between Bill and Darby around their investigation of Silver Doe, which does get dated in this episode as occurring around 2016 (per the dates on Darby’s Google search results).

Young Darby is suspicious of the fact that the earrings are the only thing found besides bones when this Jane Doe is discovered, even as the local cops brush her off and her father tells her that no ID means no justice. She can’t let it go, so she takes to an internet forum, where she meets Bill and starts talking to him on the regular.

Honestly, a lot of these details did little to answer the questions I had from Chapter 1, though they do show Darby’s perseverance in pursuing a case that offers very little in terms of leads, and which the world at large seems willing to just store away in a box that will never be opened again.

Mostly, the flashbacks in Chapter 2 serve to deepen the connection between Darby and Bill by showing how they came to be so connected in the past, and I guess that works even if past-Bill frankly strikes me as a tinge creepy. Is there a significant age difference here?

Regardless, I’m more interested in what happens later, and it seems like A Murder at the End of the World is setting up a structure where we’re going to find out, with these flashbacks playing out a story that offers some thematic parallels to what is happening in the present.

Bill stands in a room in front of a window
CR: Chris Saunders/FX

In the present, Darby sneaks into Bill’s room to find that the injection that killed him was on his right arm (which is weird, because he’s right-handed) and that there are no fingerprints on the syringe. She hides as Lee (Brit Marling) enters the room wearing gloves, looks at Bill’s corpse, and then rifles through his belongings.

Later, during Martin’s presentation, Darby and Lee chat about this, and it would seem that Darby isn’t thinking of Lee as a suspect. Lee tells Darby how the hotel’s cameras are all wireless, and that her favorite part of her book was the hacking of the garage door. So Darby goes off to hack the hotel’s cameras.

When she does, the doorbell camera outside of Bill’s room shows a figure in a white mask that makes Darby jump back in her seat.

We basically knew that Bill was murdered from the title of the show we’re watching, but this confirms it. Though, at the same time, we really don’t know who might be behind that mask.

More importantly, we don’t know why Bill was killed. He wanted to tell Darby something, but for some reason didn’t just do so when they were on their walk. He wanted her to come to his room.

So, what did he want to tell her, and why didn’t he just tell her when they were outside? Perhaps it also involved showing her something he had in his room, but he wasn’t very insistent. It more seemed like he was trying to get her into bed.

Two episodes in, A Murder at the End of the World has presented us with a number of questions, along with the broad question as to how these questions hang together. There are five episodes left, and I can’t wait to see where they take us.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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One Comment

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  1. I think Bill had something to *show* Darby back at his room; he couldn’t just tell her. Perhaps the same thing Lee was searching for. While I believe he knew his murder was impending (for reasons), it is interesting that he also told Darby there was no rush, they had all week. Maybe it was a surprise. To him, anyway..

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