Sunday, August 18, 2013. Anna tells Rachel that she’s not going anywhere with her. When Rachel asks when Tom will be back, Anna says she doesn’t know. What she does know is that Tom has taken his gym bag with him—and that he’ll likely soon discover the phone is missing from it. Rachel asks Anna if she’s ever met any of Tom’s army friends. She says she hasn’t—but that they’re part of “another life” of Tom’s.
Rachel has come here to help Anna see the things that she herself has only very recently come to understand. Rachel knows it will be hard to convince Anna that Tom isn’t the man she thought he was, as Tom seems to have manipulated Anna into accepting that the has “another life” outside of their family. But Rachel also knows that her, Anna’s, and Evie’s lives all hanging in the balance of what happens next.
Anna asks what Rachel is doing here, but Rachel that says Anna knows full well that something is going on. Rachel asks if Anna has ever met Tom’s parents. Anna says that they stopped talking to him when he divorced Rachel. Rachel shakes her head and says that isn’t true—she never met Tom’s parents, either. And if she never met them, they wouldn’t care if he left her. Anna says that she doesn’t believe Rachel—but a darkness begins to unfold in her mind.
Rachel is trying to expose the lies that Anna already knows are present—but Anna is resistant to having her picture-perfect marriage ripped apart. She has been so thoroughly gaslit and manipulated that it is nearly impossible for her to acknowledge Tom’s faults.
Rachel asks if Anna knows about Megan. Anna says that she knows Tom and Megan were having an affair—and that she doesn’t really care, because Megan is gone. Rachel suggests that Tom killed Megan, but Anna just hurries Evie inside to feed her a snack. Rachel stays outside, watching the trains go by. Soon, Anna rejoins her. The two of them begin going over the many lies Tom has told, small and large, over the years. Rachel asks Anna if she thinks that Megan’s baby was Tom’s. Anna doesn’t know what Rachel is talking about. Rachel tells Anna that Megan was pregnant when she died. Anna looks down at Evie, feeling a crushing sadness for Evie’s lost brother or sister. She begins to cry.
As Rachel begins exposing to Anna the full truth of what is going on, Anna slowly opens up to the realization that she’s married to someone who has done terrible things—not just to her, but to other women. Hawkins uses Anna and Rachel’s connection in this scene to show how painful, cathartic, and counterintuitive it can feel for women to resist what society demands of them and stand up firmly for what’s best for them as individuals.
Rachel gently suggests that Anna pack some things for herself and Evie and come stay with her. Anna says staunchly that she’s not leaving Tom over something as silly as an affair. Rachel says Anna must know there’s more to the picture. She tells Anna that she saw Tom with Megan the night of Megan’s disappearance. Anna says that she always knew that Tom was attracted to Megan—but she refuses to believe that he could have murdered her. She tells Rachel that she cannot accept that they could both love a man who would do such a thing. Rachel doesn’t respond. Her face has gone white and she is looking over Anna’s shoulder. When Anna turns around, she sees that Tom is at the window.
Rachel is on the verge of getting Anna to understand the magnitude of Tom’s actions. But when Tom returns to the house, his presence—and the male societal gaze he represents—threatens the newfound autonomy that both Rachel and Anna are seeking.