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‘The Burning Girls’ Recap & Ending Explained: What Did Jack’s Nightmares Mean?

Directed by Charles Martin, The Burning Girls revolves around several secrets in the small village of Chapel Croft. The ominous fates of many people in the village and the secrets behind them get unveiled through various courses of events. The wonderful cast of the series includes Samantha Morton, Conrad Khan, Ruby Stokes, David Dawson, Rupert Graves, and others. The six-part horror-suspense thriller has elements of social injustice, the supernatural, mystery, action, and a lot more. There are, however, several inferences from other series and films, including Carrie, Burn the Witch, Witch Hunt, and others. Will the mysteries of the several deaths around the village be resolved? What twists and turns are yet to be uncovered? Let us see!

Spoilers Ahead


What Happens With Jacqueline After She Came To Chapel Croft?

The Burning Girls brings out the strange events that happen with Jacqueline, also known as Jack, the new vicar at Chapel Croft, and her daughter Florence after coming from Nottingham. Jack comes across stories of how the previous vicar, Reverend Fletcher, hung himself in the church. She also gets to know from Reverend Rushton and his wife Clara about how popular the Harper family was in the area. She was told by Joan, another resident of the village, about the legend of the two Burning spirits that were often seen in the chapel and that something ominous would befall anyone who saw them. It was not long before Jack saw the spirits, and they started haunting her in her dreams. It seemed as if they were asking for Jack’s help in finding salvation after their deaths. The moment Jack meets Simon Harper, a wealthy trustee of the church, she knows that there is something wrong with him. She starts digging into the death of Reverend Fletcher, and a lot of new secrets are unveiled.


What Did Jack’s Nightmares Mean?

After coming to Chapel Croft, Jack visualized the spirits of the two Burning Girls, and after that, she started getting nightmares. She feared so much about the safety of her daughter that she dreamt that she was being crucified by Wrigley. She was concerned about the safety of her daughter whenever Wrigley was around. Later, Jack’s motherly instincts are proven to be right when the murderous instincts of Wrigley are revealed. Both Jack and Flo also have constant visions of the burning girls in their dreams, and the visions were supposed to be the harbingers of something ominous. However, the spirits were later revealed to be not evil but seeking help to reveal their truths that had been buried for centuries by the Harper Family. 

Jack finds Abigail and Maggie’s dead bodies in the chapel vault. The vault was supposedly the family graveyard of the Harpers, and they were all buried there, as they were considered to be martyrs by the villagers. One day, after Florence gets a vision of the burning girls in the chapel, her feet get stuck in a dent on the floor. After saving Florence, Jack further digs into the dent to find the obituary. The two burning girls tap on a particular coffin to give her a message. On opening the coffin, the skeletons of Maggie and Abigail are revealed. Jack also stumbles across the body of Benjamin Grady, which further reveals deeper secrets about the family. The spirits of the burning girls had helped Jack uncover the secrets of the Harper family.


What Was The Secret Of The Burning Girls?

One scene in The Burning Girls focuses on a past event that occurred in the village. Two girls, Maggie and Abigail, were burned to ashes by the villagers, who blamed them for being witches. Jacqueline finds various documents, proving that the Harper family was involved in the murders. She finds out that the family had gained their riches hundreds of years ago from the king by providing them with information about the hiding space of the two girls. The two girls were burned to death by the villagers and buried inside the chapel vault. While Jack stumbles upon an opening on the floor, inside the chapel, she finds a tunnel to the vault where all the bodies of the Harper family were kept and were revered as martyrs. On climbing down, the spirits of Maggie and Abigail guide Jack to their coffins, and Jack later calls the police, revealing the secrets of the Harper family to the villagers. She also finds out that Fletcher dug too deep into this matter, which was somehow responsible for his death as well, and that his death was not just a suicide. The wealth of the Harper family was built on the deaths of the two innocent girls, a fact that they were trying to hide. Surprisingly, another unidentified body was also found inside the vault, which was later discovered to be Benjamin Grady’s.


Who Was Benjamin Grady? Why Was He Murdered?

The story swings back in time, showcasing the lives of two rebellious girls from the village, Merrie and Joy. The handsome curate of that time, Benjamin Grady, had an intimate relationship with Joy and ended up impregnating her, and when she told him this, she got no aid from him. Joy later went to Merrie and told her about her problems, and being the best of friends, they decided to run away from the village. While waiting for Merrie to come, Joy was murdered by Clara. The hypocrisy of religious leaders like Grady is revealed through The Burning Girls series. The way he uses young women and takes advantage of their vulnerable situation denotes his perverted nature and how his manipulation has helped him get blind followers like Clara. There was a jealousy factor at play, as even Clara was in love with Grady. Clara had forever adored Grady and had also played a significant role in covering up his sins by hiding his body in the vault. She had done it so that the reason for his murder would not be revealed to the villagers, hence saving his dignity. On the other hand, the religious mother of Merrie thought that her outrageous daughter had been possessed by some evil spirit that was making her go out of hand and take drugs. She had called Grady to purge her daughter through exorcism. Grady had taken advantage of the situation and was raping Merrie constantly, behind closed doors.

Merrie asked for help from her brother, Jacob, who helped her murder Grady by stabbing him to death. A very concerned mother of Merrie called the current vicar of the time, Marsh, seeking his help in hiding the murder. It was later revealed that Marsh had decided to help cover the murder so that the wrongdoings of Grady did not come to the forefront, hampering the reputation of the church. Later, it is also revealed that Clara, the current wife of Rushton, also helped cover up the death of Benjamin by putting his body in the vault to cover up his deeds, as she always had a soft spot for him.


Why Did The Whole Village Hate Merrie And Joy?

Merrie and Joy were two 15-year girls who were resentful and did not like the religious confinement of society. They were rebellious and liked breaking free from the norms set by society. The religious dogmas were not relied upon much by the girls, resulting in Merrie burning the Bible. At her age, she did not know how to express her angst against society and ended up doing it, bringing out her anti-Christ instincts. These facts caused Joy and Merrie to become outcasts in society. Merrie had resorted to drugs to escape her delusional mother, and Joy had also gone astray and fallen in love with Grady, resulting in her getting impregnated. It is the reason why the villagers didn’t bother to search Merrie and Joy after the girls disappeared. When Joan was telling the story of Merrie and Joy to Jack, she said that the girls were not really angels. The liberated spirit of the girls made them outcasts and looked down upon due to the initial religious ethics of society. In the old days, there were a lot of social barriers that were put in place for women who were thought to be rebellious, and Joy and Merrie tried to break free from that barrier. It can be said that they were presented as the modern version of Maggie and Abigail, who were also free-spirited girls. Just as Maggie and Abigail had been burned after being accused of witchcraft, Joy and Merrie had also been made outcasts and were not thought of as a part of the society after acting extremely rebellious and not following the set rules. 


What Was Lucas Wrigley’s Real Motive?

Lucas Wrigley had come in disguise as a friend to Florence, Jack’s daughter. Despite warnings from Jack, Florence was very much into Wrigley. He had lied to her about his physical deformity to gain her sympathy because he had a hidden motive in his mind. Whenever he was around, Florence was always in trouble. While with Lucas, she was attacked twice by Rosie, Simon Harper’s daughter. Rosie’s behavior was primarily a result of the instigation from her father, Simon, who supported her in everything that she did. He was responsible for the eccentric behavior of his elder daughter. Later, when Jack goes to Lucas’ house, she finds his aunt, Saffron lying dead on the bed. Jack was also attacked by Lucas and taken hostage. Later, Florence is also taken hostage by Lucas and Rosie, revealing their true selves! He was actually Rosie’s lover, who had acted on her whims. Rosie was termed “evil” by her own mother. It is possible that the sadistic mindset of Rosie caused her to mentally torture her own sister Poppy at home. Rosie wanted Jack and Florence dead because they were probing into her familial issues. They also confess to killing Fletcher and making it look like an accident because he was also digging up the Harper family’s past. The clashes lead to the chapel being burnt down with Wrigley in it, and Rosie gets arrested on the revelation of the Fletcher murder case. However, later, Jack and Florence manage to escape the scene with the help of a vagrant, whose real identity is revealed later.


What Was Jacqueline Brooks’ Real Identity?

A mentally unstable vagrant is seen frantically searching for Jack all over Nottingham. He also commits quite a few murders in his quest for Jack all over the town. When he finally arrives at Chapel Croft, he visits the old house of Merrie, where he seems to be waiting eagerly for someone. We often see him noticing Jack and Florence from afar, but never harming them. Later, when Jack and Florence are attacked by Rosie and Wrigley, the vagrant also saves them, making us curious about his association with Jack and her daughter. We see Jack going to Merrie’s deserted house with a sandwich and water for the vagrant. It is then revealed that the vagrant was none other than Merrie’s brother, Jacob, and Jack was Merrie herself, who had returned to the village to unveil many secrets and avenge the death of her best friend, Joy.

Jacob had helped Merrie murder Grady because he had seen Merrie suffering from physical trauma every day. The main cause of their suffering was the orthodox beliefs of their mother. Because of their mothers’ religious fanaticism, both Jacob and Merrie displayed rebellious attitudes at such young ages. In the old days, there were a lot of social evils that the common people were unaware of, causing the preachers of religion to take advantage. They were both going through the same hell because of their mother. Initially, Jacob had decided not to help Merrie because he was too afraid of his mother. However, later, as he sees his sister suffering and getting raped, he musters up some courage and helps Merrie by killing Grady with the knife from his own exorcism toolkit.


Final Thoughts

The mini-series is full of innumerable secrets, and one twist after another keeps the audience glued to their seats. The elements of horror, thriller, and black magic make The Burning Girls one of a kind! Not a single dialogue can be missed, as every dialogue gives out new information. It is replete with elements of horror due to the ample show of dead animals and birds in almost every episode. The element of social injustice has also been portrayed, as it displays the concept of witch-hunting in the past. The way innocent lives were lost to the atrocities of society has been brought out. The element of death looms large in the series, as the secrets behind the deaths of many characters unfold. Despite having such a complicated plot, the director has managed to beautifully handle all the points, leaving no loopholes behind.


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‘The Burning Girls’ Recap & Ending Explained: What Did Jack’s Nightmares Mean?

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