Escape at Dannemora season 1 finale recap: Part 7


The jarring 90-minute season 1 finale of Escape at Dannemora follows Matt and David to the bitter end.

Escape at Dannemora has been one hell of a ride, and the season has presented a story many of us did not know much about. Perhaps the crazier thing is that it’s not something that happened decades ago, rather it was a mere four years ago that these events unfolded in real life. Ben Stiller gave us a very unexpected drama series, and the season 1 finale ended on a very dramatic note (one that many of you may know about).

Still, on the run, David and Matt are out lost in the woods as they are inching their way towards Canada. There’s a strong disconnect between how seriously David is taking this over Matt. David is determined and doing what he can to get to a safe place. Matt, on the other hand, is screwing around and holding them back in a detrimental way.

Meanwhile, back at the prison, things are in an uproar as the manhunt and investigation into the escape begin. The authorities are just as shocked to find just how David and Matt their way out, and to be honest, so am I. With the help of all the supplies Tilly provided, David made it happen, but everyone is in disbelief over how.

It becomes clear that this escape is a much bigger deal than they anticipated, the Inspector General is brought in by the Governor of New York. She is to conduct the investigation and get to the bottom of how and why it happened. It’s safe to assume that Tilly is freaking out at this point, and if you watch Patricia Arquette’s subtle nuances, she displays this discomfort perfectly.

Credit: Showtime

After failing to show up David and Matt the night of the escape, she wound up in the hospital with a panic attack. She is eventually sent home with Lyle as they notice choppers flying around in the sky. Lyle may not know what’s going on, but Tilly is–and she is on edge. After arriving at home, Tilly and Lyle are greeted with a detective who is inquiring about David and Matt. Any leads will help and since Tilly worked with both of them, they were hoping to get her help. If only they knew.

And while no one is suspecting Tilly just yet, Lyle is concerned about the drawing that Matt made for her. He wants her to report it to the authorities but naturally, she’s completely against it. Lyle thinks that because Matt’s fingerprints are on it, that it might help. Oh, silly Lyle, Matt is an inmate, they already have his fingerprints.

Tilly does eventually tell the detective about the painting that Matt made for her. But at that moment it seems like she’s thinking about coming clean. It’s interesting because Tilly isn’t the only conflicted individual in Escape at Dannemora. If you recall, CO Gene Palmer had become very close to Matt, but given how everything played out, he’s lost and confused. It’s to the point that he burns all the drawings and paintings Matt ever made for him.

David and Matt stumble upon an abandoned cabin in the woods which seems to be stocked with food and supplies. While David does not intend on staying there too long, Matt has made himself right at home. It comes as no surprise how all of this plays out at the end–just saying. During interrogations, Gene tells the Inspector General about the meat that he brought in for Tilly to give to Matt.

This is very curious to anyone and it certainly puts a spotlight on Tilly. But it seems like is dead set on doing that herself because she visits the authorities multiple times to confess to her part in David and Matt escaping. Lyle, however, has no idea and is surprised to see the police show up to arrest Tilly. Talk about awkward.

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Matt and David have a slight scare when someone shows up at the cabin and they barely make their escape out of there. Tilly, on the other hand, is waiting for Kenny Jr. and Lyle to help make bail so she can get out, but no one is supporting them and they simply can’t afford to make it happen. That’s definitely got to hurt.

Matt continues to make stupid decisions while he and David are on the run, and this one takes the lead. While walking, they overhear cops nearby and David suggests killing them and stealing their car to run away.

Did he repeat that to himself to realize how ridiculous he sounds? David isn’t sticking around to find out what happens and he makes a run for it–and never looks back.

It’s the last time David and Matt will ever see each other, but we’ll get to that in a bit. With David gone, Matt is on his own and let’s just say it’s not the best way for him to be. He ventures out to the main street and basically puts himself in one too many situations that are likely to expose him. While walking around, Matt stumbles upon an abandoned trailer which he hides out in for a few days or so.

Using the shotgun he found in the cabin, Matt hides out next to the main road. His plan is to shoot down a car and steal it to make his getaway. Let’s just this plans backfires in the worst of ways. He shoots at a truck and when the man pulls over, Matt accidentally fires another shot alerting the man to someone hiding in the woods. By the next morning, that area is swarming with authorities looking for where the shot came from.

Matt doesn’t try too hard to remain hidden, and before we know it, he is filled with bullets from all the men in the woods. R.I.P. Matt–you probably could have survived. Later that night, David learns of Matt’s fate over the radio and finds out the manhunt is getting bigger and more relentless for him. It’s weird because you somehow start to feel bad for David and kind of want him to be successful at this point.

Credit: Showtime

But alas, that was not how things turned out. The next morning, just yards away from the Canadian border, David is found and arrested by a police officer that stumbles upon him by accident. Tilly’s fate is turning out to be crappy as well considering she may get up to 7 years in prison, but somehow Lyle continues to be by her side. Side note: He knows she cheated on him and he is over it.

The final shot of the Escape at Dannemora season one finale is very spooky and frightening if you ask me. It’s focused on Tilly from the outside of the room she’s in as she looks out lost, confused, and defeated. Bravo to Arquette for killing it in this role, it was truly a feat and she was absolutely amazing. Now, let’s talk about the “where are they now” and “what actually happened to them” facts, shall we?

Escape at Dannemora season 1, episode 6 recap: Part 6. dark. Next

Tilly went on to plead guilty to a felony charge of promoting prison contraband and was denied parole at her first hearing. On the other hand, Gene Palmer pleaded guilty as well but denied knowing anything about the escape. He was sentenced to six months in prison but only served three, eventually moving away. Lyle, the ever-loyal husband, is waiting for Tilly’s return home–talk about commitment!

And last but not least, David was sent to a correctional facility in Buffalo and is under 24-hour surveillance–in solitary confinement. Matt’s body was eventually collected by his kids and the Escape at Dannemora finale closes out with some of the drawings he sent to his daughter before escaping from prison. Kudos to Ben Stiller–we definitely did not see this series coming.

Catch season 1 of Escape at Dannemora on Showtime!