Sins of Our Mother review: Powerful docuseries keeps you hooked

Netflix’s true-crime docuseries, Sins of Our Mother, focuses on the disappearance of sixteen-year-old Tylee Ashlyn Ryan and her seven-year-old sibling Joshua Jaxon “J. J.” Vallow in September 2019. They were later found to have been murdered in June 2020 in Rexburg, Idaho by their mother Lori Vallow and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell.


Sins of Our Mother explores the marriages of Lori Vallow (born Lori Norene Cox) as it kickstarts by describing her family history.

She had three children, Colby Ryan and Tylee Ashlyn Ryan from her second and third marriage respectively, and an adopted son Joshua Jaxon “J. J.” Vallow, who was her fourth husband, Charles Vallow’s grand nephew.

She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and was strongly inclined towards its apocalyptic beliefs.

She eventually met a man named Chad Guy Daybell who further influenced her mind towards the thought that they had been given the responsibility to lead humanity after an impending apocalypse.

This pursuit led to the destruction her entire family, including the deaths of Tylee and JJ.


Sins of Our Mother tackles a familiar topic of convoluted faith-influenced crimes but does so in a holistic manner.

There are interviews from family members, investigating authorities, friends, journalists, psychologists and more which help in understanding this complex story from multiple yet welcome perspectives.

The docuseries even presents recorded evidence like phone calls, text messages, CCTV footage etc to make the narrative extremely engaging and chilling.

One after the other, the developments in Lori Vallow’s story drop like bombs. To witness her transition from a loving mother to a nearly psychotic woman is horrifying yet effective.

Furthermore, this being an ongoing case makes it even more relevant for the audience.

Director Skye Borgman cleverly uses Vallow’s eldest son Colby Ryan as the lens for the narrative which makes you sympathise with and respect the family for dealing with the trauma of such a tragedy.


There is the obvious problem of Netflix crime documentaries feeling a bit too dramatic for their own good and Sins of Our Mother slightly suffers from it as well.

Three episodes don’t do justice to the detail heavy and timeline sensitive story of this case. If you do not pay attention to every frame, it is easy to miss information as the narrative moves at lightning fast pace.

Which is surprising because it starts off quite slow. The series would have felt more consistent in its pace if it was spread out into five or six equal length episodes.


Sins of Our Mother is an important docuseries that provides an in-depth dive into one of the most horrifying crimes in recent years. Lori Vallow’s case is intriguing, shocking, heartbreaking and deserves a watch. Despite its slightly troublesome pacing, it is bound to keep you hooked till the end.

Sins of Our Mother
Sins of Our Mother review: Powerful docuseries keeps you hooked 1

Director: Skye Borgman

Date Created: 2022-09-14 23:38

Editor's Rating:

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