Alison Wilson continues the search to figure out who her husband was in the conclusion of Mrs. Wilson.
Mrs. McKelvie: He's a crook and a liar. I don't believe a single word he says.
When we last left off in Mrs. Wilson, Alison (Ruth Wilson) discovered that her work to hide her husband's lies from the boys has failed, and both Gordon and Nigel move out, enraged that she's keeping secrets she doesn't truly understand herself. This week opens with a flashback to a time when Alec was imprisoned during the War, back in '44, as part of what he claimed was an undercover job. Alison left him during that period, desperate for something, anything, that would help her to feed her kids, to pay the rent, and to live a decent life. She went home to her mother's, but it didn't stick. Alec convinced her to come home, despite her mother's urging to not go back to him.
Back in the present day, Alison confesses to her elder son Gordon that she was lying, but she insists not everything about their dad's life was false. Gordon in return reveals he'd seen his dad working at the hospital as a porter once, a job she never knew he had. Are there answers anywhere? Maybe there are. Her search of Alec's wallet turns up a card for Urquhart's Pawnbrokers, and hidden on the back of the card is a phone number in invisible ink, though there's no answer when called.
Alison finds herself turning to the Church more and more as she runs up against these walls, looking to her priest (Ian McElhinney) for answers without explaining precisely what her questions are. She finally tracks down one of the well-wishers from her husband's the funeral, Bert (Joseph Mydell) the man from the hospital. According to him, Alec had worked there for years and years, mostly to meet with "an old lady" whose description fits Coleman perfectly. Alison loses it at Coleman with this news. Coleman tells her to please walk away and live in peace. But Alison won't and, in a way, she can't. At this point, she has to know the truth.
Coleman drops a bomb. Remember the first significant "undercover" story Alec told, in 1942, when he claimed, "they're going to fire me, it's all undercover stuff, I will be sent to Egypt, I can't tell you more than that"? All of that was a lie.
In truth, Alec was fired from Secret Intelligence Service in 1942, for embellishing and spinning up spy nonsense about Egyptian spy rings. He was arrested for fraud, and then again in 1944 for theft. Everything he told her in the jail cell was a lie; he was in jail for precisely the reasons given. There was no undercover work. His visits with Coleman for all those years at the hospital were surveillance, as he was deemed a danger to the government. He worked as a porter in the hospital because as a man with a rap sheet like his, it was all the work he could get.
In her gut, Alison knows this is the truth. However, she doesn't give up, trying the number on the card once more, only to discover Alec's other handler, Karim, on the other end. He tells her a slightly different tale. Alec was sacked in 1942, that much is true. However, Alec wasn't fired for embellishing, but for telling the truth. Forces within MI-5, pro-fascist people who wanted to ally the U.K. with Russia and Stalin, set him up. As Karim notes, Alec didn't help himself, with the many wives and the exaggerations about his background. He was a known fabulist and an easy mark.
On the one hand, this confirms most of Coleman's story. Alec lied about his background, his schooling, about Blakefield. (Turns out he had convalesced there during the first world war as a teen and had fallen in love with writing.) He lied about having a job in the Foreign Office for decades, as cover for his trips to his other family, and he lied about why he was fired and jailed, both times. However, there are no records of either of his convictions. It's as if the government realized they'd destroyed him based on falsehoods, and have spent 20 years covering it up. Now that's a story Alison can believe...
...until she gets home, and a little eight-year-old boy named Douglas shows up at her door, with another Mrs. Wilson, Elizabeth, in tow, looking for her husband, Dr. Alexander Wilson. To the very end of his life, Alec was still lying, still marrying, balancing three families at once, even recycling names. Douglas, after all, was the name of his oldest son with the very first Mrs. Wilson.
In the end, Alison does find peace. When viewers see her again, she's joined a nunnery, burying herself in God's love. While some of tonight's story was made up, this part is true. According to the end credits, Alison joined a convent in 1967, a few years after her husband passed in 1963. She died in 2005, but not before publishing her memoirs, which was when the family, including Ruth who is Nigel's daughter, first found out that there were two Mrs. Wilsons. In 2007, all four Wilson families found each other for the first time.
The story ends with a real Wilson family portrait, featuring generations upon generations, including the now aged elder and younger Douglases and Alison's two sons Gordon and Nigel. It's 45 Wilsons strong, with another clearly on the way. Ruth is visible in the back row as part of the grandchild generation. The family is pushing the Foreign Office for Alexander's file, but as of the program's airing this past November, it still hasn't been released.