Channel 5’s Compulsion ending, explained — Who is Sasha?

Channel 5's Compulsion

Produced by Channel 5, Compulsion is set to be an eye-opener about the adverse effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The story follows the life of Jenny Challoner (Leanne Best), a mother and paramedic who had been in a train accident. Her life starts to go south after she develops a gambling addiction. However, she gets help from a mysterious lady called Sasha (Anna Chancellor) who gives a helping hand. 

Over four 40 minute episodes, the viewer sees many subplots and twists and the people Jenny trusted are not who she thought they were, leaving much to ponder about who Sasha really is.    

Caution: Spoilers ahead

  • The series reveals how PTSD can affect everyday life.
  • The strong friendship Jenny had with Ali was able to guide her through tough times.
  • Sasha fails to grieve for her sister in a positive way which leads her to take revenge on Jenny.

Jenny gets help from a stranger while having a panic attack

The series starts with Jenny getting a panic attack on the train. An unknown stranger called Sasha Santoro helps her to calm down. They start to bond, and Jenny reveals that she was a survivor of Kingsgate; a train accident that killed many people. She also opens up about her gambling addiction by telling her she owes £10,000 to a loan shark. Sasha tells about her sister Tara who had passed away from a drug overdose. 

Jenny wanted to pay the loan back through the compensation she was due to receive, but she gets a letter saying the compensation will be delayed. Sasha suggests Jenny steal drugs from the ambulance and sell it on the black market as a way to settle the debt. 

Chris discovers Jenny’s gambling addiction

At home, Jenny starts gambling again and gets on a very good streak, winning £4500, but loses in the next round. She takes her frustration off her daughter Rosie (Amaya Faizy) and keeps playing. Later when her husband Chris (Danny Ashok) arrives, he sees their daughter fallen down the pantry with glasses lying around her. Chris discovers her addiction and Jenny tells Chris about everything except her loan. Worried that Jenny will lose money again, Chris takes her smartphone and bank cards. 

Sasha and Jenny meet with Connie, the loan shark. She wants £9,000 more than the borrowed amount as interest and She also threatens Jenny about Rosie’s life is in danger if the payment is not made. Unable to pay her back on time, a reluctant Jenny agrees with Sasha’s suggestion to steal drugs from the paramedic station.

Jenny moves out of the house while a co-worker blackmails her

Jenny comes home to see Chris and her best friend Ali (Krissi Bohn) hugging each other, raising some suspicions about them. Ali reveals her house had been burgled and she thinks that Sasha is the culprit although Jenny doesn’t believe anything she says. 

Meanwhile, Chris finds out about Jenny’s secret stash of drug money and thinks that Jenny is gambling again. Chris wants to know where the money came from, but Jenny doesn’t reveal anything. Jenny also confronts Chris about Ali, but he doesn’t give a straight answer. They have a big argument and Jenny moves out of the house to live with Sasha.

Her suspicions of an affair between Chris and Ali get stronger when Chris removes her from the parents list at Rosie’s school. She also sees Chris and Ali together and Sasha manipulates Jenny to think that they are having an affair. 

At work, Jenny’s co-worker Raj (Ben Tavassoli) confronts her about the missing drugs and shows a video of her stealing. He wants her to withdraw the application for the position of an advanced paramedic. 

The compensation arrives in Sasha’s bank account, and she disappears

Sasha gives Jenny joint ownership of Sasha’s business account and convinces Jenny to use the bank card to deposit her drug money. Fearing that Chris wouldn’t share Jenny’s commission as it is a joint account, she informs her solicitor to send the commission to Sasha’s business account. 

The next day, her solicitor gets a letter saying the compensation for the train accident has gone through. Jenny is about to receive £280,000. Ali arrives to pick Jenny up at Sasha’s house and they both realize that she has vanished. Jenny breaks the vase that held the ashes of Sasha’s sisters, only to see there are no ashes but a picture of Sasha and her sister.

Ali shows Jenny CCTV footage of Sasha entering her house and taking her diary. She also informs Jenny that Sasha’s real name is Sasha James, not Sasha Santoro. Sasha had lied to Jenny about Tara who had also died at Kingsgate, the same crash that Jenny was in. 

Jenny confronts Sasha

Jenny finally tells Chris the truth about her loan and how Sasha had disappeared with all their money. A desperate Jenny offers Connie £40,000 to locate Sasha. 

Meanwhile, at work, Raj wants Jenny to talk about her thefts to the chief paramedic, but she doesn’t. During an emotional outburst, she tells Raj about her gambling addiction and talks about how she uses gambling as a reprieve for Kingsgate. Raj tries to console her and stops blackmailing Jenny. 

Later in the day, Jenny meets Sasha at Connie’s office. Sasha thinks that Jenny failed to save Tara in the accident, but Jenny reveals through a flashback that Tara was the one who had told Jenny to go and save the other passengers. Jenny wakes up to a text from Sasha with a screenshot of a bank transfer of £280,000.

“It was never about the money, it was about Tara,” says Sasha in a voice message. She also has left all of the drugs Jenny stole from the paramedic stockroom, so she can put them all back before the audit. 

She also gets the diary and reveals Ali had written that she had wished Jenny had died in the crash. They all make amends and forgive each other. The ending sees Jenny and Raj going about their duties in an ambulance.  

This melodramatic season with its many plots and twists failed to deliver the end with a fairy-tale ending that distanced the series from reality. However, the season creates a timely conversation about mental health and the effects of depression.