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The Fall of the House of Usher: Murder in the Rue Morgue

"Ushers don't make stuff."

There were a couple of lines in the running for the quote here, but this one really sums up the issue with the Ushers at their core. They don't make anything, They only destroy it.

Of course, my two favorite characters are the first two to die. We were told the death order from the very start, so I can't say that I wasn't warned, but it is still a little disappointing. I'm going to miss Camille's sharpness and one-liners.

Camille's color was white. It's a very clinical color. Very cold. There is a crispness to white that matches the sharpness in which she deals with everyone around her. You could even make an association between white being the most reflective color and her speech about being trapped in a room of mirrors.

And what an insightful speech it was. It's a very classical Flanagan monologue, and it's no surprise that Kate Siegel got it. She always does them very well. It spoke to a very sad existence, though. Camille didn't get to choose her own life. Not if we take what she said at face value. It was a job that Roderick chose for her, even if she was excellent at it.

The way that she pulled together an entire campaign utilizing different family member's strengths was very impressive. I love to watch the siblings' faces whenever they're together. Her sisters looked at Camille with impressed respect, or at least acknowledgment of her skills, whereas Leo looked almost disgusted by it all. But at the same time, Camille and Leo have at least a decent relationship with each other. They sat next to each other at the family dinner (any they weren't just sat in age order), and their conversation in Leo's apartment had a kind of ease to it that spoke of mutual like and comfort.

It's a very different dynamic than the one that she has with Vic. I'm admittedly a little disappointed in the reveal of why exactly Camille detests her so much. I was hoping for a concrete event, something tangible. The idea that Camille envies the idea that Vic is better at faking humanity is a good one, but I feel like it wasn't explored well enough. Maybe because Camille never seemed to want to hide who she really was. For something that drove Camille so relentlessly, to the point of killing her, I was hoping for more.

Verna continued to give warnings, which continues to be one of the most intriguing things about her. She gives warnings for the Ushers to turn back even as she gives nudges in order for the deaths to occur. What is she? Asking if she is good or bad feels too reductive at this point, not to mention that there might be some debate over whether or not killing such awful people is really a bad thing.

She had a particularly interesting line towards the end, though, when she told Camille that her death could have happened quietly and peacefully in her bed. It immediately brings up a question of 'When?' Was Verna referring to Camille dying of old age in her sleep, or was she always doomed to die tonight and it was only a matter of how it happened? At the very least, it depersonalizes the deaths, and makes me wonder if Verna is actually Death. She obviously can shapeshift. That brief glimpse of her as the chimp in Camille's camera was a subtle, scary touch.

I wish that we got a better look at the carnage, but maybe that'll come next episode. Last time, I was a little disappointed at how we only really saw the gore in a strobe effect, but here we got to see it in all of its HD glory. Seriously, having Perry's body up on the multiple TVs was awesome and gross in equal measures. As was everything involving Morelle.

Oh, poor Morelle. I thought that she died like all the others, but no. She survived, albeit without any skin. Hearing and seeing her tear at her bandages made me cringe and I actually had to look away from the screen. I don't have a good feeling about this. I can't imagine Frederick reacting well when he finds out why his wife got caught up in Perry's orgy. Assuming that he isn't consumed with guilt considering the fact that he was the only reason why that building was still standing, of course. That would assume that Ushers can actually feel guilt.

Roderick doesn't. At least, I don't think that he does. It can be hard to tell sometimes. I think that he regrets his children's deaths. He grieves them. But despite framing all of this as a confession, I don't think that he actually feels guilty. Not with the speech he gives about lemons and lemonade. Now that was also a very, very classic Flanagan monologue, and gold acting stars to Bruce Greenwood for keeping me completely enthralled for over two minutes with no cuts. Dupin's face at the end says it all: the shock, the dawning realization of just who he was talking to. Even though he's known Roderick for 40+ years, he was still taken off guard by it.

We also started to set up future deaths. Next episode is "The Black Cat," so you knew that poor Pluto's days were limited. I could have done without seeing the gory aftermath (just seeing the blood smeared on the juice container was very effective), but at least it was fairly quick and we didn't actually see it happen on screen. It's almost a shame, because outside of that one moment, Leo largely comes off as the best human out of his generation of Ushers. Yes, he's a cheating drug addict, but those are largely human vices. It's a lot more accessible than whatever is going on with Tamerlane.

Verna inserting herself into Tammy and Bill's marriage was actually one of the sadder moments of the episode, mainly because of Bill. His face absolutely lit up when Verna asked about his day. It so clearly was something that his wife never asked him. Bill seems to be a genuinely good guy so far. Maybe a little bit of a himbo, but I loved that quick moment when he glanced at Tammy to double check that she was consenting to the situation with Verna. He very clearly cares about her, even if she can't quite reciprocate.

And finally, Vic encounters Verna as a potential heart patient to recruit into a medical trial that is absolutely not ready for human trials. Especially not after what happens to Camille. This is perhaps the most directly that Verna has nudged an Usher towards whatever fate will befall them. Tammy and Bill's arrangement is a longstanding thing. It's not new. Verna introducing herself to Vic adds a completely new element to her life that then pushes her to potentially act differently. It's a break in the pattern to largely let the Ushers act according to their natures.

Random Thoughts

The CGI chimps really weren't great at the end there.

Loved that Camille parked sideways in the handicap parking space at the lab.

The fact that Tina's name wasn't even Tina is both horrifying and hilarious.

I really want more Pym backstory. He's such a cipher. Normally, I can look at Poe's stories for hints, but I can't see how Pym relates to his namesake.

Lenore continues to be the far too obvious mole. It has to be someone else, right?

None of the Usher bastards found out until they were older. I wasn't expecting that. To be suddenly thrust into extreme privilege after 16+ years of normal life has to be mind boggling. No wonder they're all damaged. Not that the legitimate children are any better.

"Murder in the Rue Morgue" was the first modern detective story, and is also where we get Dupin from. He predates Sherlock Holmes by 46 years.
An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.


  1. Hi Fangirl!

    I'm diving in here with my first comment because I binged the first three episodes of this show while cross-stitching a Christmas ornament.

    I have never been able to get into Flanagan's stuff. Even the Dr. Sleep movie didn't quite work for me.

    For some reason, though (it might have been that I had a secondary task), this show is really working for me. I'm so impressed with the characterization, and I like the relatively slow build. The aggressively muted color palette and filters isn't my favorite part, but I can live with it.

    "Now that was also a very, very classic Flanagan monologue, and gold acting stars to Bruce Greenwood for keeping me completely enthralled for over two minutes with no cuts."

    Damn, that was two minutes? I didn't get bored at all, and I have the attention span of Dory these days.

    Once I finish binging this, which Flanagan show should I do next?

    1. Hi Josie!

      It was two minutes! One of his better monologues for sure.

      I'm a little torn on which to recommend you next. Midnight Mass is my favorite, but that's a (relatively) unpopular opinion. It deals heavily with addiction and faith, specifically the Catholic Church. As someone who grew up Catholic and has since moved away from the faith, it hit me very hard and was very effective because I recognized so much in it. People without that background have had more muted responses. (Still positive! But it definitely adds something.)

      The Haunting of Bly Manor is probably the furthest away from horror that we get. It's more of a love story than a ghost story, although there are plenty of ghosts and spooky moments, and deals with themes of love vs possession. At the time, that disappointed me? I suspect I'll have a much better opinion of it on a rewatch.

      The Haunting of Hill House was his first Netflix series and widely considered the best. I'm pretty sure I did a season long review of it when it came out. Deals very heavily with grief. Everyone is fabulous. You should probably do this one next.

      Although, honestly, I would recommend trying all three at some point? The only one that I don't often recommend people is Midnight Club. It never did much for me.

  2. I liked the way this episode explored the family dynamics. It makes a lot of sense that there would be friction between the legitimate children and the bastards, especially given that the bastards joined the family so late in life. It's not surprising they weren't that attached to Prospero, since they hadn't grown up with them. The fact that Leo seems to be the only genuinely mourning his siblings goes a long way toward making him the most likeable of the Ushers.

    I was surprised that Verna showed up on the security tape. I find it hard to believe she's a real person. It's weird that the bar staff don't remember her though and it's only the Ushers that seem to.

    Re Lenore as informant. It seems possible, but does she know enough? I don't think the obviousness of it is necessarily an issue for this show, since it telegraphs where it's going pretty clearly with the episode titles. Curious how she becomes the "lost" Lenore, since she wasn't mentioned as one of the deceased Ushers--though maybe if she's the important she's lost to the family. If there really is an informant and it's not a bluff...

    Vic is better at faking humanity than Camille. She seemed relatively likeable until this episode.

    It wasn't quite clear to me why Morelle went to the party at all, as she didn't seem to be enjoying herself. At first I thought maybe she'd gone to spy on Perry for Frederick but that doesn't seem in character.


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