Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House
Season 1, Episode 7: “Eulogy”
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Written by Charise Castro Smith
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Two Storms” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Witness Marks” – click here
Younger Hugh (Henry Thomas) sat in an interrogation room, his eyes looking strange, haunted. The police needed to “go over a few things,” given the whole incident at Hill House was strange. Sheriff Beckley (Keith Arthur Bolden) went over his statement again, wanting to get everything just right before he left. Hugh wasn’t under arrest. They were only talking. But Olivia (Carla Gugino) was dead, on the medical examiner’s slab for an autopsy. And there was another corpse, too. Things weren’t looking good for Mr. Crain. Not to mention his traumatised kids were waiting in a motel room.
In current day, Hugh talks to his wife as if she’s right there with him. He asks her advice on ties as he prepares for the funeral of his daughter Nell (Victoria Pedretti). He goes to Shirley’s (Elizabeth Reaser) place, getting to know his grandchildren while their mother talks angrily on the phone. Kevin (Anthony Ruivivar) is there, slinking around the periphery after what he’s done and he doesn’t argue with his wife when she orders him around on business.
Early in the Crain family days at Hill House, Hugh surveyed storm damage with Horace Dudley (Robert Longstreet). The place was near destroyed. Steven (Paxton Singleton) noticed a wall weak from water damage, indicating it was worse than they imagined. The storm couldn’t have caused that much damage, meaning there must have been burst pipes. They took a look inside the wall after knocking out a hole. Hugh took a Polaroid to survey the “black mould.” He and Mr. Dudley heard a scratching noise, like something was inside the wall. Rats? Or something more sinister? Hugh looks at the Polaroid and the mould is in the shape of what could be a child.
Prior to the funeral, Hugh goes to see Theo (Kate Siegel). They chat about Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) a little, before the conversation turns to dad concerned about his daughter. She tells him how she “fucked up” big time last night— “even by Crain standards.” She also alleviates some of his guilt for how things have been between them. And Olivia’s there, watching over them.
Everyone gathers at the funeral, including Steven’s (Michiel Huisman) estranged wife Leigh (Samantha Sloyan). Luke is fighting through his addiction struggles quietly and Theo’s in a battle with her hangover. Theo gets pissed off when her booty call Trish (Levy Tran) turns up, then she feels bad— it’s a mess. We also hear how Olivia guessed Theo was lesbian back when she was eight years old, before any of them ever knew. Afterwards, Aunt Janet (Elizabeth Becka) arrives, and there’s tension between her and Hugh, yet the Crain kids are happy to have her, especially Luke, who grabs hold of her like a flotation device.
In the basement of Hill House, Hugh looked at master plans for the structure. He thought “that Red Room upstairs” was the source of the leaking water causing all the problems. When he looked over the plans he was troubled.
“That is the smell of ruin”
At the funeral, Shirley gives a eulogy for her sister while her family and friends listen. She reads a poem called “She Is Just Away” by James Whitcomb Riley. After she finishes Luke gets up to reminisce about his twin sister and her vivid personality. Nell was a rock for Luke: “She was always my big sister.”
In the basement, Mr. Dudley suggested to Hugh maybe Olivia needed to get away from Hill House a while. He mentioned his mother was kitchen staff there, and he was born on the property in the guest house. His mother didn’t like the place, deteriorating psychologically over the years and becoming “scattered.” He said his wife Clara (Annabeth Gish) got pregnant, they were married on the grounds, but the baby was stillborn. Clara got terrified one night when she heard a baby crying all over the mansion, scaring her into the woods. Horace heard it himself, believing it was their stillborn baby. This is the reason the Dudleys never stay “a minute after dark.”
Obviously we know Hugh didn’t heed this warning. He started looking through his wife’s office, finding the blueprints she gave him were definitely not the proper ones. Some time later, he and Steven were trying to air out the basement with fans, and he cut his hand bad after staring at the child-shaped stain on the wall. This prompted him to rage at the Red Door, prying at it with tools to try opening it and nothing worked.
At the cemetery, the Crains throw handfuls of dirt on Nell’s casket, and everyone mourns her one last time before she goes underground. Luke sees dead Nell, the Bent-Neck Lady, hovering above the grave, and his dead mother tries hauling him down below the casket with her. Steven gets upset with him, calling him a “crazy person” and acting like he didn’t see his dead sister in his apartment just days ago. Father Gore’s curious: why do the kids see mom as a ghostly entity whereas their dad sees her like she was? Is it because of their uncertainty? Is it because Hugh has the closure of knowing what actually happened to his wife?
Hugh woke up one night to Olivia sitting on top of him, in a sleepwalk trance, holding a screwdriver to his throat. He was able to wake her, and she was frightened by where she found herself. She said she was having a nightmare, then denied she was even putting the screwdriver to his throat. He urged her to look at the master blueprint she drew. He couldn’t make sense of the shapes she drew on it, eventually figuring out it was the map of their “forever house” she repeatedly scrawled over Hill House. Maybe she was overworked. We know the truth, though.
After the burial, Hugh reveals to Luke he talks to his wife every day. He tries helping his son with the supernatural. Luke throws back one dad’s old quotes about “big boys,” something Hugh told him as a kid to conceal the reality of Hill House— one of many lies he told to his family, for one reason or another.
In the basement, Hugh broke through the brick wall where he was continually hearing the scratching sounds. He assumed it was rats, until he found a dead body. He called the Sheriff, who brought a forensic team. This is the corpse we saw flashes of in a previous episode, when young Theo (Mckenna Grace) touched her dad’s arm. It was William Hill himself, who disappeared long ago. Strangely enough, it looked like he put himself there willingly, holding the tools necessary in his skeletal hands.
Post reception, Hugh realises Luke stole Shirley’s credit card and Theo’s card. He didn’t want it to be true, noticing earlier. He didn’t say anything. The siblings figure it out, as dad tells them what he saw. Nobody knows where their brother went. Theo and her dad notice a trail of dirt stains across the floor into the funeral home office. They follow it to where the model forever home is smashed on the floor. In the dark, they hear a croaking noise. Father and daughter see a dead Olivia crawl towards them on the floor, before the apparition disappears. Neither of them can explain to an angry Shirley what happened.
Skip back to that interrogation room. Hugh told the Sheriff the “housed killed” his wife. Of course that didn’t go over well. The timeline didn’t match up for police, considering Hugh waited a whole three hours to call them. The Red Room comes up. Hugh won’t say what he saw up there. One thing’s for sure: he went inside, after seeing the door ajar.
Creepy, creepy episode. Some people say they have problems with the non-linear storytelling. Understandable to a degree. However, if you pay close attention instead of flicking on your phone or whatever else you may be doing, the timeline is very clear. Again, a great chapter. “Witness Marks” is next.