Hulu’s Into the Dark
Season 1, Episode 2: “Flesh & Blood”
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Written by Louis Ackerman
* For a recap & review of Episode 1, “The Body” – click here
* For a recap & review of Episode 3, “Pooka” – click here
Henry (Dermot Mulroney), his wife Rose (Meredith Salenger), and their daughter Kimberly (Diana Silvers) are enjoying Thanksgiving. They were a happy family once. Clearly things have changed. Rose isn’t around anymore. Kimberly has to take medication regularly, not a fan of they make her feel. Looks like dad’s taking Propofol, too.
While dad goes to work his daughter’s at home online with the Agoraphobic Support Association. Here’s the definition of agoraphobia. We also see it’s Kimberly’s birthday, November 9th. Just going to the mailbox is difficult. There’s an expected package from her aunt on the stoop, so Kimberly crawls out to get it. She knocks it over onto the walkway, triggering a bout of severe anxiety, so she rushes back inside. Somebody knocks on the door bringing the package with them— her therapist, Dr. Saunders (Tembi Locke).
Kimberly and the doc sit for a session to talk about the loss of Rose. She’s got a wall up between her and the world, as she barricades herself in her house and her mind. Dr. Saunders says Kimberly needs someone else in her life other than her father, somebody real and present. When Henry’s home, he and his girl celebrate her birthday with cake.
Before bed that night, Kimberly expresses a concern to her father she feels Dr. Saunders might want to send her “away in a hospital.” Dad assures her that’s not the case, and he only wants her to start feeling better. Kimberly wakes up later hearing noise, as her dad’s in the attic, but she ignores it. Wonder what he does up there?
We hear more about Rose’s death— she was murdered and dumped “in a vacant lot” like trash. This is why the daughter’s finding life so incredibly difficult, not wanting to go out into the world again in case of the worst things in life happening to her, like they did to Rose. Dr. Saunders tells Henry his daughter isn’t doing well, worrying about the girl. She asks if Kimberly’s ever displayed “extreme behaviours,” such as aggression, violence towards herself or others, paranoid delusions.
Kimberly hears about a missing young woman named Sophie on the news. In a picture, the girl’s wearing the same necklace as Kimberly. Is dad out doing creepy shit while his daughter’s stuck at home? This sends Kimberly down the internet rabbit hole discovering a string of missing women. She snoops around her father’s room and sees more vials of Propofol— maybe used to subdue victims? There’s a scrapbook, too. Lots of eerie things to find in there. But soon, daddy’s home.
Could the cruel irony be Henry killed Rose, turning his daughter into an agoraphobic, locking her in the same house as the man she fears is an anonymous killer. Depraved!
“This house will turn from a sanctuary into a cell”
Thanksgiving arrives. When dad leaves the house it gives daughter time to poke around in the attic. She discovers a box full of assorted pieces of jewellery— some even stained with blood. This must be dad’s trophy box. She tries to leave the house. It isn’t long and the noises send her back inside again.
Kimberly confronts her father with the box of jewellery. He begins gaslighting his daughter into feeling “neurotic and paranoid.” She shows him the necklace and Sophie’s picture. He claims the jewellery box is full of stuff Rose picked up over the years as a flight attendant.
Kimberly finally starts wondering if dad killed mom, barricading herself in her room— this scene gives us a great visual homage to Jack Torrance trying to get at Wendy in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. She calls 911 while Henry uses a drill to open the door. Two officers come talk to the family. Of course Henry talks about the agoraphobia, painting Kimberly in a different light to the officers. Things clue up, leaving father and daughter alone once more.
Henry sees his daughter was snooping in his room after he notices things out of place. She’s creeping around without shoes on downstairs, and stabs a loose earring into her foot— one dad dropped earlier after coming home. Things are very tense. He talks about a fight he had with Rose the night she was killed. Kimberly pulls a knife and asks him “how many” women he’s killed. This prompts dad to tell her she was fighting with Rose that day, as well. When Henry moves towards his daughter he gets cut open, and she rushes through the door. He’s already prepared with his Propofol.
When Kimberly wakes up it’s Black Friday and she’s locked in her room. Dad heads off for the day. She remembers the hole in the ceiling she accidentally broke through in the attic. She gets up there, looking for a way out through the walls, only for dad to return. He knows she’s in the walls. After a short chat, it’s more Jack Torrance-like smashing, as Henry busts open the wall more. When a sledgehammer won’t work, it’s time for a reciprocating saw, and that thwarts her hopeful escape.
Dr. Saunders turns up for her session. Dad and daughter both sit together for this one. Kimberly offers to make tea, putting a HELP ME note under the doc’s cup, which only falls off. She brings up her mother and the man who murdered her. She uses this conversation to call dad “a monster” and “a coward.” Dad cuts things off, catching a glimpse of his daughter’s tiny note. The doc also sees the note, so Henry cuts her throat.
While Henry prepares to dismember the body, he rants at his daughter and blames her for the current situation. Things are getting nasty. That is, until dad passes out from the Propofol his daughter slipped in his tea before. Kimberly calls one of the cops from earlier, but soon Henry’s awake, fighting her. He proceeds to douse the place, and himself, in gasoline. She slashes him with a box cutter, running for the attic, and he lights the house on fire.
Henry follows Kimberly upstairs, only to tumble through the hole into her room where he’s locked inside. Then she watches him burn alive. The fire forces Kimberly to go outside for the first time in so long. And for the first time, outside doesn’t feel so scary— not as terrifying as living in the same house as the man who murdered her mother and a bunch of other women.
“Maybe he’s in a cocoon, too. Except he hides in his, where it’s dark, where no one can see him for what he really is.”
This episode is easily the best of the two(so far)! A twisted piece of dramatic horror with two excellent lead performances. Loved the moments of homage to The Shining.
Next month, “Pooka” comes to us for a festive time of year.