Flesh & Blood, Ep. 4: “Upstairs Downstairs”
Directed by Adam MacDonald
Written by Ian Carpenter
* For a recap & review of Ep. 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Ep. 5, click here.
O’Keefe and Christy have a drink together at night, talking about life, the latter expressing hope for her and Seamus’s marriage for the first time in ages. Aphra’s busy eating a wine cork and her mother stops her; O’Keefe sweetly offers to have a little sleepover with her and build a fort. Afterwards, Christy goes back to her room and Seamus is waiting for her, all strung up, just a torso with missing eyes. She screams and it alerts the rest of the house. She yells at the family, calling everybody “greedy bastards” and blaming this on them. And still, the family continues to go back to the game, playing more of Spencer’s pre-taped videos, listening to the old man rant. But Christy can’t take it anymore, smashing the TV. The video seemed to have suggested Spencer’s behind the murders. Florence won’t believe it, while the rest are convinced. She tries to place all this on Liv’s shoulders. Yet Grace and Birgit are suspicious of Florence. The entire family and extended family are divided amongst each other, even to the point of a division between genders.
Because, really, who can any of them trust? No one.
Flashback to Birgit after giving birth to Livid. She was visited by Spencer and given “two choices“: either raise the baby as her own and he’ll pay for education but “never recognise her as a Galloway,” or she can claim Liv’s a Galloway and Spencer will fire/destroy her then raise the baby within the family. A nasty old bourgeois prick.
Jump back to present day. Theo and Vincent are trying to take Uncle Seamus down from the bedroom wall. Pretty disgusting and disturbing job, especially when the body falls on top of Theo for a moment. Vincent doesn’t appear all that bothered. He claims it’s because the family he grew up in were hunters. Hmm. Theo’s missing his uncle, and he’s simultaneously trying to reconnect with his brother, who’s somewhat resistant.
The grisly death of Seamus is obviously having an effect on Aphra, and Christy tries to comfort her, as well as locks them in their room for the night to keep away from the Galloways. The mother’s determined to get away from the family and that house. Then there’s Liv, out in the wilderness of the island somewhere. She’s found a boat on the shore, trying to get it into the water. Someone’s watching her out there, too; yes, it’s our slasher, the plague doctor mask-wearing Gentleman. And he attacks Liv, who uses her military skills to fight him off. She’s able to get free and run back to the house, though it’s locked. She makes a run around the place and gets inside through a small basement window.
Only problem is the Gentleman can get through. He slices her a little but she gets the window shut; safe, for now. She yells at him through the window: “Who the fuck are you?” After that the Gentleman disappears, and Liv hears footsteps above the basement which make their way downstairs. Liv opens the door to see Vincent. He mentions “the passageways” around the house and in the basement. Could he be the killer? A little bit later Liv suggests exactly that to the family. Florence doesn’t like that and she even calls Birgit’s daughter “a bastard.” Too bad for her Liv still gets to compete in the family competition.
Flashback to young Liv and Birgit spending Christmas with the Galloways. The little girl got a present from Spencer: a “serious math kit all the way from Germany.” Bit of a backhanded gift from the old guy, and some sly support from her secret father Seamus. Back to current day, Liv’s spending more painful time around the Galloways, this time involving stitches. She talks with Theo and mentions Vincent being a creep in the woods. Grace says that the missing brother was always bad “to the core.” And so Theo goes to confront his brother, asking what Vincent was doing out there with Liv. This just gets Vincent’s back up and he says it’s his turn to get what he wants after Theo having everything he wants for so long.
In the halls, Birgit steps into the secret passageway to listen in on Florence, Vincent, Theo, and O’Keefe talking amongst themselves. They’re discussing Liv. Florence has a typically white bourgeois view of ‘the help’ and talks disparagingly of Liv, saying she has “post traumatic psycho disorder.” Vincent likewise piles on, suggesting Liv’s a killer. He and his mother look to be dangerously in cahoots. So Birgit goes to her daughter and Liv tells her about the boat. She insists they have to leave right away. Liv’s too tired, she needs rest first. They’ll have to be careful in the meantime.
We get a flashback to young Theo and Vincent trying to set fire to Liv in the woods, only stopped when Birgit interrupted them. Birgit slapped Vincent in the face right as Spencer turned up, blaming it on boys will be boys. She warned the kid to stay away from her daughter. Looks like little Vincent always was a psycho.
At night, Vincent hears Birgit singing to Liv. He wanders the halls curiously. He goes into the passageway behind the walls to get a closer look and listen. He goes right into the room and asks Birgit how she knows that song; his kidnapped sang the same lullaby to him. This gets the rest of Vincent’s siblings and his mother in the room, questioning where Birgit learned the song. She says she’s known it for years. Florence sucks up to Birgit, trying to get answers. So Birgit admits her family kidnapped Vincent to get money so she could take Liv away from the Galloways. She says Spencer figured it all out and took Vincent himself, sending the boy away. Things fall apart fast and Theo pulls a gun on his own family, calling them “a bunch of vigilantes.” He’d rather let the cops figure things out.
Florence is sure Liv and Birgit are the killers, and Vincent’s mad enough to commit murder over what was done to him. Mother and son grab knives from the kitchen and head to do some murdering. But they can’t find Birgit. Because Theo’s helping Birgit and Liv sneak out of the house so the pair can head for the boat. First, Liv’s got to repair a few things before they can get on the water. While she does her mother goes to the edge of the dock. Birgit’s attacked out of nowhere. She’s nowhere to be found when Liv goes looking. Some time later, Birgit wakes up buried to her neck. The Gentleman goes on covering her face with more dirt. She sings the lullaby that little Vincent heard all those years ago in that basement, until she’s buried alive.