Talk about a cliffhanger! Dani is unconscious in the attic with murderous children! There’s no time to waste with an intro paragraph! Let’s go!
Dani comes to in the attic and she’s bound and gagged with Miles and Flora standing over her. Despite having just tied up their au pair, the children seem just as scared as Dani, and Flora even tries to comfort her and asks if they can remove her bindings. Apparently the children aren’t in charge, though. Instead, they’re taking orders from unseen leaders. In order to help calm Dani, Flora asks whoever she’s reporting to if they’ll reveal themselves to Dani. Right, like seeing two people you believe to be dead will help defuse the tension.
Well, out step Miss Jessel and Peter Quint, and yep, Dani’s still pretty freakin’ scared. While they try to justify their actions to the children, the ghostly forms of Quint and Jessel struggle to maintain their presence in the present day. First Rebecca is called away into a dream, and while Peter tries his best to stay in the attic, he too is transported into a memory.
About a year or so earlier, Peter opens his apartment door to find his estranged mother waiting. She’s in need of money and Peter’s abusive father has sent her to blackmail him into providing some cash. His mother threatens to expose his juvenile records to Henry which will surely get Peter fired unless he does their bidding.
Meanwhile, Rebecca is off in another dream, reliving the days after Peter’s disappearance from Bly. Ms. Grose is in the midst of filing a report with the police about the missing jewelry and money, and Rebecca tries her best to defend him, claiming Peter wouldn’t just run off like that. Later, Miles explains to Rebecca that Peter is actually still around, and that he told her to deliver a message: Don’t worry.
Later that night, Peter appears in Rebecca’s room, and boy does he have some explaining to do. Rebecca unloads on him for dragging her into his criminal schemes and bailing, but he tries to explain that he never left. After she calms down a bit, Peter finally realizes how he can make her understand. “What’s the one thing – the only thing – that could ever keep me from you?” he asks, as he passes his ghostly hand directly through hers.
Nights later, Rebecca and Peter meet up again. After thinking it over, Miss Jessel has decided the couple should still go to America together, even if no one can see Peter. But he has bad news to share: he’s trapped at Bly. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t cross the property line to escape. While trying to calm an emotional Rebecca, Peter places his hands on her and is immediately transported within her – the same way we’ve previously seen him possess Miles. Before they can sort out what happened, though, Peter hears the same knocking he’ll later hear in the attic, and he’s transported away to the same memory of his mother paying him a visit.
Later – but still in Rebecca’s memory – she makes her way to the end of the manor’s winding driveway. After sizing up the gates, she makes a dash towards them, but while she makes it to the other side, Peter is still trapped. Even when he’s possessing someone else he can’t leave the property.
It’s clear as the days go by just how draining this pain and loneliness has become for Rebecca. As the others laugh over dinner and carry on, she struggles to find any happiness and quickly begins to prefer her moments tucked away with Peter over real life. After a bit of time apart, Peter returns with a new plan, one that will let them reunite forever as equals. Rebecca must willingly let Peter take over her and together they’ll share a life. It’s you, it’s me, it’s us.
Once Peter enters Rebecca’s body things still aren’t right. Miss Jessel becomes knowingly tucked away, reliving their sultry photoshoot, while Peter is living vicariously in the shape of Rebecca in the real life. Sure, Rebecca is safe like he promised and they are together, but it’s not real. What wasn’t part of the promise, though, was what Peter would do with Rebecca’s real-world body.
That night, Quint wades into the lake, drowning Miss Jessel and making it look like suicide, all so that they could be reunited in the afterlife. It’s clear from Rebecca’s now ghostly reaction, however, that this was not part of the plan. She was not onboard with dying. What’s worse is that after the water began to consume Miss Jessel, even Peter’s phantom body left her to go through it alone. Quint tries his best to justify her murder to Rebecca in the afterlife, but she’s having none of it.
Once again, Peter is drawn back to the memory with his mother. While the other ghosts of Bly are lucky enough to experience a variety or pleasant memories, Quint only returns to this one over and over again. At long last, he finally let’s it rip, eviscerating his mother for her behavior throughout his childhood and allowing him to be abused by his father. Furthermore, he goes so far as to hold her responsible for his own death, considering she’s the one who forced him into Bly in the first place. As despicable as Peter has been throughout the series, it’s impossible not to pity him for the pain he’s lived through. His mother’s response is even more heartbreaking, as she tells him that in reality, she doesn’t even know he’s dead, much less does she care.
Finally, we’re back in the attic in present day. Without the adults there to pressure them, Flora and Miles are attempting to free Dani, but Quint returns just in time to possess Miles and keep the au pair restrained. Suddenly, I don’t feel so bad for Peter anymore. At this point Miss Jessel returns, too, and Peter’s sense of urgency increases. He tells Rebecca they’re out of time, and they need the children to help prevent them from fading away into faceless memories.
Peter brings back his “You, me, us” plan – which worked so well the first time – and explains that he needs to possess Miles while Miss Jessel needs Flora to help them survive. In the meantime, the children will be tucked away to their “forever house” where they can reunite with their parents for good, while Rebecca and Peter live out their real lives. The children oblige them, and now while they may look like Miles and Flora on the outside, they’re really Peter and Rebecca.
At the same time, Ms. Grose comes calling looking for Dani and the children. Miles, aka Peter, says that it’s time to put her away for good and leaves the attic to go take care of Hannah, leaving Rebecca-Flora alone with Dani. Peter-Miles finds Ms. Grose and offers to take her on a walk, the whole time talking about Hannah’s persistent dreaming and denial, all while walking her to the site of her death. When the two arrive at the well, Miles-Peter forces her to stare down at her crumpled body, accepting the reality that she is, in fact, dead.
Back in the attic, Rebecca leaves Flora’s body, returning the little girl back to normal. It turns out the women were simply playing along, and Miss Jessel helps Flora free Dani from her bindings. After going through it herself, Rebecca knows the dangers of Peter’s games and refuses to let anyone go down the same path she fell victim to. Miss Jessel tells Dani that it’s too late for Miles, but that she still has time to get Flora as far away from Bly as possible. It doesn’t take any more convincing than that, and Dani and Flora are on their way out of the manor.
Once they hit the driveway, though, Flora has second thoughts and refuses to leave without Miles. At this point, it seems like Dani has had enough as she turns to run on her own, but she doesn’t make it a single step before she finds her throat in the iron grip of the Lady of the Lake.
Could Dani be her next victim?
- For the second straight episode we’ve closed things out with Dani Clayton in mortal danger. We’ve only seen the Lady of the Lake in action once before, but she was able to handle Peter Quint pretty easily, so Dani could be in some serious trouble.
- In one of the biggest reveals of the season, Rebecca Jessel never committed suicide. Instead, she was murdered as a part of Peter’s twisted plan. He may have had good intentions hoping to reunite with his lost love, but if he truly cared for Rebecca then he would have wanted her to carry on living, not die to join him in this hellish loop. This guy sucks.
- Episode 7 also revealed quite a bit more about the rules of this ghostly world. First, everyone who dies at Bly is trapped on the grounds. We also learned that being “tucked away” more often than not means someone has possessed a host’s living body. The episode also clarified the logistics of what the ghosts are and aren’t able to do, and that in order to interact with living things, they need to be possessing a host.
- Speaking of possessing a host, maybe the children aren’t as awful as they seem. We’ve always known Flora to be quite a sweetheart, but Miles has been pretty rotten and cruel. In the attic, though, we saw a side of him rarely seen – one that shows empathy, remorse and fear. Maybe we can chalk up all that bad behavior to times Peter possessed him.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.