I’m sure by now, that everyone is talking about the new hit Netflix show, Haunting of Hill House. And I’m more than confident that almost everyone had taken their full of YouTube videos, blog posts and online reviews raving the show and how deep and psychologically endearing it is.
But this post, as far as I can hope, will be quite different. I will pick one episode in particular; “Two Storms”. And sift through its nuances to reveal the true essence of this unique show.
I still remember the words of Larry Brooks in his masterpiece of a book, “Story Engineering”, and how he adamantly insisted upon the power of a theme, and how easy it is to overlook such a powerful element in your story.
In other words, theme is the powerful concept of any story that relates the fictional premise to our own real world. In other words, theme should speak about one of the issues which take place in our lives.
As I watched the episode a few days ago, I couldn’t miss the idea behind what was going on along the scenes.
Even better, it was summarized in one word that defined every behaviour, every infliction of emotion.
It was full blown Grief.
Of course the concept of grief is well familiar to all of us. There isn’t a day that passes by, without someone losing another loved member of their family and friends.
But in this episode, I witnessed the shifting stages of such a powerful humanized process, condensed into the time-frame of one episode. Thereby, it amplified the sequence of events, blurring the margins between the flowing phases of grief.
At first, we see the Crain family unite under the gruesome banner of loss. They exchange their usual stale pleasantries, each word barely scathing the surface that hid the turmoil inside each and every grieving character. Then as the scene progresses, no camera cuts, just a swirling continuous thread of agony slowly fraying away.
Theodora drinking herself into denial, cowardly sinking into her own misery numbing what is left of her senses than to deal with hard cold reality.
Steven shed his calm composed facade. He breaks down and finally succumbs under the weight of the event. He starts pointing accusating fingers around; a complete, yet understandable transition from his previous usual state.
We see Sheryl falling apart after she had barely kept herself together. The jagged shards of her hardened self, cannot hide the anger boiling inside.
And in that heated moment, more revelations come to light. More secrets are divulged exposing the charade that had been in play up to that point.
In a way, their common torment acted as a cleansing fire, burning all pretense, and under the harsh bright light, all is seen, felt and touched.
Even more interesting, is how Luke, the most troubled character, from whom we’d expect to break, mysteriously fades into the background. As If he belonged to the gloomy atmosphere. He is rarely seen, like a specter. Silent, calculating and watching while the others fall under the burden of sadness. Luke is a denizen of this venue. A place very well recognizable to him.
Two Storms, in my opinion, is one of the most endearing, engaging pieces of entertainment that hits so many delicate spots, on so many levels. Grief is an emotion that not a lot of us can handle competently. So many of us get easily drunk on our misery. As if the act of sadness is secretly a cathartic refuge for poisonous feeling we dare not deal with in our usual daily lives.
I had always been intrigued, and haunted by the concept of loss. Why does life offer us so much, then snatches everything on a moment’s whim? Our cynical voices could speak less, but yet, if we analyse the inner altercations that take place within us as we grieve. We realise how we can take heed from our most genuine and bitter emotions..so many things unappreciated can morph within a day. Things we used to take for granted are now revealed to be responsible for the very core of our happiness; Old grudges, mischievous secrets wouldn’t be able to hide anymore under the frosting spell of death.
I urge everyone to watch this series. Callling it great would be the understatement of the month. If there would be a reason to watch a TV show after a hard day’s work, than it would be to feel something. Experiencing the dangerous nuances of life from a safe fictional vantage point. In the same time, we discover much more about ourselves.