Netflix: The Haunting of Hill House Season 1 Episode 3 (Touch) recap

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The Haunting of Hill House

Adult Theo is sleeping in bed, and her blankets start to slide down on their own. She wakes up, startled, and sees a horrifying face at the foot of her bed. There is a knock at the door; it’s Shirley, coming to tell Theo that Nell is dead.

We are at Nell’s wedding two years ago. It’s time for the toast, but the maid of honor and a couple of groomsmen are missing, so Steven and Nell go off to search. They hear sounds of passion coming from an upstairs bedroom, and knock on the door. The missing maid of honor comes out, and Nell and Steven hang around to see who the lucky guy is. To their surprise, it’s Theo, who they did not know was gay. Neither of them seems bothered, however, and Nell embraces her sister.

Theo and Shirley are sitting on Theo’s bed, Shirley doesn’t know how to explain to her kids what has happened to Nell. Theo tells her to tell the truth. “Truth is better than lying or saying nothing, like Dad did.” She says to tell them it’s ok to be curious and sad. “Tell them you’re sad too.” Theo says that she herself is angry, because Nell should have known better – she knows what this does to a family.

Young Theo walks into Luke’s room, where he is on the floor drawing a picture of his friend Abigail. Theo apologizes, and Luke sadly laments that his parents don’t believe him, they think Abigail is not real and the basement is not real, because it’s not in the blueprints for the house. Theo touches his hand, and tells him she believes him. With Luke’s help, she figures out where the ladder he saw would be, and she finds a trap door leading to it. She goes down into the basement (brave girl), and finds the torn scrap of cloth from Luke’s pajama top. She sees a door, and opens it.

Adult Theo knocks on the door to Kelsey’s foster parents’ house, and asks them if she can see Kelsey. They look at her as if she is crazy; Kelsey is in school. She asks to see their basement, and they leave her there. Theo walks slowly around the basement, takes off her gloves, and starts to touch things.

Eventually she comes to a couch, touches it, sits on it, then lies on her back. The markings on the wood ceiling about the couch look somewhat like eyes and a smiling face, and she is feeling something, because she has to hold back a scream, and her face is horrified.

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Olivia calls young Theo over to her, and talks to her about the ledger she found in the basement. Olivia tells her it belonged to bootleggers, and touches her daughter’s hand. Theo screams and backs away; she sees Oliva with half of her face bashed in.

Adult Theo makes a phone call from her car, reporting that Kelsey’s foster father is the “Smiley Man” she has been so afraid of. She watches the police come to the door, then witnesses them talking him away.

Young Theo and Olivia again, Olivia asks about how Theo knows things. Things like the bottle of wine, the location of the basement, the ledger.  Theo says she just guessed. Olivia tells her that she has had the headaches since she was a child, and that Grandma was also sensitive. Shirley talks in her sleep, and when Nellie was asked what she thought of Hill House, she said it was “loud.” Theo thinks it’s always cold in the house. Olivia gives her some gloves and says, “These will help with the cold — and the other thing.” She says they will talk more about it when Theo gets older, but of course they never will. Olivia doesn’t have much time left.

Adult Theo takes a check from Steven she has decided to take him up on his offer of 8% of the royalties from his book. When his wife Leigh asks what she will do with the money, Theo doesn’t even hesitate. “I’m going to get my f***ing PhD.”

Theo walks into the embalming room and looks at Nell’s body. Taking a deep breath, she removes her gloves, and places her hand on the body. Whatever she sees/feels, it’s not good, she falls to the ground, screaming and crying.

Later, she sits on the porch, drinking liquor from a bottle. Shirley’s husband walks out, and she tells him that Shirley found the checkbook that had only his name on it. She says he had better come up with an excuse, but says she will not tell. We see the young woman she picked up getting out of her car, and Theo gets up to join her.

In Theo’s room, the woman wants to chat, and Theo finally starts to talk. She tells her about Kelsey, and how hard it was for her to get to the bottom of everything. “She needed help, and no one was listening. She was so much like Nell.”

We are back at that last night at Hill House, Theo runs downstairs where Hugh is waiting with Nell and Luke, and tells Theo to take them to the car. She is wearing gloves, but he grabs her arm, and she sees flashes of Olivia being pushed and hitting her head on the wall, and of Nell looking scared. She pulls away from Hugh, screaming “Let go! Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!” End Episode 3.

Not to beat a dead horse, but man, are these kids great actors! They don’t hit a single false note in this episode, I totally believe everything they are acting out. Luke’s scene in the dumb waiter was terrifying, and Theo’s distress at being unable to save him was so real.  I love the layers we are seeing in these characters, and I can’t wait to see what we will find out in future episodes.

Next. Friday the 13th: Horror. Inc files appeal. dark

Seen the new Netflix binge sensation? Think Touch is a solid Haunting of Hill House outing? Let the other horror heads know what you think in the comment section below.