Netflix: The Haunting of Hill House Ep 5 (The Bent-Neck Lady) recap

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— Courtesy of Netflix

Just when I thought Luke’s story in The Haunting of Hill House was the most heart-wrenching, we get to finally see what happened to Nell. Buckle up and break out the Kleenex!

Young Nell wakes up in bed during her first night at Hill House. Her blanket moves down on its own, and she sits up, only to see the silhouette of the now-infamous “Bent-Neck Lady.” She and the lady both scream, and Olivia and Hugh come in, telling her it was just a nightmare. When asked to describe what she saw, she sniffles, “It was like, a bent-neck lady.” She asks to sleep on the couch just for one night.

Olivia lies on the floor next to the couch, and they talk about her locket, which holds a photo of each Nell and Luke. She tells Nell that when she is older, she can have it. Nell goes to sleep, with Olivia getting up and going to her own room.

Nell wakes up, frozen, trying to move her fingers, as she sees the Bent-Neck Lady leaning over her, long hair hanging down. We jump to adult Nell, speaking to a man in a medical office. She describes the episodes, saying she is frozen and panicked for a minute or two. The man tells her it’s classic sleep paralysis.

It turns out the man is a sleep tech, and his name is Arthur. He describes sleep paralysis as “the brain wakes up before the muscles”, and says sometimes people also see things. The trick is to develop an escape plan to push the panic aside. Nell smiles, relieved, and says it’s nice to be listened to. They have a meet-cute exchange, and end up making a coffee date.

Image courtesy of Netflix

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We see their relationship progress during brief scenes, including Arthur’s very sweet proposal on New Year’s Eve. We then see Nell waking up during a sleep paralysis episode, and Arthur talks her calmly through it by instructing her to control her breathing, clench her fists, etc. He then says, “I’ll get the light,” gets out of bed and turns on a light.

We are watching Nell and Arthur dance at their wedding, as the Crain family watches her, smiling. Nell is radiant, clearly very happy. She dances with Steven, and tells him that she and Arthur will be moving to LA (where Steven and Leigh live), and that Luke will be coming soon. Steven doesn’t seem thrilled (or convinced). Nell looks at Hugh, and sees Olivia standing next to him, hand on his shoulder.

Eight months later, Nell wakes in sleep paralysis, Arthur talks her down as before, then says, “I’ll get the light.” He gets up, and suddenly his neck bends to one side sharply, he gasps, and falls to the floor. Nell sees the Bent Neck Lady at the foot of the bed, and drags herself onto the floor, only to find Arthur dead. She cries.

Nell is talking to her therapist (Russ Tamblyn, who also played Dr. Jacobi in Twin Peaks), and tells him she had not seen the Bent-Neck Lady for two years, she went away when Arthur came along. Dr. Jacobi…oops, Dr. Montague tells her that Arthur died of an aneurysm, but Nell says Hill House is to blame.