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

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Image courtesy of Netflix

Young Nell is looking for a brush in her toy box, and finds an old tea set. She shows it to Mrs. Dudley, and points out that one of the cups has stars on it. Mrs. D tells her that the set likely belonged to Jaclyn Hill, and Nell asks if she can keep it. Mrs. D says yes, she should only drink from the “cup of stars.”  Nell is washing the cup, and Olivia comes in to scold her for writing on the wall.

As they stand looking at the wall, part of the wallpaper torn away, we can see Nell’s name printed in crayon. Nell insists she didn’t do it, but Olivia is ticked off. “We take care of the house, it takes care of us.” Theo comes in and defends Nell, and Olivia snaps at her, telling her she can help Nell clean the wall.

Nell tells Theo that she didn’t do it, Theo removes a glove, touches the wall, and tells her she believes her. She peels some of the wallpaper back, and now we can see the rest of what was written: “Come Home Nell.”

Adult Nell is in her car at night, it’s raining and she is picking up Luke, and taking him to rehab. She tells him she’s proud of him, he asks how she is doing, and she says it’s been hard sleeping. He is clearly distracted, and directs her to a bad area of town, where he talks into buying him heroin so he can “get well” before he goes into rehab. He tells her he is going to do it this time, “You believe me, right?” She tells him she always believed him, then buys him the drugs.

Image courtesy of Netflix

As Luke sits in car next to her, and begins shooting heroin into his foot (!), Nell sees the Bent Neck Lady. At home, she is panic stricken, and dumps her meds in the toilet. She tells her therapist about seeing Luke, she thinks he is doing well in rehab. She felt like she had the flu the first few days, then she started feeling better. He asks how her new meds are working, and she tells him “great.”

Theo is visiting Nell, and is angry that she bought drugs for Luke. Nell convinces her to remove her gloves and touch Arthur’s pillow, she does it, but says she feels nothing. Nell urgently asks her to touch the floor where he died, Theo is reluctant, but Nell grabs her hand and forces her. She tells Nell she feels nothing but concern, and that Arthur is gone. Nell cries, and Theo tells her that her therapist is a quack, and she should come home. Nell says no, she has to be here for Luke when he gets out.

Now Nell is angry, and accuses Theo of freeloading off Shirley. She says, “You never cared about anyone more than yourself.”

Steven is giving a talk about one of his books, and during the Q&A, most of the attendees want to ask about Hill House. He doesn’t want to talk about that. Nell stands (he didn’t know she was there), and the audience starts whispering, they know who she is. She asks him why he keeps lying to people, and talking about things he doesn’t believe. He apologizes for Nell, saying they have their issues just like any other family, and Nell shoots back, “We’re not like any other family. You sell tickets, but you say we’re crazy.” She tells him he is supposed to protect her, but says the meanest things – “then you make so much money. Why?”

Afterwards, he angrily tells her she embarrassed him, and asks her if she is off her meds. Although she denies it, he knows better, because he has seen “all her faces.”

Nell tells her psychiatrist that she confronted Steven, and he tells her that what she needs to confront is her past. She needs to go back to Hill House and see that it’s not a monster, it’s just a building. He asks her what Arthur would want for her.

We see Nell sitting in bed, drinking from a mug decorated with stars. She books a flight home, then we see her in a motel room. She pulls out a pocket watch, opens it, and taps it twice.

We flash back to see Hugh and the kids pull up at the same hotel in a car. They ask, “aren’t we going back for mom?” and he tells them not yet. He says everything is OK, the kids are to camp out at the motel, while he goes back to the house and gets Mommy. Luke says she looked hurt, and Hugh leaves, telling them he will be back soon.