Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Blood Calls Blood

Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 - Courtesy of Chris Reardon/EPIX
Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 - Courtesy of Chris Reardon/EPIX /

For a show based on such creepy source material, it makes sense that Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1, “Blood Calls Blood,” would begin with a terrifying scene. We meet young Charles Boone as he’s terrorized by his father, a man who appears to be possessed.

After attacking his mother, Robert Boone (Sebastien Labelle) sets his sights on his son and attempts to bury him alive. It’s by sheer luck that a neighbor saves Charles’ life by shooting his father dead. She warns Charles to leave and never return. You wouldn’t have to tell me twice!

In 1850, adult Charles Boone (Adrien Brody) lays his wife to rest at sea while aboard his whaling ship alongside his children, Loa (Sirena Gulamgaus), Honor (Jennifer Ens), and Tane (Ian Ho). Having inherited his ancestral home of Chapelwaite and a sawmill from his cousin Stephen Boone in small-town Maine, Charles takes his children there to start a new life.

Chapelwaite Season 1
Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 – Courtesy of Chris Reardon/EPIX /

Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 recap: The Boones receive a poor welcome

Upon arriving at Chapelwaite, Charles meets the former housekeeper Ms. Cloris, who warns him of the tragedy that has befallen the family who lived here prior. According to her, Stephen died of grief after his daughter Marcella fell down the basement stairs and broke her back. He never recovered from her death. Charles tries to coax Ms. Cloris into staying on as governess, but she’s like, “no thanks I’m getting the hell out of this creepy house ASAP.”

Charles shows his children around the house, including the rather ominous wall of portraits that includes Stephen and Stephen’s father, Philip. Tane asks why Charles doesn’t speak of his own father, to which Charles replies that there isn’t much to say, as the opening scene indicated.

Of course, not long after being in the house, Charles immediately goes down into the cellar Ms. Cloris warned him to avoid, insert facepalm emoji here. He notices a bloodstain on the ground, likely from Marcella’s tumble. A bathtub with leather restraints attached and a handful of worms oozing down from the ceiling are among his creepy finds.

That night, Charles hears something scratching at the walls and assumes the house has rats. The local exterminator doesn’t find anything of note, but Charles is adamant they have an infestation and advises him to put some traps upstairs.

While exploring the area around the house, Tane finds several old headstones amid the overgrown shrubbery.  Rather than being laid to rest in a cemetery, the previous tenants stayed close to Chapelwaite even in death.

In the town of Preacher’s Corners, we get our first scene featuring Rebecca Morgan (Emily Hampshire), an ambitious young scholar who has been solicited to write a story by The Atlantic, a prestigious magazine. She is immediately fascinated by the arrival of the Boone family in town.

Elsewhere in town, the local minister and several townsfolk deal with an illness slowly sweeping through town. They nail a quarantine sign to the door.

Touring the town, it doesn’t take long for the Boone family to attract attention. Charles’s children, all of whom share their mother’s complexion, are immediately the target of racist remarks, and that’s not even getting into how the family as a unit is treated for touting the Boone name. Charles visits the constable to report that Chapelwaite has been vandalized.

The constable tells him about the reputation Stephen and Philip Boone carried that they were strange, unpredictable men and therefore didn’t garner good grace with the townsfolk. It’s unlikely Charles and his kids will find many friends in this town. “They practically threw a parade when your cousin hanged himself.” Well, there isn’t a term for “northern” hospitality, is there?

Before leaving, Tane, Loa, and Honor have a run-in with a sickly girl named Susan, likely the one who was in quarantine as her mother rushes her away from the kids.

Back at Chapelwaite, Ms. Cloris warns Charles again that he’s likely to meet challenges in this area. “No Boone has ever been happy here.” But Charles is undeterred. “We’ll be the first.”

Chapelwaite Season 1
Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 – Courtesy of Chris Reardon/EPIX /

Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Rebecca becomes the governess at Chapelwaite

Despite the less-than-warm welcome, not everyone in Preacher’s Corner sucks. Rebecca visits Chapelwaite to try and get the governess job. She makes a good impression on the family, apart from Loa, who is less open to the newcomer, and Charles hires her. Rebecca’s mother is not happy with her daughter’s new job, but The Atlantic editor has already accepted her idea.

The next day, Charles gets the lay of the land at the sawmill, meeting Able Stewart (Devante Senior), the young man who has maintained the ledgers in the absence of a Boone. Then he meets the de facto leader of the bunch, Daniel Thompson (Michael Hough), who has basically been letting everyone skip their work while getting a wage increase (except Able, the only Black man at the mill, of course).

Charles makes it clear he won’t tolerate Daniel’s disrespect and offers him severance pay, or he can actually do his work. Standing before the group, Charles tells them about his big plans for the mill, to run it like a whaler. The more they work, the more they earn.

He also gives Able a wage increase for keeping the ledger. Before departing, Charles asks about unpaid bills to Jerusalem’s Lot. He confirms that it is his family’s old mining town. Of course, any Stephen King fan knows that something much darker is going on there.

Inside the house, things turn terrifying quickly when Rebecca educates the children on the traditions of All Hallow’s Eve. She teaches them a game involving a pendulum that allows you to communicate with ghosts, resulting in the cellar door opening despite being locked and giving everyone a good scare. It’s not surprising that Charles asks her to refrain from games involving ghosts and spirits in the future.

Chapelwaite Season 1
Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 – Courtesy of Chris Reardon/EPIX /

Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 recap: An ugly confrontation at church

On Sunday, Rebecca attends church with Charles and his children, and they immediately run into a mixture of racism and prejudice at the church. Alice Burroughs (Jennie Raymond) and her father Samuel Gallows (Eric Peterson) claim there aren’t enough seats and then insinuate that because Loa, Honor, and Tane aren’t white, they might not be Christian.

And just in case you didn’t get the vibe that Samuel is a crusty old bigot (or crabby old Puritan, as Rebecca calls him), he tells Charles that his “family is a plague on this town.” Charles says all he wants is a fresh start here, but it doesn’t seem likely to happen with these people so stuck in their ways.

At Chapelwaite, Rebecca finally explains where the disdain toward the Boones comes from. Some blame Chapelwaite for the illness in town. The first two afflicted worked for Stephen as stablehands and then died shortly after. Since then, five have been buried in the church graveyard. It’s hardly proof, something Rebecca knows as if it were, she wouldn’t be working as the governess of Chapelwaite.

Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 recap: The horror sets in

Loa retreats after the church debacle.  Charles approaches her for a tender one-on-one. He knows that on some level, she might blame him for her mother’s death and her weak leg, damaged by rickets.

If they had never left the island and started living at sea, none of that would have happened. Charles believes that. Despite this, Loa suddenly bolts upright and hugs her father, speaking her first real words in the episode. “There is something inside you that you hide from us, and it scares me.”

In Preacher’s Corners, the local tavern is busy with people like Daniel Thompson and other unhappy townsfolk who contemplate burning down Chapelwaite and chase the Boones out of town.

It’s not until the final moments of Chapelwaite Season 1, Episode 1 that the real horror sets in. One of the men planning to burn down the house loads his cart with lamp oil. But before he can reach Chapelwaite, he and his cart are attacked by a shadowy figure that slits his throat and collects his blood in a bucket! I can’t say I feel too badly for the guy but was that our first vampire sighting?

Then at home, Charles tries to take a well-earned bath to relax, but then the water turns to dirt and worms as voices in his head scream, “he’s coming.” Not exactly the most peaceful vibe.

Next. 7 best new horror shows to watch in August. dark

New episodes of Chapelwaite Season 1 air Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on EPIX.