The Haunting of Hill House season 1, episode 2 recap: Open Casket


On the first episode of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, Steven spent the entire episode explaining why he doesn’t believe in ghosts before seeing his dead sister almost immediately after her death.

With that huge and shocking moment, here is a look at the second episode of the Netflix adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

This episode starts off with a moment from the last episode where Shirley wakes up and says that Nell is in the Red Room. Her husband asks what she said, which was not shown in the last episode.

A little boy named Max is talking to Shirley. said that he knows his grandma is dead but that she still comes and sits on his bed at night. He said he asked her not to but she came back anyway the previous night.

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He tells Shirley that when she came that night, she had no teeth and no hair and he doesn’t want to see her like that again and does not want to see her in the “open castle” funeral.

Shirley said that they are dreams but he knows that they are not dreams. She is telling him that he knew he grandma wore a wig and had false teeth. She said that seeing his grandma in the open casket will help him replace all those bad memories with good ones.

Shirley then explains how they deal with dead bodies to prepare them for the funeral so they will always look like they are “supposed to.”

Back to the past, Olivia Crain (Carla Gugino) is drawing and Shirley walks into the room. She said that it is her design for their Forever House. She designs and Hugh builds it. The dining room is the Heart of the House and every house needs a heart.

She then said that houses are like people’s bodies: the walls are bones, pipes are veins, it needs to breathe, it needs light and flow and it all works to keep us safe and healthy. Shirley said that when you are young you see things that are not there and when you are old, you make them real.

Olivia said that when they sell the Hill House, they can build their Forever House and never have to move again.

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Nell is looking for Shirley and said that she is too old for a tea party. Shirley agrees to go outside and play with Nell but Olivia tells them they need to remember to come back in when the porch light flashes.

Shirley is taking photos and spending time with Nell. Shirley sends Nell to Theo to ask and she refuses as well.

Shirley is taking more pictures of Theo and Luke. When Shirley heads in, Luke looks up and sees a girl standing in the trees. Shirley then takes a picture of her dad and he told Mr. Dudley that the master key won’t open the Red Door upstairs. Mr. Dudley knows nothing about it.

Shirley heads out back and finds graves and takes pictures of the headstones. She then hears something from a small storage building outside that sounds like a trapped animal. Shirley opens the door and sees baby kittens.

When she took the picture of the baby kittens, the flash shows the mommy cat dead in the background. She screams and her dad and Mr. Dudley come in. The kittens are still there, but the “dead cat” is actually an old wasp nest. The nest was built around a mask.

Shirley mentions the dogs, but Mr. Dudley said there are no dogs on the property. When Hugh said the kids hear them at night, Mr. Dudley said he never comes there at night but there are no dogs that he knows of and he has never seen dogs.

Back to the present day, Shirley gives her son a mask that looks almost just like the one that was found inside the wasp nest. He is not happy because his friend said that if their masks don’t look real enough, the ghosts will know and come after them.

Shirley said there is no such thing as ghosts. She then sees that Shirley also has a Forever House that she designed — just like her mom did.

She then talks to her husband about how they are barely in the black at the funeral house. While they are talking a guy walks in with a pink box and said that it has jewelry and pictures of his mom so they can fix her up the best they can.

Shirley looks freaked out by the box and can’t say anything and just stands there staring while her husband deals with the man. When they walk out, Shirley sees someone in the other room who then disappears when she looks away.

Shirley then told her husband that Steven called and that Luke is back in rehab.

There is then a flashback and this is from when Steven and Shirley were working on getting Luke into rehab and learning that without insurance it will cost them $6,000 a month with a four to six-month commitment.

The kids are still close at this time and they are hoping that Luke can still recover. Back to the present day and Shirley is still saying that he can do it this time. She pulls out a checkbook for her husband Kevin Harris.

To dinner time, they see that Shirley’s son wrote Lame on his mask. She also has a daughter who is wearing gloves to eat (Aunt Theo also wears gloves and is a complete germophobe). The daughter is imitating her aunt.

After dinner, Shirley is talking to Theo about Kevin having a solo bank account that she never knew about. She calls it weird and Theo tells her to imagine the worst is true and go from there.

Back to the past and Shirley, Luke and Nell are taking care of the baby kittens and feeding them. The dogs are barking.

Shirley is asleep when Theo barges into her room, angry. She asks why Shirley is banging on the walls and calling her name but Shirley said she was asleep. The something bangs on the wall while they are arguing about it and there is banging on other walls, hard enough to shake the pictures on the walls.

Then they hear something sliding and then something starts slamming into the walls and both girls start to scream. Hugh runs in and said that he didn’t hear it. He says that he believes them and claims that it might be the hot water pipes jumping in the walls.

He then tells them that it is over and then his face elongates and his eyes go white and then …

Shirley is back in the present day and wakes up when her phone rings. It is Steven. He is sitting on the floor in his apartment where he fell in the last episode. He said that Nell is dead and that he is “not so good.”

Steven said that Nell killed herself. He tells her that he came home that night and she asks who told him. Shirley said that her dad was wrong and she wouldn’t have called him. Steven said that he is sorry but she is gong.

Shirley said that she told him to find her and that she was in trouble and he ends the call. Shirley heads out of her home and goes to the guest house with Theo. Before she gets there, the lights come on.

Back in the past, Shirley wakes up in the morning and finds the kittens in the box but one of them is dead. She buries the kitten with her mom and dad. He mom made a special box for the kitten and explains that she deserved a special place to rest.

They explain to Shirley what a eulogy is (this might foreshadow why she took on the role of the funeral home owner).

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Olivia explains that when people die, they become a story and when people tell those stories they remain there and are all stories in the end. She tells her story about the kitten and said that the kitten never hurt anyone and there aren’t many people that can say that.

Shirley takes the kitten out and said that she is alive because the lips are moving. But, it was a bug that was crawling out of the kitten’s mouth.

Back to present day and Shirley is talking to someone about going to pick up her sister. Kevin says it is a bad idea and she should let someone else do it and Theo agrees but Shirley said it is her sister and she will host her funeral.

Luke skipped out on rehab and Shirley doesn’t seem to care if he knows Nell is dead or not and said that Luke missed Nell’s wedding, so what would he show up at the funeral.

She also said that Hugh is the reason that Nell was crazy, to begin with. This sends Theo off telling her sister that is isn’t fair to not even give Luke a chance.

Shirley said that Luke will have time but she won’t leave her sister in a freezer.

The parents show up with Max and Shirley is there. They are still trying to get him to look at his grandma and she tells him that he will be upset later if he doesn’t look at her now. She even offers to go with him.

Back to the past and Shirley doesn’t want to go see her mom in the casket but her dad says it is important. The funeral director offers to walk with her to see her mom and that works.

Back to the present, Shirley is arguing about it and she tells them that she will fix up her sister and she owes her this. Kevin tries to talk her out of it but Shirley said that she will fix her.

Nell is delivered to Shirley at the funeral home and Theo refuses to stick around for this. The body is moved into the funeral home for Shirley to start to work on her.

Back to the past where Shirley is taking Nell to feed the kittens and finds that they are all dead now. However, one starts to mew and when Shirley picks it up, its eyes grow large and white and she screams.

Shirley is telling Steven that he needs to get there. Steven is looking for Hugh and Luke. Shirley graphically tells Steven what she is doing to their sister in the autopsy and tells him to get the two grown men to the airport.

Back to the past, Olivia tells Shirley that kittens should not be without their mommies and this happens in those cases. Olivia tells Shirley that the kitty with the white eyes was given to a new home. Shirley is angry and Olivia starts to shake, yell back and is crying as she has an episode.

Olivia had one of her “color storms” according to Hugh. However, this time, Olivia said there was no color this time and just pitch black. It turns out that they took it out and put the kitten out of its misery. Olivia is mad that Hugh let Shirley keep a box of diseased kittens and she couldn’t help her get past her first moment of death because she froze up with a migraine.

Back to the present and Shirley is sewing up Nell. She looks up and a door closes. She walks out and sees her kids there. They are there because it is Auntie Nell. Shirley tells them that she is so sad and she won’t lie to them.

They ask what she is doing to her and she said that she embalmed her and that she is trying to make her look like they remember. When they ask how she died, Shirley said that she doesn’t know but is sad. When they asked where she is now, she said that no one really knows.

Shirley said that she will tell them what she thinks sometime tomorrow. She then said that she will tell them what she is doing but it is not something they need to see. She asks them to pick their favorite picture of Auntie Nell and she will hang it at the funeral.

In the past, Shirley is looking at the developed pictures she took of her family. In the present, she is looking at the photos of Nell as she tries to fix her.

This leads to a flashback where Shirley is putting makeup on Nell before her wedding. Steven shows up and keeps things light between them. This is after Shirley and Steven had a falling out for writing his Haunting at Hill House book.

Nell then looks outside and sees Luke show up for the wedding. She races outside and he tells her that he is OK. Luke said that he is there to tell her that he is happy for her. Shirley said that Luke is high and he ran away from rehab.

Shirley tells Luke that he is not wanted at the wedding. Luke said he wants to be there for his sister. She tells him to leave, gives him money and tells him to shoot up the rest. This makes her the reason Luke didn’t show up at the wedding, even though she blamed him.

She then lied to Nell about it. This hurt most when Nell said her wedding was almost perfect, hinting that she wished Luke was there.

Back to the present and Shirley is not taking this well. The same bug that crawled out of the dead kitten’s mouth crawled out of Nell’s but then it was gone. Shirley seems to be having a breakdown and starts to cry.

Back to Olivia’s funeral as Shirley walks to the casket with the funeral director to see her mom, who was made up to look beautiful. Shirley said that he fixed her and he said that is what he does. This is what led Shirley to her job.

Back to the present when Shirley fixed her sister. She flicks off the light and turns to see a second body in the room that was not there before. That second body is Olivia and she sits up and looks at Shirley before offering a box — the one with the kitten in it. Shirley tunes on the light and the body is gone.

Shirley is now looking at the picture of Nell. She puts it in a folder and turns off the lights and leaves her office. She flips off all the lights as she goes to bed and then the porch light the model of her Forever House flashes.

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That is it for the Haunting of Hill House season 1, episode 2 on Netflix. Did you watch it? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter for more on your favorite shows!

Make sure to stream The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix now.