Hulu’s Into the Dark episode 8 recap and review: All That We Destroy


In its worst effort yet, Into the Dark has brilliant geneticist Victoria Harris (Samantha Mathis) worry that her son Spencer (Israel Broussard) may be becoming a serial killer. To understand his psychopathy and prevent future murders, she makes clones to replicate the experience of his first killing and thereby control his urges.

Ashley (Aurora Perrineau), awakes startled and gasping out of a bath of black viscous liquid on Into the Dark. She is washed, dressed, and laid out on a bed as she is semi-conscious and unaware. When she fully regains consciousness, Spencer is there to greet her. He asks her how she feels, pours her some wine, and plays their song, but she has no idea who he is or where they are. He suddenly attacks and kills her, coldly and mechanically. He drags her naked body across a green lawn and dumps her into a box attached to the house. While it may seem like Spencer and Ashley have some kind of history, she is actually just a stranger he met and killed when she got stranded near his house.

Victoria Harris, entrepreneur, geneticist, and controlling mother, returns home and greets her son cautiously. He tells her “it’s done” and sulkily has a snack. She asks if this time was any different, and he says “no, it was nothing like her.” She has been making clones of Ashley for Spencer to kill. She goes to work in her home lab where she consults virtually with Spencer’s father and pointless character Parker (Frank Whaley). He’s worried about her and thinks Spencer needs clinical help (duh) but convinces her that witnessing the experiment firsthand will yield better data than with Spencer’s written account.

She installs a camera and runs the experiment again. The same scenario plays out where Spencer kills Ashley, but he is clearly distracted by the camera. The experiment isn’t working because he knows it’s fake and the murder isn’t real enough. Victoria plans to spend time with the next clone to help make her more real for Spencer. It works and Spencer is overwhelmed with gratitude when he feels free for the first time since the first murder. Victoria plans to space out these killings, helping him go longer without feeling the urge and thereby helping him re-enter society safely.

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At the moment, she keeps him isolated and controls his every interaction. She never considers the idea that he could change or get better with treatment, denies the possibility when he expresses the desire to do so when he meets a nice girl. She basically says that he’d be lost without her, useless and monstrous. One starts to get the feeling that she might be manufacturing the situation and that Spencer is actually caught in a cycle of abuse and manipulation.

Spencer meets the literal girl next door Marissa (Dora Madison) in one of the most awkwardly scripted and performed interactions in history. There is just no way for these actors to deliver this dialogue naturally. Spencer breaks some rules to spend time with her while Victoria spends time grooming the next clone for him. However, this clone shows signs of containing the genetic memory of the original Ashley and begins to have dreams about her murder. She starts to suspect something is terribly wrong.

So does Marissa, who glimpses Ashley and for some reason finds it strange that she’s staying in the house – as if these people she barely knows couldn’t have a house guest or a family member she hasn’t met yet. Geez, calm down. She’s awfully suspicious for someone who doesn’t bat an eye when Spencer tells her he basically murdered one of his classmates in grade school and was subsequently homeschooled for the safety of others. Nope, no red flags there. But isn’t it sinister that there’s a girl out gardening with Spencer’s mom?

Anyway, Marissa finds out that Ashley is a wanted criminal and also a missing person. Things start getting super melodramatic as the characters begin to overact and the pacing becomes awkward and stunted. Ashley finds Spencer’s creepy drawings of her and decides to escape the house. Marissa confronts Spencer about Ashley and he has to kill her to keep it all quiet, but not without her first calling 911.

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Ashley witnesses the murder and hides in Victoria’s lab where she finds all the information about the cloning experiment and her original self. She is discovered and there is a struggle as she tries to escape. Ashley knocks out Victoria with a hammer and is able to kill Spencer – ironically in the same way that he originally killed her. The police arrive and take Ashley into custody as Victoria regains consciousness to discover that Spencer is dead.

Of course, the original Ashley was a wanted criminal and any story the clone tells the police will sound like science fiction. She was caught in the act of killing the son of a highly respected scientist, so she’s likely going to prison. Meanwhile, Victoria just makes a clone of Spencer and prepares to move house, basically going into hiding with him. One wonders if this is even the first clone she’s made of him.

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What is essentially a cool story that would be right at home at The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror is poorly written and executed at Into the Dark. The dialogue is stilted and awkward, causing the performances to be wooden, unnatural, or way over the top. Marissa is particularly awkward and makes leaps of deduction that make zero sense. And as much as I like Frank Whaley, his character was completely pointless and served only to deliver exposition that could have been incorporated more dynamically.

What did you think of this episode of Into the Dark? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!