Home Before Dark Season 2, Episode 5 recap: The Black Box

Brooklynn Prince and Reed Birney in “Home Before Dark,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Brooklynn Prince and Reed Birney in “Home Before Dark,” now streaming on Apple TV+. /

This week’s episode of Home Before Dark comes stocked with several shocks and revelations that push this season’s central mystery forward, as the title suggests. Home Before Dark Season 2, Episode 5, “The Black Box,” focuses on the black box Donnie, Spoon, and Hilde found in the basement of the Woodruff mansion.

But before we get to that, let’s back up and address that big reveal at the end of last week’s episode where Matt found out all of his dad’s friends were dead. That’s not entirely true. He tells Hilde about what he found out and mentions that Junior Johnson, Trip’s dad, is the only one still alive. So not all of the guys in the picture are dead.

However, now Matt believes Hilde was onto something when she thought Sly might have gotten sick from something in the lake. All the other men in the photo also got ill and died too young. Plus, Walter the bird has come down with the shakes, and so has Sly. So were they both infected by the same thing? Why didn’t Junior get sick?

Matt wants Hilde to dig deeper into this case. In the process, she finds out some interesting things about her grandfather, like he’s an ex-employee of Strata Technologies and was once a volunteer firefighter.

Home Before Dark Season 2
Brooklynn Prince, Jim Sturgess and Michael Weston in “Home Before Dark,” now streaming on Apple TV+. /

Home Before Dark Season 2, Episode 5 recap: What’s in the black box?

As for the black box, Hilde delivers the container to Frank, hoping he can decode it for them. Thanks to his connections, Frank manages to just that, and what he finds shocks everyone.

Remember the plane wreckage the kids found in the basement? It turns out that the plane’s final ride was also the last ride of Sam Gillis’s father, Hank Gillis. If you recall from Season 1, Sam was falsely accused of kidnapping Richie. It was Hilde who helped clear his name in the first season, although we haven’t seen him again since.

In the recording, Hank says that “Richie was right,” which shocks everyone. Frank and Matt have no idea what Hank would have been doing hanging out with Richie. Why was a kid hanging around an adult (Hilde is different, they’re all her sources!)? What did Richie see that was so important he had to tell someone?

While flying somewhere unknown, Hank talks about trying to take photos of whatever he saw, but he gets too close to the ground and knows that he’s about to crash, signing off by asking whoever hears this to tell his family he loved them. It’s hard for everyone in the present to listen to his last words.

Home Before Dark Season 2
Jim Sturgess and Michael Weston in “Home Before Dark,” now streaming on Apple TV+. /

Wanting to find a map that would show where Hank was flying, Hilde, Donnie and Spoon go to the archives in search of the original flight plan. But when they come up empty, they realize they need to return to the basement to get it.

Having no desire to sneak in again, Hilde goes to Trip for help. She’s feeling the pressure from Rutherford now after a loaded conversation where Rutherford tells her that Eerie Harbor isn’t prepared to have a black woman sheriff and implying she should quit. I really hate that guy.

Despite this, Trip agrees to get a warrant and take Hilde and Matt to the basement, but the room that once housed airplane wreckage has transformed into an innocuous billiards room. It doesn’t look good for anyone involved in the search, but it’s especially bad for Trip, who has Rutherford breathing down her neck. They also run into the guy who has been stalking Hilde, although he plays innocent. On her way out, Hilde makes a comment to him about knowing he still has her backpacks.

But the worst part of this scene, by far, is Trip’s reaction to the missing airplane. Trip turns on Hilde, saying that everyone has told her the Liskos only make trouble, and she was too dumb not to listen. It’s heartbreaking to see Hilde’s face when Trip says that, although part of me wonders if she only said it for Rutherford’s benefit.

Either way, Hilde tries to downplay her hurt feelings by claiming Trip was just another source, but it’s clear what she said cut her deep.

At the end of the episode, Hilde finds that someone has placed her backpack and Donnie’s on the dining room table. It’s a blatant intimidation tactic. The stalker guy must have broken into the house!

Home Before Dark Season 2
Brooklynn Prince and Kylie Rogers in “Home Before Dark,” now streaming on Apple TV+. /

Home Before Dark Season 2, Episode 5 recap: Izzy adjusts to Ethan’s return

With Ethan back in town, you’d think things would be going great for Izzy, but that’s not the case. She’s struggling to balance her relationships between Ethan and Emma. Emma starts acting weird toward Izzy, and I’m not sure if she’s jealous or if something else is going on.

Izzy also seems oblivious that every time she tries to have a conversation with Emma, they get interrupted by Ethan, which would annoy anyone who’s ever had to deal with a friend who can’t seem to go anywhere without their boyfriend.

But Ethan also has a lot going on in his life as his parents are both fighting for custody. He ends up having to crash at the Lisko’s for a night, and I wonder if he might have seen someone break in to deliver those backpacks?

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Odds & Ends from Home Before Dark Season 2, Episode 5

  • Frank proposes to Kim, and she says yes! Honestly, I found this a little abrupt. I had forgotten the two were even together since it didn’t seem like a significant storyline until it popped back up in last week’s episode.
  • I wonder if Dan Byrd’s storyline as the new librarian got axed due to the pandemic. IMDb credits him as only appearing in the first two episodes, and he hardly had any scenes. I’m assuming he was going to have a bigger storyline.
  • Spoon has been getting bullied for his eccentric outfits and started to dress more “normally” as a result. So, Hilde and Donnie band together to support their friend, and it’s one of the sweetest moments on the show!

New episodes of Home Before Dark Season 2 air Fridays on Apple TV+.