Goosebumps season 1, episode 2 recap: “The Haunted Mask”

Goosebumps on Disney+ and Hulu on Oct. 13, 2023.
Goosebumps on Disney+ and Hulu on Oct. 13, 2023. /

The second episode of Goosebumps starts out by replaying some of the events of the first episode but gives us a different perspective on the events being depicted. The second episode opens focusing on Isabella, a character we saw for a few brief moments in the background of the first episode.

Isabella is a character that feels invisible to her peers, pretty much being ignored at every turn. She vents some of her frustration through, trolling her classmates online (she was the one who told Allison’s parents about the party), but that doesn’t help.

Her younger brother convinces her to go to the Halloween party in an attempt to change the status quo of her life, but initially that seems to be a bust.

Goosebumps season 1, episode 2 recap – The introduction of the creepy mask

At the party, Isabella hears someone calling her voice from the mysterious basement and goes to investigate. She discovers a mask in the basement that seems to be whispering to her to put it on.

Rather than being incredibly creeped out by the talking mask, she puts it on and proceeds to have a wonderful time at the party as becoming more outgoing, under the influence of the mask. Later at school, when Lucas destroys her $3000 drone in one of his stunt attempts, she lashes out at both him and the guidance counselor, under the influence of the mask.

While she makes apologies for her outburst, she still gets in trouble at home and has all of her devices confiscated. As Isabella is dealing with her mask situation, Isaiah is grappling with the haunting that causes him to break his arm.

Margot stops by to ask him what is wrong, but he brushes her off, saying that she doesn’t want to get involved with what he’s going through. In fact, the only person other than Isaiah who seems to be grappling with the supernatural events surrounding the football game is Nora, the mother of Lucas, who saw the football game the same way that Isaiah experienced it.

She tries to reach out to Isaiah, but is stopped by his father who wants her to stay away from his son. There is brief mention about meeting up with “the others” to discuss something secretive.

It seems like several of the adults in the town have a shared secret that they’re all reluctant to talk about. Nora manages to get around Isaiah’s dad by giving a picture of Harold Biddle to Margot and asking her to see if Isaiah recognizes him.

When Isaiah tells her that the person in the picture is the same person he saw on the football field, they look for Nora to find out why Isaiah is seeing a dead guy. But before they can find Nora, they run into Lucas who is having problems of his own.

It seems that Isabella, succumbing to the will of the mask, has put it back on to let it solve her problems. It’s used her rage to turn her into a literal troll (metaphor!) and she begins attacking Lucas.

Isaiah and Margot chase off the troll, not realizing that it’s Isabella in a mask. Isabella returns home, trashes the house, and accidentally attacks her little brother who freaks out at the monster that’s attacking him.

The sight of her terrified little brother lets the real Isabella cut through and she tears the mask off. The two of them throw the mask in the river, glad to be rid of it.

But as soon as they leave, Mr. Bratt appears to rescue the mask.

Goosebumps season 1, episode 2 recap – The parents are the ones to blame…

Of course, that’s not really Mr. Bratt. After the appearance of Harold at the end of the last episode, Mr. Bratt becomes fully possessed by Harold’s spirit.

While it takes a little while for the spirit to fully figure out how this whole possession thing works, soon he is in complete control of Mr. Bratt. Meanwhile, Isabella’s mother has a meeting with some of the other parents.

She forces Isabella to come along with her, not being able to trust her after the house was mysteriously trashed. The meeting of the parents is at James’ house, where this group of parents seem to be the “others” that were secretly mentioned earlier in the episode.

The mothers of Isabella, James, and Lucas, as well as Isaiah’s father make up a group that have a shared secret about Harold Biddle and the events of 30 years ago. Nora believes that their past has caught up to them and now they’re in danger.

But the other parents don’t want to believe her. As the parents continue to argue, Isabella and James play pool in the game room.

It’s a pretty uneventful game until James suddenly explodes into a pile of goo, causing the episode to end on a really unexpected note.

Goosebumps season 1, episode 2 recap – A serialized show set up like an anthology

At the beginning of the first episode, it looked like there were a bunch of Easter eggs scattered across the basement for fans of the original series to find, as a nod to the books that inspired the show. But now it looks like these aren’t so much Easter eggs, as they are important plot devices that will drive the story of the show.

The camera took center stage in the first episode, and now the mask is the primary haunted item in this episode. Given that we have a collection of main characters who were all at this one faithful Halloween party, it seems like each character is going to interact with something that will kick off their very own Goosebumps plot.

This is a pretty clever way to get past the difficulty of adapting a series where all of the books tell standalone stories. By letting each episode focus on a different character, you let each item stand on its own as a scary plot device that is haunting that particular kid.

The show is trying to have the best of both worlds, where it gets to be an anthology show with each episode following a different character after the party, while simultaneously being a serialized show where each episode builds off of the previous ones. It’s only been two episodes, but what’s cool is that so far, the show is making that format work.

There were enough overlapping scenes to let you know how these two episodes fit together, yet the show takes its time to really focus on Isabella, who is the main character of this episode, despite barely being in the previous one. And this format also allows the show to tease what might come up next episode, with an ending that feels like its unexpectedness is ripped straight out of a Goosebumps book from the ’90s.

Now fans of the books not only get to be excited about the tiny references that the show had, but they get to eagerly anticipate that perhaps that cuckoo clock or notebook that was briefly shown in the haunted house wasn’t just a reference. It could be a clue as to what books might be adapted for future episodes.

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What did you think of Goosebumps season 1 episode 2? You can watch Goosebumps season 1 on Disney Plus.