Goosebumps season 1, episode 5 recap: “Reader Beware”

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

On the last episode of Goosebumps, Nora, Lucas’ mother, ended up in a psych ward after trying to describe the worm monster that attacked them. So, for the time being, Lucas has to live with Margot and her dad.

This is a pretty awkward situation given that all parties involved are aware that Margot’s dad was having an affair with Lucas’ mom. But then the awkwardness escalates quickly when Margot’s mother returns home from Seattle.

Margot tries to find out what information her mother has been keeping from her, but she refuses to tell her. After storming off, Margot complains to Lucas about how her mother has been constantly letting her down.

In the process of venting, the two of them have a connection and share a kiss. This is bad news for Isaiah, because it turns out that he had just dumped his girlfriend in between the past two episodes and is not ready to address his feelings for Margot.

Once Margot and Lucas get to the meeting set up for all the kids, it’s not explicitly said that Lucas and Margot kissed, but it’s clear that something’s happening and Isaiah starts getting jealous.

Goosebumps season 1, episode 5 recap – Margot’s mother is also looking for answers

While the kids are trying to figure out what they want their next move to be, Margot’s mother Sarah takes time to visit Nora in the hospital and learns about Nora’s belief that Biddle is back to get revenge. Sarah talks to Victoria, who happens to be Isabella’s mother, who is treating Nora.

Isabella acts like the sedation strategy is what is best for Nora, but Sarah believes that Nora is telling the truth. While at the hospital Sarah also runs into her husband, who was visiting Nora.

She learns that her husband has been having an affair with Nora and that their marriage is over. She talks to Nora about this but doesn’t blame Nora for the deterioration of her marriage.

Instead, she tells Nora that she believes her, and that if she wants to get out and save their children, she needs to stop taking the pills that they’re giving her.

Goosebumps season 1, episode 5 recap – The latest cursed item

While the grownups are doing grownup things, the kids’ story is interrupted by Mr. Bratt, who, if you’ll remember, is possessed by the spirit of Biddle. Mr. Bratt gives Margot a scrapbook that he says has pictures of her mother.

Margot looks at the scrapbook and realizes that if she’s looking at a picture in the same location where the picture was taken, the scrapbook will transport her back in time to 1993, where she can see her mom in high school. It turns out that her mom was friends with Harold Biddle.

Margot thinks that the scrapbook could be the key to getting some answers about what is going on. The other kids, who have all dealt with cursed objects from the Biddle house going wrong, are not too keen on this new cursed scrapbook.

But Margot, feeling it’s the only way to get the answers they need since her mother’s not being helpful, goes back into the scrapbook. The scrapbook seems to possess her, and the other four kids end up having to go into the past to try and save her.

While in the scrapbook they see the death of Harold Biddle and the people who are apparently responsible for his death. It turns out that it’s a group of teenagers made of the kids that will one day be their parents.

They also seem to be carrying a trunk with them as they escape the scene. Getting out of the scrapbook, and safely back to the present, the group of kids find themselves in front of the Biddle house trying to process that their parents might all be murderers, and wondering what was in that mysterious trunk. Suddenly Mr. Bratt appears on the porch and offers to explain everything, including the trunk, as the episode comes to an end on a cliffhanger.

Goosebumps season 1, episode 5 recap – The grownups get a plot of their own

For the most part, Goosebumps feels like it’s supposed to be a kids show, or at least a teenage show. Maybe that’s because it’s streaming on Disney+, or maybe it’s because it’s based on a series of books that are written for elementary age kids.

But you assume that while something Goosebumps related is supposed to be scary, it’s supposed to be scary in a way that’s ok for kids to watch. So, for most of the show the focus has been on the characters who are still in high school.

However, it’s worth noting, because it really stands out in this episode, how much of the narrative is being put on the adult actors. Usually in stories where kids face supernatural horrors, the parents are only there to get in the way and tell the kids that the scary things aren’t real.

While that’s true for some of the parent characters here, the group of adults have real agency. We get to see them deal with their own storylines, not just how their actions are affecting their children.

We especially get to see that in this episode, where Sarah is almost the main character for an episode. We follow her as she confronts the other adults, and the spooky, fun Goosebumps plot for a while, so we can watch a fairly adult moment of seeing two people talking as their marriage comes to an end.

It’s an emotional moment and not one that would exist if this was a show purely meant for kids. Like the rest of the show, it feels like Goosebumps is figuring out how the franchise should exist in the modern world.

It’s adapted its narrative style from the books, movie, and earlier TV show, to something that feels natural alongside the other streaming shows that we get today. It also feels like it’s willing to acknowledge that a large portion of its audience is likely grownups, who have a nostalgia for the Goosebumps books that they read as a child.

While the series should always have a focus on kids getting into scary, supernatural situations, it’s nice to see the grownups and the narratives surrounding them, take such a central part in the show.

Next. The Santa Clauses season 2, episode 3 recap “No Magic at the Dinner Table”. dark

What did you think of Goosebumps season 1 episode 5? You can watch Goosebumps season 1 on Disney Plus.