Friday, October 9, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Haunting of Bly Manor' - Peter and Rebecca's Love Story Quickly Becomes Possessive in 'The Two Faces, Part One'

Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor - Episode 2.03 "The Two Faces, Part One"

Dani and Miles get an uncanny glimpse of the past. Peter Quint, Rebecca Jessel and their twisted history cast a long shadow.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor.

"The Two Faces, Part One" was written by Diane Ademu-John and directed by Ciarán Foy

Love and death define the narrative stakes of this story. It was introduced as being a ghost story. That is the tale the Narrator is telling. However, it's mainly told through the prism of these basic human emotions and experiences. People feel love immensely. Death consumes all of us as well. Tragedy can strike at any moment in time. No one is immune to it. Miles and Flora have already dealt with so much loss despite how young they are. That could run the risk of emotionally scarring them for the rest of their lives. They could be stunted because their parents were tragically taken away from them. There is a place in their home they can no longer access. Those memories are preserved and meant not to be touched by anyone. When that disturbance is felt, tribal reactions come out. But these young souls are still loved. A new makeshift family has formed. Those relationships are still prone to destruction. It again amounts to death. The audience has been given some of the details about what happened to Rebecca. Now, the story starts to play out onscreen. She fell in love with Peter Quint, Henry's right-hand man. Henry would seemingly be lost without him. Meanwhile, Rebecca is trying to make an impact on the world in a way different from her peers. Being hired as Miles and Flora's au pair could be beneath her. However, she is good at it and immediately becomes close with the entire family. She makes Peter feel things he has never felt before. He feels connected to her in a way that is new and vulnerable. He cherishes those feelings. He wants to hold on tight and never let them go. And yet, that encourages controlling behavior. He needs to possess Rebecca. He needs to cement full ownership over her. He has to dictate what she can and can't do. He perceives her to be flirting with others. He views their relationship as something that is already public. In reality, it's this private expression of love that Rebecca is still embarrassed by when Mrs. Grose catches them. She still wants to be professional. Peter demeans and degrades her though. He makes her question her own actions. It's despicable behavior. One that isn't an expression of love in the slightest. The family at Bly Manor questions how someone could confuse love and possession. It's what Peter wanted from this relationship though. It eventually led to Rebecca's death. Her ambition was snuffed out by this man who wanted to tell her what to do. The family is close with each other though. They feel loss when it happens to one of them. Love is a daily choice about how to spend one's time. Owen is there for his family at Bly Manor in the middle of the night. He comforts them. He makes them all feel special. And then, his mother dies when he is away from her. It's a shocking development for him. It's one that highlights how life is fragile. Death can happen at any moment. Dani is terrified by so many things. She must remain strong for the children. She allows herself to rely on Jamie whenever she needs protection. That too features as burgeoning intimacy. Of course, this story allows Rebecca and Peter to be seen in a romantic context no matter how toxic and destructive it is. At the moment, Dani and Jamie only have longing glances and the brief physical touch of the other's hand. That isn't enough. It certainly startles Dani as her monster breaks free from the constraints of mirrors. She may be forced into confronting it in order to see the potential of love. It's all viewed as a terrifying thought. One that scares the people of this world. They remain tentative. This family unit has become cohesive and loving. They cherish how quickly Miles and Flora bounce back no matter what happens that may scare them. It's unclear what exactly is going on with Peter stalking the manor. Worrying about that may only take away from their concerns elsewhere. Owen's pain and sorrow is real. That loss will be felt. Mrs. Grose comforts him. Their worlds have been defined by this place and needing to care for each other. That can be quaint. It has been eery to watch. It's unclear just how fast these developments will grow that could challenge their lives. Right now, things are relatively peaceful. They can see hope. They can reach out and grab it. Terror is always along the edges though. Those creeping in further may only cement that death will consume this world and its people once more.