Monday, October 12, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Haunting of Bly Manor' - Peter Haunts People to Preserve His Sense of Identity in 'The Two Faces, Part Two'

Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor - Episode 2.07 "The Two Faces, Part Two"

Miles and Flora are pulled into a ghostly game. Faced with the facts, Rebecca comes to an unhappy conclusion, and Hannah makes a shattering discovery.

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 Two" was written by The Clarkson Twins and directed by Yolanda Ramke & Ben Howling

Peter Quint refuses to lose his sense of identity. He embarks on maintaining that by stripping the identities of others. It's the classic tragedy of a person who was abused turning around and abusing people themselves. It's a complicated psychology. One that is worthy of being mined and explored. And yet, Peter's overall motivation is very vague. It's one-dimensional in order to add a sense of villainy to the proceedings. When he gets tucked away into a memory, it's the same one over and over again. That could offer some powerful insight into him. It's a vision of his mother showing up and essentially blackmailing him for money. He views her as the enabler for the abuse he suffered as a child. Even into adulthood, he pleads for understanding as to why she allowed it to happen to him. However, the show remains a little too uncommitted to explore the psychology of its main antagonist. It mostly just wants it to be easy for Peter to destroy lives. He does so out of his own sense of possession and righteousness. In explaining himself to Rebecca, he simply says that he had to kill her. It was the only way they could physically be together again. It was the only reasonable solution. She had to give herself willingly so that he could be in control of her body for a longer period of time. She still woke up as she was drowning. She still has some sense of what is happening to her. Everyone has the right instinct of trying to push out anyone who is trying to take over their lives. And yet, it can be difficult when personal emotions are involved. Peter manipulates the people at Bly Manor. Love blinds him. He believes he is doing the right thing. Every action he has taken is justified in order to maintain his sense of self. He has to remain a part of this world. He can't just disappear into nothing like the faceless ghosts who also live in this world. That's not a fate he is hoping to have. He wants to be a savior for himself and Rebecca. In the process though, he completely disregarded all of the hopes and dreams Rebecca had about her life. Her story came to a tragic end because of a man. Her light was snuffed out because Peter thought he knew what was best for her. She had no active role in her death. She was deceived by a man who claims to love her. She acknowledges that. Sure, she still haunts and tortures Flora and Miles. However, she does so in the service of helping the children escape. If she can save even one of them, then she believes she will have succeeded. Peter is determined to take over the lives of the Wingrave children. They can escape to pleasant memories of being with their parents for the rest of their lives. They no longer have to live on the surface having to endure so much tragedy. Happiness is simply one choice away from becoming a reality. It's all manipulation. Peter is a desperate man trying to cling onto some sense of control. He has to force Hannah into compliance with how he believes the order of the world should work. That went flying out the window the moment that ghosts became apparent in this narrative. They are trapped within the estate. They can't leave. That is established here. They wander in and out of memories. It's a curse because it is so enticing to live in those fantasies. They can recognize it as not being real. However, the temptation makes it difficult to get pulled back to the present. Dani is terrified and confused. And frankly, the audience should be as well because it's yet another episode where the plot meanders around a lot only for a lot to happen in the final moments. Things of value and importance absolutely happen. It's daunting to see the Lady of the Lake's hand reach out and grab Dani as she hopes to run away to freedom. That's another mystery that has gone unexplained so far. It's all about the personal drama in the hopes of understanding the motivations of the ghosts. But again, it's just difficult to care about Rebecca and Peter. Rebecca does the right thing. Life was taken away from her. She accepts that and doesn't wish to condemn Flora for her own chance at happiness once more. Peter is obsessed with this scheme he has concocted. That's it. That's all the necessary drama. Instead, it's simply weird to see Hannah once again learn that she died and is now a ghost. It feels like the story going around in a circular motion. Some new depth is added. Parts work. It can feel hollow as well because of the few characteristics that extend beyond the eery mood of the series.