"The Bent-Neck Lady" is the fifth episode of Season One of The Haunting of Hill House. It premiered on October 12th, 2018. The episode focuses on Nell, and her experiences with being haunted by the "Bent-Neck Lady".
A dark specter with an unsettling silhouette has haunted Nell since she was a girl. Now "the Bent-Neck Lady" is back -- and she's calling Nell home.
In 1992, Nell is woken in the middle of the night by a haunting from "the Bent-Neck Lady". She screams, and her parents come to her, taking them to their room, where they reassure her that it was just a nightmare - but Nell insists she was wide awake. Nell asks to sleep on the living room sofa, not wanting to go back to her own bed, and Olivia stays with her. She asks about Olivia's locket, which Olivia opens to reveal photos of Nell and Luke inside. She promises to give the locket to Nell when she's older, but lets her borrow it for the night. When Nell falls asleep, Olivia goes back to her own bed, but after she's gone, Nell is haunted by "the Bent-Neck Lady" again, who hovers over her on the sofa and screams at her, moaning "No, no, no" repeatedly.
In 2016, now an adult, Nell visits a clinic, where she sleep technologist Arthur Vance. He reassures her that the visions are normal, and probably a result of sleep paralysis. Nell questions about the visions, however, and he remarks that numerous people report hallucinations whilst going through these stages; they are more than likely spillages of dreams, however. The two seem to get along and they eventually go out for coffee and begin dating. Eventually, Arthur proposes to Nell on New Year's and she accepts, and the two are married not long after. At her wedding, she sees a vision of her late mother, Olivia.
The two enjoy their life together until one fateful night, when Nell begins experiencing the episodes of sleep paralysis. On this occasion, Arthur stands to turn on the light but finds himself uneasy on his feet, he collapses to the ground moments later and dies immediately. Nell sees the ominous shadow of the Bent-Neck Lady looming over Arthur's body. Nell tells the story to her new therapist, but does not give details about the cause of death, largely because she believes that the Bent-Neck Lady killed Arthur; the therapist corrects her, however, citing that he died of a brain aneurysm.
A flashback to the "then" shows Nell discovering a tea set. She brings the tea set to Ms. Dudley, who explains that it belonged to Jacqueline Hill, the houses' owner's daughter. Nell asks if she can keep the tea set, and Ms. Dudley agrees, granted she gets permission from her parents. Nell fears her mother will say no, as she is not allowed to play with fragile objects, but Ms. Dudley tells her to insist. Nell goes downstairs to the kitchen to wash the set, but is interrupted by her mother, who is furious that she wrote "Nell" on the wall. Nell pleads with her mother, explaining that she did not write on the wall, to which Theo backs her up. Olivia is furious, however, and orders that it be cleaned up immediately. Theo pulls back the rest of the wallpaper and realizes that there is more text. "Come Home, Nell" is written on the wall in red chalk.
Moments before Luke is enrolled into rehab, he asks Nell to pick him up and drive him. On the way, however, he asks Nell to buy him one last dose of heroin to aid him in his recovery. She reluctantly agrees, and she once again sees the Bent-Neck Lady standing in the distance. Nell explains to her therapist, however, that when Luke felt better in rehab, she too felt better; the therapist, however, is unwilling to hear about "the twin thing".
Nell has troubles with her medication a couple of months later, and on one occasion, she confronts Steve at a book talk. Nell is furious that Steve sold their stories for the money, and embarrasses Steve in front of all of his fans. Steve pulls her aside and angrily explains that she has had the past six years to complain about the book, and now is not the time.
In the then, after fleeing from Hill House, Hugh Crain drives his children to a motel. He leaves them at the motel and leaves to return to the house to get Olivia. Hugh asks the children to take care of one another whilst he is gone, and the children (except for Steven and Theo) all hug their father. After their father leaves, Luke tells his siblings that Olivia looked injured in the Red Room. The children are confused, however, citing that the Red Room is locked; Nell remarks that the woman wasn't their mother.
The following morning, Hugh returns, covered in blood. He tells Nell that her mother is okay now, and that their Aunt Janet will be there later to pick them up. He gives Nell a pocket watch and says she'll be there at two. He kisses her before going with the police.
In the now, Nell falls asleep at the same motel, having driven there to see Hill House for what it was: a "carcass in the woods." She wakes up to find a vision of Luke's corpse stuck to the ceiling. Nell panics and calls Steven, but he rejects her call. She calls Shirley but she also rejects her call. Nell leaves Shirley a voicemail, saying that she's worried about Luke, a direct result of their twin connection. Nell goes to buy a drink from the soda machine, but the lights flicker and she is knocked back by the Bent-Neck Lady. When she returns to her room, she sees that she had missed a call from Steven. Nell decides that it is time to return home to Hill House.
When she arrives at Hill House, she sees it boarded-up and derelict. She calls her father, and as she's speaking to him, the house's interior lights up. She finishes talking to her dad, and walks up to it.
Inside, the house looks well-cared for. She is reunited with her siblings, seeing them as both children and adults. She also sees her mother, who tells Nell that she is expected. She walks downstairs in an elegant gown, and sees her husband. After dancing with the love of her life, she walks upstairs toward the Red Door, and Olivia puts her locket around Nell's neck. Nell is happy, but something it wrong. She realizes that the lockets is truly a noose, and that she is atop a balcony. Nell pleads with her mother to help her, and Olivia pushes her off the stairs. Nell's neck snaps as the rope goes taught, and in a vivid sequence, Nell goes back to all the times she ever saw the Bent-Neck Lady, now seeing it from Lady's expression. After falling back to the first encounter she ever saw the Lady, she screams in horror as she realizes that SHE was the Bent-Neck Lady, and always will be.
- Michiel Huisman as Steven Crain
- Carla Gugino as Olivia Crain
- Elizabeth Reaser as Shirley Crain
- Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Luke Crain
- Kate Siegel as Theodora Crain
- Victoria Pedretti as Eleanor Crain
- Lulu Wilson as Young Shirley Crain
- Mckenna Grace as Young Theodora Crain
- Paxton Singleton as Young Steve Crain
- Julian Hilliard as Young Luke Crain
- Violet McGraw as Young Nell Crain
- Henry Thomas as Young Hugh Crain
- The episode reveals that Eleanor Crain is herself the Bent-Neck Lady.
|Episodes of The Haunting of Hill House|
|"Steven Sees a Ghost" • "Open Casket" • "Touch" • "The Twin Thing" • "The Bent-Neck Lady" • "Two Storms" • "Eulogy" • "Witness Marks" • "Screaming Meemies" • "Silence Lay Steadily"|