The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 9 completes a heartbreaking love story that haunts you long after the credits roll. Guard your heart and soul.
This is a different beast entirely from The Haunting of Hill House. More melodramatic romance than chillfest, there are still plenty of creepy images for horror fans. The Haunting of Bly Manor is about regret, love, sacrifice, and perseverance. Henry James is a master of the gothic romance, and his many stories weave themselves into the fabric of Bly Manor, leaving something new behind. Fans of The Haunting Of Hill House may not recognize the series they find themselves watching but will appreciate the care put into the story and performances. Although the entire season pulls from Henry James’ best-known work, The Turn Of The Screw, each chapter, often a bottle episode that fleshes out the greater story in hidden ways, is defined by a separate James tale. Here’s what you need to know about The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 9
In the final devastating episode, viewers are rewarded with a complete story arch satisfying as it is sad. Bittersweet beyond words, The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 9 brings the story full circle while remaining true to the conceit established in Episode 1. The housekeeper Hannah Grose has finally realized she is dead and has been for some time. Regardless of how desperately she wants to stay and be with the children and, more importantly, the chef Owen, played so lovingly by Rahul Kohli(iZombie), she is gone. She has been tucked away in a memory half of the season after being pushed into the well and dying by Peter possessing Miles’ body.
Hannah manages to assist the living and the dead in defeating Viola. Viola’s single-minded desire to destroy and kill comes from her decades of loneliness and rage, explained in The Haunting Of Bly Manor Episode 8. Dani, in one final act of selflessness, offers herself in exchange for Flora’s life. Dani’s sacrifice frees all of Bly’s ghosts, including Hannah, Viola, Peter, and Miss Jessel. Unfortunately, it also begins the long march to the inevitable loss Dani and Jamie must experience.
It is at this point that The Beast In The Jungle begins. James’ novella, published in 1903 in the anthology The Better Sort, is a rumination on life’s meaning. Significant themes include loneliness, fate, and death. It is widely regarded as his best work. By offering herself to Viola to save Flora, she knows her time is limited. Viola will come for her one day. She is the beast waiting in the jungle to pounce.
In James’ original work, Dani is a man John Marcher. He is plagued by the belief that some horrific fate is destined to take him. As a result, he refuses to live his life and love May Bertram wholeheartedly. He won’t marry her for fear of leaving her a widow. His fear eventually brings her down as well, and the two live a joyless life. As he grows old, he finally recognizes that his fear got the better of him. The terrible fate awaiting him was his own doing. His fate was to waste his life waiting.
Mike Flanagan’s version of this story is not as dreary but just as sad. It also puts a fresh spin on Marcher’s refusal to marry May. Dani and Jamie live in the ’80s when LGBTQ+ individuals could not marry. She wants to marry Jamie and make the most of the limited time they have left. Dani isn’t content to waste her time but to embrace every second and symbolically marries Jamie. Eventually, Viola comes for Dani, and she is forced to leave for Jamie’s safety, but for years they are happy. Carla Gugino’s narrator who is revealed to be Jamie, says years of happiness are more than most get.
In the final scene, Jamie, who is at a wedding years later for probably Flora or Miles’ daughter, finishes her story and sees Henry and the kids as they were before. She returns to her hotel room and looks hopefully into the water filling the bathtub and sink. Dani is not there, but she has never stopped looking. Jamie leaves the door open and waits for Dani’s return. Dani does return to her as she sleeps and rests her hand on her shoulder. Even in death, they are not separated. Marcher and Dani’s difference was that Dani recognized her time was short and elected to live it fully while she could. In Dani’s case, there really was a specter waiting to claim her as well. For Marcher, he was his terrible fate. He was his own worst enemy and the destroyer of his life.
The Haunting Of Bly Manor was not nearly as scary as The Haunting Of Hill House, and that’s okay because the story may not have been what we expected but was just what our world on fire needs right now. It was poignant and touching with just enough scares. Find all the breakdowns of Henry James’ other stories in Netflix’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor here.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.