The Red Room and The Screaming Staircase
George examines the haunted ring under a microscope and finds a hallmark at the start of Lockwood and Co episode 3. The letters and number lead them to a quote from Hamlet: “Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.” It points at Blake but it’s not enough proof to put him behind bars. Another letter from DEPRAC tells them they have to work under adult supervision now. But Lockwood tells them not to worry, they’re going to see a man about a ghost.
In the elevator at Fairfax Iron, Lockwood tells them they are answering an ad in the newspaper looking for agents to deal with a dangerous haunting. The address sends them to the top floor where they meet none other than John Fairfax, the founder of the company. He wants an agency to quickly and quietly deal with a haunting at one of his properties called Combe Carey Hall. The trio convince him to choose Lockwood & Co. as they are independent and can do it without the news getting around too much. In return, he agrees to pay their 60,000-dollar fine. Excited, they sort out duties amongst themselves and begin to get ready for the case.
Sometime later, George tells Lockwood and Lucy that there’s a lot about the hall that Fairfax didn’t tell them. Like the place being built on a satanic priory of medieval devil worshippers. There are mentions about a screaming staircase and, years ago, Marissa Fittes and her group of agents had failed to clear the hall too. In fact, one agent named Sam Pandey was never found. But Lockwood insists this place is a job worthy of their talents.
Barnes calls Lucy and asks her if she’s told Lockwood that she’s leaving. She says she has and will leave in a couple of days. He says that Blake is released and also mentions that Lockwood would be briefed on his supervisor the next day. Lucy says they won’t be at home at the time due to fumigation.
Despite Lockwood locking Annabel Ward’s ring away, Lucy sneaks into his room and steals it back.
Lucy, George and Lockwood get off a train in the countryside and are welcomed by Ellie, his assistant. While loading up their bags in the car, she winces and mentions an old war wound.
Lucy stops at the threshold of Combe Carey Hall, thinking she heard something. Inside, Fairfax tells them the monks committed mass suicide here, after which the priory was destroyed and the modern house built on top of it.
Ellie declares she found a flare in Lockwood’s bag, which was against the rules. The flare is taken away and then Fairfax and Ellie leave the trio to the house.
Meanwhile, when DEPRAC finds no one at Lockwood’s home, they end up breaking into the place.
Inside Combe Carey Hall, Lucy hears a lot of voices — conversations, shouts, screaming. George says none of the house blueprints matches the place, so they’re basically going in blind. She and George are not sure they should be doing this. Lockwood gets a flare out from a hiding place — he had come the day before and hid one because he knew Fairfax would search their bags. They begin their search.
They walk up the Screaming Staircase but don’t hear anything. They reach the Red Room. George feels bad energy in the walls while Lucy hears screaming. They set down iron chains and George puts a stopper underneath the door. According to George, the house must have some hidden rooms so Lockwood and Lucy start looking for cavities or switches in the walls. Suddenly, there’s a tapping sound in the room. They realise that blood is pooling on the ceiling and dripping down onto the floor. It begins spreading everywhere and George warns them not to touch it as it’s not actually blood but the plasma of a ghost and just as fatal. When blood drips within the iron circle as well, they rush to find the hidden room. Lucy finds a door in the wall and with only moments left, they hurry inside.
Lockwood guesses that it wasn’t a ghost but a living person who shut the door of the red room. They follow the passage ahead of them and see the ghost of a person that they guess is Sam Pandey. The passage leads them to a staircase. George makes a comment about Fairfax being in show business which makes Lockwood think of something. But Lucy interrupts him as she can hear the sound of voices and realises that the staircase they’re on is the screaming staircase.
The sound of chanting voices grows louder and louder as they run down the stairs and reach a large, stone chamber with a well where the monks died. The shadows of monks on the wall slowly become bigger and walk towards the trio. Lockwood and George begin warding them off with their rapiers but Lucy gets a little ghost-locked. She walks to the well and stands on the edge of its mouth. Lockwood and George pull her back — and out of the ghost lock — just in time. Lucy tells them the source is the bodies of the monks at the bottom of the well. Lockwood throws his one flare inside and everything explodes.
Lucy wakes up amongst the debris and wakes up George and Lockwood. Lockwood apologises as he’s realised it was Fairfax’s plan all along to have the house kill them. He brings out the photograph of Annabel with a group of other people and points out the man in the back. It’s a young John Fairfax. He was the one who was in a relationship with Annabel and he was the one who killed her. He brought them here to die because they had the ring, which had evidence of his murder.
The trio see a chink of light in the wall and use it to weaken the brickwork and break themselves out into another part of the house. Unfortunately, Fairfax and Ellie are waiting for them at the entrance, at gunpoint. Fairfax is also wearing a pair of iron glasses. He admits to everything, saying he couldn’t let one murder ruin the rest of his life. Lockwood claims to not have the ring. When Fairfax gets ready to shoot him, Lucy steps up and says she has it. She throws the ring up in the air and Annabel’s ghost is released. She swoops down on Fairfax and kills him. Lockwood picks up the ring and Lucy puts it back in the locket.
Ellie tries to escape but police vans are waiting outside. Barnes says he will be arresting the three of them but they protest that Fairfax tried to have them murdered. Quill Kipps turns up and tells Barnes the deputy commissioner has arrived. They watch the deputy commissioner speaking with Barnes as other men take boxes of things from Combe Carey Hall. They suspect something larger is going on. Barnes comes back and says they won’t be arrested if they sign an NDA. Begrudgingly, they sign it.
At Sam Pandey’s funeral, Penelope Fittes (daughter of Marissa Fittes), comes up to the trio and thanks them for finding him and completing the Combe Carey Hall case.
Back home, Lockwood is annoyed about DEPRAC covering up Fairfax’s death. He laments not being able to tell anyone about Combe Carey Hall. George experiments with Fairfax’s iron glasses, that he stole from the scene. When they talk about Lucy’s Listening skills, George tells her to be careful but Lockwood cuts him off. Lockwood gives Lucy her fourth grade, having signed it himself.
She takes the degree and the iron glasses down to the secure storage area. While putting things away, the unlocks one of the latches on the ghost jar by mistake. It emits a voice that calls out Lucy’s name.
Lockwood tells George not to tell her that stuff about Listeners. He thinks Lucy’s tougher than she looks. They then hear some clattering noises. Lucy has fainted in the basement.
The Episode Review
Three episodes in and we’ve reached the end of novel one! I’m a bit surprised at the show’s quick pacing but from a new viewer’s perspective, it’s the fuel that keeps people hooked and moving on to the next episode. That said, the pace does miss out on a few things. Like John Fairfax’s position doesn’t come across as grand as it’s meant to be. While the red room scene is done really, really well, the screaming staircase scene would have been scarier if it was drawn out longer.
When it comes to CGI, the show seems to make better use of subtle visual effects. Annabel Ward’s ghost, I’m sorry to say, doesn’t so much as raise a hair on my arm. In fact, it comes across like something from Scooby Doo. The flowing blood in the red room though, and the hooded monk shadows on the wall, were impressively spooky.
When it comes to the cast, Ruby Stokes’ portrayal of Lucy comes across as authentic and genuine, although I do think she could be feistier as she is in the book. I see no reason for them to show Lucy faint when the skull first speaks to her, when in the novel she was absolutely fine. (No, the book comparisons are not going to end.) As endearing as Cameron Chapman’s smile is, I do think that he could more expressively channel Lockwood’s high-spiritedness.
In the books, Lockwood’s words, gestures and actions always convey the feeling of barely contained energy. That restlessness and near-unhinged optimism is something that could be highlighted better in Cameron’s performance.
But now that our dream team has established itself, this episode truly showed them in action and that does not disappoint.
You can read our full season review for Lockwood & Co season 1 here!