Shining Vale – Season 1 Episode 1 “Welcome to Casa De Phelps” Recap & Review

Welcome to Casa De Phelps

Episode 1 of Shining Vale begins with a family driving up to their new house. Terry is enthusiastic about this, while Pat is erratic. She forces Terry to stop the car as she sees visions of a little girl with a flowery dress in front of them. Only, this is a false alarm but it ominously foreshadows what’s to follow, as they arrive in Shining Vale.

Alongside their daughter Gaynor and techno-geek Jake, the four prepare to move into this big house. Pat continues to see visions though, which heightens up that night when she sees a woman outside the window.

We then jump back 3 months ago as Pat and Terry happen to be in therapy. Pat is depressed, given she’s at home writing. She’s been sober for over 16 years now but her mother used to have psychosis. She’s prescribed some medication but admits that she doesn’t feel like herself, almost as if someone is possessing her. And as we soon learn, the symptoms for demon possession and depression are exactly the same.

Fast forward to the present and Pat is still taking her meds. She gets the place ready for both Jake and Gaynor. The latter is unhappy with her mother calling out her outfit, claiming it’s too slutty. Jake however, is unhappy with his sandwich. Eventually the situation is resolved when their mother loses her temper.

After seeing off the kids at school, Pat face-times with her sister Trish who breaks down what’s going on. She needs the first chapter of her novel by next month, otherwise she wants the deposit back.

So Pat settles in to write in the attic – of all places. However, she hears whispers around her and that – coupled with photos of the strange ghosts she’s been seeing – causes her to grow spooked and wonder just what to do. She contemplates moving back to Brooklyn but Terry admits they’ve given up everything to be here so they don’t have a choice but to stick it out.

As the episode closes OUT, Pat sees that strange woman from before, who quizzes her about why she’s in her house. Pat is frozen with fear and as she tries to call out to Terry, the chapter ends.

The Episode Review

Shining Vale feels like a very generic haunted house story right now, with not much in the way of comedy. The family of four, moving into a big empty house and finding everything is wrong; it’s a storyline that’s been well-tread and retold through numerous different mediums and here it just feels cliched and struggles to stand out.

Despite good acting, all the characters feel like archetypes and there’s a bizarre mishmash of tones that jump between something satirically amusing like Ghosts into genuine haunted house horror horror territory kike the Haunting series. We’ll have to wait and see if the second episode changes but right now this show feels very average.

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