The Fall of the House of Usher – Episode 2 “The Masque of the Red Death” Recap & Review

The Masque of the Red Death

In The Fall of the House of Usher Episode 2, the story begins in 1979. As a young fraud investigator, Auguste has already developed a strong suspicion of crimes. He finds out that dead bodies are being pilfered. He analyses the data and concludes that the stolen bodies all belong to people who took part in exactly the same pharmaceutical study.

We are transported back to the present timeline wherein C. Auguste Dupin is interrogating Roderick. Roderick goes on to tell C. Auguste Dupin that his son Prospero was insane. Following this, we are transported back in time. When Prospero wakes up, he finds himself in the middle of a group of naked people. Then, when he can’t find his gull eggs, he puts a knife to Faraj’s throat. Later, though, he does manage to track it down.

Prospero feels betrayed by his father as the latter dismisses his proposal for a nightclub. As a consequence, Prospero decides to make it on his own without relying on his father.

Prospero is expected to spend time with his stepbrother Frederick in order to learn from him. However, he complicates matters for Frederick and Arthur Pym during a crucial legal meeting concerning Fortunato’s involvement in ecological crimes. This prompts Frederick to confront Prospero, who is quickly put in his place.

Prospero then decides to set his nightclub plan into action by utilising one of his dad’s vacant buildings. He goes there to talk to Faraj and Jenny about setting something up. Prospero spots a woman in red standing on the rooftop for an instant. The woman, however, vanishes almost immediately.

Victorine, another of Rodrick’s daughters, can be seen operating a chimpanzee alongside her partner Alessandra. They are working to create a cardiac meshing gadget in the hopes of one day using it on humans. Sadly, the chimp does not make it. Roderick also encourages Victorine to hurry up and figure out the device within six months when she pays him a visit.

Following this, the scene shifts to Prospero, who takes drugs from his stepbrother Napoleon. It appears that things between Napoleon and Prospero are friendly.

In the meantime, Camille is seen investigating to discover who in her family is the mole. Her suspicions about Victorine are evident. She also requests that Juno, Roderick’s spouse, be closely monitored.

At this point, Roderick is still being questioned by attorney Auguste. At first, he attempts to start a conversation about a comic book titled The Wizard of Id. However, he starts having visions of a burned person.

In his conversation with attorney Auguste, Roderick reveals that he has Cadasil, a condition similar to Vascular dementia. We learn that his hallucinations are a symptom of his illness. Furthermore, he gets into the potential benefits of a cardiac mesh implant in treating his condition.

We are transported back in time. Rufus Griswold and Roderick are seen having a meeting. He promotes the medication Ligodone throughout the meeting. He goes on to say that the medicine has the potential to treat everything from minor to severe pain; the dosage just needs to be adjusted accordingly. Rufus, however, declines Roderick’s proposal on the grounds that drugs lead to lawsuits.

Following that, Roderick goes back to his house, where we meet Annabel, his then-wife. Tamerlane’s mum, Annabel, is seen here caring for her infant. Little Frederick is also easily identifiable. Madeline is also present at the house. After hearing that Frederick’s proposal was turned down, his wife urges him to keep looking for work. However, Madeline encourages him to aim higher.

The story of how Roderick and his present wife Juno first met is revealed shortly after. It turns out that she was in a car crash. Roderick dropped by to see her after she began taking Ligodone. She went on to express her appreciation for his medication.

Prospero visits Fredrick to deliver some paperwork. The door is opened by Morella, Frederick’s spouse. Morella is invited to Prospero’s nightclub after he hands over the paperwork.

Morella initially says no to the invitation. Prospero, however, tempts her and extends the invitation, leaving it up to her to decide whether to attend the party.

Later that day, Tamerlane is seeing her husband have sex with another woman while pleasuring herself. On the other hand, Camille is trying to uncover dirt on Victorine.

At night, Morella makes up her mind and goes to the nightclub. As soon as she arrives, Prospero spots her. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Prospero wants to have sex with her so he can use the footage against his stepbrother Fredrick.

Later that night, Prospero spots a woman in red and a mask. He knows for sure that he didn’t invite her. He then enters the room with the woman and engages in sexually charged talk with her. She then tells him that what he’s doing will have dire consequences and turns to leave.

Prospero initially attempts to locate her but is unsuccessful. First, we found out that Prospero had instructed his guests to hold off on sex until after the water shower had been activated. The water shower is switched on at Prospero’s command. To everyone’s horror, though, the shower starts pouring acid, reducing the dance floor’s attendees to burned skeletons.

This is followed by the red-clad lady finding Prospero and kissing him. Following this, she covers his face with her skull mask and walks away, bringing the episode to an unsettling end.

The Episode Review

The tragic passing of Prospero, Roderick’s son, is the primary subject of this episode. The episode also delves into Roderick’s past, revealing his initial marriage to Annabel, his proposal of the drug Ligodone to Rufus, and his introduction to his current wife, Juno. In addition, we find out that Roderick asked his daughter Victorine to create a cardiac meshing gadget that could one day help him recover from his medical condition.

In this episode, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and The Masque of the Red Death are cleverly fused with a contemporary twist. Throughout this episode and the entirety of the show, the struggle between sanity and insanity serves as an underlying theme. At first, we saw that Roderick was experiencing hallucinations. We also find out that his mental deterioration is the consequence of a medical condition. In this episode, we learn that Prospero is, in fact, insane as well. He, too, seemed to have a hallucination, though whether or not it involved a supernatural being is unclear.

Another recurring subject is the clash between the supernatural and insanity. Throughout the show, there are a number of moments that will make you question whether or not what you witnessed was a hallucination or an actual supernatural presence. When Prospero looks up, he sees a woman in red standing on the roof for a split second. Though, whether that was merely a product of his imagination or a genuine supernatural being is unclear.

The presentation of Prospero’s death in this episode is fascinating, and it bears many parallels to Poe’s short story, although with a contemporary twist. Poe portrays Prospero as a metaphor for the prosperous in his work. An appearance of the woman in red, who represents Poe’s symbol of Verna, the red death, is also provided.

While Poe’s work dealt with similar themes, this episode is more relevant to contemporary issues. Poe’s work on the other hand had its roots in the Black Death. It appears that Prospero’s fatal flaw is lust, which is also the reason for his death.

Like Poe’s works, the nightclub in this episode features vivid colours like red, blue, and yellow. Since blue represents new life and red represents death, we see very little of the former on the dance floor and a lot of the latter around the room, much as we do in Poe’s work.

It’s also important to note the recurring sound motif. As Victorine fights to keep the chimpanzee alive, we are alarmed by the rhythmic beeping of the pacemaker. The sound is utilised for a fairly simple purpose, but it has a surprisingly profound and unsettling effect on audiences.

The visual imagery in this episode is absolutely brilliant. From the woman on the roof, to Roderick having a hallucination of a burnt person, the imagery lasts for only a few seconds at most, but it leaves a lasting and disturbing effect.

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2 thoughts on “The Fall of the House of Usher – Episode 2 “The Masque of the Red Death” Recap & Review”

  1. Hey Ajdrake, thanks for commenting!

    ChatGPT actually only goes up to September 2021 in terms of knowledge date and writing so it would literally be impossible to write these recaps of Usher with AI. Furthermore, none of our writers use this within their posts, and we do screen regularly to make sure our writers’ work is original and to the best of their ability.

    Hopefully that clears things up and thanks for taking the time to read the recap and check the site out.

    -Greg W

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