The Fall of the House of Usher – Episode 4 “The Black Cat” Recap & Review

The Black Cat

In The Fall of the House of Usher Episode 4, Napoleon Usher is in search of a new black cat to replace Pluto. We witnessed that he murdered Pluto while under the influence of drugs. To keep his partner Julius from learning about it, he decides to buy a black cat that looks like Pluto in the hopes that Julius won’t notice. 

Verna pretends to be a cat donor at the shelter. Initially, she tries to get Napoleon to adopt an entirely different cat. Napoleon, though, spots a black cat that looks strikingly similar to Pluto. He thus resolves to take the feline companion home with him. 

Soon after, Napoleon learns about Camille’s death on his return home. Following that, he makes his way to the hospital. Verna’s tape from when she was posing as the security staff is found by the Ushers and Pym at the hospital, but her image is blurry. However, Madeline appears to put two and two together. The thought occurs to her that it might be the same woman she saw at the bar on New Year’s Eve. She then hastily goes to the bar’s supposed location, only to discover that it has shut down. On the other hand, she does notice some graffiti.

While this is happening, Roderick can be seen questioning Victorine’s integrity. Victorine, though, assures Roderick that she is clueless as to why Camille went to the lab. Roderick then pushes Victorine to hasten the speed of the heart meshing device. He stresses its critical nature, and she responds accordingly.

Victorine is seen meeting Verna disguised as the heart patient. Following that, she gives Verna an update and some reassurances about the process.

When the new cat arrives, she immediately begins attacking Napoleon. She attacks him with scratches, bites, and jumps at every opportunity. She further tortures Napoleon by placing dead rats in his bed, on his shoes, and everywhere.

Napoleon is shown growing more and more enraged at the cat. While trying to deal with the cat, he accidentally hits Julius in the face. Julius thinks that Napoleon is overdoing drugs. Consequently, he requests Napoleon reduce his drug intake.

In the present timeline, Roderick sees visions of the dead Napoleon. This causes him to act in a neurotic manner, which disturbs attorney Auguste. Auguste snaps at him, demanding that he stop acting disrespectfully.

We go back in time to see the beginning of Auguste and Roderick’s friendship. Auguste, who has suspicions about the pharmaceutical company, digs deep and finds Roderick’s signature on a bunch of documents. Following that, he goes to Roderick’s house to get further evidence against the pharmaceutical firm.

We understand that Roderick can’t risk losing his job by admitting that the signature isn’t his. Roderick has a family to support, including a wife and two children, so he denies the truth. Auguste still offers his business card to him.

Madeline advises Roderick to get close to his boss in order to turn the tables on him, so he does just that. In the meantime, he has second thoughts about joining forces with Auguste to get rid of the boss.

Additionally, we see that Tamerlane happens to catch a glimpse of Verna while she’s watching her partner’s fitness video. Following this, she confronts her partner, who insists he was completely unaware of her presence.

Meanwhile, in response to Napoleon’s invitation, Verna arrives at his home. Although Napoleon initially has trouble locating the cat, he has asked Verna to take it. Following this, the cat attacks him again and gets inside the wall, as pointed out by Verna.

The next thing you know, Napoleon is breaking through his apartment walls with a hammer to get to the cat so he can kill it. When Julius returns home, he finds Napoleon has smashed his flat to pieces. This is followed by the revelation that Napoleon is hallucinating because Julius cannot see the cat he claims to see.

When Napoleon sees the cat on the balcony, he grabs his hammer and sprints over to get it. Following this, he falls off the building and lands on the ground below, dead. This is followed by a visual of the real Pluto, featuring a Gucci belt. The chilling story concludes with her sitting on top of Napoleon’s corpse.

The Episode Review

The fourth episode borrows elements from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” To make the storyline fresh and more relevant, it is given a modern twist.

During this episode, we see that Napoleon is the narrator from Poe’s short story “The Black Cat.” In addition, like in Poe’s work, the cat’s name is Pluto. However, there are notable deviations; for instance, Napoleon abuses drugs rather than alcohol here. Furthermore, Napoleon did not receive a death sentence and died as a consequence of his hallucination.

Pluto, the cat, has a significant symbolic meaning in this episode that is both unsettling and fascinating. In Greek mythology, Pluto is essentially Hades, the God of the Underworld. Like the cat in Poe’s writing, this one makes sure that Napoleon pays the price for his crime. Additionally, the cat stays true to his name, as much like Hades, the cat too is behind the death of Napoleon.

The crow is also an eye-catching symbol, employed in typical Poe fashion during this episode. The crow made an appearance after Fredrick’s funeral, as we witnessed previously. The crow appears again to symbolise the endless suffering that Camille’s death has caused.

Poe often depicted characters falling farther and deeper into lunacy. The show seems to be making excellent use of that, since we can see the Ushers getting increasingly neurotic. The hallucinations that Roderick Usher is experiencing appear to be growing increasingly intense and realistic.

Throughout the episode and the series as a whole, Roderick Usher’s childhood house serves as a striking visual metaphor for his mind. It has been argued that the state of a person’s mind can be inferred from the state of their home. This is especially true in the show, given the chaotic state of Roderick Usher’s home and mind.

Another element that the show borrows from Poe’s work is the little to no presence of Madeline in the present timeline. Madeline’s chilly walks and worsening illness were the only references to her in Poe’s work when the friend visited Roderick’s home, until towards the end. Madeline is never seen on screen in the present timeline, despite Roderick assuring the attorney that the unusual sounds are coming from her.

An important character in the show and in this episode is Verna. Even in Poe’s work, Verna is a fascinating character. Verna, who seems to represent consequences in the show and dole out punishment where it is due, is an intriguing yet unsettling character.

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