The Fall of the House of Usher – Episode 5 “The Tell-Tale Heart” Recap & Review

The Tell-Tale Heart

In The Fall of the House of Usher Episode 5, we go back in time as Roderick tells attorney Auguste about his past. On New Year’s Eve, we hear Roderick discussing the importance of ravens with Verna. According to Roderick, ravens are an indicator of catastrophe. However, Verna has the complete opposite viewpoint. 

Shortly after, we hear police sirens. This cautions Roderick and Madeline, who is dancing on the dance floor. Shortly after, Madeline is seen chatting with the bartender, while Roderick is on the dance floor. Madeline is asked by Verna which she prefers: fame or fortune. Madeline claims that if she became wealthy, she would try to find a means to keep living forever. Madeline kisses Verna as the clock strikes twelve, and then Roderick kisses his dance partner.

Given that Roderick kissed a stranger at the bar, attorney Auguste interrogates him about his marriage to Annabel in the present day. Roderick tells him he’ll tell him every detail at the appropriate moment.

We are transported back in time and given a glimpse of the funeral service held for Napoleon, Camille and Prospero. All of the living Ushers attend the funeral. Roderick’s hallucinations recur shortly thereafter. He sees a jester fool at first, and then a burned version of Prospero. Roderick is visibly disturbed by these images, so he is led out of the church by Madeline and his wife Juno as the parents stare from the seats.

This is followed by a conversation between Victorine, Tamerlane, and Frederick. Victorine is insulted by Frederick’s and Tamerlane’s arrogance, so she leaves.

The next scene takes place in the hospital where Morella is being treated. Frederick is insisting that the doctor let him take his wife home. The doctor feels he has no choice but to give in, so he does. Following this, Frederick makes arrangements with his daughter Lenore for his wife’s medical attention and comfort.

The action then shifts to Victorine and Alessandra having a heated discussion. Victorine has deeply angered and let down Alessandra by faking her signature on the experimental heart meshing gadget.

Alessandra and Victorine’s relationship collapses soon after, and Alessandra leaves. We see that Victorine throws an object in her direction as she’s leaving, but the scene switches at this point, so we are unable to see more.

The next day, Victorine makes numerous phone calls and leaves numerous voicemails pleading with Alessandra to just pick up the phone. She then requests Alessandra to not sue her in one voicemail. Following this, Victorine starts to hear what she perceives to be heartbeat-like sounds interspersed with distinct rhythmic ticks. She’s trying to pinpoint the source of the noise, but she can’t seem to do so.

Soon after, Verna, disguised as Victorine’s patient, pays her a visit. Victorine is having trouble paying attention to Verna because of the ticking noise. Following this, Verna tells her that she is ready for the operation if Alessandra tells her so. Following this, Victorine tries calling her again, but she is unable to reach her.

The judge and attorney Auguste then meet with Pym present. Since several members of the Usher family have recently passed away, Pym asks the Court to postpone the trial dates. Auguste raises an objection, but the judge gives in to Pym’s arguments and postpones the trial.

In the present timeline, Roderick questions Auguste about who the informant was. Auguste admits that he lied about there being an informant in order to stir up trouble in the Usher household. After initially being outraged, Roderick eventually encourages the attorney not to feel guilty since he knows firsthand the damage guilt can bring to a person. After this, Roderick has another hallucination in which he sees blood where attorney Auguste’ heart should be, on his chest.

The action then flashes back in time. Madeline negotiates with Rufus Griswold in an effort to digitise the latter’s paperwork. Initially, he makes a move on her. When she lets him down, he begins to attack her and her brother personally.

Madeline is seen recounting the events of his meeting with Rufus at work to her brother, sister-in-law, and Auguste at home. Following this, they begin plotting a way to oust Rufus.

The setting then shifts back in time a few weeks before the present day. We see Madeline attempting to remind Roderick about the bartender but he seems to be pretending to not remember her. Following that, Madeline tells Pym about Verna and New Year’s Eve and requests that security be increased.

Following that, we cut to Tamerlane and her husband Billy having an altercation. The suspicion that he is having an affair with Candy is at the heart of their disagreement. She is seen insulting and hurting him.

The next scene shows Roderick questioning whether or not Verna is actually his daughter. He then returns to his office, where he dwells on the idea of suicide. He makes an attempt to kill himself, but fails to do so.

Following that, Roderick goes to see Victorine at her home. Music is playing loudly when Victorine opens the door. Roderick asks her to turn the music down, and Victorine continues to hear ticking and beating sounds at a rhythmic pace. So does Roderick.

Victorine then starts having visions of her spouse, Alessandra, walking. Following this, we are transported back to the past. The object Victorine tossed at Alessandra proved fatal, as we now know.

To investigate the source of the ticking noise, Roderick approaches a room. He enters the room and sees Alessandra’s lifeless body with the heart meshing device linked to her chest. Then, shortly after, Victorine walks in as well. At this moment, Victorine’s psychosis has reached a breaking point, and she stabs herself in an effort to give her father a functional heart. Now that she’s dead, Roderick can be seen crying his eyes out.

The Episode Review

The story has its roots in three works by Edgar Allan Poe, including “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Premature Burial.”

A quick look through “The Premature Burial” by Edgar Allan Poe reveals the presence of a character named Victorine. Though Victorine’s character serves as the narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” throughout this episode, and she does a fantastic job.

The priest in this episode reads from Edgar Allan Poe’s “Spirits of the Dead” while praying for the souls of Camille, Prospero, and Frederick. This works marvelously, as it perfectly complements the context.

Brilliantly and eerily executed, the episode takes inspiration from “The Tell-Tale Heart” to great effect. Madeline briefly referred to the boss as “The Old Man” in a flashback. Additionally, she tells her brother, sister-in-law, and Auguste that she visited the boss and got to see his eyes, to figure out his true potential. In Poe’s work, eyes are seen as the window to the soul. In “The Tell-Tale Heart”, the narrator calls the old man’s eyes “vulture eyes.” Because he saw evil in the man’s eyes, he even killed him. The show’s adaptation of this reference is so powerful that it gives me chills.

All of the iconic ticking and pounding noises from “The Tell-Tale Heart” are executed perfectly here. The atmosphere created by the soundscape grows chilling and foreboding, much as it did in the short story. As with the narrator, the sounds eventually make Victorine insane because she associates them with guilt.

Blood appears on Victorine’s hands as she recalls the night she murdered Alessandra. The phrase “blood on the hands” quickly brought to mind Lady Macbeth, who was unable to wash the blood from her hands. This too was brilliantly implemented.

The visual imagery in this episode is just as fascinating and well-executed as in previous ones. Roderick has a hallucination in which he sees a burned version of Prospero, a clown jester. These visuals are absolutely chilling. Blood appears to him on attorney Auguste’s chest, right where the heart should be, a reference to the “Tell-Tale Heart.” The visual imagery is fantastic and deserves praise.

The sounds used in the episode are also absolutely spine tingling. The rhythmic and foreboding ticking and beating sound used in this episode is quite disturbing and brilliant.

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