Episode 4 of Them begins with Henry leaving his house and finding numerous dolls strung up with nooses on their front porch. A jack-in-the-box holds an unnerving black faced clown inside.
We’re on day 6 of this move from Hell, and for now Henry manages to keep a calm composure as he drives the girls to school.
Lucky meanwhile, storms straight over to Betty’s house and confronts her about the recent antagonizing. Lucky more than holds her own against this housewife, eventually warning Betty and giving her a venomous wave with her back turned.
At work, Henry finds himself an outcast next to the other engineers. In fact, they’re all invited out for a work “shindig” but Henry is not. His boss simply waves it away, telling him he wouldn’t enjoy it anyway.
Well, Henry shows up nonetheless and hears that the engineers are going to receive a percentage of the profits from securing the Pentagon project they’ve been working on. Henry’s initial jubilation is quashed when Stu tells him he won’t be getting a cut of the pie, so to speak. Henry, determined to prove his boss wrong, introduces himself to the Director and trades war stories.
Meanwhile at school, Doris finds Ruby at lunch and encourages her to head down to the basement. Once there, they spy a couple of school students kissing and immediately scramble away, giggling all the way.
Alone in the closet, Doris encourages Ruby to apply lipstick and unbutton her shirt. She gushes over the girl, telling her she’s the prettiest student and girl she’s ever seen. Only, when the janitor arrives and questions what Ruby’s doing, Doris is gone. It seems Doris has been a vision all this time.
Lucky eventually heads out to see Mrs Johnson, the other black lady who moved into an all-white neighbourhood. This woman also found herself subjected to horrific racial abuse. As they talk, the conversation takes a turn for the shocking when her husband Roland shows up.
Missing both legs, he wheels himself into the living room, sweat soaking his shirt. Lucky starts to hallucinate and lose control, seeing blood all over the kitchen. Panicking, she rushes out the house.
Contrasting her fortunes though is Betty, who shows back up at her parents’ house for a favour. They give her a pretty frosty reception though, especially when Betty asks them for a loan. They reject Betty, with her Mother even telling the girl she wished she’d never come back home.
When Henry returns from a tough day at the office, he finds Lucky waiting for him. She immediately demands he drive to the Johnson household where Lucky’s frightening vision is confirmed to be just that – a vision. Henry apologizes tentatively to the pair as he drives Lucky home. After putting the kids to bed, the pair make love.
The Episode Review
As we approach the halfway point of this season, one thing’s for sure – the Emory Household are definitely hallucinating and seeing visions everywhere. Paranoia and anxiety can do crazy things to people and it’s clear that’s what’s happening here on the back of a period of grief. This could, perhaps, be linked to that glimpse of the past we saw back in episode 1.
The interesting juxtaposition between Betty and Lucky is a good one though, with their scenes in particular dominating much of the screen-time here. Seeing how both are living and dealing with the current situation serves as a nice comparison that helps drives this series forward.
However, in terms of horror and social themes, Them struggles with juggling them both. In fact, this episode rests solely on these visions and it’s a hook that’s been used repeatedly all season long. Now it’s starting to lose its effectiveness.
Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come as we eagerly await the next episode.