Episode 8 of Them begins with Lucky in a mental institute, struggling to hold onto her sanity. After the traumatic events of the season, Lucky is being kept there to try and help with her mental state.
Henry arrives to visit though, but her doctor tells him he should focus on helping the girls instead. After all, seeing their dead baby brother in the suitcase will almost certainly have psychologically affected them.
The family (minus Lucky) head back home, deciding to pack up their things before leaving. Henry takes one last, longing look around, as boxes line the floor. A story in the newspaper regarding Sergeant Bull’s death catches his attention as he waits. Henry looks up, where Marty happens to be waiting in the shadows. He smacks him across the face with a baseball bat and looks down at him with menace.
Meanwhile, George continues to have his way with Betty, who’s medically sedated and kept prisoner down in his underground bunker. Desperate to break out, Betty eventually stabs George in the neck when he lets his guard down. It’s not enough though and George brushes aside her pleas to leave. Silently, he locks the vault and keeps her inside.
When Henry awakens, he finds Marty holding Gracie up at gunpoint while he’s tied to a chair in the living room. Marty is desperate to know where Betty is, believing Henry is responsible. While Gracie is kept in the basement, Ruby is forced to cook for Marty and Earl.
With Earl supervising Ruby in the kitchen, Henry talks to Marty and reveals the truth about what happened back in North Carolina. It’s enough for Henry to avoid any more blows to the face. At least for the time being anyway.
Marty eventually grabs a pair of scissors and forces Henry to keep his hand open. As he does, Marty cuts his finger off and eventually strings Henry up by the neck in the basement. The girls are forced to watch too, as screams ring out.
Back in the institute, Epps arrives before Lucky while she’s lying in bed. He admits to having a hand in all this and promises there’s no happy ending for what’s to come.
The Episode Review
After last episode’s detour, Them returns and fumbles with its pacing a little, struggling to really get back into a consistent rhythm again. Still, the material with Epps and his background is certainly helpful, giving a sense of history and purpose for what’s happening with Lucky and the others.
However, it’s still not initially clear if these visions are a manifestation of evil or not, especially since Gracie and Ruby seem to be completely clear of these now. Instead, what we get here are a series of horrific events inside the house that are very difficult to watch. Will Henry find a way out of this?
Betty’s story has been pretty lackluster by comparison, starting as such a strong and bright character but now descending into a damsel in distress trope. I do appreciate this fits with the “housewife” narrative of the 50’s, but it also feels like a betrayal of her character. It doesn’t help that George Bell has had very little to work with this season, making for a lackluster character that feels weak and forgettable.
The ending does leave the door open for this finale though, with this anthology series promising a different story each season. With that in mind, it looks like we’re on course for a conclusive finish to this chapter.