Okay, so I finally got around to watching Bly Manor and I know I’m late to the game but hey. Anyway, my main theme is disappointment. I loved Hill House, I thought it was great honestly and I’ve have re-watched Hill House multiple times. But, for me at least, Bly Manor just didn’t meet expectations.
So I’ll just go over what I thought was so great about Hill House!
- There was always things going on, ghosts or what not. There was always something new and interesting happening so you weren’t quickly bored by watching. We also can’t forget the hidden ghosts in the background!
- The flashbacks were directly related to those in it and their flashbacks were connected.
- Character development: I think by the end of the show the character development was so apparent and it was so well-rounded. You couldn’t deny that Theo came into her own and accepted her abilities and stopped hiding from them, she allowed herself to find closeness. Luke worked so hard on his sobriety, the other siblings found some faith in honesty and everyone came to terms with their childhood.
- Everything had a purpose; the people who worked at hill house, their daughter, the ghosts, there was no wasted time. For example, showing the cats dying was a clear way to present Shirley’s fascination with death and therefore her career.
- The ending: I think the ending of Hill House is perfect, seeing Steven reconnect with his wife and start a family, their father giving his life to save his kids a second time but ending up with the love of his life, Luke reaching his two years sobriety made me cry. And also, while the staff at Hill House were not integral to the story, I became attached to them in those little moments and when they had discovered their child had died, pleading to be able to stay with her, to the point when her and her husband ultimately die in Hill House together and reunite with their family. Gives me chills just thinking about it. Theo overcoming her life long fear of closeness and her powers to let someone in and let herself be who she is. Such an emotional rollercoaster which I think perfectly rounded up the stories. Although, I must note that some don’t believe this was the true ending but I choose to believe that is how it happened.
However, I was let down by Bly Manor…
I haven’t heard much about Bly Manor and maybe that is just because I hadn’t watched it but when I watched the first 3 and a half episodes and I was seriously bored. It was draining to watch the show for me and I feel like nothing happened. I hate slow burn, this is something you will learn about me through many of my posts. I cannot believe how little happened in the first 4 episodes of Bly Manor.
I feel as though setting the entire show inside of someone telling a story is lazy and instantly let me down. The friends I watched it with also felt this. In Hill House as things moved forward there was a specific point that they were getting to, everyone was getting to the point when they found out their sister had died, then flashing back to events in their lives which shaped them. We weren’t just hearing it about it and all this basic stuff.
I should know who the narrator is, I watched 3 episodes of the show and don’t know who the narrator was in relation to the story. Why would I care about the narrator if they don’t tell me straight away who it is, especially when she is telling me about other peoples lives. I know some people did guess who the narrator was but her accent is different in the story vs. when it is being told and I honestly didn’t care the decipher who the narrator was because I was so uninterested in the “story” I just wanted to see the events play out.
I also just couldn’t get past the accents, they couldn’t have just set it in America? Picked an American haunting? Hired British people to play the roles? It was so distracting to me especially when using actors whom we have all heard speak in Hill House in their regular accents or in ‘You’.
I also kind of felt like I was watching the movie ‘The Boy’ if anyone has seen it. Because, they shrouded the main girl (who is a nanny) in mystery of what/who she is running away from. She even had run away to England to be a nanny, just like The Boy. She arrived and it was a giant old British home, similar again and there were no ‘parents’ around in either. There were however others who worked there. I don’t know if anyone else felt like this but I seriously felt like I was watching that movie, however it was going so much slower than that movie. Let me know if you felt this connection yourself? It obviously isn’t perfect but it reminded me of that.
I wasn’t given a reason to care about all the past characters; in Hill House we cared because they were a family, their sister had died and we were learning about their hard childhood and their connections to each other up until the point she had died. But, in Bly Manor, I don’t really care who the previous au pair was, I needed to care before I saw her story. I don’t particularly care about the man who “stole all the money”, because he wasn’t related in any way to the main girl and he also wasn’t around until the very end and even then he didn’t have much impact. They also waited too long (in my opinion) to show the Dani’s story, I feel like I needed to feel some emotional attachment far earlier in the show, they could have sprinkled her story in as opposed to throwing a lot of it in at once, 4 episodes in. Or just done her story in the first or second episode. I understand keeping the mystery behind the ghost and such around, that would have been interesting, if I knew anything about her or her story.
Also, Dani has been followed by the ghost of her fiancé for years, that’s cool, wish it mattered! The whole first half of the show she’s all worried about him following her and thinking he is going to do something to her but it literally didn’t matter. It didn’t come to anything. Sure, maybe that is why Dani can see the ghosts at Bly and others can’t however, that isn’t explicitly explained. And they just kind of forgot about her fiance after she was hanging out with him outside. So, unless I missed something, he didn’t need to be there. What a waste of time.
Also, let’s get back to the premise of the story, she is telling a story at a rehearsal dinner, but really it is Flora’s rehearsal dinner. Okay fine, I’m still irritated that she was telling a story to begin with I would’ve preferred them structure it differently but whatever. BUT, she tells the story with details she couldn’t possibly know. The woman in the lake and her sister’s story, the gardener she had no way of knowing. It happened so long ago and by the time the gardener started to work there, the lady had already lost her face. So, it just doesn’t work for me. She had absolutely no way of knowing the lady in the lake’s story. She also couldn’t possibly know certain things which happened to the other people, Dani, sure but not Mrs. Grose or Miles. Not to mention her accent changed entirely from being the narrator to when she worked at Bly making me, once again unable to connect them.
Also, some of the characters who I would have liked to see events in their past, we didn’t and instead we saw dumb stuff like the little boy jumping out of a tree or the ghosts stories.
And finally, the ending. I know some people liked the ending but I really didn’t. I don’t feel like I needed to watch the whole thing for Dani to just die anyway because she basically gave herself to the lake. What a wonderful ending? We watch her start to live a life, plagued with Bly until she just gives in and dies. I would have preferred it just end after they didn’t all get killed that last night at Bly but that’s just me. Even a cliffhanger could have been interesting ending with her being both Dani and the lady in the lake.
I know this was basically a whole list of just problems with Bly but I will give them credit for the way they had Mrs. Grose never eat anything. It was so subtle that it added a bit of mystery but without being so overt that you had to notice. Little details like that make a show for me and they are what made Hill House, so I did think that was good. I was honestly more interested for the first few episodes in why she never eats than I was in the ghosts or children.
Also, I think Mrs. Grose being dead the whole time was well done, she was acting strangely the whole time but she was also always around and doing her job, she appeared alive and for her to not know herself that she was a ghost is so interesting to me. I think of all the parts of the show, she was executed the best.
All that said, The Haunting of Bly Manor is okay, it isn’t amazing and was definitely a let down for me especially since I enjoyed Hill House so much. I feel like they could have easily restructured the season, added some more actual scares (because it just wasn’t scary) and it would have been a lot better. But I had to force myself to finish it in order to write this so I hope you enjoyed.
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