The trailer for The Fall of the House of Usher made it seem like everything else on Netflix: Diverse. Everyone is gay. Woke.
Yet, as I watched acid rain fall from the heavens and emulsify a decadent orgy into a literal melting pot of degeneracy, I had but one question on my mind: What is this show trying to say?
Is the show creator, Mike Flanagan, secretly based (or worse)?
Let's begin this investigation.
The Fall Of The House of Usher is an adaptation of not just its namesake, but many different works of Edgar Allan Poe. The titular House of Usher is headed by Roderick Usher played by Bruce Greenwood (Firehouse Dog). His sister, Madeline, is his right-hand woman and closest confidant. He has two children from a previous marriage, Fredrick and Tamerlane, and four illegitimate children, Victorine, Camille, Napoleon, and Prospero. They are the owners of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, a company that produces Ligadone - a "non-addictive" pain reliever for everyday use. The company has been on trial for its lies and corruption and at every turn it has escaped justice.
The Ushers are the Sackler family. Ligadone is OxyContin. It's not subtle.
The show starts, however, at a funeral. We quickly learn that the Usher children have all died in the last two weeks in terrible accidents via a confession that Roderick willingly provides to the man prosecuting the case against his family.
This is our framing device and our first piece of evidence to examine.
The Sacklers and the opioid epidemic are a right wing concern.
The opioid epidemic was a cornerstone of Trump's 2016 campaign. We have emails from Richard Sackler dismissing the suffering of the poor white people dying of addiction to the pills they sell. So to make a show where the titular family is based on the Sacklers facing cosmic justice is certainly a fantasy that many right wingers have had for a long time.
I have said many times myself that the Sacklers might be the worst family in America for what they've done. So why them, Mike Flanagan? Why them...?
The Usher family itself is very diverse, very gay and full of deviants.
If you said to someone that the Sackler family portrait probably looked like a San Francisco Pride Float, they'd think you were in too deep on with Boomer Facebook Groups.
But that's what Mike Flanagan did!
He took a family responsible for a slow-motion genocide against the white working class in rural America and slapped rainbows on their faces. Made them all degenerates and Godless liberals that hate Tucker and Fox News! I mean, good heavens, Flanagan, Alex Jones rants aren't this extreme!
Then there's a mysterious woman named Verna introduced as well. We don't know who she is. All we know is that Roderick and Madeline met her in a bar in 1980 and she hasn't aged a day in 43 years.
In the following episodes, the deviant Usher bastards begin to die.
First is Perry, the youngest. Perry is a hedonistic drug and sex addict. He's a failson who puts his dick in anything. He has orgies and is in a throuple with a trans girl. He wants to show his father his untapped talents, so he decides to throw a giant orgy in a condemned building owned by Fortunato.
He wires cameras and has the water line hooked up to the roof tanks so that at midnight the sprinklers will come on and shower down on the partiers as they descend into drugs and grotesque anonymous sex.
Verna arrives to the party, wearing a red cloak and a skull mask. She tells the staff of the rave (who all happen to be white men) to leave. At midnight, the sprinklers turn on and brutally burn all of the attendees with toxic chemicals that had been illegally stored in the water tanks by Fortunato. Perry, an amoral idiot, who never bothered to learn anything about the family business, never checked to see if the water was safe.
This is modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, with the diverse crowd of sex obsessed degenerates doused in acid and left piles of mush. The blue-collared servant class is saved from judgement by a mysterious, otherworldly, guiding hand.
The next episode is about the death of Roderick's illegitimate Daughter Camille. Earlier in the series, we learn that an anonymous informant within the family is working with the Feds to bring the Ushers to justice. Roderick calls a family meeting and puts a $50 million bounty on the head of the informant.
The Ushers embody the Marxist ethos of destroying the family.
Camille is a PR executive for her father's company. She has two young assistants whom she regularly requires to service her sexually in deviant BDSM group sex. Camille is the spymaster of the family and has dirt on everyone and everything. She hates Tucker Carlson, she does not respect an individual's right to privacy, she has weird kinky bisexual threesomes, she has dyed hair! In other words, Camille is a cartoonish caricature of almost every stereotype for a modern-day liberal woman.
Camille suspects her sister, Victorine, is the federal informant, so she goes to where she works: a research lab owned by Fortunato. Victorine has been trying to create an implant that wraps around a heart and gives real time updates as well as keeping blood pumping in perfect synchronicity. Vic has been testing it on monkeys (and failing), but something is off about the numbers she's putting on reports.
Camille shows up to the facility in the middle of the night and gets her face ripped off by one of the chimps.
The final Usher bastard to die during the first four episodes is Napoleon ("Leo"), who was apparently conceived during a sexual conquest Rodrick had from somewhere in the Great British colony diaspora (he has a random British accent). Leo is in a polyamorous gay relationship with an Asian twink who loves cats. He spends his time doing drugs, having sex and designing video games.
Leo accidentally kills his gay boyfriend's cat, then unknowingly adopts a look-a-like from Verna (who is literally an evil cat lady) to fool his boyfriend. The cat turns out to be possessed by Verna and starts randomly attacking Leo. In a drug fueled rage, Leo tries to kill the possessed cat, destroying his apartment in the process and ends up accidentally falling to his death.
Verna, played by Carla Gugino (Mr. Popper's Penguins), is there every step of the way, goading and threatening each child into getting themselves killed.
We don't yet know why the ethereally evil and powerful Verna has targeted the Usher family for death, but one thing is made clear: Verna is the devil.
Mike Flanagan made a white woman the devil.
This means what I think it means, right? Very clever, Mr Flanagan. Very clever.
The investigation will continue with episodes 5-8 but I can already assure you, the evidence is mounting. My excitement for what this could mean is through the roof.
Before I go, already episode 5 is promising that he's in our circles. Somewhere.