Major Spoilers Ahead.
Netflix’s latest and possibly greatest, The Haunting Of Hill House has taken over the internet, and, well, our hearts. We’re not only still looking over our shoulders (thanks, bent-neck lady!), we literally cannot stop obsessing over the twists. Everything about this show was brilliantly executed, including its incredible, bittersweet ending.
For those of you who need a refresher, the Season 1 finale ended with the Crain siblings escaping Hill House just in time to get Luke to a hospital and stop him from overdosing. But they had to say goodbye to their father in the process, something only Steve knew at the time. Hugh sacrificed himself so that his four children could live. But it isn’t as sad as it sounds, because both Olivia and Nell still reside in the house. Hugh gets to be reunited with his wife and youngest daughter, so really, it’s the happiest ending we could have gotten. Especially because one of those last shots, which has now become iconic in its own right.
Luke sits at a brightly lit table, smiling proudly as he looks down at a cake with the number 2 on it, signifying his second year of sobriety. Steve, and his now pregnant wife, Leigh, are there, along with Shirley and her husband who have survived their own hellish roller coaster. And Theo is right next to them, beside her new wife Trish. If that single shot didn’t make you cry, the alternate ending certainly would have. Director/writer Mike Flanagan admitted he had a much darker ending in mind. And it still featured that iconic shot, but with one tiny detail changed.
“We toyed with the idea for a little while that over that monologue, over the image of the family together, we would put the Red Room window in the background. For a while, that was the plan. Maybe they never really got out of that room.”
Yep. The original ending would’ve seen the Crain family still trapped in that damn Red Room. Talk about dark! But luckily, Flanagan had a change of heart at the last minute.
“The night before it came time to shoot it, I sat up in bed, and I felt guilty about it. I felt like it was cruel. That surprised me. I’d come to love the characters so much that I wanted them to be happy. I came in to work and said, ‘I don’t want to put the window up. I think it’s mean and unfair.’ Once that gear had kicked in, I wanted to lean as far in that direction as possible. We’ve been on this journey for 10 hours; a few minutes of hope was important to me.”
The alternate ending, as dark and truly cruel as it was, was a genius idea. But the actual ending seems more fitting, and we’re not just saying that because we’ve fallen in love with each of the Crain siblings. Each episode was not only building in suspense and horror, but also in its family unity. There needed to be some closure, and that couldn’t have happened while they were still in the house, even if they didn’t realize it. This bittersweet finale was the best way to end Season 1, and no doubt it’ll make Season 2 all the more shocking.
The Haunting Of Hill House Is Streaming Now On Netflix.