The Fall of the House of Usher – S01E01 – A Midnight Dreary | Transcript

A wealthy CEO faces a criminal investigation amid tragedy, trauma, and a supernatural threat. The Usher family learns an informant lurks among them.
The Fall of the House of Usher - S01E01 - A Midnight Dreary

The Fall of the House of Usher is a gothic horror drama miniseries created by Mike Flanagan. Loosely based on the short story of the same name and other works by Edgar Allan Poe.

Original release date: October 12, 2023

Roderick Usher, the corrupt CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, has lost all six of his children—heir Frederick, entrepreneur Tamerlane, surgeon Victorine, gaming mogul Leo, PR head Camille, and socialite Perry—in a span of two weeks. He attends the funeral of his last three children, accompanied by his sister and Fortunato COO Madeline, his wife Juno, his granddaughter Lenore, and his enforcer Arthur Pym. Roderick sees eerie apparitions and collapses, muttering “It’s time” upon sighting a raven. He invites his nemesis, assistant US Attorney C. Auguste Dupin, to his childhood home to confess his crimes and reveal the causes of the deaths of his children. Roderick recounts that, in 1962, Roderick and Madeline’s mother Eliza died but unexpectedly resurrected and killed her abusive former employer, Fortunato CEO William Longfellow, whom Roderick believed to be his and Madeline’s biological father. Two weeks prior to the funeral, Roderick and Madeline assemble the children at a family dinner to uncover an informant amongst them who is working with Dupin. In the present, Roderick takes responsibility for their deaths and recounts a fateful encounter with a woman named Verna, who foretold a life-altering change at a New Year’s party in 1980.

* * *

[thunder rumbling]

[“Another Brick in the Wall” playing]

♪ All in all It’s just another brick in the wall ♪

[partygoers] Five, four, three, two, one!

[preacher] Thank Heaven!

The crisis, the danger, is past… and the lingering illness is over at last.

And the fever called “living” is conquered at last.

Be silent in that solitude, which is not loneliness.

For then, the spirits of the dead who stood in life before thee…


…are again in death around thee.



The breeze, the breath of God, is still, and the mist upon the hill, shadowy, shadowy yet unbroken, is a symbol and a token.

How it hangs upon the trees, a mystery of mysteries.

The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague.

Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins.

We stand on the brink of a precipice.

Grampus. What is it?

[preacher] We peer into the abyss.

We grow sick and dizzy.

She’s here.

[preacher] Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger.

Unaccountably, we remain.

[reporters clamoring]

[reporter] Roderick!

Sir, do you have a comment?

[reporters clamoring]

[camera shutters clicking]

You are not going to believe this. He’s on the phone.

He wants to meet with you tonight.



He sent an address. A…

A weird address, but it was actually him.

Not a secretary, not an assistant, not even the Pym Reaper.

It was him.

[thunder rumbling]

Thank you.


[door creaking]

[Roderick] Well, come on if you’re coming.


No, thank you.

Listen, I’m sorry… for your loss, your… your losses, rather.

Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne.

Most expensive in the world.

This bottle was four million euros at auction.

Produced since 1776.

Aged in barrels for more than 100 years.

And the bottle itself dipped in 18 karat yellow gold, inlaid with 4,100 high-quality diamonds.

You know, a single pour… it probably cost twice your annual salary.

Have a glass.

See what a few years’ of your worth tastes like.

I mean it, Roderick.

It’s unimaginable and I am truly sorry…

No, I understand, Auggie. You’re sorry my children are all dead.

Where’s Mr. Pym? It’s better we talk with your attorney present.

How many subpoenas have you sent me over the years?

You finally got me.

You’re hung up on protocol.

Waive it then.

Fine. I waive my right to an attorney.

Here’s to Title 18, Section 371.


What’s not to celebrate? You got away with it.


Nobody gets away with anything.

Not really.

[chuckles] Madeline would beg to differ.

You can ask yourself. She’s downstairs in the basement.

Oh, that’s right, she’s an even tougher get than me.

Have you ever had her on the record? I don’t think so.

You’ve never had either of us on the record.

Have you?

[phone vibrates]

I’m sorry, um…

It’s my granddaughter, Lenore.

You can take that if you need to.

Grandkids take priority.

Don’t lecture me about family values.

You’re just as shit in that department as I am.

I called you to give you the only thing you’ve ever wanted.

My confession.

This is Assistant U.S. Attorney C. A. Dupin, sitting with Roderick Usher.

November 20th, 2023.

Mr. Usher has waived his right to have an attorney present.

And Mr. Dupin has waived a glass of Henri IV, so which of us is crazier?

Just warming it up.

This is indeed Roderick Usher.

We’re in my childhood home.

Yeah, this is where I grew up. Kept it all these years.

The whole neighborhood… actually.

So I can watch the paint peel.

The weeds grow.

And smell the rot if I needed a pick-me-up.

And what exactly are you confessing to?

You mentioned Title 18, Section 371.

That’s defrauding the U.S. government…

All of it.

All of it?

The whole thing.

You brought what, uh, 73 charges?

All of them, everything, all yours. Right now.

And I’ll throw in a… a bonus.

I’ll tell you how my children died.

I know how they died, Roderick. Everybody knows.

Believe me, Mr. Dupin, when I tell you, you don’t know a thing.

But where to start?

At the beginning, I suppose… is here… in this very room.

You cannot understand the things I’ve done,

unless you understand the life that Madeline and I were born into.

And the woman who would shape every choice we’d ever make.

Our mother.


She was personal secretary to the CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals.

William Longfellow back then.

A man of appetites.

A man of business, who once reportedly told his wife…

Children are never too tender to be whipped.

Like tough beefsteaks, the more you beat them, the more tender they become.

[Roderick] For reasons we were far too young to understand, we were forbidden to go anywhere near Longfellow’s house.

It was one of our mother’s most insistent rules.

So Madeline being Madeline, insisted that we break it.



[gate creaks]

[Roderick groans]

Spy! Climbing my fence!

Not here. Not ever. We agreed.

[whispers] I’m sorry.

Let go of her arm.

[woman] Honey?

Oh, nothing to worry about.

We’ve just had a couple of lookie-loos, that’s all.

I’m so sorry, ma’am, it won’t happen again.

Eliza? Is he all right?

He’s fine.

No harm done. We’ll talk about it Monday.

Just make sure those Emory files are on my desk when I get in.

Of course, Mr. Longfellow.

[Roderick] Madeline hated Longfellow, even then.

She knew, somehow.


[Roderick] She always knew.

[Eliza] We stay away from Mr. Longfellow’s house.

We were just trying to see…

[Eliza] You know the rules, Madeline.

Just like God the Father is on high

and loves us from far away, the same is true for Mr. Longfellow.

He’s mean.

He’s complicated.

Like God.

How’s your foot?

It hurts.

Remember what Mother Teresa said, “Pain and suffering are like the kiss of Jesus.”

It just means you’ve come so close to him that he can kiss you.


[Roderick] If pain and suffering were the kisses of Jesus, then he kissed the living fuck out of my mother in the years that followed.

[clock ticking]

[bell ringing]

[Roderick] Okay, Mom, okay.

[gasps in pain]

Here. Here.

No! [grunts]

[glass shatters]

Mom, you have to drink and… And we think maybe…

Maybe we need to call a doctor, like on the TV.

[Eliza] No!

[Roderick] Mom, please.

Jesus showed us

how to heal the sick, and it wasn’t through medicine!

Where is your faith?

Your body is a temple of God.

And you’d pollute it?!


Don’t say what you want, say what makes him say what you want.

That way it’s his idea.

Mom said we’re not supposed to ever bother him. Him especially.

Trust me, it’s the least he can do. Okay, now let’s go over it one more time.

Sorry to bother you, Mr. Longfellow, but since she worked for you

so well for so long, almost 20 years, we thought you would want to know…

[Roderick] She’s getting worse.

And we know that you’re… You’re so good at helping people.


[Roderick] She always said you were a man that could move mountains, talk anyone into anything.

You were the smartest man she ever met.

Uh, we’re here to ask you, maybe you have an idea.

Maybe you could talk her into it.

I’m sorry, you’re here at my home so I’ll talk your mother into seeing a doctor?

She won’t take any medicine. Nothing.

Won’t see any doctors. And she’s in so much pain.

[Roderick] We thought if you could help her, if you told her what she needs to do, she might listen.

She won’t listen to us. But you, she…

I mean…

She loves you.

What did you say?

It’s the least you could do. For her.

For us.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. No idea, okay?

Eliza was a decent worker for a long time, but she lost it. Didn’t she?

Now take your insinuations, your fucking false insinuations, take your grift and get off my property.

[woman] Are those…

Are those Eliza’s kids?

What do we do?

We know what she wouldn’t want us to do.

If we call someone that means police.

Doctors, they’ll embalm her.

They can’t.

[Madeline] I know.

So what do we do?

[Roderick] Thank Heaven! The crisis, the danger, was past, and the lingering illness was over at last.

And the fever called “living” was conquered at last.

Come, let the burial rite be read, the funeral song be sung, an anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young.

[shovel thuds]

[thunder rumbling]



[thunder rumbling]

[Roderick] Maddie!

What is it?

[power booms]


[clock ticking]

[Roderick] Mom!

[Madeline] Mommy!

[Roderick] Mommy!

I mean, she’s probably passed out somewhere, right?

She had to crawl up, break out, she probably just passed right out.


What do we do?

Call a doctor.

We’ve got to call! I don’t care what she says.

It was an accident. They got to know we didn’t mean to…


[breathing heavily]


I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

We didn’t know.

We’re sorry. Please, Mommy.


[breathing heavily]

[menacing music playing]

[both breathing heavily]

No, the whole street’s out, it’s not just us!

Who is that?

What are you doing here?

Oh, my God.




[woman] William!


[woman] William!

The official story was Longfellow had a heart attack in his sleep.

That was before the Internet. Prehistoric times.

The nastiest bits we cleaned up after I took over the company.

To spare the family any embarrassment.

I mean, my family, the Usher family.

The last thing my mother did in this life… was kill a powerful man.

And we carried that secret with us, and loved her all the more.

She was… remarkable.

Why are you telling me this? Why are we talking about your mother?

Oh, I assume that I’m supposed to because she’s here.

What do you mean?

She’s right behind you.

[inhales deeply]

You know, I read somewhere about high-powered negotiation tactics.

How some truly brilliant business people will plant these moments into high-stakes conversations.

Force a reaction, no matter how trivial.

Talk softly to make an adversary lean in.

Make them repeat themselves. Throw your eyeline behind them.

Make them… turn around.

Just something to assert a little control.

I’m not going to turn around, Roderick.

That’s fine with me.

[thunder rumbling]

So, why are you telling me this?

Because… Well, we were talking about my kids, weren’t we?

And… And this is important to know when we talk about how they died.

And why I treated them the way I did.

And why they were the way they were, was because of my dad.

I just promised I would never do what he did.

I wouldn’t close the gates. If you’re my blood, you’re my blood.

Doesn’t matter how you got here, who your mother was. I have six kids.

Six kids by five mothers.

But they’re all mine.

And I treated them so.

If you’re an Usher, the gates are open. Period.

Matter of principle.

[phone vibrates]

Your granddaughter again?


[Auguste] Mmm. The gates are always open, but that doesn’t mean you answer the phone.

No, it does not.

Day will come, she’ll stop texting.

They all do, sooner or later.

Your grandkids are at your house right now, with your kids too, and you’re here with me.

So let’s skip the soapbox.

Are you watching my house?

If I’m not mistaken, I never saw your husband at the courtroom.

Not once.

A culmination of your life’s work, and he wasn’t there, rooting you on.

Why is that, if you’re such an expert on family values?

And come to think of it, my whole family was there. Day one.

In fairness, a few of them were indicted co-conspirators.

Hey now.

My family didn’t need to be there.

I didn’t want them anywhere near you people.

You always were an effective orator, Auggie.

Your opening arguments, I was impressed.

I watched that tape back a few times.

That may have been the last time… you know…

The last time you were impressed?

The last time we were all together.

That day was the last day we were all in the same place.


[Auguste] Thank you, Your Honor.

Ladies and gentlemen… my name is Charles Auguste Dupin.

And it is my privilege to represent the United States of America against Fortunato Pharmaceuticals and the Usher crime family.

Today, I want to tell you why the United States government has finally brought these charges in what will be the most meaningful pharmaceutical prosecution in the history of our country.

Now, I know, there have already been a lot of headlines about Fortunato Pharma.

About Ligodone.

About the opioid epidemic in our homes and streets.

The mountain of corpses that piled up since Roderick Usher, he’s sitting over there, began marketing his painkillers decades ago.

The Usher family under CEO Roderick Usher and COO Madeline Usher spent four decades growing Fortunato into one of the most profitable, powerful companies on the planet Earth.

They’ve achieved this by doing awful, awful things.

Flagrantly violating regulations, statutes and the most fundamental ethics.

And at the cost of people’s lives.

We will prove that Fortunato, as a matter of policy, engages in misleading marketing practices.

It claims its products are safe and effective, and destroys any evidence that they are not.

Burns evidence, fabricates evidence, destroys, defiles, degrades and defrauds.

And the reason they aren’t sweating, the reason their lead attorney and enforcer Mr. Arthur Pym…


[Judge] Sustained.

Their lead attorney, Mr. Arthur Pym, he’s the one doing the crossword puzzle while I’m talking.

They believe that people like them don’t go to prison.

Ladies and gentlemen, they’re right.

In 40 years, not one thing, not one indictment, not one charge.

Not even a speeding ticket.

Not one consequence has stuck to Roderick Usher

or Madeline Usher or anyone else in the family.



The House of Usher has weathered every storm, sling and arrow and stands higher, stronger and darker today than ever before.

But you’re going to hear something else too.

Something they don’t expect.

And the reason why this trial’s going to have a different outcome.

You’re going to hear from one of them.

An informant from within the inner circle.

Someone so close to this family’s crimes, their testimony and evidence will be unimpeachable.


[Judge] Approach.

[people murmuring]

If such a witness exists, they have not been made known to the defense.

That violates basic discovery, and the government knows better, Your Honor.

This witness came forward at great personal risk, would be in danger if exposed.

They even fear for their life.

Your Honor, we have reason to believe this courtroom is compromised.

[Arthur] That’s absurd!

And until we are satisfied, we will keep this informant’s identity confidential.

The government’s position is that the danger is real and immediate.

All the more reason not to mention this in your opening argument, Mr. Dupin.

You’re right. Your Honor, I…

Well, I got ahead of myself.

I’m not the young lawyer I used to be. I’ll happily strike.

[Judge] We’ll disregard the allusion to an informant for the time being.

Strike from the record, please.

[gavel banging]

Well, I think we’re all frustrated.

In the past year, what?

Fifty-four, fifty-five thousand people have died because… of greed.

Family dinner.

All of them?

Spouses too.

[Auguste] No, this is not a joyful day for me.

I wish that individuals like the Ushers would take responsibility for things they’ve caused in people’s lives.

[Frederick] Holy fuck, this is bad.

Dad doesn’t do family dinners. This is about one thing.

The mole.

[Lenore] Informant.

A mole is one of them who infiltrated us, an informant is one of us giving something to them.

Okay, so a mole is like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed, an informant is Jack Nicholson in The Departed.

He was! Nicholson was talking to the Feds the whole time.

I get it. There are other movies, Dad.

Not as good as The Departed.

Look at this one.

You are getting ridiculously good at that, honey.

Well, I want your dad to love it.

[ball thuds]

And this always just delights him when he’s in such a mood.

[scoffs] Well, yeah, there’s a…

[sighs]…an informant in the family.

I mean, that can’t be true, can it? [sighs]

I don’t think it can be true. If it is true, it’s Perry.

Oh, he’s just a kid, Freddie.

Who knows what that crazy little sh… Sorry, honey.

Who knows what that crazy little spit-head will or won’t do?

And why the fuck… Sorry, honey.

Why the fuck would anybody think it would serve their best interests to become a goddamn informant for the government?

Well, I mean, they’d have to be pretty brave, I guess.

Are the charges true?

Because if not, we’ve got nothing to worry about, but if someone really broke the law, shouldn’t they be punished?

Lenore, that is a brave and thoughtful thing to say.

Especially if you want to get written out of the will.

[Bill] You don’t think he’d do that, do you?

The only thing you can say about Freddie is he wants Dad to love him more than anything.

He’s shit at business, but he wouldn’t do anything to piss him off.

My money is on one of the bastards.

Maybe we’ve all just underestimated Freddie.

When your dad goes down, Freddie’s on the throne.

Maybe he’s giving him a little push.

Why bother?

He gets everything, no matter how inept he is, apparently.

Just look at his name.

Frederick is as close to Roderick as you get without a junior.

I don’t know why he didn’t just call him Froderick.

Oh, it’s probably Perry.

What about your new stepmom?

Could be Juno.

Shut it!

Don’t mention her ever. She doesn’t exist. Do you understand?

She’s not in the will, is she? He has to be smarter than that.

Doesn’t exist.

Also doesn’t know anything.

God, the timing. Bill…

You could always push back the launch.

No. No way.

Goldbug has to go off on time.

I built the launch date into the presentation.

Dad’s already signed off.

I mean, the trial.

All the rest, the world will understand, Tammy.

I don’t give a shit about the world.

I care about what Dad thinks, and he’d ride this out, so we ride it out.

Goldbug will show him that the Usher empire should be a matriarchy.

And Tamerlane Usher should be the queen. So just tell me what you need.

I need Bill T. Wilson.

So you just keep being him, okay?

You warm up BILLT Nation, you keep those 10 million subscribers all frothy for me.

You know Blippi has 12 million?

Fuck Blippi. And fuck this trial. And fuck this informant.


Speaking of fucking…

Who knows how late this goes tonight. I canceled the girl.

[hesitates] I didn’t know there was a girl tonight.

Well, there was and she’s cancelled. Well, pushed, today.

Dad needs to see his kids don’t need half a billion dollars and an endless supply of test monkeys to be successful.

[ECG beeping]

[Alessandra] Just about got it.


[breathes deeply, chuckles]

[Alessandra] All right. Let’s close her up.

Then cross our fingers.

[Victorine] It worked. It really fucking worked.

I have to say,

I think we’re going to struggle to get peer review.

Don’t say it’s because of the nightshade.

Because of the nightshade. I am gonna say it again.

This new powder your dad sent over…

Oh. [scoffs]

…it’s gonna poison the study.

Hey. You hear those stories?

Tourists in South America get powder blown in their face and it paralyzes them?

This is the same stuff.

Our trial’s never going to look legit if we’re using an experimental Fortunato paralytic.

We’ll just have to keep it away from Perry.

Or it’ll end up in some co-ed’s drink.


You sure you want me to come tonight?


Seems like everybody’s going to have their guns out after court today.

The informant?

No, you have to come.

It’s Camille, we all know it’s Camille.

It’s going to be a bloodbath.

They said, bring Al.

I’m sorry, Dr. Ruiz, but you have to come.

[Leo] You absolutely cannot come.

[Julius] I’d like to meet your family.

But there’s a whole process for that. Significant others are a thing.

You don’t want that yet.

The prenup’s like a fucking phone book.

[Julius] Leo, you let me move in, but you won’t let me meet your family?

That’s right. I don’t know when I’m going to get back, but we’ll talk about it then.

[Julius] I’ll be right up. I’m in the elevator.

We can talk about it in a minute.


You’re in the elevator.

Okay, see you in a sec. [sighs]

You’ve got to go.

You promised a selfie.

Now. Fuck.

Okay, you are going to have to wait out here, okay?

Are you fucking serious?


There’s a blanket on the sofa, hide under that or something.

I don’t know. Come on.

I’ll let you out when he goes to the bathroom.

Okay. My friends aren’t going to believe I met Napoleon Usher.



Hey. Why are you home early?


Not that I’m complaining.

I figured, um… shit might hit the fan.

I saw the clips on the news.


[Leo] Mmm. Mmm…

[exhales] Okay.


You sure I can’t come with you?

No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.


It was on the news?

You’re kidding. It was all over the news.

Hey, Pluto.

[Pluto meows]

Hey, sweetie. Are you being good for Other Daddy? Are you?


Why don’t we put the news on in the bedroom?

[Camille] We’re coming out swinging. Front-facing stuff.

Softballs like Fox,

Hannity knows which side his dick’s buttered on. He’ll be friendly.


I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Yes, um, call Bresnickan at Vanity Fair, see if he wants a profile on Leo.

We can let Leo help out for a change.

He can talk about his Jordans, and his charity work.

Kimmel, Colbert, also Leo.

And fuck it, fine, Victorine as well, Victorine will work for Vanity and Cosmo.

For some reason, people like her.

Uh, your step…

Juno will be at the Met this weekend, your dad’s office asked for some Page Six.

They scraped her off an emergency room floor.

Do they think I can turn her into Princess Grace?

Old enough to be her grandfather. That’ll never not be gross.

It’s fine, whatever. Fine. Give them what they want.

Um, priority one is the informant.

I want you to start with Perry obviously, but I don’t think he’s clever enough to keep it off TikTok if he was dealing with the Feds.

Do you need us after dinner?

No, not tonight.

What I do need is for you to stay on top of Victorine and the rest of it.

If this informant is real, I have to find them.

It’s tough with Victorine. She knows you’re watching.

I know, you’ll figure it out. We’re gonna find out who’s talking to the Feds.

Then I’ll freeze their fucking head and give it to my father on a platinum plate.

See if Cartier will make a platinum plate.

I still am so nervous.

I’ve never hosted anything before.

Moderated an NA meeting once.

And only once. It was a disaster.

You’ll be great. You don’t have to do anything.

But all of them? All at once?

Thank God we didn’t have a wedding. I didn’t have to look them all in the eye.

They hate me.

They don’t.

Well, except Freddie.

But I’m pretty sure he’s just kissing your arse.

They will love you because I love you, and the only thing stronger than love is how scared they are of getting cut out of the will.

[door opens]

[man] Excuse me.

I’m sorry.

Don, what are you doing here? Have you met my wife?

Juno, this is Dr. Donaldson. He’s been with me a long time now.

He’ll be taking over your care soon as you’re done with Lewis.

I was going to call, but figured this was important enough that, uh…

I need to talk to you.

Go ahead.

[Donaldson] Alone, I think might be best.

[car beeps]

Hey. Prospero is here.

You ready for him?


[bottle opens]

[Prospero] This is a Glenfiddich. ’96.

’96, the year…

The year I was born. Yes. Exactly.

Glenfiddich is totally into this idea, by the way.

We make it the official whiskey of the club and they open up the entire library of bottles to us.

You’ve had a year, a calendar year to come up with a proposal for your first business venture, a venture we’d like to support, and you’ve come up with a nightclub.

Yes. Obviously, you’re not thinking big enough.


[Madeline] Hmm.

Is the flagship club going to be amazing?

Of course it is, but it’s the franchise possibilities, Prospero Rome, Prospero New York, Prospero Dubai…

Well, outside of naming this, uh, establishment after yourself, what else makes it at all worthwhile?

Well, this isn’t a fucking Dave & Buster’s, Aunt Madeline, I’m talking Berghain. Limelight.

Prospero’s will be one of the most exclusive nightclubs in the entire world.

We’ll turn movie stars and monarchs away with attitude, we’re going to make Studio 54 look like fucking Romper Room.

And you’re going to do this by marking up bottles of Glenfiddich.

I’m not selling Glenfiddich. I’m… I’m selling… hedonism, privilege.

It’s a dark room with killer music, few rules, fewer consequences.

It’s where the movie starlet everybody fucking worships is busy giving head to the real VIPs, in the corner.

Let me come to the office, show you the numbers, franchise projections are good.

I’m thinking a tiered membership…

Roderick, please, any time.

Oh, tiered membership, why didn’t you say so? No.

We won’t set up a meeting at the office.

Being an Usher is about changing the fucking world.

It’s not a blow job whisky bar.

Look at the numbers. I’ll come to the office on Monday and you can…

Fuck’s sake. That’s all.


[door opens, closes]

Well, I don’t think he’s the informant, but got no clue about business.

I know it’s important to you everybody gets that first loan, but…

He’s not making it easy.

Let’s get in there and watch their eyes.

When the paperwork’s passed out, I’ll be able to tell.

What is going on with you?

Something is going on with you.

All good.

Right behind you.

[footsteps receding]

[door opens, closes]


[breathes deeply]

For the road.

[Morrie clears throat]

I thought we could all benefit from this. Um, Pharmaceutical Law.

Maybe something in here can help us.

[Roderick] No, really?

Arthur, dig into this book. Find something for our defense.

Oh, no.

Wait, it’s… cake.

[light applause]

Well, I swear, if your TV show had been about your cakes, it would have run 20 seasons.

[Morrie chuckles] Care to wash it down?


No way.


I bet it’s cake.

[Morrie chuckles]

[all applauding]

Freddie, marrying this woman might be the one thing you didn’t fuck up.

She’s a genius.

[chuckles] Well…

We have that in common then, Dad. We’re both lucky men.

Oh, for fuck’s sake, Freddie.

All right, while you all eat the law, Mr. Pym has some important paperwork for each of you.

[Camille] Paperwork from the Pym Reaper, always a blast.

Wait. Is this also cake?

This is a robust,

new non-disclosure agreement, and it is consequential.

[Camille] Forfeiture of inheritance? Waiving of civil suits…

We really should get together more often, it’s a balm for the soul.

Consequence only applies if it’s proven you violated the agreements.

So it seems to me no one has anything to worry about.

Unless they have something to worry about.

[Madeline] Exactly. And your father and I appreciate this display of confidence, loyalty and family. Now sign it.

It’s been a minute since I’ve gotten to feel like a member of the family.

Al, have you gotten to sign an original Pym yet?

It’s a rite of passage. Wait until you see the prenup.

Yes, speaking of prenups, how are things, Juno?

It’s going great.

Yeah, I prefer not to sign anything without my guy looking at it first.

Or not.

[Victorine] While we’re on the subject and, hate to point this out but, if there were ever any one of us collecting, or even bartering a family secret, we all know who that is.

Aw, fuck you very much, Victorine.

No in-fighting. Jesus, have some dignity.

You want to watch me sign it?

I’ll sign it right now.

How do you spell “Froderick”?

[Madeline] Get the jokes out now because this isn’t funny.

Fortunato is the reason you exist.

The reason you have your little knock-offs, your heart implants, your debutante balls.

Debutante balls? Is that what you think I do?

[Madeline] The company is the family, and we expect you to defend it with your life.

And if anyone, anyone comes after us, we will exhaust our arsenal until the threat’s neutralized.

By neutralized, do you mean sued into oblivion, taken out of the Board, out of the will, on the streets…

Neutralized. Like dead.

Pym made this document particularly nasty, I asked him to, but that’s not the thing.

When I find out who’s been talking, to the goddamn government, against your own blood, there won’t be enough of you left to sue.

I’ll have to sue the bloody puddle of gore in the designer shoes.

Make no mistake, we’ll find out.

$50 million.

To whoever solves it.

To the lucky Usher who figures out who’s talking to the Feds.

Fifty million cash, no strings, no taxes.

Did you just put a…

Yes, I’m putting a bounty on you.

You, the shit bag, you the informant, you know who you are.

It’s 50 million. Sleep tight.

The rest of you… happy hunting.

That was the last time I saw them together.

Some of them, the last time I saw them alive.

If you’re saying it was because of…

Well… because of the informant thing that all of this happened, if you’re somehow implying that I’m responsible, even indirectly…

I’m not. I know who’s responsible.

You know who’s responsible for which death?

All of them.

Forgive me, Roderick, but the deaths of your children have been examined, investigated pretty thoroughly and, as strange as they may be, those deaths are unrelated.

I am responsible.

And more to the point, perhaps… there is a woman.

[Madeline] I know that face.

You know her too.

A woman I have to tell you about.

[Roderick] What did she do to me?


You know my favorite holiday?

New Year’s Eve. You know why? Resolutions.

People take that word for granted, they don’t realize just how heavy a word it is.



Means being unwavering, determined, a firm commitment to do something, or… not to do something.

And most people go their whole, wasted, stupid lives without one minute of true resolution.

Not me though.

Not me.

And not Madeline.

[“New York Groove” playing]

[people speaking indistinctly]

♪ Many years since I was here ♪

♪ On the street I was passing my time away ♪

♪ To the left and to the right ♪

♪ Buildings towering to the sky ♪

♪ It’s outta sight in the dead of night ♪

♪ Here I am again in this city ♪

♪ With a fistful of dollars ♪

♪ And baby, you’d better believe ♪

♪ I’m back, back in the New York Groove ♪

♪ I’m back, back in the New York Groove ♪

♪ I’m back, back in the New York Groove ♪

♪ Back in the New York Groove ♪

♪ In the New York Groove… ♪

[woman] Costume party?

Guessing you’re Jay Gatsby, you’re Daisy Buchanan.

[Roderick grunts]

Gin Rickeys then?

Gatsby didn’t drink.

He stayed sharp and sober. Watched everybody else drink.

Nothing for you then?

We’re drinking tonight.

Both of us. Whisky. Neat.

What made you ditch the other party?

All dressed up, didn’t wait for the ball to drop?

[Roderick] Hmm.

A change of scenery.

We work up the street.

Haven’t seen this place. Did you just open?

Sort of.

Thought it’d be more crowded.

New Year’s and all.

It’ll fill up later. We’re a midnight business.

Tonight, anyway.

[Roderick] Hmm.

You guys look like you’ve had a wild night already.

Sending ’79 out with a bang, yeah?

Well, I’ll drink one with you.

Don’t tend to do that with customers, but here we are.

To 1979. May it rest in peace.

♪ I’m back, back in the New York Groove ♪

♪ I’m back, back in the New York Groove… ♪

God, I can’t believe we really did that.

Keep your voice down, Roderick.

No, I won’t. What do we do now?

We wait here.

Drink, but don’t get drunk. Talk, but don’t talk.

If the cops aren’t here by midnight, that’s a good sign.

Won’t know for a few days.

The important thing is that people see us tonight.

This place is good.

Crowded enough for a few witnesses, not so crowded that nobody notices.

I’m just excited that we get to kick Carter out of the White House this year.

Think Reagan’s going to run?

I think if he does, it’ll be a landslide and great for business.

Sorry, I should’ve told you no politics at the bar. We’re a classy joint.


Maybe just one then we’re switching to beer, slowing down.

Night’s young. Whisky’s pricey.

First two are on the house. Want to start a tab?

Buy now, pay later, what I say.

I’m Verna.

Uh, Roderick.

[Verna] Mmm.

This is Madeline.

Staying for the ball drop?

I think so.

[Verna] Mmm, that’s good.

Got another hour or so to think about your resolutions.

You know what a resolution is? It’s a deal you make with the future.

The future’s coming fast. It’s nearly here.

You already know your resolutions, don’t you?

Yeah. We’ve got the same one.

We’re going to change the world.

[Madeline chuckles]

New Year’s 1980. [chuckles] I remember what else happened that night.

That was the night…

[sighs] Well, you know what I’m getting at.

[Roderick] Yes, I know what you’re getting at.

I mean, aside from the rumors, the mystery.

That was when everything changed at Fortunato.

People still whisper about what possibly could have happened that night.

That’s where you’re taking me, isn’t it?


[Verna] Your life will take a complete change of course.


You feel it. Both of you.

In the air.

We’re sitting outside of time and space.

[thunder rumbling]

We buried three of my children today.

The other three last week.

I know, and as I said, I’m sorry.

There’s a reason I’m telling you this.

My mother, my children, New Year’s Eve.

You’ll be reluctant to accept it, or believe it, but I promise you, every single piece is important.

We buried my boy today.

And almost nobody came this time.

Sixth coffin I’ve put in the dirt.

In less than two weeks.

[preacher] “The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins? We stand on the brink of a precipice.”

Grampus. What is it?

[preacher] “We peer into the abyss. We grow sick and dizzy.”

She’s here.

[preacher] “Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger.

Unaccountably, we remain.

By slow degrees, our sickness and dizziness and horror become merged in a cloud of unnamable feeling.

It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height.

And this fall, this rushing annihilation for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering, which have ever presented themselves to our imagination, for this very cause do we now, most vividly, desire it.”

[reporters clamoring]

[camera shutters clicking]

[reporter] Mr. Usher!

[reporters clamoring]

[Madeline] Roderick, look at me.

Arthur, send a bus, but keep it off dispatch, no names.

In fact, designate it off duty.

Take him to Westminster under a pseudonym. Lock down the wing, maybe the whole floor.

Full security detail, and get Donaldson. No other doctors. Only Donaldson.

You got it.

It’s time.

It’s time.

It’s time.

* * *

Poe Citations in Episode 1 of “The Fall of the House of Usher”



“A Midnight Dreary”: This is the first line of Poe’s famous poem “The Raven,” setting the tone for the series’ connection to his work.


Roderick and Madeline Usher: Their names come directly from the original “The Fall of the House of Usher” short story.
Eliza: Their mother shares the name of Poe’s biological mother and the middle name of his wife, Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe.
Prospero is named after the protagonist in “The Masque of the Red Death,” another Poe short story.
Lenore‘s name comes from his poem “The Raven.”
• Leo Usher and his partner own a black cat named Pluto. That is the name of the protagonist’s feline pet in Poe’s short story “The Black Cat”.

Story Elements:

Eliza’s burial story: This draws inspiration from Poe’s “The Premature Burial,” where a character fears being buried alive.
Victorine’s death: Her paranoid behavior and death scene evoke elements of “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Fortunato Pharmaceuticals: The company name references “The Cask of Amontillado,” where the character Fortunato is tricked and walled up alive.
Mr. Longfellow: The murdered CEO’s name is likely a nod to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poet Poe disliked.
Ligodone, the addictive drug: Its name might be derived from “Ligeia,” a story about a woman’s resurrection.
Egyptian artifacts: Both Roderick and Madeline own them, alluding to the satirical story “Some Words with a Mummy.”
• The sermon delivered by the preacher is a passage from Poe’s short story “The Imp of the Perverse.”
• The lines quoted by Roderick Usher, “Thank Heaven! the crisis- The danger is past – And the lingering illness – Is over at last -And the fever called ‘Living’ – Is conquered at last;” and “Come! let the burial rite be read–the funeral song be sung!–An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young” are from the Edgar Allan Poe poems “For Annie” and”Lenore” respectively.
• When the family is receiving the NDAs, on the fireplace mantel is a bust of the Greek goddess, Pallas Athena. This is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” wherein the raven sits “upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door.”

Visual references:

Roderick’s office: Paintings and sculptures could contain subtle references to Poe’s works.
The architecture of the Usher mansion: Gothic elements may echo the settings of Poe’s stories.
• On either side of the New York bar Roderick and his sister, Madeline, sit down at is a black cat looking up to the center pane, which has a raven sitting on a skull with a crescent moon. These images reference Poe’s short story “The Black Cat” and his poem, “The Raven.”
• When the family is receiving the NDAs, on the fireplace mantel is a bust of the Greek goddess, Pallas Athena. This is a reference to Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” wherein the raven sits “upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door.”


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