Created by Guillermo del Toro and reportedly based on the accomplished writer-director’s short story of the same name, ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ is a Netflix horror anthology series. The first season has eight episodes in total, with each episode telling a different tale. The series premiere, ‘Lot 36,’ is an adaptation of del Toro’s own story, which he transformed into a teleplay in collaboration with Regina Corrado. Guillermo Navarro, cinematographer and long-term collaborator of del Toro, helmed the episode.
‘Lot 36’ follows Nick (Tim Blake Nelson), a disgruntled, down-on-his-luck storage hunter, who wins the bid for the titular storage unit. Unbeknownst to him, the said unit holds dark and demonic secrets. The narrative is set against a backdrop of the early days of the First Gulf War, which supplies an additional layer of symbolism to the story. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ episode 1. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 1 Recap
The episode begins with del Toro himself serving as the host, inviting the audience into his Cabinet of Curiosities. He plays the same role that Rod Serling does in ‘The Twilight Zone,’ serving not necessarily as a narrator but as an Usher, guiding the people to the doorway beyond which lies all the mysteries.
As Bush Sr. talks about the Allied forces attacking military bases in Iraq and Kuwait and the new world order, an elderly man has a heart attack while butchering some unknown animal (it has canines and what distinctively looks like the roots of the horns) and dies. The focus of the narrative then shifts to Nick. He is a war vet. Given his age and the timeline, he likely fought in Vietnam, an experience that has left him bitter, angry, and with injuries that are going to last his lifetime. He directs his frustration about governmental apathy and failure in life toward the immigrants. He is one of those Americans who listen to Conservative radio hosts and bob their heads and feels that the system has victimized him despite belonging to the group of the racial majority.
Nick is also under a mountain of debt and knows he will be in serious trouble if he steps back over the district lines. But desperate times call for desperate measures. He wins the bid on Lot 36, which originally belonged to the elderly man from earlier. Nick finds a photobook that reveals that the man had ties with the Third Reich. But what catches his interest is a gold candelabra, along with two exquisite chairs, a decoration made out of human hair, and a séance table with real inlay.
Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 1 Ending: Are Nick and Roland Dead?
After realizing what he has found in the storage might have serious value, he asks Eddie, the man who runs the storage space, for contacts, and Eddie sends him to Agatha. And through Agatha, Nick meets Roland. Although Agatha wants to buy the other things, she shows real interest in the séance table. She accidentally presses a button, and a secret chamber in the table opens, revealing three books: ‘Liber Primus Daemonia,’ Liber Secundus Symvolia,’ and ‘Liber Tertius Perlipsi.’ When Roland arrives, he speaks of a fourth book, ‘Liber Quartus Sacramentum.’ When Roland promises Nick that he will pay him $300,000 if the fourth book is found, Nick takes the other man to the storage space. As they begin to look, Nick realizes that his initial assumption about the total area of the unit was accurate.
The former owner built false walls within the unit, a room within the room. Nick and Roland break through one of the walls and find themselves in a narrow corridor. The smell that hits them is overwhelmingly bad. They see crosses lining the wall before reaching a smaller room, where they find the skeletal form of what used to be a woman. Her face is missing, eaten away by the demon that is writhing away inside her skull. Nick sees the fourth book, ignoring Roland’s warning he breaks the seal by stepping inside the pentagon marking on the floor. The demon awakens and devours Roland. Nick tries to escape and even reaches the door. But Amelia, the woman who used to rent another lot that Nick now has access to, shuts the door. Ironically, she uses the same lock Nick earlier gave her instead of allowing her to enter the lot and retrieve the things that might hold sentimental value.
Nick becomes a victim of his own greed and prejudice. He is subsequently devoured by the entity, If he had listened to Roland, he would have survived. If he had been kinder to Amelia, he would have also survived.
What Happened to Dottie Wolmar?
Dottie Wolmer was the sister of the former owner of the unit. They belonged to a family that made weapons for the Nazis. After the war, they immigrated to America. The owner of the unit was the black sheep of the family. He burned his way through the family fortune and remained bitter and angry throughout his life. Here, the show subtly draws a connection between Nick and this man.
It is implied that the owner used the books and the séance table to call the demon and then offer Dottie as a vessel. However, he betrayed the entity, trapping it inside the pentagram. The odd ritual the owner performed every time he entered the unit is most likely related to his guest, as is the food that he brought in.
When Nick breaks the seal, ‘Liber Quartus Sacramentum’ catches fire, indicating the completion of the ritual. The demon has become Earth-bound. Nick and Roland are its first victims, they won’t be its last.
Read More: Are Cabinet of Curiosities Real?