Netflix’s ‘The House’ is a dark comedy animation anthology series set in the titular house. Chapter 1, enigmatically titled ‘And Heard Within, A Lie is Spun,’ follows a simple family who comes into possession of an opulent new mansion courtesy of a mysterious benefactor. All Raymond (voiced by Matthew Goode) and his family have to do in return is give up their old house. What could go wrong?
A lot, it seems. The ominous new mansion constantly changes and soon reveals itself to be much more than just a dwelling. The ending of this first chapter is particularly twisted and leaves us with a lot to ponder upon, including the fate of the central family. Ready to dive into the misleadingly cute stop motion world of ‘The House’ chapter 1? Let’s see what we can uncover. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The House Chapter 1 Recap
The story opens in a simple household, where Raymond and his family feverishly prepare for a visit by their snobby relatives. The guests arrive and waste no time in reminding Raymond of his failures to recover the family wealth gambled away by his alcoholic father. That night, in an alcoholic haze, Raymond is accosted by a strange man in the forest. Upon returning home, he tells his wife Penelope that all their problems are solved before passing out in a stupor.
The following day, the family gets a surprising visit from Thomas, who claims to represent the famous architect Van Schoonbeek. The architect, it seems, is building a new house nearby and wants Raymond and his family to have it. Plans are quickly made, and the family abandons their modest home to move into the opulent, newly constructed mansion nearby.
Soon after moving in, even as Raymond and Penelope remain in awe of their new house, their young daughter Mabel and toddler Isobel begin to notice strange occurrences. The staircase to the ground floor is mysteriously broken, trapping the girls above. Mabel also notices strange men who keep appearing in different rooms holding construction tools but remain silent when spoken to.
The House Chapter 1 Ending: What Happens to Raymond and Penelope? Are They Dead?
In their blissful, almost dreamlike state, Raymond and Penelope tinker away at the fireplace and sewing machine, respectively. Thomas appears with new clothes for the couple, which they enthusiastically put on despite looking like large upholstered cushions in them. The fire in the fireplace refuses to burn until Raymond begins using the furniture from their previous home as kindling.
Things get steadily more sinister, and the young girls notice Thomas wailing in one of the rooms. He reveals that he is just a paid actor who follows a script given to him by the faceless “architect.” In a panic, Mabel and Isobel then rush to their parents, only to see that they’ve turned into upholstered furnishings of the very room they were sitting in. The fire blazes in the hearth and begins to spread as Mabel and her toddler sibling climb out the window. Chapter 1 of ‘The House’ ends with the two girls standing on a hilltop, watching the mansion burning in the distance.
In all probability, it appears as if Raymond and Penelope are dead. Their ominous last words to their daughters, telling them to save themselves, strongly hint that the parents do not survive. However, considering they are mysteriously turned into furnishings (an armchair and a curtain, to be precise) before the house goes up in flames, it is worth delving into their fates a little more.
Raymond and Penelope remain obsessed with the fireplace and sewing machine, respectively, and slowly begin turning into related objects — an armchair for the hearth and a curtain (which Penelope has a knack for sewing). The bulky clothing supplied by their mysterious benefactor only seems to speed up the transformation. Eventually, it seems like the unsuspecting couple essentially becomes a “part of” the opulent mansion they so admire.
Since there is definitely some (or a lot!) of supernatural activity going on, a better way to consider Raymond and Penelope’s fate would be to think of them as forever trapped in the house (as opposed to being dead). Considering the house survives the fire (since it is featured in subsequent chapters), the couple could be doomed to spend years as inanimate objects. This also fits the theme of the ominous house, which appears to be cursed and has a habit of trapping — or almost absorbing — its owners.
Who Builds the House? Who are Van Schoonbeek and Thomas?
From the start, the offer of getting a free mansion sounds too good to be true. The mysterious man that accosts Raymond in the forest clearly has a bigger scheme in play, which involves relieving the family of their original home and luring them into “the house.” We see the same man appear again in the house but in varying forms. A giant version of him also seems to haunt the house and is briefly seen tormenting Thomas.
Thus, Van Schoonbeek, who portrays himself as an architect and Raymond’s mysterious benefactor, is likely some kind of dark magical entity. Thomas, it is revealed, is an actor hired to be an intermediary between the unsuspecting family and Van Schoonbeek. In his tormented state, Thomas finally reveals that his employer gives him a script every day outlining what he must say to Raymond and Penny in order to draw the couple closer to their strange fate.