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Cabinet Of Curiosities – Season 1 Episode 2 “Graveyard Rats” Recap & Review

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Graveyard Rats

Episode 2 of Cabinet of Curiosities switches the tone – and time period – to something much more Gothic. Grave robbers snatch the trinkets off the deceased body of Catherine Padgett. However, the Steward of this graveyard, Masson, catches them in the act. He points out what they’re doing is disrespectful and goes on to blast a bullet in the air to frighten them. Only… it turns out Masson himself is actually a graverobber, and he’s hoodwinked them.

A rat bites Masson while he’s searching for a golden tooth; an ominous bit of foreshadowing to follow. Still, Masson shows up at the shipyard to hand over his wares… but it’s not enough to cover his expenses. He’s come up short and part of that comes from the rats, who appear to be stealing bodies out of their coffins. He’s been coming up short for a while now, and it appears these Salem rats are to blame.

After speaking his piece, Masson is given a week to make good on his promise. If not, well, he’ll be in those coffins for a very different reason!

Masson overhears a couple at the coroner’s where he visits, discussing their recently deceased beloved, including how they want him dressed in his finest and with a saber given by King George. This will, of course, fetch a pretty penny and Masson’s eyes practically change to dollar signs upon hearing this!

After a particularly horrible dreaming involving an infestation of rats, Masson shows up at the grave in time to see the body being pulled into the confines of the earth. Not one to leave behind lucrative treasure, and with his very life hanging in the balance either way, Masson crawls through the dirt and follows the sound of rats.

As he continues on, an overturned root stabs him square in the head. Naturally, Masson decides to pull it… and a massive cave-in ensues. Thankfully he’s still alive but it’s clear this man is a claustrophobe.

Giving himself positive affirmations, Masson realizes the way back is blocked, so he has no choice but to continue on. A whole plague of rats begin to reach him and begin biting him, including a rather nasty chunk taken out his foot. Masson fires his gun to scarper them… firing another and destroying it. However that’s not the end of it. Growling from afar brings a much bigger problem.

A giant rat stirs and eventually comes face to face with him. After firing his gun at it, Masson gets scratched and he panics. He scrambles away, trying to escape from this monstrosity. It’s no good, and he’s pulled right down to the depths, where mounds of skeletal remains are. In doing so though, Masson finds exactly what he’s been after – treasure. This amount includes, of course, that saber we heard about earlier in the episode.

Spinning the torch around, he also finds a symbol for the “Black Church” up on the wall, which is basically Cthulhu. Unfortunately, Masson’s greed gets the better of him. Upon taking a necklace from round the neck of a skeleton on the wall, it comes back to life and creakily utters “mine.” Masson manages to get away and begins crawling back up the tunnel whence he came. The giant rat from before is there blocking his path though, prompting Masson to try and fight it head-on. Well, that works out about as expected!

Masson manages to drop a giant boulder on that rat, killing it outright, whilst the skeleton creature is stuck behind the rock too. Sensing a light ahead, Masson climbs all the way out… or does he? He’s dismayed to realize he’s inside a closed coffin, a lovely bit of pay-off to the earlier foreshadowed glimpse of him inside one earlier. And of course rats close in around him, killing the guy.

Masson’s corpse is found by those gravediggers, who notice his body moving. He’s full of rats. They swarm around Masson and begin coming out of his mouth. The two men rush away, and as the camera zooms in on Masson’s chest, he’s wearing that gold amulet.

The Episode Review

Well, that was a disturbing and chilling episode! The second episode really ups the ante and brings out the same claustrophobic tension movies like The Descent worked so well to channel. The camera work in particular is fantastic and works to accentuate that, which of course ties into the lighting too.

The setting and ideas in this chapter work perfectly and once again there’s another theme about greed running throughout this episode, along with a slight allegory toward immigration, especially when you consider Masson’s words about Salem rats coming over and taking their treasures.

Either way though, this was a great episode and sets the scene nicely for what should be an enthralling season of horror to come!