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The Haunting of Bly Manor: A Ghostly Origin Story

Published on October 22nd, 2020 | Updated on October 22nd, 2020 | By FanFest

Image: Netflix

Review: Episode Four, The Way It Came

Perhaps to fully understand what’s happening at Bly Manor one must first dig into the past. At least that’s what the majority of the previous episodes  have led us to believe, spending a large swath of time on flashbacks and exposition. This much is true of the current episode, “The Way It Came”; however, this time the focus has shifted to Dani’s (Victoria Pedretti) past troubles.

It’s refreshing to finally learn more about Bly Manor’s main protagonist, as so far, the flashbacks have tended to steer the narrative toward the season’s side characters. In this episode’s glimpse into the past we learn about Dani’s life in the United States; details about the tragic events that led to her being followed by the glowing-eyed ghost; along with what finally motivated her to move to London.

The episode is nicely wrapped up by jumping back to 1987, the show’s current timeline, where we end on a more hopeful note.

In a nutshell, it’s refreshing to finally start getting answers to some of the many questions that have already been posed. Also worth mentioning is Victoria Pedretti‘s endearing portrayal of Dani, a character that in other hands could’ve come off as a mere stereotype. It was, all in all, a satisfying installment.

Before proceeding with the remainder of this review, fans who have not yet watched the episode in it’s entirety should do so now.

Image: Netflix

Origins and Endings

In the flashback, we are quickly introduced to Dani’s childhood friend Edmund O’Mara (Roby Attal), and his mother. It’s clear that Dani has found a place in the O’Mara family, a fact that is further solidified when friendship turns into romance. Before long, the two are engaged and planning a wedding.

Despite a happy exterior, Dani begins to confront truths about her sexuality long held a secret within herself. One evening, at dinner, Dani finally shares this information with Edmund, admitting that she doesn’t want to marry him. This information is difficult for Edmund to immediately process and results in an argument that begins in the restaurant and continues out into the car. The argument escalates, and in anger, Edmund quickly exits the car onto the street and is hit by an oncoming truck, later dying at the hospital.

It’s at this point that Dani begins to see Edmund’s ghostly image in mirrors, his glowing glasses reflecting the light of the oncoming truck that killed him. Dani is unable to remain at Edmund’s funeral for she sees his ghost reflected in the mirrors, this time with a hand rested on her shoulder.

After the funeral, Edmund’s mother gifts his broken glasses to Dani, unaware that she is about to leave the States to move to London.

Image: Netflix

Back to the Future

Back at Bly Manor, Dani has dressed for Owen’s (Rahul Kholi) mother’s funeral but appears to be warding off another panic attack. Observing her struggles, Jamie (Amelia Eve) encourages Dani to skip the funeral.

By nightfall, the manor’s adult residents gather for a bonfire. Jamie speaks to the group of a ritual to remember the deceased in which she throws “bones into the fire”, an act that requires the burning of an item belonging to the dead. Afterward, Jamie and Dani visit the greenhouse alone where they share a kiss. But the tender moment is cut short when Edmund’s ghost appears inside the greenhouse, frightening Dani and ending the embrace.

Later into the night, and after much alcohol, Dani awakens at Bly Manor and proceeds downstairs into the dark kitchen. Flora also awakens and observes the placement of the dolls in her dollhouse. Noticing that the faceless doll has moved into close proximity to the “Dani” doll, she and Miles quickly descend into the kitchen and draw Dani’s attention away from the path of a female-shaped ghost dressed in white that is wandering through the great room behind her.

With certain tragedy avoided, the children allow Dani to put them back to bed. Outside on the lawn, Dani visits the site of the bonfire. It’s revealed that she is carrying Edmund’s broken glasses, which she throws into the fire. Edmund’s spectre appears once more, watching as the glasses burn.

This episode answered quite a lot about Dani’s tragic past while alluding to some seriously sinister beings haunting the manor. If it’s a sign of things to come, be prepared to turn on all the lights while grabbing a box of tissues.

Need to catch up on earlier episodes? Check out our earlier coverage of The Haunting of Bly Manor.

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