Here’s How and Why the House of Usher, Uhh, Fell in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Finale

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Just when you think the horrors are over on The Fall of the House of Usher, the Netflix miniseries manages to squeeze in more horrifying deaths, satisfying acts of revenge, heartbreak, and even hope for the future. Still whirling from what happened in the finale? Some of the series has been pretty easy to follow, but the series wasn’t afraid to get metaphorical at the drop of a hat. Here’s what you need to know about The Fall of the House of Usher ending.

The series blends together about a dozen short stories and poems by Edgar Allen Poe into a Succession-y story about pharmaceuticals and a doomed family dynasty. Over the course of the series, patriarch Roderick Usher’s six children Camille, Frederick, Napoleon, Tamerlane, Victorine, and Prospero die one by one, episode by episode. Why did that happen? Will it ever end? Let’s get into it.

Warning: There are clearly finale spoilers for ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ ahead, so read at your own risk!

Annabel Lee’s ghost attends her children’s funeral

At the beginning of the episode, Roderick confesses to Dupin that his two children from his first marriage, Tamerlane and Frederick, chose him over their mother in the divorce because he offered them so much money they couldn’t refuse. They lost their mother’s spirit in that choice, he said. Only his granddaughter Lenore kept that alive. At Tamerlane, Freddie, and Victorine’s funeral Roderick sees Annabel Lee’s ghost. There’s a bullet hole in her head, implying that she died by suicide.

We learned how Roderick and Madeline got Fortunado

In 1979 on New Year’s Eve, the siblings conspired to kill the company’s slimy CEO Rufus Griswold. It’s not just the drugs they sold that killed people. They are literal murderers. They offered Rufus a drink spiked with cyanide, lured him to the soundproof basement, and buried him alive in the wall. This is based on the Poe tale “The Cask of Amontillado,” a grim story and personal favorite of mine. Madeline laid the final brick, on which she wrote the words “you are so small”–something Annabel Lee had said to her previously. At the time Rufus wore a jester’s costume, which haunts Roderick in the present.

the fall of the house of usher bruce greenwood as roderick usher in episode 106 of the fall of the house of usher cr eike schroternetflix

EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX

But why is the Usher family cursed?

To get away with murder, the siblings needed an alibi. So they went to a bar a bit off the beaten track. It was there they met Verna, the mysterious woman who would later kill the members of the House of Usher. She offered them a life free of want and failure with one catch: Roderick’s bloodline must pay the price. She said that when it’s time for Roderick and Madeline to die, and they will leave the Earth together and all of their children and their children’s children will die too.

It’s an interesting debate; Would you want your children to live a long life full of struggle or a shorter life of ease? Of course, the Usher siblings were not made aware that said children would not just pass away but die horrible, painful, humiliating deaths.

Is Verna still out there making deals?

The family’s “fixer,” Arthur Pym, attempts to murder Verna and make her disappear. That doesn’t work, obviously, but Verna is impressed. She offers him a deal similar to the one she offered Madeline and Roderick back in the day. He doesn’t take it. He doesn’t have any collateral, he says. At the end of the episode, he is arrested and doesn’t even try to defend himself.

Is the curse over, then?

Verna has one last member of the Usher family to kill before the debt is settled: Roderick’s good-hearted, independent granddaughter Lenore. To her credit, she isn’t exactly thrilled about this. Before killing Lenore, Verna assures the girl that her mother will go on to save millions of lives with the family’s money. It’s because she stood up to the family and Arthur that this happens. It’s about as happy an ending as a story about a family curse can have. Juno, Roderick’s second wife, also gets clean and put money into rehab programs and research.

the fall of the house of usher kyliegh curran as lenore usher in episode 101 of the fall of the house of usher cr eike schroternetflix

EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX

If Lenore is dead, who has been texting Roderick?

Remember Madeline’s Sentient AI project that makes a digital copy from social media accounts? That’s who has been texting… a digital ghost of Lenore, essentially. FWIW, I don’t think I’d want my social media to be the blueprint for my immortal AI. Most of us don’t talk in memes IRL, ya know?

So Roderick and Madeline’s have to die, right?

Right. And die they do. After Lenore dies, Verna shows Roderick a vision. As he looks out over the side of his glass tower, he sees the bodies of the people his drugs have killed tumbling down like raindrops. Verna then tells him to go to the house and summon both Dupin and his sister.

Madeline arrives first. Roderick poisons her and prepares her body for death like an Egyptian queen. Then, presumably, Dupin arrives and the conversation we’ve been following for the series takes place. As this talk with Dupin draws to an end, and Roderick admits he knew his corporation was going to take a lot of lives, Madeline’s near-dead (or undead????) body rises and strangles him to death. Dupin escapes as the house comes crumbling down.

And about that raven….

Verna is the raven. (In fact, “verna” and “raven” are anagrams of each other. Did you catch that?) She’s a harbinger of death. She alludes to having Donald Trump as a client.

the fall of the house of usher carla gugino as verna in episode 108 of the fall of the house of usher cr eike schroternetflix2023

EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX//Netflix

Given how every plotline wraps, there’s really no reason for this show to get a season 2. The story of the House of Usher could not be more complete. But I wouldn’t say no to more stories about this lady and the lives she ruins….

WATCH ‘THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER’ HERE ON NETFLIX

Headshot of Leah Marilla Thomas

Leah Marilla Thomas

Leah Marilla Thomas is an entertainment writer, UNC alum, and former Hasbro Toy Tester (yes, that’s a real thing) who loves The Good Place and Love Island equally. In her alleged spare time, she’s probably either at the theater, in a park, or watching basketball. 

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