‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ Episode 1: Recap & Ending, Explained: Who Was Dottie? How Did Roland Know About Her?

Guillermo Del Toro has finally arrived with a bunch of his short stories that contain ghosts and demons of various sorts. We are all familiar with the filmmaking style of Guillermo Del Toro, how he depicts fear through gruesome elements while never resorting to jump cuts, and most importantly, the way he treats his creatures in a more detailed way than even the human characters. Netflix’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” is not at all different from the rest of Del Toro’s filmography. They really did not have to put his name upfront because only he could describe creatures with such incredible details.

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Spoilers Ahead


‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ Episode 1 ‘Lot 36’ Recap And Ending

“Cabinet of Curiosities” Episode 1 starts with an old man living the rest of his days cooking on his own. His unsatisfied appetite was the main reason behind his abnormal physique and all the other problems. He eventually dies a symbolic death while picking up the head of the animal he was chopping off to cook. He got a stroke while trying to cook and died on the spot. He had the keys to “lot 36.” 

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Then we jump to a scene where an ex-US army man named Nick Appleton is going to attend an auction. The auction was held to sell a certain storage unit where lots of stuff from the dead or people in debt were kept. The original owners never really returned to get the stuff. So, there was bidding for certain storage units, and Nick won the bidding for “lot 36.” He discovered some items that he thought were valuable. Nick was already threatened by Tommy, from whom he had borrowed money. So, Nick had to return his money, and that’s why he went to sell the items he had found from “lot 36.” In between, he had met with a woman named Amelia, who used to own one of the lots. Eddie, the owner of the lots had told her that Nick used to own her lot while she was not around. So, she went to Nick and asked asked him to let her have a look there so that she could get some things that might belong to her. Nick refused her request and sarcastically gave her a lock. 

When Nick went to sell those things, he came to know that they were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, there he came across a man named Roland who seemed to have a very good understanding of those things. Nick and Agatha, the lady to whom Nick had come to sell the products, had already discovered a secret lock in a seance table, one of the things that Nick had brought to sell. There they had found three of the rarest books. Roland told Nick that if they could find the fourth and final book, the books alone could be worth at least 300,000 dollars. Roland and Nick went back to “lot 36” to look for the fourth book, but instead, they found a secret passage. Nick accidentally crossed some lines he should not have, and a demonic creature was unleashed. The creature swallowed Roland while Nick found an escape door. The door led him to Amelia, who put the lock Nick had given her on the door, and he was eaten by the creature.

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Who Was The Old Man In The CCTV? Did Amelia Know About The Demon?

According to the stories, Roland’s family, which owned “lot 36”, used to be very rich. The family emigrated to America after World War II. The family used to make weapons for the war. The owner of “lot 36” at that time was a devilish man. He used to do all the bad things at once. We can assume that the old man mentioned by Roland was the same old man we saw at the beginning of the series. When Eddie, the auctioneer, showed the CCTV footage to Nick, he mentioned that the old man had been visiting “lot 36” since ’45, right after the end of World War II. Another proof that it was the same old man from the beginning of the episode. Now, the question is, why? We saw the old man dumping the food container he was eating into the dustbin. 

In the container, there were perhaps mashed potatoes, peas, and some kind of soup. But we also saw him chopping off some animals. Eddie once said that the old man came to “lot 36” to keep something. He used to come with a bag full of something and leave with an empty one. He told Nick that, as it was the storage room, he must have kept something that he found unnecessary in the living place. They had no idea of what was really going on. The old man’s jumping gesture is part of the ritual to satisfy the demon before and after his offering. What offering? Well, as I mentioned earlier, the old man used to kill some animals. Basically, he came every day to feed the creature, or else it would swallow any person if kept unfed. Amelia did not know about the creature. She just took her revenge on Nick as he behaved very poorly with her. As we saw earlier that Amelia just wanted to grab some of her stuff but Nick was too adamant to help her. So, Amelia, when saw the opportunity to punish Nick, she locked the door with the same lock that Nick had gave her earlier. Amelia did not know that Nick was running away from a demon, else she wouldn’t have done such thing. Because, unlike Nick, Amelia was a kind human being who just wanted to punish Nick for his behaviour.

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‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ Episode 1: Ending Explained – Who Was Dottie? How Did Roland Know About Her?

There are high chances that Roland came to know about Dottie much earlier than he mentioned. Roland mentioned that the Old Man used Dottie, the Old Man’s sister, as a vessel to contain the entity he had summoned. Roland said that the whole thing became a huge scandal, but the details he had throughout his story suggested something different. He sounded relieved when he uttered the name “Dottie.” The relief could be compared to seeing a person after ages, even if it resembled an abnormal creature. Ronald was hallucinating the creature as Dottie because, in his mind, he had thought of nothing else but her at that very moment. It was because of the old man that the creature killed Dottie and lived within her body, making it look like a vessel. 

Now, there is a possible theory about who Roland was. We saw that Nick found an album where we see a young man from 1939 with a bandage right beside his right eye. We see Roland blinking his right eye multiple times. Maybe the bruise was healed, but the habit that came after the injury remained. So basically, Roland was perhaps Dottie’s lover who had known her since the time of World War II. But Dottie was pushed to become the vessel of a demonic entity, a creature that survived by eating Dottie from the inside. Roland looked for the cure for so long, but he always missed an opportunity to find the books to put an end to the creature. So, he failed again and again until Nick found the seance table and the three books. Dottie’s rotten body and the creature were kept in a magical circle to prevent it from coming out and wreaking havoc. But, unfortunately, Nick broke the circle and freed the creature. After that, when Nick had the minimal chance of getting away from the creature, he confronted Amelia. Amelia had a rage against Nick that led her to keep Nick locked away to be swallowed by the creature. However, Amelia had no chance of knowing that her revenge could lead to Nick’s death.

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See more: ‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Was ‘Black Church’?


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Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy is a creative content writer. Formerly he used to write film reviews on an international film festival website named Beyond the Curve International Film Festival. He also interviewed global directors. He also interviewed one of the characters from the show 'Trailer Park Boys', Mr. Bernard Robichaud, platformed in Netflix. Shovan tends to write through the third person narrative and he loves to do psychoanalysis. He can't say that he has mastered it but that is some sort of hobby of his. Film is a platform where he loves to spend most of his time learning.

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