Keith Thomas suddenly lifted the pace of the series and successfully delivered a brilliant narrative in the fifth episode of “Cabinet of Curiosities,” titled “Pickman’s Model.” In this episode, the elements that lead to creating an atmosphere suitable for the story have been very subtle, and the horror is very consistent. You get a sense of evil from the beginning of the episode, and it remains so until the very end. In the previous episode, the show dealt with the fear of missing out. This episode mostly dealt with another evil that resides within any artist, the urge to seek validation.
‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ Episode 5 ‘Pickman’s Model’ Recap And Ending
In the early 1900s, there lived an artist named William Thurber. He was one of the finest art students at Miskatonic University. The yearly student art prize giving was near, and Thurber, the winner of the prize the previous year, was the center of attention. One day, a new student named Richard Upton Pickman came into the class. The teacher started the class by placing an old man as a model in the center. Thurber noticed that Pickman’s strokes were very intense. So, he went aside to look over his painting. He saw a very dark-themed painting. The painting was supposed to be of a man sitting almost naked while holding a spear. Thurber saw Pickman drawing a rotten man with four hands, holding a spear and bleeding from everywhere. Thurber was very much invested in Pickman’s visions. He wanted to learn more about his imagination. Thurber started learning a lot of Pickman’s habits; one of them was picking dead animals in the graveyard as his model. Anyway, in an exhibition, Pickaman’s art was rejected by the judges, and he was terribly hurt. Thurber went to console him as an artist and ended up in Pickman’s apartment with more of his paintings. Thurber felt a different energy in the room as all the paintings were vividly dark and very persuasive. Later, Thurber showed a painting of his great-grandmother’s great-grandmother, Lavinia, who was a sorceress. Pickman had heard about her from family gossip. It is said that Lavinia killed her husband while performing a ritual of some sort, following which she served his flesh to the members of her coven. Pickman basically painted the moment when Lavinia and her members were feasting upon Lavinia’s husband. Seeing that painting, Thurber was gravely disturbed and left Pickman’s apartment. From that time, he started to see the ghost of Lavinia everywhere.
Then there’s a jump of 17 years; we come to 1926 when Thurber was a well-established artist with a wife, Rebecca, and a son, James. He was living a very peaceful life, leaving behind all the vicious past encounters he had had with Pickman. But, Pickman suddenly came to town and sent a painting to Thurber’s residential address. It was the same painting of Lavinia from which Thurber tried to escape. The painting again started to affect him deeply, and as James too had a look at it, he started getting less sleep at night. Pickman then met with Thurber in an exhibition center, and later that night, Pickman came to Thurber’s house. There he dined with Thurber and Rebecca. Later, he invited Thurber to see his paintings for once, as he always respected Thurber’s opinion. The following day, when James started screaming, Thurber picked up a pistol and went to threaten Pickman. He thought that the conversation Pickman had with James led the latter to experience evil and have nightmares. Pickman agreed to burn his paintings and leave Thurber forever. In exchange, Thurber needed to see his work for once. Thurber agreed and went to Pickman’s house, where he learned that with time his paintings had only grown darker than ever. Later, Thurber accidentally shot Pickman, and he then, in his dying words, said that the creatures he had painted were not his imagination but reality. Soon after Pickman’s death, we see a creature exactly like the ones in Pickman’s paintings appear. It took Pickman’s body and went into the well from which it had appeared. Thurber burnt the paintings and came home. However, when he returned, he saw that Rebecca was completely possessed by Lavinia and was preparing to feast on James, their son. Thurber opened the oven only to find out that the head of James was being cooked.
‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ Episode 5: Ending Explained – Why Did Lavinia’s Painting Not Harm Thurber?
When we were introduced to Thurber for the first time, we saw him making a portrait of Rebecca in her bedroom. He wanted to have all the time in the world to perfect his painting, even if the model got tired of posing. In the art school too, when the teacher started the clock, everyone rushed to start with measurements and strokes. But Thurber took a longer look at the model than anyone else, including Pickman, and then started the sketch. When everyone focused on the structure of the model from different angles, Thurber’s painting vividly focused on the skin of the model. The model was a very old man holding a spear. It was like his time had arrived to bow down to death, yet he took pride in how he had lived his life so far. This was how Thurber saw things; the joy in everything, even the darkness the image represented.
When he saw Pickman’s painting for the first time, we saw his right hand shaking like he was having a seizure. Pickman’s painting was a complete shock to a person who could not imagine the existence of such darkness. Right after Thurber was introduced to such horror, his urge to learn as an artist only excelled. He was never introduced to this gruesome darkness, and later, he felt excitement around it. However, when he saw Lavinia’s painting by Pickman, he could not stand its sight. He had this sense of feeling joy in everything, but in Lavinia’s painting, all he could ever find was horror and the presence of evil. He ran away from the thoughts that the painting was planting inside his head. Unlike Pickman, Thurber was successful for so long that he could resist evil. The painting did harm to Thurber initially, but he was able to successfully find joy beyond the darkness.
But evil had its own plans. No one can escape it. Pickman again returned to Thurber’s life, and Lavinia’s painting started its effect. Thurber had burnt all the paintings, but later, he found all the paintings in an exhibition hall, hanging from the walls. Perhaps he had forgotten to burn Lavinia’s painting as it was already kept in the exhibition hall. One of the artists, named Joe, saw the painting and, through it, Lavinia possessed him. The other paintings were repainted as per the devil’s wish, and now Lavinia started her rituals again. Only this time, Lavinia herself possessed Rebecca and sacrificed James, Thurber’s son. It could have been Thurber himself, but since he tried to escape evil, it was evil’s revenge on him, taking away the people he loved the most.