The incredible part of The Fall of the House of Usher is how it’s a story told to us by a completely unreliable narrator, yet we want to believe everything he says. Leo’s story is one of guilt and shame. He’s a person of many indulgences, but he also happens to just be an impatient man with a dislike for cats. Episode 4 of The Fall of the House of Usher is named The Black Cat after the story of a sadistic narrator who killed his own beloved cat to later do much worse. This story also inspires another part of the show, but we’d suggest not looking it up until you’ve finished the whole show. This episode deals with the themes of addiction, drug abuse, guilt, and much more, so let’s quickly dive into it.
In The Fall of the House of Usher episode 4, Leo visits a pet store where Verna sits across from him, looking like a cat person herself. It’s incredible how her personality changes with each sibling. Leo finds the black cat he’s looking for, which is the perfect replacement for Julius’ cat. Instead of telling his boyfriend that he’s killed his cat, Leo just replaces her. Leo, too, offers Verna all the riches in the world for this particular cat because she tells him she’s not available. At home, Leo gets scratched by the little thing, and she runs away.
Dealing With Camille’s Death
When Leo finds out that Camille is dead, he’s truly devastated. We saw earlier that the two of them got along pretty well; if she had just stayed back with him, she may have survived (we know not, but you know). Roderick feels like he’s dealt with enough and reminds his family that they’re a wall against the world, and this is a battle that they have to fight together. So all he wants to hear is a battle cry: “Sir, yes, sir”. Ironically, this is exactly what Rufus asked of him back in the day when Roderick went to him about Auggie, who had just come up to his doorstep and asked him to be a mole at the company. It seems Leo is the only person in the family actually grieving the deaths of his siblings; the rest are only interested in keeping the clock ticking for their respective work. Leo’s obvious coping mechanism is to keep getting high until he becomes numb. At this time, the cat becomes his worst enemy. He sees her popping out of the wardrobe at him, and whatnot. Julius knows it’s too much, but he’s also slightly afraid of talking about Leo.
Victorine And Roderick
Roderick now wonders if Camille had some information on Victorine being the informant. He can’t think of any other reason for Camille to have been in her office. Roderick decides to make Victorine talk; he needs to threaten her work, specifically the money going into it. There’s a trail of messed-up chimps behind Camille’s death that has to be cleaned up after all. Victorine lightens the mood by saying they’re going to do human trials, and that changes everything. At the same time, Pym hands over a mobile phone to Frederick that doesn’t look like it belongs to his wife but was found with her belongings. While Roderick spends time in a basement with a brick wall, Madeline tries to find a bar they visited many years ago.
The Human Trials
In The Fall of the House of Usher, episode 4, Verna is excited about her surgery in front of oblivious Victorine, but she needs to make sure that Al, the actual doctor on the case, has approved her as the right candidate. It’s only been Victorine giving her the information thus far.
Leo And Roderick’s Hallucinations
Leo can’t sleep and asks for Julius to indulge him a little, claiming people grieve differently. He finds a dead rat under his pillow and removes the sheets immediately. While telling this story, in the present day at his childhood home, Roderick explains how Leo, like most of his children, picked up the trait of displacing their anger and projecting it on the weak—people they actually like. While doing so, Leo’s body falls in front of him, leaving him completely shocked and lashing out in front of Auggie (more like at him). The man can’t understand what’s happening because he can’t see Leo, but Roderick has an outburst, and Auggie stops him from showing him his anger. Roderick apologizes and tells Auggie that he’s always liked him.
Roderick And Auggie’s Friendship
Auggie visited Roderick back when he worked for Rufus to get the dirt on the company. He found forged documents for drug trials that were signed by Rodreick, but it was all a lie. He never signed such consent forms because he never knew about them. This is when Roderick tries to speak to Rufus about Auggie’s findings and gets told to stand on the battlefield for Fortunato. At home, Madeline thinks it’s a great idea to be a double agent and make it look like he’s on Rufus’ side so he can become the hero of Fortunato. Madeline tells Roderick to befriend Auggie and do the work he asks for, even going to trial as a witness.
Frederick’s Visit To Leo
Julius asks Leo politely to do him a favor and take it slow on the drugs for just a little while. In the same breath, Leo gets a visit from Frederick, asking for drugs to deal with everything that is happening, i.e. the fact that Morelle lied to him. Leo hands him some cocaine, and when he’s putting the box back, he gets scratched in the eye by the cat. Frederick doesn’t seem to care much and takes his drugs to shift his focus from Morrie. After a while, Leo starts finding more dead animals in the house, making him call Verna for help. She comes immediately and tells Leo that cats are apex predators, so they have a tendency to hunt. Leo doesn’t really care for what she’s saying; he just needs the cat gone. He shows her a tub full of dead animals. Verna tells him that the cat is in the walls, and he starts to hear it too. While she’s talking to him about how cats are a lot like his father, the cat jumps onto him from behind and holds onto his neck, wounding him deeply. He grabs the cat and squishes into its eyes with his thumbs, going in for the kill. When he throws the cat away from him and looks at Verna, her eye is popping out, and she licks her blood in a cat-like motion.
Ending Explained: How Does Leo Die?
At home, Roderick wants to have a good time with his wife Juno, but he ends up seeing Perry’s burnt-up body. This is when he admits to Madeline that he has CADASIL like their mother. Madeline, strong-willed as ever, tells him that he will get through this with the help of Victorine’s heart “miracle,” and he’ll be back to normal. Roderick finally has the courage to say he saw something terrible, but she doesn’t care to hear it. On the other hand, when Julius returns home from work, he’s shocked to see that the entire house has been shredded by Leo. Somehow, Julius has the courage to find his boyfriend, even in the scary scenario in front of him. Leo, hammer in hand goes to the only plain wall left, and what he sees inside is a dead Verna with the black cat sitting on her shoulder. When he asks Julius if he can see what’s on the wall, Julius wears a blank expression. When Leo looks back at the wall, there’s nothing there.
He looks out at the balcony now, and the cat sits on the railing. He goes swinging at it with the hammer, and before Julius can stop him, he falls off, crashing to the ground with a big thud. In the end of The Fall of the House of Usher, episode 4, there’s nothing in the tub, which was supposed to be filled with dead animals, and the black cat with the Gucci collar worn by Julius’ cat comes and licks a dead Leo. A reminder of Leo’s guilt in his last breath. 3 down, 3 to go. Who will be next?