If you thought the first episode of Apple TV’s newest miniseries Lisey’s Story, was full of twists and turns, then you are in for a real treat. From the mind of Stephen King, the series follows unsettling events which cause Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) to face memories of her marriage to her late husband, Scott (Clive Owen), that she had deliberately blocked out of her mind. In episode two, “Blood Bool,” Lisey continues to dive into her memories with Scott and we learn just how fragile he was.
DISCLAIMER: These are recaps and, by nature, will have spoilers. If you haven’t gotten the chance to catch up on Lisey’s Story, I highly suggest you do so! It can be found here on Apple TV.
TW: Self-harm, abuse, graphic violence
“Blood Bool” starts just like the first episode. Lisey heads out to the pool and while taking a dip, she thinks back to her past. This time we see her at her wedding talking with Amanda (Joan Allen) and how Amanda and Scott were similar. Amanda warns Lisey that Scott is fragile and that she needs to be the one to protect him. We then jump to Amanda in the present, who seems to have been settled into her new home.
She is still in her catatonic state. But this time, we get to see what appears to be what is going on in her mind. She is sitting around this large body of water with other people and watching a boat where three young girls (Amanda and her sisters) relive a memory of sorts. Darla (Jennifer Jason Leigh) arrives to visit her and tries to get her to talk. The only thing Amanda keeps repeating is how the Long Boy can hear them and that he is hungry and takes the bodies and keeps the souls.
Lisey is at home searching through Scott’s study when she finds the number for Professor Roger Dashmiel (Ron Cephas Jones). They discuss Jim (Dane DeHaan) and how he called and threatened Lisey over Scott’s unpublished works. Dashmiel plays dumb and stands by the idea that he told Jim to persuade her but not to use or threaten violence. Of course, we know otherwise, but it seems Lisey isn’t willing to just accept his word. She tells him to tell Jim to leave her alone, or she will have them both arrested.
Roger tries to reach out to Jim, but his phone is disconnected. Then, in a flashback, we see the first meeting between Roger and Jim. Roger is looking to interview Jim for his book on how Scott Landon affected everyone, from academics to the common man. But something seems very off about Jim. We get the impression that even at that time, he was obsessed with Scott Landon.
Darla meets with Doctor Alberness (Omar Metwally) to discuss how Amanda is doing. She explains to him that the Hollyhocks Amanda is talking about is from their childhood and maybe she is reverting back to a child due to her breakup with Charlie. Alberness tries to get more information on Amanda and Scott’s relationship, thinking that maybe he shared something from his childhood and that is where the Long Boy Amanda keeps talking about. However, he does let her know that it’s a good sign that Amanda is talking again and that she may come back.
“Blood Bool” gives us a quick glimpse of Jim making a video to the other “campers” before jumping back to Lisey. Then, we see another flashback to when Scott sold his very first book. While she is waiting for him to get home, she gets a call from Darla. It appears that even then, the two of them were taking care of Amanda and Darla is upset that Lisey forgot Amanda’s birthday. Darla accuses her of being so lost in her little world with Scott that she has forgotten about her whole family.
Lisey ends up waiting almost half the night for Scott to show up and the two argue when he finally does. Honestly, it is less of an argument and more of Lisey berating him over and over. Finally, he tells her just wait two minutes. That he can fix everything in two minutes. He leaves the apartment and as he is walking down the street, we see another flashback to his childhood.
From what we see, Scott learned during his childhood that he shows his forgiveness by hurting himself. Even Amanda had said at the beginning of the episode that Scott is a very fragile person. We also learn from who we assume to be Scott’s father that Booya Moon was a place Scott went to as a child. A place to escape from the world around him and his abusive past.
Lisey gets Scott all washed up as he explains that what he did is known as a blood-bool and if she accepts it, she accepts his apology. They discuss their family relationships and Lisey comments about how she sucks, which Scott refuses to let her believe. Lisey tries to get him to go to the ER, but he refuses. That night he convinces Lisey to marry him because no one has loved him like her since his brother Paul or his Dad.
Later that night, Lisey finds Scott out of bed with his bandage off. She hears the water running and when she finally gets in the bathroom, the sink has run full. Scott seems to be in a different place. The exact same place we saw Amanda earlier in the episode. He dips into the large pool of water and we watch as his arm completely heals. At the house, Lisey turns off the water and when she returns to bed, Scott is there pretending to be asleep.
When Lisey awakes the next morning, Scott is downstairs making breakfast. The cuts on his arm are almost completely healed and all he cares about is whether or not Lisey is going to marry him. She decides that it sounds like a perfect idea and we see them return to their normal(ish) lives. In the present, Lisey flips over the original photo she was looking at to find the third bool on the back. This time it’s something about the doctor’s favorite.
Lisey reaches out to Albnerness and asks him to look inside the book he told Scott was his favorite. She believes that there might be a clue within the book for her. Lisey just so happens to be right. Inside the dust jacket is a clue that reads, ‘cedar box, fourth clue bool.’ Alberness shares the clue with her and Lisey realizes that Scott is pushing her towards her family and memories. But it doesn’t look like she wants this to go on.
We see Lisey and Scott’s first apartment again, but this time it isn’t a flashback. Instead, we see Jim standing outside. The guy who owns it now comes out and tries to get him to leave. But Jim seems agitated that the guy doesn’t know who Scott Landon is or that he spends his time watching TV. It’s an odd interaction only made weirder when Jim asks him if he has a wife. When the guy shares that he is single, Jim tells him to keep it that way. The next we see Jim, it looks like he is parked outside of Lisey’s house.
“Blood Bool” jumps to Lisey at the police station. She learns that Roger hasn’t been able to get ahold of Jim at all, almost like he doesn’t want to be found. The police will post someone at her house at night and have been checking in during the day. They will also keep a lookout for his car, but the description we hear isn’t the one for what we just saw him driving. It looks like Jim is trying to keep a low profile.
Back at Lisey’s house, Jim makes his way inside and cooks a live bird in her microwave. When Lisey gets home later, she finds blood in her mailbox and a letter on her door. She gets suspicious that someone might be there and goes to grab her trusty shovel. Inside though, she doesn’t seem to find anywhere. She returns to the mailbox and using tongs, pulls out the dead bird.
The police arrive and we finally get to know what was in the letter. Jim warns her that he is doing this because Lisey refuses to hand over Scott’s papers to Roger. He even tells her that the next time it will be her, he puts it into the microwave. Darla tries to convince Lisey to find somewhere else to stay until they can find Jim. However, she doesn’t want to leave and doesn’t think she needs anything more than the shovel to protect her.
That night, Lisey checks the perimeter when she starts to hear these noises coming from the pool. When she peers into it, she sees these images and keeps telling herself they aren’t real. At Greenlawn, Amanda is back in the mysterious place. She keeps saying that she doesn’t want to be here, but the people there are shushing her. One even mentions that she needs to figure out why she killed a bunch of people.
Back at Lisey’s house, she walks away from the pool and for a brief moment, we see the Cthulhu-looking monster. And this is where “Blood Bool” comes to a close.
I know I have made jokes before about needed to keep notes to understand what is going on completely, but I am serious about this for Lisey’s Story. In this episode, we get another look at Lisey and Scott’s relationship and their relationships with their families. It is a good reminder that not everything is what it appears to be. What really got me this episode was just how well DeHaan plays Jim. How well he plays crazy.
It’s not hard to believe that famous authors, like King, have fans that are mentally unstable and capable of doing things like these. In fact, we have all heard stories about people just like this. It will be interesting to see how he plays into the rest of the story and what will come of his fascination with Scott Landon. There is also this entire supernatural world which, I thought, might have just been a ‘monsters in my head’ kind of thing to show mental illness, but knowing King, I think this will become much more.
Episode three of Lisey’s Story will air on June 11, 2021, at 12am PT on Apple TV.