From the incredibly horrifying mind of Stephen King comes a new mini-series, Lisey’s Story on Apple TV. A series of unsettling events causes 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 the very first episode, “Blood Hunt,” we are thrown right into the twists and turns as Lisey heads out on her bool hunt to uncover the things she has suppressed.
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
Lisey’s Story‘s very first episode, “Blood Hunt,” opens with a quote, “Every marriage keeps its own secrets” from Scott Landon. We then see Lisey alone in the pool, thinking back to moments of her life with Scott. We see them falling in love and Scott talking about his work. She remembers the day he was honored for his work and the construction of the Shipman Library.
Lisey remembers how, as Scott was finishing up his speech, a man stepped out of the crowd and shot him. In the present, we see Lisey awake from her dream in her house. There are boxes everywhere with Scott’s belongings and we get the impression that Lisey isn’t ready to let go of him or his work. Within the piles of boxes is the shovel Scott was holding when he was shot. The same one Lisey used to attack the shooter right afterward. The top on it reads ‘BabyLuv!’ on the front and ‘Bool. First Clue I said Doctor Mr. M.D.’
At first, she seems overtaken by the message but then decides to toss the shovel underneath the chair, so she doesn’t have to look. What really strikes me is the eery feeling that takes over as in the first nine or so minutes, there is almost no talking aside from a few phrases spoken during the flashbacks. That is until Lisey receives a call from her sister Amanda (Joan Allen). We learn that Lisey and Scott had several phone numbers when he was alive, but for no real reason.
It turns out that Lisey was supposed to meet her and their other sister Darla (Jennifer Jason Leigh) for lunch but fell asleep. It appears to us that Amanda might not be mentally okay and even talks about a man she was seeing who married someone else. This angers her even more and we watch as she begins smashing cups and hangs up on Lisey. This prompts Lisey to warn Darla that she is doing it again and to race over.
Just as Lisey is about to head out, a man arrives who Lisey recognizes as the gentleman from the Shipman Library dedication. His name is Professor Roger Dashmiel (Ron Cephas Jones) and he just happened to be in the area. It seems like he has been trying to convince Lisey to part with Scott’s work and that they belong to the Shipman Library. She tries to tell him that she is busy, but he won’t listen. The two different definitely don’t see eye to eye and she even smashes her car into his as she leaves.
“Blood Hunt” jumps back to Amanda as she is using the broken glass to harm herself when she hears the smoke alarms going off just as Darla arrives. She finds Amanda sitting at the kitchen table, not all there. Lisey arrives soon after to find Darla complaining that Lisey didn’t arrive fast enough. Lisey just apologizes but doesn’t go into detail on why she was late. Instead, she just heads upstairs to check on Amanda.
We learn that Amanda has had issues for a while and is normally medicated, but Darla thinks she flushed her pills. The last time she was like this, Scott helped her out. Lisey offers to stay the night with her and if things don’t change by the morning, she will take her to the ER. Lisey tries to figure out what Scott did when he helped Amanda, but she wasn’t there and Amanda can’t tell her.
In a flashback, we see Scott arrive at the house where Amanda is in her comatose-like state. He keeps repeating that this is just between the two of them and adjusts her body, so she is facing him. And then, just as it looks like he is going to kiss her … he spits water into her mouth. I don’t know if spit is the word. It’s more like a fire hydrant-like amount of water that Scott says came from a pool. This brings her back and Scott tells her that they need to talk about Lisey. But that’s where the flashback ends.
We jump over to Roger Dashmiel in his hotel room talking to a man named Jim (Dane DeHaan) on the phone. They refer to Lisey as ‘Yoko Landon, ‘ which, along with a comment Roger made before, makes me believe that they blame her for Scott’s death and possibly other situations. They need these works and accuse Lisey of trying to make people forget about Scott. Jim decides he is going to apply some pressure to get her to turn them over.
“Blood Hunt” jumps back to Amanda’s house, where she tells Lisey about the drink Scott gave her. Cool blue water from the pool on the Booya Moon. Lisey tries to get Amanda to tell her what pool, but all Amanda says is that she already knows but doesn’t want to remember. Amanda tells Lisey that Scott left her a Bool which is like a treasure hunt. Amanda knows that the first clue was on the silver shovel she saved Scott with and that there are more.
In a flashback, Scott explains to Lisey what this Bool hunt is. A treasure hunt where is someone can solve all the riddles and find all the clues they will get a prize at the end. This was something he loved as a child and it seems like this is also the first time he told her he loved her. That night, Lisey dreams of a lighthouse in a sea of trees. From behind them emerges an almost Cthulhu-looking creature.
It jumps back to Lisey, who appears to be sleepwalking towards the bathroom, where the sink looks to be filled with blood. We are then thrown back into another flashback of Lisey at the hospital after Scott’s shooting. She goes into the room to see him and he isn’t in bed. She hears water running in the bathroom and she goes to turn it off. When she looks back, Scott is in bed again and there are water footprints on the floor leading from the bathroom.
Scott, who was shot earlier that day in the chest and hand, is mysteriously almost healed. Lisey tries to ask him where he went and he just keeps telling her that she already knows. We don’t understand how, but it seems like this magic water might have something to do with it. We also see that Lisey wasn’t okay with meeting his fans and worried that something like this would happen.
In the present, Lisey is back in bed next to Amanda when Amanda awakens and gets out of bed. In Lisey’s dream, she is walking on the beach with Scott. She tells him she misses him and then it flashes to the two of them at their wedding on the beach. This seems to be a scene they are watching as we see a younger Amanda watching on looking rather unhappy and the crowd listening to their father’s speech.
The Lisey and Scott on the beach talk about the wedding as they peer in. Remembering what happened. She asks Scott why a bool hunt and why now? He just warns her that it’s coming and that she needs to take care of Amanda. We hear the bad singing a song where he says the words Mr. M.D. which were part of the first clue. When Lisey tries to turn back to talk to Scott, he has disappeared and all that is left is Mr. M.D. written into the sand.
Lisey awakes from her dream to find Amanda missing and when she goes to find her, she sees the man who shot Scott. He shots her, too, once in the chest and once in hand. When she falls back and hits her head on the chair, she wakes from this dream. Lisey gets back up, finds Amanda sitting in the bathtub, and tries to get her to sleep.
“Blood Hunt” jumps to a man. We can recognize that this is Jim, the man Roger called, by his voice. He is sitting in the kid’s section of a library reading what he says is Scott Landon’s favorite childhood book. He asks the librarian if she knew Scott since he funded the library. Jim becomes agitated when the woman tries to say that Lisey was the one who funded the library. He sees it as everything came from Scott and Lisey essentially did nothing.
Jim feels like he knows Scott and everything about him and he learned it from Roger. It’s clear that Jim feels very strongly about Scott Landon, his work and other things he gave to society. Before he leaves, he does this sort of salute and says, “campers forever,” and “beam me up, Scotty.” He also reminds her one more time that the library isn’t here because of Lisey but because of Scott.
Back at Amanda’s, Lisey deciphers Scott’s first clue, which leads to a phone number for Dr. Hugh Alberness (Omar Metwally) at the Greenlawn Rehab center. While she is focused on this, Darla struggles upstairs to get Amanda out of the tub and back into her room. She tries calling out to Lisey, but she is busy reaching out to Alberness, who knows about Amanda and her condition. It turns out that during his life, Scott met with Alberness about Amanda and set everything up should she have another episode like before. He even paid for everything.
We see another flashback to Scott and Lisey where he explains to her that he has these visions and he uses them to write his novels. We even learn that he committed self-harm may be similar to Amanda. Lisey seems to be struggling with everything going on, but it seems like Amanda is going to be taken care of for now. A nurse arrives soon after to take her to the new facility.
Later that day, Lisey returns home, where she receives a call from Jim. He tries to tell her that she knows nothing about her husband and Dashmiel knows more than anyone. Jim even tries to threaten her and tell her that if she doesn’t, he will hurt her in ways she could never imagine. He thinks that this is enough to push her over the edge, but it turns out Lisey has a bigger backbone than we expected and Jim doesn’t like that one bit.
“Blood Hunt” comes to an end as we see shots of Jim obsessing over Scott in almost a cult-like manner and Lisey’s memories of the day Scott was shot. He keeps telling her that she knows and something about ‘long boy’ and how it makes a sound. We hear the scream from the monster we heard earlier in the episode and something moving in a forest. Lisey just keeps saying that it didn’t happen even though it appears something rather odd might just have.
This was definitely quite a kick-off to Lisey’s Story. I started taking more notes than I typically do while writing recaps, but that isn’t a bad thing! This episode really made me question what is true and what might just be in Lisey’s head. I’ve got quite a few questions surrounding this cult born around Scott’s work. Dashmiel seems like a smart man who is either the leader of this cult or using Jim to get what he wants.
And I can’t ignore the Cthulhu creature in the woods. What, who, from where? I’ve got so many questions. I love a good elder-god-type horror story and I am hopeful this will fill the hole left after Lovecraft Country ended. Apple TV dropped this and the second episode today and going forward; it will be once a week! So check out episode two’s recap and prepare yourself for next week!