We have reached the halfway mark of Apple TV’s miniseries Lisey’s Story. We have hit the halfway mark and through the first three episodes, Stephen King has begun to unravel the mystery behind Scott Landon’s (Clive Owen) past and how it is affecting Lisey (Julianne Moore) and her family in the present. In episode four, “Jim Dandy” Lisey and Jim (Dane DeHaan) finally come face to face.
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, child abuse
“Jim Dandy” kicks off right where episode three left off with Lisey in Scott’s office. She listens to Jim’s voicemail and isn’t impressed with his threats. But to her surprise, Jim is waiting for her. He sneaks up from behind and uses a plastic bag to knock her unconscious. A bit later, she comes to and finds herself tied up. It’s clear through the first bit of their conversation that Jim is obsessed with Scott. But not just obsessed. It’s more than that.
Jim has read every one of his novels, but they struck a chord with him. Almost like he sees himself in the words Scott wrote. Jim feels like Lisey is a parasite, living off of Scott’s greatness. She tries to explain that they were partners. They leaned on each other for support and love. That Dashmiel (Ron Cephas Jones) doesn’t seem to understand that she loved and cared for him and, in turn, helped him. Jim seems to understand this but blames her for not allowing Scott’s unpublished work to see the light of day.
Lisey tries to stand up to Jim, but that only makes him mad. He accuses her of breaking their agreement and then beats her. What is so unsettling about this whole scene is how calm Jim is. He changes the music, sits down, cracks open a drink and eats his sandwich. Then when Lisey tries to tell him about some of Scott’s unpublished work, he calls her a liar and then uses a pizza cutter to inflict more pain. He warns her that he had better hear from the professor by 10 the next day or things will get worse.
In the other world, which we suspect to be Booya Moon, Amanda (Joan Allen) can hear Lisey’s cries. In the real world, Jim leaves Lisey’s house with Scott’s work. We then see him arrive at Amanda’s house, where he makes himself at home, eating a sandwich from the fridge and pulling Oreos out of the cabinet. We jump back to the other world, where Scott is quietly calling out to Lisey.
We finally see Lisey stand and we can the damage Jim inflicted, including carving words into her chest. We also see a note he left behind threatening to return and kill her if she tells anyone what happened. He also threatens to kill her sisters as well. Lisey finds herself in the bathroom and remembers hearing Scott talk about how Landon’s are fast healers, how he opened up about what happened when they were children in the previous episode. We are taken back to the moment they went to Sweetheart Hill, but again she cuts the memory short.
On her way out of Scott’s office, Lisey receives a call from Dan (Sung Kang), the police officer who was supposed to be watching her house. She doesn’t tell him about what happened and just explains that she is exhausted. He let her know another officer is stationed outside just in case she needs any help. Back at Amanda’s house, Darla (Jennifer Jason Leigh) stops by to pick up some stuff, including Amanda’s handgun and a taser. What she doesn’t realize is that Jim is hiding in the bathroom.
“Jim Dandy” jumps back to Lisey sitting outside by the pool. She begins to clean up the blood from her face using the water and the crocheted piece she found in the cedar box. Lisey thinks back to her talk with Darla and if she believes any of what Scott was telling her. She gets a text from Darla about the handgun and Lisey tells her to throw it in the river. Lisey starts thinking aloud about how she is supposed to handle Jim and her sisters when she hears Scott call out to her.
Lisey then sees Scott walking up to her and the band from their wedding playing in the yard behind her. This all turns out to be something in her head and we can see how she is conflicted with letting it play out and wanting to keep the memories locked away. She then repeats the phrase, ‘I loved you, I saved you, I gave you ice. I loved you, I saved you, I saved you twice’ and for some reason, the phrase ‘I saved you, I saved you twice’ seems to speak out to Lisey.
In a flashback, we see Lisey pay a visit to Amanda to discuss Scott. He had just canceled a tour and Lisey was worried about him. She had hoped Amanda might be able to give her some insight since he talked to her. She explained to Amanda a little about Scott’s childhood. How there is a disease in Landon’s blood that is either bad or unsticks someone from reality. Amanda blames her that when she goes away, it’s because she is scared. Amanda tells her that if there is anyone who can keep Scott tethered to this world, it is her.
We then see Lisey return home to find Scott in his office. He doesn’t respond to her. Lisey initially thinks that he is joking around but realizes that something is serious. She asks him to come back and wonders where he went. We see another flashback to Lisey and Scott discussing Booya Moon, where Scott and his brother heal and where Scott buried Paul (Clark Furlong) when he died. Scott knows that Lisey is dancing around the real question and finally, she gets the nerve to ask if where they went, what Scott calls Booya Moon is real.
Scott promises her that it is and that he will take her again. In the next moment, we see the water rushing down the walls and out of the faucet and in the blink of an eye, the two are transported back to Booya Moon. They head off to the pool and Scott explains that there are others there who are broken. We then see the creature begin to follow them. Scot tells her to think of something in the room and the next moment, they are taken back to the real world.
Scott explains that the creature is known as the long boy and that he is terrified of it. He has some connection to it and while he doesn’t believe that it can come through into the real world, he can hear it. He feels like it reaches out to him and at night, he finds that he can see it in reflections like water or mirrors. Scott tells her that Lisey is her anchor. That there are anchors in both worlds and then there are doubles. Scott is a double sometimes, but there is still a lot he doesn’t understand. The one thing he does know is that the pool heals.
“Jim Dandy” then jumps to another flashback to when young Scott (Sebastian Eugene Hansen) and Paul travel to Booya Moon to heal Paul’s cuts. On the path to the pool, they came across the long boy for the first time. Paul was drawn to it and, without thinking, got closer and closer until it reached out and struck him. The pool was able to fix the wound, but Scott knew the long boy had marked them. We shift back into the first flashback, where Lisey is trying to pull Scott out of his mind.
She gets frustrated, not knowing how to help him before realizing that she needs to go there and bring him back and goes to turn on the faucet. While all of this is playing out, we also see her in the present, remembering all of this like she is finally opening up her memories and piecing together where Amanda keeps checking out too and that she can go bring her back. “Jim Dandy” comes to a close as the sink begins to fill with water.
I won’t lie, this episode of Lisey’s Story required quite a bit of attention to completely understand what was going on and I still feel like I’m missing some pieces of the puzzle. The beginning of this episode was very uncomfortable to sit through. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, DeHaan has done such an amazing job of playing Jim. He doesn’t come off as campy or laughable. I’m afraid of him and afraid of what he is truly capable of. He is beyond unhinged and it worries me what might happen as the show goes on.
This is also the first episode where we start to get more answers than questions, though we still get quite a few of those. King always finds a way to tie in the supernatural world into his stories and I can’t wait for more of an explanation about Booya Moon and the role Lisey plays in anchoring people to the world. Will she need to go back into that world to bring Amanda? Will she be able to bring Scott back? Can she even go back? She has shut out these memories for so long, does she even know how?
Episode five of Lisey’s Story will air on June 25, 2021, at 12 am PT on Apple TV.