DISCLAIMER: This recap of the SurrealEstate episode “A House Is Not a Home” is laden with spoilers. You’ve been warned. Proceed at your own peril.
Welcome back, stigmatized property hunters! SurrealEstate‘s fourth episode, “A House Is Not a Home,” may be the show’s best outing thus far. While I’m still not 100 percent sold (Get it?) in terms of execution/direction, this series is slowly but surely coming into its own. Emphasis on “slowly.”
That being said, there’s something inexplicable on which I can’t put my finger. SurrealEstate is missing that extra oomph. Perhaps heightened stakes? The show needs to continue fleshing out these characters. Make us care for them. Then, crank up the danger. This would strengthen our emotional connection to them. I have faith the Powers That Be will get us there.
Ready to delve into “A House Is Not a Home”? Let’s get to it.
We open with a couple: Duncan (Patrick Kwok-Choon) and Sophie (Laci J. Mailey). They’ve just moved into a swanky seaside residence. Sophie hears some noises and, naturally, wanders downstairs to investigate. We see watery footprints on the linoleum floor. Suddenly, Sophie begins to projectile vomit … water.
Fast forward to the following day when Susan (Sarah Levy) arrives on their doorstep. Apparently, Duncan and Sophie are social media influencers with a penchant for “high maintenance” behavior. Susan essentially bends over backward to appease them. It’s in their contract, after all! We see a spooky figure reflected in one of the mirrors.
Next, Luke (Tim Rozon) introduces a new case to Phil (Adam Korson), August (Maurice Dean Wint) and Zooey (Savannah Basley). The Somerset Estates are experiencing a bevy of supernatural events. While housing estates aren’t normally their jam, Luke was asked to take on this case by Greg Chisholm, his real estate archnemesis. Susan will continue to investigate the influencers’ seaside property.
Then, Luke, August and Phil arrive at the Somerset Estates in pure, unadulterated style. Greg (Colin Furlong) is quaking in his designer sunglasses. I will say the sunglass bit here is pretty funny. Greg leads Luke away while Phil and August survey the properties. Our peerless historian and paranormal surveyor extraordinaire discover that a certain block of houses is experiencing the same event simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Megan (Tennille Read) feels like Luke is ghosting her. Get it? Because the show is about supernatural stuff? Anyway, texting is awkward, especially in new relationships, and should be abolished.
Later, we see Susan is driving home from Duncan and Sophie’s house. Suddenly, a man on a horse charges toward her on a darkened dirt road. She swerves into a ditch. Her car is effectively totaled. After the incident, Luke orders Zooey to drive Susan back to the influencers’ residence for proper investigative work. Girls slumber party! Zooey is less than enthused.
Next, Luke has a video call with Greg. He discloses August and Phil’s findings regarding the housing development. Luke and his team noticed that each of those properties boasted a sunroom. Greg reveals the name of the designer. However, this designer passed away some time ago. Luke gets the skinny on where the designer used to live.
Then, Luke finds Bernard Nightingale (A.C. Peterson), the original designer of those houses. Unfortunately, he’s a ghost. Bernie was also ripped off by his former partner, who implemented the stolen design for monetary purposes. Thus, Bernie haunts the estates from the comfort of his dilapidated, desolate house. If he smashes his window, then the windows of those Somerset residences also break. I love this idea.
Apparently, Bernie designed his home for his former wife, who eventually cheated on him. He died a heartbroken old sod, so Luke races to help Bernard finish his unfinished business. At the influencers’ home, Zooey makes a beeline for the alcohol. A girl after my own heart. Luke visits August, and the latter reveals a device that’ll deconstruct ole Bernie on an atomized level. Luke doesn’t feel good about this.
Meanwhile, our best gal pals decide to have a wine-and-chat session. Zooey reveals a gut-wrenching story about the death of her first (and only) love.
Basley pulls out all the stops here, delivering a raw, visceral performance. She’s been severely underutilized on SurrealEstate thus far, and I hope that ends now. Later, Zooey heads out to her car for a snooze while Susan sleeps on the couch.
Suddenly, Zooey finds herself surrounded by unwanted guests. Sopping wet “sailors” who are also ghosts. Maybe zombie-like in nature as well? Susan encounters the supernatural sailors while inside the house. She begins vomiting water just like Sophie did at the beginning of the episode. Fun times!
Then, Phil reunites with Zooey and Susan. He researches the town’s history. Perhaps Susan’s horseman and the soaking wet sailors are related in some way. He learns that there was a man in the 1800s who operated a lighthouse. He was supposed to light the way of a ship as it docked inland. However, he was too late, and the sailors crashed — every last one of them perished.
So, the “man” on the horse is really the spirit of that lighthouse worker, attempting to shine a light for an incoming ghost ship. Here’s another unique spin on a haunted tale.
The solution? Susan and Zooey must find a light and stick it to the top of the roof. Otherwise, the sailor ghosts will keep terrorizing whoever lives in that house. Unfortunately, nothing is luminous enough to stand out, but Susan is! Remember her telekinetic abilities? They come into play again. Well … maybe? Susan summons a fireball, and I’m not sure that fits the telekinesis bill. Nonetheless, it’s super cool.
The fireball is bright enough to be seen by the ghost ship — crisis averted! The spirits can finally move on. Zooey is more than a bit impressed with Susan’s versatile powers. We’re bonding, people. Bonding!
Meanwhile, Luke comes up with a solution that helps Bernie move on and puts the kibosh on the supernatural events at the Somerset Estates. He video calls Greg with a proposition. Either the company pulls all of Bernie’s designs they stole from their properties, or he sues. Yes, the ghost sues. Litigation! Thankfully, Greg agrees to the former. Bernie vanishes, having completed his unfinished business.
Later, Luke meets with Megan. It’s a bit weird for him to be in her house since, you know, the ghost of his mother also lives there. They compromise. Instead, Megan visits Luke’s humble abode. Before going inside, the pair share their first smooch. Let’s get it on…
Overall, “A House Is Not a Home” is a step up from last week, even with the mini Wynonna Earp reunion. It’s worth noting that Kwok-Choon is also an Earp alum. He played the charming Perry Crofte! I’m crossing my fingers (and toes) that we’ll get more Earpers on SurrealEstate.
My main gripe is character development. This is the first episode where we really got a taste of Zooey’s backstory and personality. Of course, Luke is the primary character, but I can get behind a shift to more of an ensemble story. Plus, we need context regarding Susan’s abilities. Let’s throw in Phil and August too!
SurrealEstate‘s pacing is a mite inconsistent, so I’m hoping as we move into the latter half of the season that it’ll correct itself. That being said, I’m excited about more supernatural antics. This show has the potential to be something great.
SurrealEstate airs Fridays at 10 pm on your Syfy affiliate.
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