DISCLAIMER: This recap of the SurrealEstate season finale episode “The House Always Wins” is riddled with spoilers. You’ve been warned, and proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, stigmatized property owners! “The House Always Wins” … or does it? SurrealEstate‘s season finale is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the team encountering ghostly loved ones is an exciting approach, and the other members of the Roman Agency have a chance to shine.
On the other, the resolution is a bit lackluster. SurrealEstate tends to rush its endings, hastily scrambling to tie everything in a bow. “The House Always Wins” is no exception, and all it takes to solve the Donovan house problem is to open a portal.
Ready to delve into “The House Always Wins”? Let’s get to it.
We open with narration from August (Dean Wint), giving us a crash course on the Donovan house. He somberly reveals that everything they thought they knew was wrong. We see August is unconscious in the basement of the paranormal-infused property.
Next, Luke (Tim Rozon) wakes up in his home. Megan (Tennille Read) has been taking care of him since the Donovan place unceremoniously flung him off the steps. Luke wound up with a concussion from the incident.
Meanwhile, Phil (Adam Korson), Zooey (Basley) and Susan (Levy) are strategizing in the office. They pull up a map of the Donovan residence, but, unfortunately, there are only two points of ingress.
Later, Susan stops by to check on Luke. Megan asks Susan how the latter maintains her sanity amid the chaos of dealing with the supernatural. Megan’s had doubts from the get-go, especially coming from a science-based background. Luke urges Susan to keep the others out of the Donovan house.
But Zooey’s keen on rescuing August, and understandably so. However, when she tries to enter the property, the ghost of her dead boyfriend, Kyle, warns her to steer clear.
Then, Phil calls Luke with information regarding Luke’s birth certificate.
Back at the Roman Agency, Phil, Zooey and Susan reunite to continue their brainstorm session. Phil discovers another nearby property with a tunnel that leads into the Donovan home.
Our dynamic trio knocks on the door of the said nearby property. Susan switches on the realtor charm and tells the owner her client is interested in buying his house. She slips him a piece of paper with their starting asking price, and it’s enough for homeboy to invite them in. Thankfully, Megan vouches for our crew, relieving the owner’s initial reservations.
After the owner leaves, Susan, Zooey and Phil search for the basement’s tunnel entrance. Zooey takes a swing at the wall with a golf club, revealing a dark, lengthy corridor on the other side.
Meanwhile, Megan asks Luke if she can stay at her place for a while. She’s going to be busy applying for residencies over the next few weeks.
While it’s not explicitly stated, it’s implied they’ll be taking a break. Whether or not that’s an indefinite break remains to be seen. If this is the show’s way of reducing Tennille Read’s role or writing her off, it’s an uninspired way to go. Megan has always felt like a plot device, and that’s a shame because Read is a fantastic actress.
Next, we see our tunnel trio encounter spooky spirits on their journey, including a particularly frightening ghost that creates one of the few jump scares on SurrealEstate.
Luke opens the file Phil sent him. It’s a certificate for a female stillbirth!
Later, Luke attempts to enter the Donovan home; however, he hears voices emanating from it. All it takes is a “knock it off” for those voices to quickly subside.
Suddenly, a figure appears—a human manifestation of the building known as the House (Greg Malone). The House reveals the portal Luke sealed existed before the property did. Oh, and this portal isn’t supposed to let things in; it’s a way out. So, all of the spirits are lingering around with no means of egress.
Now, August reunites with his dearly departed wife, Darla (Rachelle Casseus). Upstairs, the House tells Luke about the mini-reunions his friends are about to have. What fun!
Luke’s mother, Victoria (Jennifer Dale), makes her grand entrance.
Then, Susan wanders into the study to discover her father, Michael (Laurie Murdoch). They hug it out. Phil bumps into Father Diaz (Juan Carlos Velis) while on the hunt for August. Lastly, to round out the reunions, Zooey finds Kyle (Keaton Kaplan) sitting on the stairs.
Meanwhile, August confesses his struggles regarding his grief. His attractions to other women haven’t blossomed into something concrete because he can’t let Darla go. I love seeing this side of our Augie.
Phil isn’t having as sweet of a reunion as August. Father Diaz’s blatant homophobia rears its ugly head as he accuses Phil of turning his back on his faith.
Susan divulges her regrets about her last words to her dad before he passed. She notes that she’s still striving to make him proud. Michael never showed affection or told Susan he loved her when he was alive.
Zooey asks Kyle why he never reached out before he died. No phone calls or texts — he suffered from his addiction alone. They had plans to attend college together.
Suddenly, Darla vanishes. Susan’s dad apologizes to her, and he too disappears. Kyle asserts his death isn’t on Zooey’s hands and urges her to move on with her life. And, just like the others, he leaves. Lastly, after calling Phil “a waste,” Father Diaz vanishes.
Later, Zooey, Phil and Susan come together after their family reunions. They find August sitting by the portal entrance, and he’s injured but alive. After informing the group about the actual use of the portal, the gang flees the scene. Unfortunately, a mini mountain of structural debris impedes them.
But they’ve got Susan Ireland on their side, and she has a plan.
Upstairs, Luke learns a shocking truth — the woman parading around as Victoria is his twin sister, and she choked on his umbilical cord and died right after he was born. Not Victoria wants Luke to kill himself so she can take his place among the living.
Oh, and Luke’s mom is still alive.
Meanwhile, Susan’s going to open the portal utilizing her fiery abilities. She dons a pair of safety goggles and aims at the chains on the portal door. It’s fire time!
Not Victoria proceeds to choke Luke. Simultaneously, we see a horde of ghosts moving en masse toward the portal. Thankfully, Susan blasts open the doorway before Not Victoria murders Luke. An influx of spirits zooms through the entryway, and the House and Not Victoria also disappear.
Everyone winds up outside, including Luke. Luke’s bewildered– he can no longer hear the voices that have been living rent-free in his head for three decades.
They’re all gone.
Susan tells Luke how working with him has helped her embrace her powers. Her emotions no longer rule them, and she finally has control over them. There’s chemistry between these two, so why didn’t the show pair Susan with Luke?
Luke departs, and Susan vows to steer the ship in his absence. We see him at the bowling alley, and Luke calls out for his father, but it’s evident that the latter left through the portal.
The episode fades to black with Luke mourning the loss of his dad a second time.
“The House Always Wins” is undoubtedly a metaphor for our team’s inner demons, and that’s the fascinating aspect of the episode. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for grief — everyone’s loved ones are metaphysical manifestations of their suffering.
From Zooey’s remorse regarding Kyle’s death to Susan’s regret about her final words to her father, everyone’s despairing over a lost loved one.
Now, I didn’t buy Not Victoria and the House as the “Big Bad,” and the show doesn’t establish them as central villains of the season. Sure, we see bits and pieces of them here and there, but they aren’t a formidable threat if their influence doesn’t extend beyond the Donovan house.
Admittedly, that’s why it’s challenging to stick to the “monster of the week” format while laying the groundwork for an overarching seasonal narrative. It’s a tricky line to walk, and not many shows can pull it off.
“The House Always Wins” ends on a whimper with no potential direction for a second season. If the spirits are gone, does that mean the Roman Agency is obsolete? Will Luke chase after his mother if she’s alive?
Of course, there’s always the possibility the writers wrote the episode as a series finale in case they don’t get a Season Two. But even so, there should still be an air of potentiality, as if the show could continue.
Regardless, SurrealEstate has been an entertaining ride. Inconsistent, slow, yet amusing. For me, the show took too long to get its sea legs. However, I enjoyed Phil’s struggle with his complex emotions regarding his religion.
Some characters haven’t had their due, i.e., Megan and August. Perhaps if a second season is on the horizon, we’ll learn more about them.
I hope we find out soon enough.
What are your thoughts about Season One of SurrealEstate? Sound off in the comments below!
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