When The Haunting of Hill House was released in 2018, many discussed the exploration of grief and how every single of the Crain children represented a stage of the grieving process. By showcasing each stage by the way of each child, the show was able to explore the trauma that they all had suffered and how each of them handled it years later. It was brilliant and helped craft a series that even two years later, upon multiple rewatches, different layers can be found within it. With the release of the second season, many will look at it expecting to watch Hill House all over again. But the truth is, Bly Manor is the exact opposite of Hill House. The show outright says it by the end.

(And this is where I warn you about spoilers for the season. Come in at your own peril. Good, let’s continue.)

The first season of Mike Flanagan’s Haunting of anthology series, The Haunting of Hill House showed us that ghosts are real but they are linked to the living in unexpected ways, namely family guilt and trauma. The Haunting of Bly Manor explores the supernatural and its relationship with another very natural human emotion; love. Once again we are brought into a tense and mysterious story with surprisingly relatable and flawed characters, for the horror genre, and that just makes the horror itself so much more heightened. Bly Manor is not as scary as its first season but it does make up for it in genuine mystery and strong character work.