Curon season 1, episode 1 recap – welcome to “The Black Lake”

June 10, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“The Black Lake” provides an engaging opening to Netflix’s new supernatural series, with all the classic elements accounted for — creepy hotel very much included. Enjoy your stay.

3.5

Summary

“The Black Lake” provides an engaging opening to Netflix’s new supernatural series, with all the classic elements accounted for — creepy hotel very much included. Enjoy your stay.

This recap of Curon season 1, episode 1, “The Black Lake”, contains spoilers.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.

Check out the episode guide.


Curon episode 1, “The Black Lake” opens with ominous church bells ringing, so you know immediately the kind of thing we’re dealing with here. Or do you? We cut immediately to a young woman, Anna, entering a classically designed horror house with her parents, a beardy dad, Thomas, and foreshadowing mother, Lilli, who insists that “the same thing” will happen to Anna. Anna retreats to her room but responds to further disturbance, as someone who looks very much like her shoots her mother and is only stopped at the last moment from shooting her too. Mysterious!

We switch immediately to another classic device: A now-adult Anna returning with her children to the home town she swore she’d never go back to, that she hasn’t seen for 17 years, part of which — the Old Town, at least — are submerged. She has a frosty relationship with her teenage kids, Daria and Mauro, the latter of whom wants to examine the eerie local landmarks, including that creepy belltower with the clanging bells, with his drone. How modern. Cue more bells, of course.

Just five minutes in and we’re already getting flashbacks. The house, which is actually an Overlook-style hotel, is just how Anna remembers it, which surely can’t bode well. As the kids poke around, we see that the building looks like a great horror set, full of open spaces, lightless corners, and eerie masks on the walls. The kids are confronted by Anna’s dad, who doesn’t look much older than the last time we saw him, though he’s admittedly in a worse mood. Thomas makes the masks. He’s also quite explicit about the fact he doesn’t want Anna in Curon; I think we can safely assume that’s to protect her from whatever spooky dangers await her there.

At a local pub where Anna and the kids go to eat, Anna makes awkward eye contact with someone she presumably knows. The lights in the place go out — apparently a regular thing — and Thomas arrives to tell Anna they can stay for the night, but they have to leave in the morning. We learn some things: Mauro built his drone, has a hearing aid and is allergic to hazelnuts. The belltower is off-limits. The candles around the village are to “ward off the shadows” because of course they are. Anna seems to be on the run from her husband/partner, the kids’ father and insists that he mustn’t know where they are. Plenty going on already in Curon episode 1.

That night, Anna dreams of the sequence we saw at the top of the episode. Mauro hears something upstairs; he tries to enlist Daria to investigate with him, but she’s not happy about being woken up, so instead settles in for a soak — with earphones in, naturally — while Maura roams the long, intermittently-lit corridors upstairs. I think I smell a jump-scare coming. A watery stain leads to a closed door, the noises emanating from beyond it. It’s locked. Mauro has a lockpick since he’s the tinkerer archetype, but Thomas interrupts him. Apparently what he can hear is Thomas’s pacemaker, despite it sounding absolutely nothing like the noise he was investigating. If you say so, Thomas!

Anna, meanwhile, interrupts Daria’s alone time and tells her about the nightmares she’s having. Daria recommends she goes to sleep, and she does — with the kids. But she keeps the lamp on. One gets the sense in “The Black Lake” that these two kids are used to some of Anna’s weird behaviors.

The next morning, Mauro asks Anna about Thomas’s pacemaker, and she seems shocked he mentioned it. Curon season 1, episode 1 reveals that Thomas is keeping a wolf, which killed his dog. He’s in the process of domesticating it: “Anything can be domesticated.” Famous last words. At school, Anna and the kids run into Albert, the local who she recognized in the pub. Daria also makes a great first impression with the students, tripping up a local popular kid when he’s rude to her, and insulting virtually everyone when she’s asked to introduce herself in class. She sees the new school as a prison. She also beats up a couple of the kids when one of them steals Mauro’s hearing aid. A good first day, then!

While Thomas still insists that they all must leave, Daria and Mauro go out — never a good idea. Their classmates stop them on the way and after a bit more hostility, they’re invited to the big party by a slightly more friendly-seeming girl who dances with Daria while Mauro is asked awkward questions about them being twins, such as “Who came out first?”, though in fairness he gives an awkward answer: “Daria, but I was closer to my mother’s heart.” He’s a charmer!

Meanwhile, Anna talks with Thomas about what happened that night with his rifle and her mother; he says that her mother killed herself and made the both of them cry every night, basically implying that she was disturbed in some way, like her own mother — he also says they can’t stay in Curon, lest Anna’s nightmares become her children’s, too. Back at the party, and speaking of insanity, Daria is having such a good time that she lets Mauro wander off alone. While she gets drunk on a neon-lit pier overlooking the belltower, he finds a creepy little boathouse and sails out onto the black lake in search of his drone.

Giulo and Davide explain the local legend of the belltower, which apparently contains no bells — if you can hear them ringing, you’re about to die. In a nice bit of mirroring, as Mauro reaches into the water to retrieve his drone, Daria also falls in. She has a vision of a wolf in the woods. Back on the pier, she locks lips with her new ladyfriend.

At the hotel, Mauro, now dried off but still alone, once again hears suspicious noises coming from that odd room, and this time he’s able to pick the lock without interruption. The door sags open onto a child’s bedroom, where a figure in the corner causes him to drop his torch. It’s seemingly Anna, chained up and gagged. I think we’re quite obviously building to an evil twin scenario here. “Anna” attacks Mauro and knocks him unconscious. When Thomas finds him, he carries him back to bed and tells him it was only a bad dream. But when he finds some creepy drawings in the bedroom, he heads outside with his shotgun, which is where Curon season 1, episode 1, “The Black Lake”, ends.


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