Monsterland season 1, episode 2 recap – what happened in “Eugene, Oregon”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: October 2, 2020 (Last updated: January 10, 2024)
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Monsterland Season 1 Recap
Monsterland Season 1 Promotional Image Courtesy of Hulu


Episode 2 encapsulates loneliness in a dark manner as the lead character manages it in his own sinister way.

This recap of Hulu’s Monsterland season 1, episode 2, “Eugene, Oregon” contains significant spoilers.

We recapped all of the anthology series — check out the archive.

The opening

At a pharmacy, the lead character Nick is picking up a prescription for his mother — Nick is distracted by two teen men nearby. He learns that his mother is not covered by insurance and he has to pay over $200 for her drugs. Nick pays for what he can with $38. He then heads home and checks up on his mother and tells her he is going to make dinner.

This is already a story about a rather lonely man disconnected from the world — his body language and view of the world can be seen purely by his glances.

Mother and video games

Nick then plays cards with his mother — she’s clearly got a medical condition whereby he has to look after her. He lies to her about friends he has at school. His mother tells him to invite his friends over. He tells her that he’s too busy but he enjoys working all the time. When his mother falls asleep, Nick plays video games with his online friends. There’s a silhouetted man behind him that freaks him out. So he hides and watches it from his cupboard.

Mother wakes up

Nick asks the dark figure “What are you?”. He talks to the shadowy figure and then shares an image of it on Reddit to see if anyone knows what it is. Nick’s mother then has a bad dream so he comforts her.

You always question — does this shadowy figure actually exist?


When Nick goes back to Reddit, he reads the theories; he imagines the people discussing the theories in his room as he enters a private chat room about these shadows. They ask him how his life is — Nick says it sucks. They tell him that the Shadow leeches onto darkness and violence. There’s a group called Shadow Watch that wants to end the darkness. Nick tells them he has a shadow in his house.

Monsterland season 1, episode 2 shows how Nick is doing anything to leech on to something as his loneliness gets the better of him.

You are fired

And it gets worse for Nick — the episode is purposefully making it worse for the character with each scene; his emotions are escalating.

Nick gets into work the next day at a fast-food joint. He’s late and he’s fired by the manager immediately because he is two and a half hours late. Nick tries to mention his mother is sick but the manager doesn’t care. Nick punches a locker and walks out. He then goes to a car garage and asks about a “Mark Smith” and wonders if they have his number.

We learn later that Mark Smith is his father who has abandoned him.

Shadow Watch

When Nick gets home, he sees a shadowy hand while doing his mother’s hair. Later on, he talks to Shadow Watch and again; we can see these online users in his house. They tell that the Shadows thrive on their doubt. Nick needs an alias and he goes with “Wolf”. He spends the night getting to know his new friends. The two boys log off but the girl stays up online with him.

Getting to know each other

Nick and the girl get to know each other late into the night. He explains how his father left when he was five so he hates him. The pair grow closer. In the middle of the night, Nick wakes up and sees the Shadow. He runs into his mother’s room and she’s fallen out of bed. He rings an ambulance.

The medics tell him that his mother had a night terror. They give her the medication that she needs.

Kicked out of a school

As we draw nearer to the end, episode 2 provides further context to Nick’s life and how he ended up here.

The next day, his internet isn’t working because of a late payment so he loses his sh*t. At the school library, he speaks to Shadow Watch at a computer. They reassure and comfort him. Suddenly, a teacher speaks to him — he hasn’t been in school for a year. The teacher says she is going to get something for him but then security shows up and kicks him out.

The ending

Nick blames the Shadow for all his problems and spills all his problems to the Shadow Watch. He asks them how they can kill the Shadow. Nick suggests live streaming the session. He creates a weapon that flares up bright lights to kill the Shadow. The Shadow Watch tells Nick that he has to deal with the Shadow as it chose him. Nick starts backing out and The Shadow Watch are infuriated with him for suggesting that he’s going to not kill The Shadow. And then one of them tell him that they found his father online. His father has a new wife and kid.

Something switches in Nick’s head and he is now ready to kill the Shadow — knowing his father has moved on and he’s happy has compelled him to carry out the mission. The live stream starts and Nick walks around his house looking for the Shadow. As the chapter ends, he hears his mother asking where he is. The Shadow kneels on the floor and then gunshots are heard.

There will be many interpretations for this but the one theory that I got from it is that the loneliness made him a monster — a monster that became Nick’s shadow. The internet then riled Nick up, just like online chat rooms do on the dark web in the present day. The ending is a true tragedy as Nick kills his mother with a real gun.

Monsterland season 1, episode 2 encapsulates loneliness in a dark manner as the lead character manages it in his own sinister way.

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