Paranormal season 1, episode 5 recap – “The Myth of the Incubus”

November 5, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
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Refaat tries to decipher his own subconscious in “The Myth of the Incubus”, getting more surreal than ever as the show explores a tortured dreamscape.

This recap of Paranormal season 1, episode 5, “The Myth of the Incubus”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words, and check out all of our Paranormal coverage by clicking these ones.

Refaat is speculating about Shiraz as we rejoin him in Paranormal episode 5, and doing so pretty manically. We can see immediately that Reda’s death — not to mention all the other things he has seen, has affected him pretty deeply, and being familiar with his enduring rationalism, the idea that he’s being directed to his next lead by a torn-up Tarot card should say an awful lot about his mental state.

At something of a loss, Refaat goes to see Kamal, the bald, albino-looking dream doctor from the previous episode, whose career is looking up after Refaat’s recommendation to the university. He coaches Refaat in lucid dreaming, or conscious dreaming, which should help him hone in on Shiraz. During their conversation, he collapses, and after an examination, he’s told he has the body of a 70-year-old, a chronic heart condition, and hypertension. One more cigarette could kill him, but he continues to smoke. He’s also given nitroglycerin pills to carry around and take whenever he feels the need.

That night, Refaat attempts to focus on Shiraz and initiate lucid dreaming — he snaps awake at a dark junction of interlocking, carpeted corridors. He sees her instantly, but she disappears when he tries to give chase. He arrives back at the same junction. He’s pursued by some kind of crawling, snarling, hooded pig monster, and wakes suddenly to Maggie knocking at his door. They argue a little, and she tells him that she’s going back to Scotland, very bitter about how he has treated her recently.

Kamal is on-hand to provide some mythological backstory to the episode’s titular incubus, a demon that, historically, sits on the chests of sleeping women, most commonly associated with “sleep paralysis”. Kamal suggests scattering flour around the bed so that footprints of a presence will be displayed in them, but Refaat snaps about Kamal’s medical advice including myths and now cooking tips. “Maybe I should ask one of my aunts, to be sure.” It’s a zinger, but again, it makes absolutely no sense for Refaat to hold this position given what he has seen. Perhaps that’s why he lays down the flour all the same.

His next dream is a lot more chaotic, but he continues to be pursued by the hooded creature — presumably, this is the incubus? — and sees Reda beside a burning wall. When he wakes, there are paw prints in the flour, and his cat is dead, having been hacked up by the creature’s scythe. There’s a clear overlap here in Paranormal season 1, episode 5 between dreams and reality.

Maggie, meanwhile, goes to see Huwaida, explaining that she thinks Refaat is in need of urgent help and she’s the only one who can provide it. Huwaida is persuaded to listen.

Refaat returns to Kamal. As we’d previously surmised, it turns out that anyone killed by an incubus in a dream dies for real. Kamal says that depression and extreme anxiety are the most common conditions that people experience once they’ve seen the incubus, which puts Refaat and his weak heart at considerable risk. Apparently, the only way to get the incubus out of your dream is death — it has to kill a human being in order to leave.

This is perhaps the worst time for Huwaida to be knocking on Refaat’s door, then, which is probably why he ignores it but makes a note in his diary of being emotionally unable to see her. It’s through this journal, and other techniques, that he’s hoping to decipher his subconscious mind, so he enters his dreams once again. He navigates a corridor of blood and corpses and climbs a ladder to nowhere, only to be kicked back down by the incubus. His chest is marked with the hoofprint when he wakes.

Kamal suggests one last option — that he come over and watches him while he sleeps. Refaat returns to Shiraz’s home, but a man with a shotgun makes him leave, telling him that Shiraz will not leave his head until she has killed him. Believing the end is near, Refaat visits his mother to apologize for how little he visits, and explain how he feels. Huwaida, meanwhile, continues to try and track him down but is met with resistance from Raeefa. Huwaida has enough and declares they can either help or she’s going to break down his door. Either way, it’s time to intervene.

This seems reasonable since Refaat is narrating about sleep deprivation and chronicling the deterioration of his own brain, which isn’t looking good. But he figures out that the maze is his mind, which I thought was supposed to be obvious, but apparently not. He figures that since his mind is playing tricks on him he might as well play tricks on it in return, which amounts to taking a big handful of sleeping pills and re-entering his dreams with renewed purpose, armed with a rope, an ax, and a knife (this recap’s header image is taken from this scene.) This time, the corpses in the blood tunnel rise and he moves among them, and he pursues the incubus, rather than the other way around. When he encounters Reda, the flames behind him die.

In the meantime, Huwaida, Raeefa, and Talaat arrive in the apartment and begin to feature in his dream. Refaat tries to escape with them, but Talaat sacrifices himself and is killed by the incubus in the dream, thus killing him in real life. The official diagnosis is a heart attack.

“The Myth of the Incubus” ends with Refaat learning that the Al Khadrawy house has been bequeathed to him after the owner’s suicide. He’s free to do with it as he wishes.

Thanks for reading our recap of Paranormal season 1, episode 5, “The Myth of the Incubus”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?

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