This article contains major spoilers for the Into the Dark: Blood Moon ending.
There’s no real mystery about what, exactly, the latest installment of Hulu’s seasonal anthology series is up to. Blood Moon isn’t coy about what’s really going on with ten-year-old Luna — I mean, his name is Luna, for crying out loud. But there’s a lot more to this restrained story of a mother’s determined love than simply why Esme needs a house with a basement and circles a particular day of the calendar every month, and it winds back into the past in more ways than one.
First, some context. So, yes, Luna is a werewolf, sired by a father werewolf who Esme was married to and ultimately had to shoot dead when he broke out of his cage and set about her during one of his episodes. Since then, Esme and Luna have been roaming from one rural small town to another, trying to stay under the radar. When we meet them early on in Blood Moon, Esme is attempting to rent a property with a spacious basement which, thanks to some help from local hardware store owner Miguel, she outfits with a sturdy cage. She finds employment at a local bar owned by the kindly Sam but makes sure to book the 21st off. And she regretfully employs the services of a local cow to stock the fridge up with raw meat. This is clearly a routine they’re both familiar with.
And it goes well, at first. Esme is able to keep Luna’s transition a private affair, and none of her preparatory measures have aroused much suspicion. She continues living and working in town, and the two of them begin to like it there, despite the unwanted attention of the obviously bigoted Sherriff Barlow. It’s the lure of normality that compels Esme into making her first mistake. When Miguel invites Luna to a relative’s birthday party, he insists on going, but it’s the night before he’s due to change again. Esme allows her son to be a kid just this once, but it backfires when the transition begins early, and she’s forced to bundle him into the car and take off. On the way home, though, he loses control, the car crashes, and when Esme wakes up Luna is nowhere to be found. He has made off in the night and butchered some livestock.
Even this they’re able to get away with. The attacks are blamed on an errant mountain lion. But the increased suspicion means that Esme isn’t able to acquire any more fresh meat, so when the time comes for the next transformation, she has to use stinking, rotting leftovers. It’s these leftovers that attract the attention of Sam when he calls round with Esme’s wage packet and some flowers — he was hoping to ask her out to dinner, but no such luck. Believing she has a plumbing problem, he makes his way to the basement, trying to help out, but Esme clouts him with the butt of a shotgun and he falls to the bottom of the stairs, dead.
Having accidentally killed one of her few friends in town, Esme recognizes that she and Luna need to leave, which is where the real ending of Into the Dark: Blood Moon begins. Unfortunately, Luna has to undergo another transformation before they can leave, giving Barlow and his lackey the chance to turn up at the door looking for Sam. Since he has a vendetta against Esme anyway, he forces his way inside and finds Luna in his cage. Appalled, the sheriffs take Esme and Luna to the precinct, where Esme tearfully insists that they put Luna in a cage while they still have the chance. Even now, she’s trying to protect people from him, but in truth, she’s trying to protect him too. She’s trying to avoid history repeating itself. When Luna is fully transformed, will he have the self-awareness to spare his own mother? She doesn’t know. Remember, in the same situation with Luna’s father, Esme couldn’t risk finding out either way — if he killed her, there would have been nobody to protect their child.
Naturally, the cops don’t listen to Esme, giving Luna the chance to transform and butcher the entire department. Eventually, he comes face to face with his mother, and she tearfully points a gun at him, ready to do what she needs to do to survive. But he knows who she is. The next we see, Esme has called Miguel, and she leads Luna in his wolf form into the back of the truck. Miguel, having evidently sensed that Esme would be departing, brought her wedding ring with him (she earlier pawned it to cover the cost of the materials that she bought to safeguard the basement.) With his help, she and Luna are able to leave town. There’s no wonder she’s wanted in seven states, really. I suppose they’ve made that eight.