The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 2 recap – “Chiroptera”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 5, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 2

This recap of the HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 2, “Chiroptera”, contains spoilers.

The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 2 recap

In Paris, France, a documentary filmmaker pays close attention to Kathleen’s death and comments that he finds it cliche that the husband always gets the blame. And so, he decides to make a film about it. (Which, by the way, forms part of the inspiration for this mini-series).

With Margaret Ratliff not keen on speaking over the phone, she soon heads over to America. And she’s not just anyone. Her mother, Liz, was murdered in eerily similar circumstances to Kathleen. And as the Christmas season approaches, Michael speaks to his family from prison. But when Michael tries to call Mark, there’s no answer. During dinner “celebrations”, the family comes to odds over Kathleen’s death.

In a flashback to Caitlin’s birthday celebrations, Kathleen reminds Michael about the party they will attend. As Kathleen takes off her neck braces in the bathroom, she hears some noises outside. (Owls, maybe?). And later on, whilst driving with Clayton, she becomes distracted and hits a deer.

Michael makes “friends” with someone in the gym spa. And just when it seems that they might hook up, two men enter and ruin the mood. Moving back to the timeline after Kathleen’s death, he asks his legal aid to inform his children about the gay porn found on his computer. After being released on bail, Michael learns about Fraque and his interest in making a documentary.

Caitlin not only learns that the life insurance has been paid out, but she also learns that autopsy photos of her mother may be released. Jumping forward to 24th February 2017, and an older Michael is in the supermarket. He quickly rushes out and returns to his wife, who waits for him in the car. Moving back to shortly after Kathleen’s death and his legal team is currently unable who can vouch for his bisexuality.

Scenes between a Campaign Fundraiser (57 days before Kathleen died) and an expert walkthrough of the murder scene blend together. And whilst Michael calls his spa “friend” during the fundraiser, the experts learn that there’s no chance that Michael could have heard Kathleen calling for help from outside.

The ending

A scene shows Kathleen on the night of her death, and after she leaves Michael at the pool, she heads to bed. However, she loses her footing and falls over. As blood pours out, she hits her head again. Then as she tries to stand up, she falls over. Michael then finds her and cradles her as he calls 911. At least that is what his legal team is trying to claim what happened.

Caitlin looks at Kathleen’s autopsy photos, and she is reminded that Kathleen was not intoxicated when she died, and therefore, it adds weight to the theory that Michael killed her. With Caitlin firmly believing that Michael is responsible for Kathleen’s death, Michael tells her family not to bother with Caitlin anymore. As Clayton’s mother, and Michael’s ex-wife, Patricia, arrives, Candace stabs a cushion with a firestick. She firmly believes that Michael used something similar to kill Kathleen.

What did you think of the HBO Max series The Staircase (2022) season 1, episode 2? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to HBO Max.

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