'Into the Dark: All That We Destroy' tackles a mother's twisted love for her psychopathic murderous son
Even though this episode lacks the brutality and gore the others in the collection carried, it makes up for that with ample servings of science fiction and psychological horror
This article contains spoilers for 'Into the Dark' episode 8 'All That We Destroy.'
This month's installment of Hulu's highly acclaimed anthology horror, 'Into the Dark,' sticks to its signature style and focuses on the festival of the month - Mother's Day - and the element of horror in the episode happens to be the lengths and intensity of a mother's love.
Titled 'All That We Destroy', the episode shows how far a mother will go to save her monstrous son from acting out on his horrifying instincts, and even though it lacks the brutality and gore that the rest of the episodes of the show has carried, it makes up with ample servings of science fiction and psychological horror.
In a classic tale of a mother's love trying to overcome everything, the element of social satire that every episode of 'Into the Dark' carries, is introduced to the plot through the very same love's negative impacts on those around the mother-son duo. In short, this episode symbolizes just why a mother's love isn't the purest thing ever, after all.
The mother, Dr. Victoria Harris (played by Samantha Mathis), is a scientist whose son, Spence (Israel Broussard), is a murderous psychopath with an appetite for killing. So, his mother, instead of getting him locked up in a mental ward like any sane mother should do, decides to indulge in his desires by creating a clone of a young girl called Ashley (Aurora Perrineau), who had been murdered by Spence a long time ago.
Almost as if as a warning, the episode's official trailer told viewers that a mother's love never dies and playing on the same lines, this clone of Ashley never dies either. Over time, the clone keeps getting brought back to life, only to be killed by Spence over and over again.
But here's the catch; with each time she is brought back to life, Ashley begins to remember how she had originally died at the hands of Spence, which proves to be extremely tricky and not at all pleasant for the sick and twisted, mother-son duo.
As 'Black Mirror' like as the episode might sound, being the eighth installment of the monthly anthology horror, it brings something refreshing and unique to the table after months of crazy, brutal horror that has given us haunted children's toys, murderous dads, and a valentine's day gone wrong, among other things. In its own way, 'All That We Destroy' is definitely more subtle and in sync with its essence of a modern day horror.
While the murder scenes of Ashley having her throat choked and head bashed bloody to the ground are every bit as unnerving as a solid horror should be, there's an overall more muted and filtered feeling to the episode that makes it crisp and brisk, without dragging minor subplots out too much.
The only complaint with the episode could be how predictable the ending was. The moment we see Spence murder Ashley's clone the first time, it becomes clear that the young boy is going to meet an end far more disturbing than the murder techniques he applies.
And the fact that he gets established as the villainous character pretty early on also contributes to no feeling of sadness or loss when he finally meets his big downfall. But while Spence's fate didn't come as a surprise and failed to create an impact, the chemistry between Broussard and Perrineau was shockingly brilliant, as, at the end of the day, the characters are in fact a mentally ill murderer, and his victim who is repeatedly assaulted and killed, respectively.
Harris' portrayal of the practically unhinged mother is a brilliant satirical play on all parents a little too obsessed with their ward's dreams and desires. It is almost a stark reminder of interviews by mothers of serial killers like Ted Bundy, who claimed her son could never even imagine committing the crimes that he did.
But Victoria is aware of her son's horrifying tendencies, and yet she chooses to indulge those desires, which makes her all the more scary.
'Into the Dark: All That We Destroy' premieres on Hulu May 3.