A Cure for Wellness | Crooked Media
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April 09, 2024
Ruined with Alison Leiby and Halle Kiefer
A Cure for Wellness

In This Episode

Halle and Alison have an eeling that this sanatorium isn’t what it seems when they ruin The Cure For Wellness.

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[theme music]: If scary movies give you dread. Keep you up late night in bed, here’s a podcast that will help you ease your mind. We’ll explain the plot real nicely then we’ll talk about what’s frightening, so you never have to have a spooky time. It’s Ruined.


Halle Kiefer: Oh hello, welcome to Ruined. I’m Halle. 


Alison Leiby: And I’m Alison.


Halle Kiefer: This is a podcast where we ruin a horror movie just for you. 


Alison Leiby: Just for all of you. Halle, how are you doing? You’ve got the mood lighting going. 


Halle Kiefer: I have my orb. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. It’s important to have the orb nearby at all times. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: I also again still have my Christmas tree up. It is. I think I’m just going to let it ride at this point. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, make it permanent. Like, who cares? 


Halle Kiefer: Everyone will be surprised to come into my house to see that I have a bright pink Christmas tree that’s just up all year round. That’s seems right.  


Alison Leiby: No, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one there. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. You’d be distressed. [both speaking] Where is it? Where is the Christmas tree? I don’t know. I’m exhausted. How are you doing? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I’m fine. I, oh, I got some fresh pita chips. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. 


Alison Leiby: Like fresh made from Sahadi’s. [both speaking] You know, you remember the hotties from New York? 


Halle Kiefer: I never went, but I do recall, but, yeah. 


Alison Leiby: It’s, like a middle eastern. For those who don’t live in New York, like a middle eastern grocer that sells lots of their own in-house products. And I bought their fresh Labneh, which is my favorite thing ever. And then zaatar pita chips that are just like, they’re so crunchy because, like, what I want is like a, an overdone, very crunchy pita chip. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s what I’m looking for in a pita chip in a bag. 


Alison Leiby: That sounds exquisite. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like, that’s the whole bag. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I, I did have some a grilled halloumi salad yesterday. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, it is halloumi season. This is the time of year. I’m like, give me a halloumi salad. Give me some halloumi. Like on a little sandwich I want it. 


Halle Kiefer: It sounds like heaven. 


Alison Leiby: Super salty cheese. Oh, yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Other than that, I have very little going on over here. 


Halle Kiefer: As I. Well, the only thing I know is I have this going on, but I am, of course, engrossed as we all are in, the story about the Boeing situation with the airplane. 


Alison Leiby: I know. 


Halle Kiefer: And I have tweeted about this before. I will tweet about again. Please go watch Downfall: The Case— 


Alison Leiby: Watch downfall. 


Halle Kiefer: On Boeing on Netflix. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Just because I feel like if you’re just joining the story now, you’re like, what’s happening? It’s like, fortunately, this has been happening. 


Alison Leiby: In the works for a long time. 


Halle Kiefer: You know? And that whistleblower who died this week. 


Alison Leiby: I know. 


Halle Kiefer: Has been he was testifying, against Boeing. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: He he retired in 2017 and then blew the whistle then and he, he and some other employees talked to the, New York Times in 2019. But it really is just like Boeing is, there’s there’s not that many other places that build airplanes. So it seems like it is kind of—


Alison Leiby: There’s only a few manufacturers in the world. So.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So they kind of just give you more leeway versus, you know what I mean, let’s say you buy some pita chips and you’re poisoned. Well, I’ll let you go buy some pita chips somewhere else or you could make them differently. There’s a lot of ways to do it.  


Alison Leiby: Probably not, I’d be dead. But.


Halle Kiefer: Well, well. But after after we go to your funeral, we we work on it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: But Boeing and I don’t know if it’s just because it has deals with the military or what, but it it really is this sense of we’re just going to let this ride, but you can’t because that’s the airplanes will start disintegrating. And that’s even worse for business. Right? So it’s like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You want to make money. You should have you should have made sure that airplanes didn’t fall apart midair. 


Alison Leiby: Fall apart in the sky. 


Halle Kiefer: Call me an American, but make something of a quality. We’ll keep the doors on the goddamn plane and you wouldn’t have—


Alison Leiby: Keep the doors on the plane. I just booked. I did book a bunch of travel, and I like every single flight I booked. I had to, like, go make sure, because, like, they list the the, you know, the manufacturer and the type of airplane when you buy a ticket now and or they always have. But I’ve, I’ve looked before. 


Halle Kiefer: I never did, I, well yeah—


Alison Leiby: After I saw downfall. I started like looking at what kind of airplane I was getting in. And like, I haven’t flown on a Boeing since, that documentary came out, but it was like just an extra layer of, like. Also, let’s make sure this isn’t anything like. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And apparently Airbus, people are using Airbus. And somebody told me that Spirit Airlines uses Airbus. So like wow Spirit Airlines we we talked so much shit. But here we are. Come crawling back to sit in those folding chairs. 


Alison Leiby: They’re staying in the sky at least. 


Halle Kiefer: Literally folding chairs in the sky. But they’ll get you there. And that’s all I want at this point. 


Alison Leiby: They’ll get you there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah I just I don’t want the door to fly off an airplane while a minute I just really I don’t that’s just me. I don’t want that. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: And I think, you know, to go to a broad to go wide with it because why wouldn’t we? But basically, I think the documentary is a great example of how even a very established, seemingly, untouchable brand can be ruined, by greed and, incompetence, which is a capitalism. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: The idea that somehow the people in charge of things are the people who actually know what they’re doing. Let’s let’s disabuse let’s distribute ourselves of that now. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I mean, it is just like a perfect example of, like a company that, like earlier in its existence, was kind of like the dream of what an American company could be, where people took pride in their work. They made an excellent product. They seemingly everybody was paid, you know, reasonably for what? You know, for what I know which is, you know, very limited. And then just the idea that we could make more money by spending less money on people and oversight and products like, yeah, that doesn’t work. 


Halle Kiefer: No. 


Alison Leiby: Like. 


Halle Kiefer: No. 


Alison Leiby: That’s bad. 


Halle Kiefer: And and it is, it is one of like a microcosm of like so many things are out of our individual control but can only be good if it’s brought to light if we talk about it. I think now that it’s as dire. Well, it is dire, I don’t know, like I think about like, Lyft and Uber and how that affected like, cab drivers in New York. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And this idea of like, oh, we’ll, disrupt things. And it’s like, well, a lot of things actually need to not be disrupted in order for them to function in an ongoing, sustainable way. They either we’re just going to do come in and make things cheaper and, and, and better. It has never worked. It’s never it’s always coming at a horrible cost typically to the people. [laughs]You know, the worker or the customer, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Like, yeah, I guess it is cheaper to have a bunch of, contract employees that don’t need health insurance or union protections or like, yeah, that is like a cheaper way to run, transportation services. But boy, that’s not how you should do it. 




Halle Kiefer: Anyways, so, you know, just, I know another, another week here in America, and, you’re here with us, and. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You’re joining us for, another installment of, six degrees of Kevin Bacon Month. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And we are doing the movie is 2016’s It is, A Cure for Wellness. And, it is directed by Gore Verbinski. And—


Alison Leiby: That is exactly the name I expect. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: Would be the director when I after watching the trailer, I’m like, yep. Gore. 


Halle Kiefer: So good. And his star, the costar is Mia Goth, who’s fabulous in this. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Because she does play an eyebrowless. Fucking weirdo. Which is, of course, you know. And then, the other star, the, protagonist, his name is Dane DeHaan, and he’s an actor I’ve seen a million times but couldn’t do the same. He was Kenneth Nichols in Oppenheimer. He was in, he was, Green Goblin and the Amazing Spider-Man two. He was in the Place Behind the Pines. He was in, like, a lot of stuff. Like—


Alison Leiby: He’s in a lot of stuff. 


Halle Kiefer: A lot of stuff that someone you’d go, oh, that guy. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Who would never remember his name again. He’s great in this movie. And, this the reason I wanted to do this. I liked it, but my main draw to it is that Gore Verbinski is the director of the, The Ring, the American remake. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, okay—


Halle Kiefer: Which is a fabulous movie. Yeah. And he’s also directed he directed, two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. He directed Rango. Unfortunately, he did in 2013, directed The Lone Ranger, and then he directed A Cure for Wellness, which I don’t think really popped off, unfortunately. And so, but I really enjoyed this and I hope Gore Verbinski is working on something else, unless he’s been canceled or me tooed, in which case I apologize. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, and then we don’t support that.


Halle Kiefer: Don’t I oh, yeah, I did I didn’t find any evidence of that. So we support Verbinski until we don’t, you just let us know. But I really enjoyed this movie. It is almost 2.5 hours long. But, Alison, before we get into it, knowing what I’ve told you, how do you think this movie is connected to Kevin Bacon is? It’s multistep. I want to be clear. This is not an easy one. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah yeah well. I mean, look, if the lead was in Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer is chock full of people who I think have been in movies with Kevin Bacon. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: That’s true. 


Alison Leiby: But boy, can I not place. Who the next step would be. 


Halle Kiefer: There would be no reason you could. This is why this. This theme was insane. But here’s here’s why. Okay, so Gore Verbinski directed the remake of The Ring. That stars Naomi Watts. 


Alison Leiby: Right? Oh. Oh, so it’s the director is the tie in? 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Naomi Watts. I don’t know if that counts, but I don’t care, because that’s— 


Alison Leiby: No I think it does. 


Halle Kiefer: Naomi Watts was in I Heart Huckabees with Dustin Hoffman. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Dustin Hoffman was, of course, in Rain Man with Tom Cruise. And Tom cruise was, of course, in A Few Good Men with what other than, Kevin Bacon. 


Alison Leiby: That’s right. 


Halle Kiefer: And you said there’s a website where you could look this up. I could not find it, but that honestly could just be Google. It also like might not exist anymore. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I there was once a website. 


Halle Kiefer: There must have been. So I had to just sit here and try to figure something out. 


Alison Leiby: Do it yourself like on IMDb. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. But that could take forever because luckily like again, Kevin Bacon, he’s been in a movie with. Everybody. 


Alison Leiby: Everybody. 


Halle Kiefer: It took me about 20 minutes, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But that is the connection. Now if Verbinski would please direct movie starring Kevin Bacon. Then that would make it easier. And also—


Alison Leiby: That would make it easier for us. 


Halle Kiefer: Maybe he did. I didn’t research all of Gore Verbinski’s films because I just didn’t have the energy to do it. But yes, we are doing A Cure for Wellness. Let’s see how it did at the box office here. And no budget, 40 million. Box office, 26.6 million. Yeah, unfortunately. You know, and I really liked it, but had it been a lower budget. It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful movie. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And had it been about 90 damn minutes. Right. Because. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, we just don’t need movies to be two hours to me is the limit for—


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely even an hour 45 I think for this might have been okay around about if this had been 90 minutes. I think this would be a classic movie. Like it’s like it has so much good in it. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. But it’s like, yeah, once you stretch it to 2.5 hours, then there’s a lot of nothing in it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And you know, I a lot of that is the editing and I’m sure what his vision is directed, it’s a screenplay by, Jason Heath or just our Justin Haythe. He also wrote the screenplay. Excuse me, for Revolutionary Road. 


Alison Leiby: A great book. 


Halle Kiefer: Let’s see what else. Oh, he did write The Lone Ranger. Okay, well. You know look.


Alison Leiby: So they’ve worked together before. 


Halle Kiefer: And perhaps, and again, we don’t know. So let us begin. We always like to take I have Alison watch the trailer for our movie. So, Alison, what do you think about the trailer for A Cure for Wellness? 


Alison Leiby: It the vibe it gave me, especially when he, like, gets to, Switzerland is like. Terrifying Wes Anderson. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, that’s exactly right. 


Alison Leiby: Everything is like, so like, esthetically pleasing, but dark, like, it’s just like it has all of the, like, so much symmetry and detail and all that stuff and whatever. Boy, I don’t like this. And when that jar full of teeth hit the screen. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I knew that this was not for me. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, there are a lot of singular images of this that I think. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, Alison is not going to like that at all. 


Alison Leiby: No. Thank you. 


Halle Kiefer: Not going to care for that. We always like to see, we always like to. Sorry. Take a baseline. Scary for Alison. Alison, how scary do you find eels? 


Alison Leiby: What?


Halle Kiefer: Eels. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. It’s about. Well, first of all, we don’t know how they reproduce, and that’s not getting talked about enough. We’ve been studying the world around us since, like, we had intellectual curiosity, science. And by it, like, we know so much about the natural world. They still don’t know how eels reproduce. No scientists have figured it out.


Halle Kiefer: And no sorry, I don’t think it’s any of our business. Like it’s. 


Alison Leiby: That’s true. 


Halle Kiefer: Why? Why should we have to know? That’s their private business.


Alison Leiby: I mean, it’s clearly working. There are more eels. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s working like gang busters. They figured out some secret plan. I totally support it. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t care for an eel. It’s kind of a snake vibes, but underwater. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: I just don’t. 


Halle Kiefer: Snakes but scarier. 


I like it in sushi. 


Halle Kiefer: What’s the thing? Delicious. I would eat an eel. I don’t want to be—


Alison Leiby: Yes, of course I’ll eat an eel.


Halle Kiefer: You know, I don’t want to be in a, Swiss, sanatorium with them. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Well. 


Alison Leiby: That’s, I a wrinkle I wasn’t expecting, and I don’t care for it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I was sorry, I just googled eel reproduction because they have no reproductive organs, so I think that they. They may be temporarily like when they go to spawn, they temporarily grow them and then and then lose them. But when, when can we see those little tiny little eel dicks and vaginas. Or I guess we can have, like, a cloaca, but the fish fishes don’t. I guess they have some sort of genitals when they release eggs and sperm. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. They also happens, like, externally. 


Halle Kiefer: I think that it’s just none of our business. That’s private. 


Alison Leiby: Good for them. 


Halle Kiefer: And then, of course, would you like to guess the twist, knowing what you know about the movie a cure for. Well, this, which is it is like, horror Wes Anderson. It’s at a Swiss sanatorium. Health spa and there, and there are a lot, a lot of a lot of eels in this movie. 


[voice over]: Guess the twist. 


Alison Leiby: Is there a twist? I mean, to me, there’s already been a twist. It’s the eels. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: I mean, yes, but it’s not one that you can guess based on what we talked about. So I say go wide with it. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Take a guess about the the people who are in the sanatorium. How about that? 


Alison Leiby: Okay, well, first of all, I’m going to guess that, like, whoever he goes looking for to retrieve isn’t there. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay great. 


Alison Leiby: Or alive anymore? And can’t be returned to the business. I’m going to guess. The people in the sanatorium are incubate like hosts for eels. That’s what it’s being used for. Like. That’s for like. It’s not to secure something wrong with humans. It’s to turn humans into eel wombs. 


Alison Leiby: Hell yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So we can have more eels. I don’t know what the point of that would be. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, maybe this is find out, if we find out. This is actually how eels have to reproduce. We have to be wombs.


Alison Leiby: If this, if this movie provided the answer, truly, it would be one of my new favorite films.  


Halle Kiefer: Eel wombs, eel wombs. 


Alison Leiby: Eel wombs. Eel. Wombs. 


Halle Kiefer: I will say, that this, apparently this script was inspired by, Thomas Mann’s, novella from 1924 called The Magic Mountain. His wife had to. Thomas Mann’s wife had to go to a sanatorium at some point. So it does, sanitorium, I guess, is what saying sanatorium? Sorry. Sanatorium. But I don’t believe there are any eels. Nobody has an eel room in that movie. It’s simply a it’s an interesting setting. And it is. You know, L.A. used to have a lot of, like, hot springs, like, use it like the idea of, like, taking to the waters, like, was such a thing of 100 or, you know, 100 plus years ago. I but this did make you want to go to a sauna. That looks so good. 


Alison Leiby: I love saunas, I like spa stuff I would like I don’t want any eels there, but. If they’re trying to relax that. Who am I to get in their way? [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. As long as they’re not fucking. And then even if they are. We wouldn’t even know that. We’d be like, they’re just hanging out. We don’t know what they’re doing. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I wouldn’t know what that looks like. 


Halle Kiefer: All right. Great. Let us begin ruining A Cure for Wellness. We open with the creepy voice of Mia Goth singing a sort of, wind up music box song. You know, sort of like la la. La la la la. You know the type? Yeah, yeah. And we’re opening up a shot of Manhattan. And again, Gore Verbinski’s a great director. I love this, like we’re in Manhattan. And all of the. It’s unclear. Is it about to be done? Is it the dead of night? Is it sundown? Like a glowing green, foggy sky with these jet blacks, skyscrapers? 


Alison Leiby: I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: It just immediately. Yeah. It could contrasting to where we’re going to be heading, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And we, we circle in on a lit window, sort of. We get some either the middle of the night or like a this person’s been there all night. Bill Morris he is our, the first character we meet. He’s up. He’s typing away at his laptop. He’s only joined by his little goldfish, and he’s seemingly all alone in the, office, and he receives a letter sealed with a wax seal. And Alison, the seal seems to have an S on it. Well—


Alison Leiby: S for eel?


Halle Kiefer: S for eels, s for so many eels. And the return address? Yes. The address. It just says Volmer Institute. Hell yeah. 


Alison Leiby: That is so—


Halle Kiefer: Which again, I think of, orphan or orphan, rather, when, they have to call the institute. You better believe we’re going to the institute. 


Alison Leiby: We got to go with the institute. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s about to open it. Open it? When? Of course, he’s distracted by his computer. His updated report has been processing. There’s a lot of conversation about financial reports. I. I’m going to leave that to the film. I’m going to trust the bottom whatever their describe. 


Alison Leiby: Their stand eel reproduction. More than I’ll ever understand the broad concept of business. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s always somebody says, how much? What are the where are the stocks at. I’m like, oh we’re talking about stocks I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: I’m out of my depth. 


Halle Kiefer: Give me those eels. He turns back at his computer, but Bill suddenly has a pain in his chest. We obviously know he’s having a heart attack, but he’s such a committed worker. He just goes up to the water cooler, gets a sip when, of course, he goes through a full heart attack. He collapses, spilling his water everywhere. And we see. As he dies on the floor of his office, we see Bill Morris, salesman of the year 2016. 


Alison Leiby: Capitalism, baby. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. It. It’s him. It’s an open floor plan where everyone’s computer has a save like screensaver and his dead body covered in water. Cut to a train cutting through the Swiss Alps. Gorgeous. Stunning. Like, I’m not a mountain person or someone who necessarily go to the mountains just for a vacation, but, boy, this really made me want to get on a train. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And apparently they did shoot it in, at the Hohenzollern, Hohenzollern Castle in Germany, and which is stunning. It’s it’s gorgeous. A shot of the actual castle he got. He used his budget well and unfortunately didn’t, didn’t make the money back. But we are on our way through the Swiss Alps. We we go into a tunnel and we meet our protagonist, Lockhart, who’s like, Bill Morris was in his 50s. Lockhart’s like 28, like young chewing Nicorette, talking loudly in a train car while other people are, like, trying to read, typing on his laptop and barking orders into his cell phone to his coworker Josh. And he’s like, I want you to take everything out of the First National and move it over to Bannon. But don’t worry, we’ll move everything back on Monday. So immediately we know, like, okay, so he’s doing some wheeling and dealing at his job. And Josh the other person in the line’s like I don’t know if we should be doing that. He’s like trust me, don’t be a pussy. It’s going to be fine. The train man who comes to get your ticket I wrote down, conductor, but that is not obviously not the train is it the train conductor who takes— 


Alison Leiby: No I think he’s steering it. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, right. So you wouldn’t want to get up, but also take—


Alison Leiby: Yeah, there’s a separate guy. 


Halle Kiefer: And. No, it’s still a conductor. Well, you don’t. Look, this guy could do it all. He’s getting up. 


Alison Leiby: Renaissance man.


Halle Kiefer: Oh, well, he’s up. Hopefully the train stay on the track. Comes over and is, you know, just making conversation with Lockhart. He says business or pleasure? And Lockhart looks at it like, seriously, I’m on the phone. And so we already know that’s where he’s at. Again, it’s he’s committed. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s about capitalism. He turns, he sees a little boy staring at him, and then we see on his tray. Lockhart has the now open letter from the Volmer Institute. So he has a letter we saw previously, and we hear a voice over of a man reading this letter. And it says to—


[clip from A Cure for Wellness]: Fellow members of the board, a man cannot unsee the truth. We are the only species capable of self-reflection, the only species with the toxin of self-doubt written into our genetic code. 


Halle Kiefer: We need to be purged. We need to be cured, Alison. And I think the idea is like, can we be cured of our human fallacy? And I don’t need to tell you, if you try to do that way, worse things happen. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. See where it’s going? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So we see Lockhart. He is has been he’s got a promotion and he’s now moving into Bill Morris’s office. And the implication is like, this is like three days later. Like maybe Bill died on a Friday. And then Monday they’re clearing his office so that Lockhart can move in. And he finds Bill’s dead goldfish because nobody fed it, because they didn’t know. And he throws it in the trash. We hear the voice over continue. We are unequal to our gifts. We build, we buy, we consume. We claw our way to what we perceive to be an achievement. And what is that achievement? Superiority over other men. Lockhart looks out of his corner office now over Manhattan, very proud. And his friend, his coworkers Josh and Carl come in with a bottle of champagne, and apparently he got the corner office. Not just cause Bill kicked it, but because he closed the Reynolds account and everyone’s like, how did you do it, dude? Now, obviously we know it’s because he was doing some kind of dirty dealing. Underhanded, thing. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: A secretary stops by and say the partners need to see you in the boardroom. And we cut to now we see Lockhart reading this letter in front of the partners. So the partners have called him up to reveal this letter, that he is reading currently. And the letter continues, there is a sickness inside us, the need to strive, but only what we know. Only when we know what ails us, can we find the cure. I will not return. Do not come find me. Signed CEO Roland E Pembroke. The CEO of their company has gone missing. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, boy. A real Kate Middleton situation. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, 100%. Absolutely. And he sort of puts the letter and the partners say so, what do you think? And he says, well, he’s obviously lost his mind. We have meet the other partners. Hollis is the only female partner and says a man leaves her a two week spa vacation and has a complete mental breakdown is what this letter says. Another one says who takes the waters in the 21st century? Like, what was it like? Why would you go to a place like that? Meanwhile, like, oh, I’d love to take some waters. 


Alison Leiby: I love to take some waters. 


Halle Kiefer: Afraid of staph infections. But yeah, I’d still take the waters. All of them sort of praise Lockhart. He is such a fucking shark. He is obviously like he is raising through the ranks of this business. And they say, look, Lockhart, this is a huge problem because we’re about to do the big merger. And Wilson, who’s the only, black person in the room, says, obviously the SEC will need unfettered access to all of our accounts in a merger this big. Basically, they’re going to, like, check that we’re not doing anything. It’s like a part of this process. So we have to open the books and we see Lockhart’s eye twitch because obviously he’s like—


Alison Leiby: Oh, the books are not exactly good.


Halle Kiefer: And, yeah, Hank Green, who I think we’re to think is the like the head of chairman, you know, the head of the board. He says, Lockhart, you really didn’t think we wouldn’t find out, did you? Alison. He’s been caught. Of course, he says, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but Green stands up. He throws down the file. It’s the Reynolds account. He’s like, look at us. We’ve been at this 25 years longer than you. Do you think there’s a trick we haven’t tried? This is amateur hour. And then Hollis turns and says, can I ask you something, Mr. Lockhart? Have you ever had a 12 inch Black dick in your ass? 


Alison Leiby: Whoa, whoa. 


Halle Kiefer: And Lockhart looks at Wilson, the only like the Black person, the Black man in the room who is completely unfazed and doesn’t give him anything. And Hollis goes. Prison, Mr. Lockhart. You’re in a lot of trouble. It’s like. Oh, okay. Coming in hot here. But because he’s a shark, he, of course turns the tables right back on them. It’s like, okay, so if that was true, you would have just handed me over if I was a problem. Get me out of here. I’m. You know, I’m not at your level. So clearly something else is going on, and there’s someone more senior. They’re afraid that they’re going to get looked at, and he holds the letter or someone more unstable. So I think basically we’re saying it’s like you’re you’re trying it. You’re going to ask me to do something, because if I was a problem, you would have already had my name. You don’t care about me. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And they’re like, you’re right. We need you to go to retrieve Mr. Pembroke from the Volmer Institute and bring him back, because. And they’re basically, they’re saying that merger can’t go through without his signature, but also someone has to take responsibility. So I think we’re going to say it. They’re they’re going to blame it, basically say evidenced by his mental breakdown. Clearly the problems in our that our books and the implicating is this company wide thing. And normally he’s a CEO. You couldn’t pin it on him. He would be good off scot free. But because he has, seemingly lost his mind, that gives us a great opportunity to blame everything on him. So we need you to go to physically bring him back to New York. So Lockhart’s off to the gorgeous Swiss Alps. 


Alison Leiby: Volmer Institute. 


Halle Kiefer: He gets off the train and he gets into there’s a black car waiting. It takes over this sort of widening mountain road. He calls Josh from the car again, barks at him to be moving over money to try to cover something up, and the driver asked Lockhart, are you here for the cure? And like I said, I’m just visiting. I’m visiting someone. The driver says, I worked here my my entire adult life. Every day I drive wealthy people up to the spa and, God, it’s expensive and most people end up staying and Lockhart’s like staying, how long? And he’s like I’m never I don’t really typically drive people down. I’ll be totally honest, so I’m not sure, he says. Okay. So is that your ambition of life just to drive people up and down the mountain? 


Alison Leiby: Honestly, that sounds lovely. 


Halle Kiefer: It looks gorgeous. I mean, I would be terrified. I’d be screaming because it’s you’re on the side of a mountain. 


Alison Leiby: You know, I mean, like, absolutely not. No, I would not do that. But I’m sure that that man is having a lovely existence. 


Halle Kiefer: Way worse existences. And he says, look, my father did this. A man learns how to be a man from his father. Don’t you agree? And we see Lockhart look over the mountains and say, I don’t know. I didn’t grow up with my father. We see a flashback of him visiting his mother, who is a boy, before he leaves, for the Volmer Institute. And his mother is apparently in a old folks home. But it’s, like, clearly supposed to be like a very wealthy old folks home. So it looks like she’s just in a library. 


Alison Leiby: That’s how I want to go out.


Halle Kiefer: Everyone’s doing crafts. I know it looked nice and she paints miniatures, so she’s painting a little miniature of a ballerina like you’d put in a music box, and she says, you look horrible. You look, you work too much. Like you’re. You’re like your father. And she says, you know your father. Lockhart finishes her sentence, the implication being, she sure says this a lot because you, he was weak. And she says you didn’t know him. He says, and whose fault was that? 


Alison Leiby: Jesus.


Halle Kiefer: Lockhart tells his mother he’s going away for a bit, but he’s getting a promotion and he will move her to an even better place. And she says, you’re never coming back. Yes, of course I am. You know, I, I wouldn’t. Why would you say that? And she finishes her a figurine and hands it to him. And then we see it’s a ballerina, and she puts it on the music box. She has in the winds up, the ballerina spins and we hear that. La la la la. But like the music box version of it. And she says she’s not like the other ones I made because she lives in a dream. And he says, well, how does she dreaming if she’s dancing? His wife says, oh, she’s dreaming. That’s why she doesn’t know she’s dancing. And then we see the little music and it’s like, well, that’s not good. I don’t know what that’s alluding to but. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t like that at all. 


Halle Kiefer: We see Lockhart has brought not the whole music box, but the little ballerina in the car. And we see them drive through downtown and a teen throws, a drink on the hood of the cars, as it drives through, and the drivers, like, ignore them. They’re all punks. Like, they’re all badly behaved. There’s always been bad blood between the villagers and the people up the hill at the institute. You know, just history. Of course, Lockhart said. Well, why would there be bad blood? Why would they? What would be there? We get to see. 


Alison Leiby: Real blood. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. We get to the gate of the Volmer Institute. We see the logo again. Alison, it’s not an S. It’s two intertwined eel’s. And I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing those guys again. As they drive through the grounds, we see a gardener, a very classic horror movie gardener who is just glowering. 


Alison Leiby: Just like holding shears. 


Halle Kiefer: Look. Oh, you better believe. Holding menacingly, holding a shovel, holding up shears, a pitchfork. The driver tells Lockhart the story of the Institute. So basically, for centuries, all this land was owned by one family, the Von Reichmerl. They had a castle up here, and they ruled over this valley, basically. And the last baron was so obsessed with the purity of his bloodline. And they don’t see whiteness. But I’m sorry. Like, it’s like you’re in the Swiss German border—


Alison Leiby: Yeah we’re talking whites. 


Halle Kiefer: We’re talking whiteness. The Baron was so obsessed with the purity of his bloodline, he decided only his sister was clean enough to carry his child. Oh, I, of course, wrote oh, oh, white people. But but that is why we do have, you know, princes and princesses that I don’t know, the present company excluded, obviously, but like, we in incest did create inbreeding. 


Alison Leiby: Yes of course. 


Halle Kiefer: In order to keep power in the bloodline [both speaking] which is so grotesque to think about. 


Alison Leiby: So gross.


Halle Kiefer: Like what else is interesting is like you think about racism in general, like the solidification of power makes people act insane and do disgusting things. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And this is a good example of like, yeah, they probably did happen like hundreds, most families in the past. So when the church understandably forbade their union, the baron renounced God like you do. You’re trying to bury your sister. 


Alison Leiby: You got. That’s one of the steps. 


Halle Kiefer: And he at the night of his wedding. So he did have a wedding. It just wasn’t, you know, legal or through the church. The villagers came up the hill, forced the baron and the Baroness and his sister into the catacombs and made him watch while they burned her alive. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus Christ. 


Halle Kiefer: I was like, well, it wasn’t the sisters fault. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: I don’t know why— 


Alison Leiby: It doesn’t seem like she was a part of that in the way to deserve that kind of treatment. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I don’t know how many options this gal had, you know? And then they burned the palace, to the ground. But that was 200 years ago. And which seems like it should have been a lot more. Should have been like, four hundred years ago. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah 200 is like way too recent. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. We’re really cutting it, close here, guys. Yeah. Because that would have been, 1860. That’s too recent for this guy. 


Alison Leiby: That’s way too recent for this behavior. 


Halle Kiefer: But, but they then rebuilt the institute on, on the grounds, and it’s gorgeous. And we finally get to the building and it is stunning like it is a castle, like it is these beautiful grounds. And everyone there is elderly, right? So they have, like, white pajamas with white robes. They’re playing badminton there. There’s like a painting class. So it does look if you’re if you are older and you’re like, I would like to take to the waters, this seems great. 


Alison Leiby: I mean if you’re going to do it. This seems like the place. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. The food looks great. Everyone’s like chatting and making friends. And Lockhart said I’m going in here. I’m getting Mr. Pembridge and I. We’re getting the fuck out like I’m not. I’m not staying here. Sorry, Pembroke. We’re not. You know. 20 minutes. Just wait. He goes to the front desk at the front says, oh, you just missed visiting hours. And of course, we see it’s 3:10, or 3:07. And he’s like, can I just could you maybe ask your manager, could I get like, can I just get an exception? I just need to talk to him. She’s like, I’m sorry, there aren’t any exceptions, but I’ll see what I could do. He steps out to make a phone call, but he sees there’s no reception. And there’s a woman and two men, like elderly, who are kind of our Greek chorus. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Like we see them a bunch throughout the movie. 


Alison Leiby: Employees or patients? 


Halle Kiefer: Patients. Yeah. So they’re, they’re they’re reading the newspaper. One of them is making her own crossword puzzles. So she’s like cutting out crossword blocks and making them, which I do think is fun. 


Alison Leiby: It’s something. 


Halle Kiefer: But yeah, they’re relaxing. We’re like, you know, there’s no cell phone reception here. That’s actually part of the treatment. They block cell phone reception, so you can’t go online. And he’s like, okay, great. 


Alison Leiby: Not not ideal. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And he’s obviously a man he needs be online. He’s working. 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes. Calls.


Halle Kiefer: Does he have a sense of self. Yeah. We see an elderly man hit his croquet mallet past him into the underbrush, and when Lockhart goes to bend and retrieve it, he looks and sees sort of a a, sort of a grate. And when he follows it, it’s into the catacombs. We know it’s catacombs, so it’s sort of a grate in the ground. And through it he here’s our our my Mia Goth song. La la la la la. He then is brought to see Mr. Peterson. He’s the deputy director. He’s saying, I’m sorry. Visiting hours are over. You’ll have to come back tomorrow. Lockhart said, I hear you, but this is really urgent. Mr. Pembroke is. He’s the CEO of a major financial institution. This is—


The Swiss should understand that. They’re all about banks.


Alison Leiby: That they’re all about banks. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. And while he’s talking, the deputy takes, the deputy director takes a dropper of liquid out of a blue vial, which is again on the poster and puts on his tongue. And when Lockhart’s like, what the. He says, oh, the institute is built over an ancient aquifer with. And the water has unique healing properties. 


Alison Leiby: Eels. 


Halle Kiefer: Or should I say unique healing—


Alison Leiby: Eeling. 


Halle Kiefer: —properties, I got an eeling. [laughter] Oh. The deputy director gives Lockhart a glass of water. We then see him drink the water. This is the first time we’ve seen him drink the water. And, the deputy director was just like, you could leave a note, like, I’m not going to go get this guy. These are rich people. I’m not going to bother them. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re paying a lot of money to be here, sir. Lockhart said, I hear you, but I’ve traveled 4000 miles to get here. I have a ticket on a redeye back to New York, and I intend to be on it with Mr. Pembroke. And the deputy director says, look, he’s in treatment till seven. If you come back, then I can make sure that he knows you’re coming. And if he wants to meet with you, he can. And Lockhart said, I will accept that. He goes up to the driver, says, when is the last train to Zurich? And the driver says, oh it’s not until ten. So he’s like, okay, if we were able to get the 10:00 train to Zurich, we can get, I’m assuming that it’s like I, I literally was like, is it a 2? 3? But they can make the plane, right? 


Alison Leiby: It’s like I assume also like when you’re very rich, like there’s, you know. 


Halle Kiefer: You can make something work. Someone can make a call, hold that plane. So he said, great driving down the hill. I’ll just get a. Hotel in town, which there’s no hotels in the town, but get a room and he’ll just be able to work from it, basically. So it’s like, okay, I’ll go down and make calls from from the hotel. And as they’re driving down the hill, Lockhart looks up and sees a young woman standing barefoot on the wall of. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: The, castle. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So basically, the wait is like you’re winding back down around. So when you look up, you’re seeing like, steep, staggered walls of the castle up to the top layer. So it almost looks like a bridge, like you’re passing under bridges. And she’s standing there barefoot, like, you know, Mia Goth is gonna do. 


Alison Leiby: Fairy, all like white breezy gown. 


Halle Kiefer: So, that’s not really 2016. And this thing as we know, it’s modern day because we’ve seen his cell phone, his computer. We saw the offices. So, like, she is dressed. Yeah. Like, like out of time. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Perhaps from a time beyond, you know, before, modern technology. And she watches him and we see the driver glance up and say, oh, what a pretty girl, Alison. 


Alison Leiby: What an odd thing to say. 


Halle Kiefer: The second he takes 100%, and he’s going to regret it later, because the second he looks away from the road, a deer runs out in front of their car. They slam into it and it hurtles through the windshield, sending—


Alison Leiby: Deer are so scary. I mean, like, obviously we talk cervids all the time, but like, from a driving perspective. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s been a minute. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah [both speaking] we haven’t really seen a cervid in a in a in a minute. Filmwise on this podcast. 


Halle Kiefer: And here I think the deer is fate. The deer is destiny. The deer is the the natural world coming out to to, cause a physical, detour in this man’s life. And also the driver, because he’s driving the car. Lockhart, we see, is not wearing a seatbelt, which is terrifying. So when the car flips over, he’s, like, slammed into the back window. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus. 


Halle Kiefer: He wakes up in bed at the Volmer Institute alive, but with his leg in a full cast. 


Alison Leiby: Not great. 


Halle Kiefer: And no, when we see a nurse, they’re sort of like, you know, getting the room prepared as well as the director of the institute himself, Heinrich Volmer, who is Jason Isaacs? 


Alison Leiby: He’s so familiar. 


Halle Kiefer: He I always assume he is Draco Malfoy’s dad in the Harry Potter movies. 


Alison Leiby: I bet we could have gotten to Kevin Bacon through him. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, you’re right. And, I hate to bring up Harry Potter without, saying. 


Alison Leiby: Fuck J.K. Rowling. 


Halle Kiefer: Every week this woman is just transphobic on Twitter in an insane way. I feel horrible for every trans person who has to listen to that. See that anyway. Also horrible for everyone in the UK. Things are bad here. Things are bad over there. Things are bad all around for queer and trans people. So fuck her. 


Alison Leiby: Truly awful and she sucks. 


Halle Kiefer: But yes, he. But he’s great in the movie. He doesn’t have to take that on. Hopefully he’s he’s, above board. He’s been in a bunch of stuff. He was Captain Hook in Peter Pan in the 2003 version. He was in Black Hawk Down. He’s in the Patriot. He’s someone who, like, again, he’s been in a million things. And also, for my money, as a lesbian. So handsome.


Alison Leiby: Very handsome. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s so handsome and handsome all the time. But he’s handsome in this movie. For sure. And again. Great. He’s doing a German accent and he says, you know, you’ve actually been out for three days. Lockhart freaks out. He’s like, oh my God, they’re expecting me back. 


Alison Leiby: That’s such a scary thing. 


Halle Kiefer: Call your employers,


Alison Leiby: Cause like yeah. You like. You need to confirm that. [laughter] Like, oh, like if somebody if you came to after something and somebody told you how long you’ve been out, like it’s so destabilizing. [laughs] 


Halle Kiefer: No way to know. And Volmer says, don’t worry. We got in touch with Mister Pembroke, and we actually got in touch with your office, and they said, do not worry, they will sort it out. Your health is more important than some big merger. 


Alison Leiby: That is not what that company would say. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, Lockhart said. Hank Green said that? And Volmer said think of this as an enforced vacation, you know, on the house. And Lockhart’s like okay, that’s fine. But also, I still need to talk to Mr. Pembroke myself. Like I have to speak to him just to sort everything out. And Volmer says, you know how you just take a minute, relax. And we see Volmer looking out at the elderly people on the lawn and say, you know, most of my patients have done incredible things, amass fortunes like made names for themselves, created companies, dynasties, but now they have no one. These are all people who, like, don’t have families like they have no one visiting them. So Mr. Pembroke is really lucky to have someone visit him. Like that’s a real honor, I think. Of course, he’s just, you know, trying to kiss Lockhart’s ass or whatever and he says and just before I go, you’re at altitude now, and it does take a bit to acclimatize people. So be sure to drink plenty of water. And the nurse swoops in with a carafe on a tray, and I got an eeling. [laughter] Volmer, and the nurse leaves. And Lockhart, he has a pair of crutches, so he goes to look at the window. And it is gorgeous, you see Alps. You see—


Alison Leiby: Yes being in the mountains in that part of the world is, I mean, got to be. An incredible experience. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think the implication is like, everyone’s staying here. It was such a workaholic. They gave themselves to capitalism that now that they just get to like, dick around. That to them is paradise, which I do get and would like to go to a spa. 


Alison Leiby: Should we go together? I don’t know. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Could you do it? Can we do it virtually? 


Alison Leiby: Virtual spa. [laughter]


Halle Kiefer: Virtual spa? Oh, when you’re coming to L.A. All right.


Alison Leiby: We’ll figure it out. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And when he looks out over the lawn, he sees the gardener bricking up that grate in the ground to the catacombs. Good to see somebody bricking something up three days after. 


Alison Leiby: And, like. Why now? Like that? Seems like something that either would have been done forever ago or is never being done? Or there would have to be some kind of crisis that precipitates something has happened? 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, something is perhaps starting a new or someone is there. They don’t want to find out certain things. And when we see, Lockhart take a drink of water, takes a big old swig, drinks the whole goddamn thing, and he looks inside the glass, he sees a little, looks like a little strand of hair, but when he picks up on his finger, we of course, he is a tiny, living, moving creature akin to a teeny tiny eel. More than any eeling. [sings] Alison, I have to ask at this point. What would you do? 


[voice over]: What would you do? 


Alison Leiby: Oh, boy. I’m. I got to get out of there. Where is the driver? 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Great. 


Alison Leiby: Is he dead? 


Halle Kiefer: We don’t know at this point, but we find out later. The driver is not dead. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. I’d want to track him down, and be like, hey. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Let’s leave. Take me. 


Halle Kiefer: I think, I would say at this point, like if I saw an eel in the water and this is already happening, I would just start hoofing it down that hill. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: It’s not good. It would take you so long. You might not be able to do it, but I would want to get out of there. 


Halle Kiefer: I would try. 


Halle Kiefer: Immediately. 


Alison Leiby: I would try. Because there’s nothing good coming from staying. 


Halle Kiefer: No and he knows. 




Halle Kiefer: And we see Lockhart crush the little eel on his fingers like kind of smeared away. And he looks at his Rolex, and it’s stopped at seven past three. But the thing is, Alison and I like this touch. Like, that’s not the time of the car crash. That’s the time he looked at his watch. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: When he first looked at the lobby of the Institute. 


Alison Leiby: That is. 


Halle Kiefer: Upsetting. 


Halle Kiefer: So we’ve now arrived at what? Sid the cat would say. The problem is on the premise. Okay. You’re sending me to a sanatorium. There’s some creepy going on. 


Alison Leiby: Here we go. 


Halle Kiefer: Eels. Maybe there’s waters. Here we go. So we see Lockhart now walking on his crutches through the Institute, down into the water area. So we see there’s water aerobics that looks really fun. There’s saunas there, and it’s all coed because they’re European, so it’s all like elderly, nude, totally nude people in the movie walking around like it’s normal because it is. Right. And this is very cool swimming pool with an observation window on the side. And the implication is that this was built in the early like 1912, basically like they it burned down. And then a hundred years later, they rebuilt it specifically to have rich people come and use the waters right over the aquifer. And it’s. So it was giving like Crimson Peak. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So like Wes Anderson but like in a into like the style is stylization. That’s fun for the sake of design. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean like you’re enjoying it and a nurse stops and says, hey, where should you be right now? Because we don’t, you know, I don’t want people wandering around. Everyone has to go to their treatments. And he says, oh, sorry, I think I forgot, I don’t know yet, I don’t know my schedule yet. She says, well, mean look it up. What’s your name? And he says, Roland Pembroke. And she says, oh, Mr. Pembroke, your room 609 you should be in the steam baths right now. And he says, great. And here she goes wrong way. But she directs him, you know, to the correct direction. We see you guys strolling around— 


Alison Leiby: I’m always impressed, I know this isn’t like real. It was written, but like, I would not think on my feet like that. I’d be like Alison. Like just. 


Halle Kiefer: No, I’d be like, can I make a phone call? Can I call somebody, please? Can I call 911? Yes. But yes, he cleverly figures out, how do I get to Mr. Pembroke? And, you know, I was I wrote, like, so, you can see, like, all these people, nude, they’re like showering. Bathing together. It’s not an issue in America. They’d be called pedophiles. And the [?] would, call in a bomb threat to this place, but, you know, nice to see Europeans be a little more normal. That nudity. We now see. oh. They’ve they basically said you have to put on a towel, you don’t have to be totally nude, but you can’t be in your pajamas. So he has to just put in a towel, and he’s crutching around in his towels, and they constantly are having, like, weird, like, plastic over his leg cast, a towel and a leg cast on crutches on wet floors. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s lucky he didn’t die at this point. So he makes it down to the steam room in search of, Mr. Pembroke. And I’m thinking, like, is a steam getting in the cast? 


Alison Leiby: [both speaking] Like, I assume every cast is papier mâché. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And he has this moment where the steam fills the room, and he panics that he can no longer find the door. But when the steam clears, he sees a door into another room, and then beyond it, another room. And then in that room, the faint outline of a deer walking through. 


Alison Leiby: Get out of there. 


Halle Kiefer: So of course he follows it. And when he gets there, it’s not a deer. In that room he finds Roland Pembroke. And he says, Mister Pembroke. My name was Lockhart. I am from your company. We need to go back to New York. The merger is happening, and Pembroke says I can’t go. I’m not well. Lockhart says, well you look okay to me? Pembroke tells him that’s because you’re blind. But you’ll see soon enough. And we see Pembroke throws off his robes. He’s totally nude. And he walks into. There’s sort of these a lot of rooms with, like, a narrow, long pool. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Where you sort of walk through. So it’s not really for swimming, sort of just like wading or doing like water. Like walking in water as like exercise. So he gets in the pool and then Lockhart just crutches along the the edge. And he says the merger is in trouble. Like, is this all going to fall apart? And Pembroke looks at Lockhart, wait a minute. You aren’t Henry Lockhart’s son, are you? And Lockhart says, yes, I am. Pembroke replies. It’s terrible what happened to him. I read that there was a boy left in the car, and we see in a flashback of what happened to Lockhart’s dad. I don’t know what train, what I’m going to say. The Brooklyn Bridge. He’s driving across one of the bridges. It’s torrential raining on the. I was supposed to be, like, the 2007 crash. Like sort of a Bernie Madoff situation. It’s torrentially raining. He’s listening to the radio. The dad pulls the car over, and from little baby Lockhart’s perspective, he watches his dad walk to the edge of which. And fall off. And Pembroke says, you know, your father was a really honest man, and we destroyed him for it. He’s like, well, what do you mean? He’s like, he was a good person in a business that, like, we were not good people and it ruined him. And I feel horrible about it. And Lockhart, obviously he’s still in denial about it. He’s like, some people get fucked over. It was business that was on him. Like, you can’t get that crazy about it, you know? And Pembroke says, is this why you came here? The ambition. Then you got it worse than any of us. And Lockhart says, I have what? Pembroke says, the sickness. That’s the thing. That’s what drove your father to do it. He knew the pointlessness. Pointlessness of the whole endeavor. That’s the sickness that we’re trying to cure. And then Pembroke submerges in the water for extremely long time, to the point that Lockhart starts panicking. Is like do I have to get in there? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But when he comes out, Pembroke says, what’s the stock trading at? Because he still wants to know. It’s like he’s not. 


Alison Leiby: He’s not fully cured. 


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. He’s had a little bit of the sickness still in him, and Lockhart fills in about the irregular irregularities in the account. And of course, Pembroke knows that he’s you know, it’s not his first rodeo. It’s like, okay, well, so they’re looking for someone to take responsibility. Well, I better get my things then. And Lockhart goes to get dressed. He goes down to the front desk to request a car, and when he wanders outside, he sees that the, basically got a full shot of the grate. And the grate is, basically the last part of a structure where, it looks like a stone gazebo where a full church used to be. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And one of the elderly woman we saw making the crossword earlier comes up to him, and she has a old timey history book from the institute and says that’s where the baron hung the priest. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s like, what? It’s like, well, you know, it used to be a church. People would come from miles around to experience the alleged miracles that the water could do. It was a religious site as well. And Lockhart said, well, I guess some things never change. We’re all here. They’re then joined by the two older men we saw this woman with earlier and they all introduce themselves. We have Frank Hill from Stockholm, Ron Nair from London and Victoria Watkins. And she’s our amateur historian. And he tells her, well, it was so nice to meet you. Actually, Mr. Pembroke and I are headed back to New York today, and all the three of them were stunned into silence. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And Miss Watkins says so. He’s feeling better? Lockhart says well enough, I guess. We then of course, hear. He hears the ambient singing we heard earlier. La la la la. And he follows it to Mia Goth. Also, I realize I’m singing the song from Don’t Look Now. That. So what do you hear that? It does. It is that exact song from the beginning of that movie, but a creepy. 


Alison Leiby: Very creepy. 


Halle Kiefer: Tune. And he hears it and he follows it and he finds Mia Goth walking still barefoot. She never wears a damn shoe in this movie. At any point in time, no matter where she’s at or what she’s doing. 


Alison Leiby: Get a shoe on this woman. It’s all uneven stone. 


Halle Kiefer: And her feet are, of course, filthy. And she’s dropping something into the water. And he goes. Are you feeding something in there? You’re feeding a fish? And she says, yeah, at the bottom or something. But he looks and he says, I can’t. I can’t see anything. He says. Are you a patient here, too? You’re a lot younger than everyone else. She says, well, so are you, Mr. Volmer or a Dr. Volmer says, I’m a special case. And he says, well, you know, we’re leaving. And she goes, well, why would you leave? No one ever leaves. He says people keep saying that but why would you ever want to? Why would you want to leave this place? 


Alison Leiby: I mean to be honest? I wouldn’t leave.


Halle Kiefer: I mean. If it wasn’t for all the eels that seemed to be involved. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. I would if it was just like a castle with a lot of, like, saunas in it. 


Halle Kiefer: Now we’re talking. 


Alison Leiby: Stay there forever. 


Halle Kiefer: And he asks her. Well, where did where do you hear that song that you’re singing? And we realized it’s the same song from the ballerina music box that his mother made. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: But she kind of, you know, she kind of brushes it off, and she’s sort of like, okay. I mean, I was talked to a strange man for too long, but before she leaves, he asks her name and she says, It’s Hannah and I’m eeling good. [sings] Lockhart goes back to collect Mr. Pembroke, only to find Mr. Pembroke’s room is now empty and cleaned up. Mr. Pembroke is nowhere to be found. He then goes bust in on lunch where everyone’s eating, and Doctor Volmer is kind of holding court, you know, like entertaining this big long table of patients. And he’s like, oh, sorry. Don’t panic, Mr. Pembroke sadly did take a turn for the worse and had to be escalated to the next level of care. So we actually moved him to a much nicer room. You know, you don’t worry about him. He’s like, so what care are we talking about? Because it seems like you’re just giving old people water. I will call a lawyer if I don’t get to talk to that guy. Like what is happening here? But as he’s talking, Lockhart’s nose starts to bleed profusely and everyone turns to stop and stare at him. And as they’re watching, he starts to lose consciousness and he collapses and he collapses. And what he does, he grabs the tablecloth and everything flies off the table. And God, that’d be satisfying. 


Alison Leiby: That would be really satisfying. 


Halle Kiefer: Volmer takes him down to the clinic and examine him and says, you seem fine. It’s probably the altitude you’ve had. You were in the accident. You probably, you know, your blood pressure drops. And. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. 


Halle Kiefer: Lockhart has some sit, or Volmer has Lockhart sit with him across his desk and sees on the desk is a framed photo of Hannah. And Volmer says, yeah, she’s been here. I mean, almost her whole life. She’s like a daughter to me. She was exposed to a really serious trauma when she was very young and it delayed her development. She actually didn’t speak a word until she was 11. It’s like, oh, Volmer tells Lockhart. Just, so you know. 


Alison Leiby: That’s her vibe. 


Halle Kiefer: That’s like, okay, Volmer tells Lockhart, you know, I took the liberty of writing some tests, when you were unconscious after your accident. Love to hear a doctor say that. Yeah, it looks like, you know, you’ve got a couple things. You got a fluid imbalance, your humors are all out of whack. Your, your brains and back are worse than I ever seen it. Basically like it. Just everything you say is like. That’s not something you can  test for or like, there’s not. That doesn’t explain what’s going on. 


Alison Leiby: But no, not at all. 


Halle Kiefer: He has to say he’s unwell. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And he leans in and of course Lockhart’s like, I am fine. Yes, I work all the time. Yes, I am miserable. Yes, I only care about, ambition because I never dealt with my father’s suicide. But I’m fine. And and Volmer says. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, totally fine. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, when’s the last time you actually felt. Well, be honest, I was like, that’s that’s a tough question to ask anybody. 


Alison Leiby: I 1987? I was four.


Halle Kiefer: Volmer says, you know, Mister Pembroke is going to need a couple more days of care at least. And while you’re here, why not? Why not indulge and enjoy these treatments? 


[clip from A Cure for Wellness]: What we offer here is a simple process of purification away from the pressures of the modern world, a return to a simpler time. 


Halle Kiefer: Which at this point it is. It’s believable only. Only in as much as we have Gwyneth Paltrow leading the front. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Where it’s like, I have to reduce the toxins in my body. I have to, I have. 


Alison Leiby: Literally that’s your liver’s job, and it does it—


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. I don’t, you know, drink lemon water. You know, just like all these things, the idea of the pure vacation of the body, you know, again, tying also to whiteness, this the history of this, like, insane, eugenicist, eugenics loving, incestuous baron will purify, will return to simpler times. And Lockhart said, okay, I guess if I’m hear which to me I’m like, it’s too late for that. But in order for the rest of the movie to happen, he has to be amicable to it. You got a total lady and he’s not going to, like, do anything crazy, right? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: Volmer steps out of the hall to grab a nurse to be like, great. We’ll get his treatments, schedule set up, and while he’s gone, Lockhart grabs Pembroke’s file and hides it under his robe, and he almost knocks over one of the blue glass vials, but luckily grabs it before it hits the ground, and when Volmer returns. Lockhart is admiring. It’s a locket necklace sort of draped over a little velvet picture frame, and the locket is engraved with letters V.R., Von Reichmerl, the Baron’s family. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: And Volmer says yes, that was actually found during the reconstruction. It belonged to the Baroness. Her name was Vanessa Van Reichmerl. You know, she was sickly and the Baron was obsessed with with finding a cure. And in fact, it was him in his quest to cure his sister, wife, he discovered the medicinal properties of the water. And Lockhart said, wow, he must loved her a lot, you know, like a sister. And Volmer doesn’t react to that but I did think that was funny. 


Alison Leiby: That is funny. 


Halle Kiefer: And Volmer says, you know, history is right to judge. But as a man of science, boy, I can’t help to admire him. There’s a lot of that in society that we need to work on. It’s like, well, he was evil. But I did figure out, something science. So I guess, how does it weighs that out? It’s like. I don’t think so. He then hands Lockhart a pee cup. He’s like, great, let’s go ahead and give me a sample. We’ll get started. Setting up your treatments, and we see, like go to the bathroom. He, when he pees in the pee cup, there’s a, like a drawer in the wall that you slide open and put it in, and then someone slides in from the other side. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. Like, like a glory hole for pee. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, exactly. I’m sure plenty of gory pulls have been made for pee. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, so it’s perfect. Really? Yeah. It’s a medical, a medicinal glory hole. [laughs] And when he goes to put his pee in there, he sees a pee cup. That it is Victoria Watkins, the woman he met who’s like the amateur historian. Okay, Alison, this is maybe the worst piss I’ve ever seen. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, it’s nothing like a bad piss. 


Halle Kiefer: It looks like a Negroni at the bottom. A layer of, like a layer, a layer of lemonade on top. And then it looks like floating algae on top of it. Time for his first treatment to get well, Alison. The first they put him in is a sensory deprivation tank, but it looks like. Did you see. Oh my God. Oh, the Shape of Water. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: It’s like a. You would hate it. 


Alison Leiby: I know. 


Halle Kiefer: You would hate it. 


Alison Leiby: [laughs] I know.


Halle Kiefer: Fucking, a frog man. Yeah. I you would not care for. But it’s a big like it looks like a again. It was built in the early 1900s, so it’s like a big iron tank. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: You fully get in and you have a oxygen mask on and sensors on, and then they fill it to the top with water. Extremely dangerous. At least leave a foot of air. 


Alison Leiby: I mean. 


Halle Kiefer: In case something goes wrong. We’re not doing that anywhere. That’s of the past. 


Alison Leiby: That’s the past. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And he’s in there and there’s a window that looks out into. There’s like an attendee that monitors you and they could talk to you. So Volmer is talking over intercom. Just saying the treatment last 30 minutes. Their employee will be here monitoring the tank the whole time. 


Alison Leiby: I’m so sorry. 


Halle Kiefer: If you have any problems, just rap on the side of the tank and he will get you out. Don’t worry and you’ll be able to see each other the whole time. So Volmer leaves with one of the nurses and the attendee stays and we see. Lockhart close his eyes and we see again he revisits that day on the bridge with his father. Of course, you would think about it every second of the day. So horrible.


Alison Leiby: It’s the first thing that would come into your mind if you were submerged in a tank for a half hour. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely. We then see is him playing with a kite, running, like, sort of an early memory with his father running with a kite, like playing with his dad. And we see a shadow play over Lockhart’s face. Alison, what do you think it’s a shadow of. 


Alison Leiby: An eel?


Halle Kiefer: It’s an eel, baby. Unfortunately, instead of being, you know, sensitive to the eel, the number of eels in the tank, the attendee gets distracted because one of the nurses comes in. Also, all the nurses and attendees are white blonds. In case we’re not getting what this is about, this is like there is not a person of color working there. There’s not a brunette working here. It is Aryans.


Alison Leiby: Just Aryans, just ghost people. 


Halle Kiefer: And one of the nurses comes in to the control room and starts to unbutton her blouse and seduce the attendee. But it’s like the least sexy thing because she, like, basically takes off her dress to the like just her boobs are out, and then the attendee immediately like, doesn’t like, stops paying attention to the deprivation tank or sensory deprivation tank and just starts jerking off and I’m like, I guess they must do this a lot because that’s like a big swing. Like, you wouldn’t want to try to kiss her or like, you wanna go to him. 


Alison Leiby: Touch her or something. 


Halle Kiefer: And it’s very sterile and. 


Alison Leiby: Like to masturbation. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, it’s like masturbatory, but not like sexy or erotic like it is like this very—


Alison Leiby: Perfunctory. Like. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. So again, this is unnerving. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, unfortunately, Lockhart doesn’t know this. He opens his eyes, the tank, and we see the tank is just chockablock with eels, Alison, there have got to be a 50 eels in this goddamn tank. 


Alison Leiby: That is just too many eels.


Halle Kiefer: Too many eels. Listen, I can’t fight this eeling anymore Alison. And neither can Lockhart. He swims to the top and of course, the ox— There’s so many eels that is panic. He knocks off his oxygen mask and can’t get it back on.


Alison Leiby: Obviously. 


Halle Kiefer: Right. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God.


Halle Kiefer: And he’s pounding on the lid and we see that as he does the topless nurse, while the guy’s jerking off, takes the drops from the the blue vials that everyone has and puts it on the attendees tongue. And we see Lockhart inhale water, it starts to drift to the bottom into the eel pile. 


Alison Leiby: Eels. 


Halle Kiefer: And again, mentally, we are back in the day of his father’s suicide. We hear the economy is collapsing, I think he’s supposed to be about ten. So let’s say it’s 2007 and this is 11 years later. That makes sense. Like he’s 25 because he is younger. 


Alison Leiby: The 2008 collapse. Yeah, yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So I think it’s like his father, you know, died by suicide during that collapse. Again, I think we’re gonna think from that. He was Pembroke. He was a good person. He was just probably like. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: In despair. And unfortunately, poor ten year old Lockhart has to watch his dad literally get that only gets out of that, but he takes his briefcase. So incase again, we didn’t get it. He’s taking his briefcase and then he just plummets into the river below. Back at the institute, the attendee and the nurse drag him out of the tank and they’re like, oh, we’re so sorry. And he says, there’s something in there. There’s something in the water, of course. And they look at this and there’s no tanks in there. The attending there says, you know, some patients experience hallucinations. Like, you probably thought that you watch us, like, jerk it off and, like, you take my titties out. 


Alison Leiby: Guys. 


Halle Kiefer: But that didn’t happen either. You know, that’s probably the you thought that was happening at the eels thing. And the nurse says, yeah, it’s just toxins leaving the body. Like, it’s like I hallucinated 50 eels and that’s the toxins. Okay. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I saw you, like, take your clothes off. And then he jerked off, and that’s the toxins leaving my body. 


Halle Kiefer: Well, that’s pretty toxic, I suppose. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. 


Halle Kiefer: That night, Lockhart goes through a file of Pembroke’s, information that he stole, and we see all these X-rays. Pembroke teeth are slowly falling out. Like each one is worse and worse. Alison. You’d hate those. You hate it. The teeth stuff is. You know, we’ll have more of it later, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, that jar of teeth hasn’t hit yet, so. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, so he’s he’s look at the x-rays and he hears something like a jiggling and he realizes the toilet tank flush. The toilet flusher is jiggling. He’s like, that’s so bizarre. And when he looks out, he sees the gardener is wheeling what appears to be either it looks like a gurney with a body on it, into the catacombs underneath where the church used to be. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Again, go. Just leave. Just walk out. 


Alison Leiby: Walk out. 


Halle Kiefer: You have seen too much. You see the eels, you have seen somebody in the middle of the night doing something potentially with a body, or we don’t know what’s going on. Get out of there. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Instead, the next day, Lockhart goes to see Mrs. Watkins and asks, like, so what was this old church? It’s like, okay, so there used to be a church. What did this main building, what was that used for? Was this like the living space, like, you know, and she’s like, I actually don’t know that, but I did find out something else. It turns out the villagers didn’t actually attack the Baron and the Baroness because of the incest and the, you know, defying God, you know, by their, with their unholy union is because they found out the baron was doing experiments on the local townspeople and they didn’t know. And he was stealing travelers, you know, people passing through the area who were people who came up to the castle. They’ve discovered dead bodies buried in the fields where they grew their crops, and they were all dried up like the mummies of Egypt. Lockhart, at least to his credit is like, well, I’m just going to fucking get in this old church and see what’s under there. Like I if you don’t know, I’m gonna figure this out. And the gardener accosts him, but also the gardener doesn’t speak any English. So, Lockhart’s trying to ask him stuff the gardener try to argue with him. Eventually he gives up. He goes back over to the pool where Hannah is, and it’s just like a it’s like a, fountain. Like, it’s not like a swimming pool. It’s just a pool for fish being in or other things. 


Alison Leiby: Just like water. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yeah, like a reflecting pool. And he says, are you going to go swimming? And she says, I’m not supposed to. She asks, how far is town? It is. Well, it’s a couple miles away, but you can’t. You’re on crutches. He says, well, can I take your bike because we see her, you know, with a bike on the premises. 


Alison Leiby: How’s he going to ride a bike? 


Halle Kiefer: And that’s what she says. Well, how are you gonna do it? And he’s like, well, maybe you could go. Maybe you, you maybe you could drive and I’ll be on the back, like maybe I in the back and you could bike. And she says, okay, but what will you give me in return? And the only thing he has on hand is the ballerina that his mother made. And he said it tells her to think about the dreaming, like her eyes are closed because she’s dreaming, and Hannah, because she’s, been raised in a sanatorium, thinks that’s just great. She doesn’t anything, she can’t, she’s like—


Alison Leiby: Yeah, she’s like, oh, well, you know, like. 


Halle Kiefer: This guy has gave you a ballerina. This guy’s my husband or something. I don’t know, but Hannah says, well, what happens when the ballerina wakes up, and Lockhart says I don’t know what happens, I don’t know. So they head down the hill. They end up at the town bar where they run into the driver who is wasted, and he says, oh my God, I didn’t know what happened to you. But the sanatorium bought me a new car. So I think everything happens for a reason. It was a really old car. Lockhart’s like, okay, thanks. Lockhart asks is there a doctor in town or a pharmacy that he could, like, go take? He thinks he’s going to take Pembroke file and be like, can I need someone to look at this and tell me because I’m not a medical person.


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And, the driver says, well, there’s Peter. He’s pretty close. He’s like, okay, I’ll, I’ll check it out. But he gets a beer for himself and Hannah, and they sit at a table and Lockhart gets to know Hannah, and she says her mother died when she was young. But Volmer says her father will come when she gets better. So she’s also, like everyone else there, she’s trying to get better, you know, she’s unwell. And Lockhart tells her, you know, I’ll be right back. I’m going to go talk to this guy, Peter. He gets there and he is a veterinarian. And his kids, one of his kids is playing just like like PlayStation and doesn’t look up at another one [?] oh his grandson [?] is drawing a is like drawing with crayons and Lockhart goes over to be like oh cool. And he looks at it’s drawing a picture of the castle burning down 200 years ago. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Cool.


Halle Kiefer: I think most grandsons are drawing, are drawing like Sonic the Hedgehog. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But that’s cool too. And Peter comes out and he has a his hand is covered in blood, and he’s drinking a beer with his bloody head like his one hand not covered in blood, presumably from an animal that just died. And I thought that was a very funny touch. 


Alison Leiby: That is funny. 


Halle Kiefer: And so Lockhart said, I just need you to. He gives him some cash, and he says, I need you to take a look at this file and tell me what’s going on with this person. And Peter says again, I am a vet, but I will look and he says, okay, well, this guy is unwell. His teeth are falling out really rapidly. 


Alison Leiby: That’s real. 


Halle Kiefer: And Lockhart says well, what would cause something like that? He’s like, honestly, from the looks of it, it looks like it’s chronic dehydration. Lockhart’s like what? All they do is fucking drink water up there. What does that mean? But of course, Lockhart’s no dummy, he’s like you know, I’ll be honest, like, I heard about the Baron’s experiments, which I’m assuming, you know, because everyone in town knows. And they found the dried out bodies in the field. What if the Institute has started back those experiments? Like what if they are doing something unscrupulous? They started picking up where the baron left off, you know, and he said, you know, because I found out that the Baron was doing that because his wife slash sister, she was sick. And Peter says, oh, sick. She wasn’t sick, she was infertile. Meanwhile, back to the bar. Hannah goes to the bathroom and everyone in the bar is a punk. Like they cast punks out of like a UCB improv class. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Got it. 


Halle Kiefer: Right like they’re punks. But that just for the day. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: They’re just for the day. 


Alison Leiby: Just for the day. 


Halle Kiefer: Versus like, you could hire some real punks, like, give some punk some money, you know? 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And two girls are like, do you have a tampon? But she seemingly has no idea what they’re talking about. It’s very Carrie, you know, like, she’s so sheltered. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Yes. She’s giving a Carrie vibe. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And also, she’s, like, in her late teens, early 20s, like, she’s not, she’s she’s at least of an age where she should have a period. 


Alison Leiby: 100%. 


Halle Kiefer: And she’s kind of shocked. There’s like bloody tissue in the trash can. And I have a bad feeling about this. Alison, after she pees and the two punks leave, she sees they left an uncapped Mac lipstick like a red lipstick on. So she immediately steals it because, of course you would. You’re like, I’ve never seen makeup. I don’t know, I this is like a piece of the world. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah. Yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, back at the vet, Peter tells Lockhart the Baroness couldn’t carry a baby to term. And apparently, you know, it makes sense. Her body was rejecting fetus after fetus because they were, because of the incest. There probably a lot of medical problems. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I would guess. 


Halle Kiefer: Because a pretty close, genetic connection. But, yeah, she wasn’t sick. She was infertile. And Lockhart’s like wow, thanks for telling me that. And than Peter goes basically goes like, you know this, I have to put down this cow today. It’s unwell. You know, it wandered where it wasn’t supposed to, and it broke his leg like someone else I know. And we found her in a ditch, and unfortunately, she was drinking the sewage water. And so she. We have to put her down. Alison, by put down, he literally reaches up and disembowel the live cow. 


Alison Leiby: Wait, what? 


Halle Kiefer: In front of Lockhart explodes everywhere. Water, blood, intestines. And worst of all, Alison. So many eels. 


Alison Leiby: So many eels.


Halle Kiefer: And then from the cows insides also. So there’s a dead calf fetus which is covered in little eels, which I wrote down as amateur eels. 


Alison Leiby: Amateur eels? Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And I don’t know how to eel how I eel about all this, you know, I’m saying. 


Alison Leiby: How does it eel? That’s my Bob Dylan.


Halle Kiefer: How does it eel? Back at the bar. We see a punk. Give Hannah a quarter and she puts on a funky little jam on the jukebox and starts dancing awkwardly. But again, she’s like, you know, she’s finally. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Outside of the walls of her doctor, who is also her father. And also everybody who’s 90 years old. Starts dancing. One of the punks is kind of dancing up her, and Lockhart gets back to the bar and ask, can I make a long distance call? And he calls Hank Green. And we see back at the, company, it is all hands on deck. Emergency. The SEC is there. Everyone has, like, files. It looks like they’re probably trying to destroy files. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he’s like, where the fuck are you? It’s been four days, he said. Did Pembroke have any preexisting conditions before he got here? He says no. He was healthy as a horse. Where the fuck are you two? The SEC. SEC is here. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Meanwhile, I guess. 


Alison Leiby: And how many days has it been? 


Halle Kiefer: It’s been five. It’s been five days. They thought they were gonna come back the next day with Pembroke. And. And he turned, Lockhart turns and sees one of the townees sort of grabbing Hannah. So he runs over, but then he grabs Hannah and says, what do they do up there? Why won’t they let me see Pembroke? What are those drops you take? What makes you so special? Like they’re freaking out, so the townees start shoving him to the ground and, sorry. He starts brawling with this townee, and the townee pulls out a blade, and the fight only stops when Volmer shows up with the deputy director and, some other guy to drive them back up to the sanatorium, and he takes Lockhart aside, says she might look like a woman, but she is just a child mentally. Okay, so I don’t believe it. If you’re taking here for a beer, that’s unacceptable. Okay. Lockhart demands to see Pembroke, and Volmer says you will see him. Let’s just go back up. Back at the sanatorium. Volmer chews Hannah out and she tells him I don’t need protecting. We’re having fun. It’s not like, you know, he’s not like the others. He’s young. I’m allowed to do something again. Like the classic. Like I have a lot to do. Something. I’m not a princess in the castle. Who cares? I’m a I’m an adult woman now. Or almost as she grabs her abdomen and he rushes to her, but she slaps and he’s like, just leave me alone. And she says to him, when will I be ready? Like, when will I be well? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And he tells her, soon you’ll be ready and then you’ll be cured. And she says, and then my father will come. And he says, yes, he will. And he puts her to bed. Down in the steam rooms, Lockhart emerges out of the mist to see Hannah nude in a tub. But when he comes closer, you better believe that tub is full of eels. It turns out it’s a dream. Lockhart wakes up with a start, and he hears again the toilet handle jiggle. And he goes to the bathroom when he looks out the window and the gardener is once, once again, seemingly bringing what appears to my eyes to be a dead body or a older dying body on a gurney into the old church part into the catacombs. Alison. When Lockhart looks himself in the mirror, he reaches up and he realizes one of his teeth is loose and he pulls it out. 


Alison Leiby: How would the eel water, make your teeth fall out. I’m guess maybe we’ll find out. 


Halle Kiefer: Maybe we will, and maybe we won’t. He goes down to the pharmacy in a panic. It goes in an all night pharmacy. And the nurse. All the nurses are too chipper. The nurse says, let me get this in some milk, okay? 


Alison Leiby: Ugh.


Halle Kiefer: Pops it in some milk. Do you remember that as a kid, like your teeth falls out? Your were suppose to put it in a glass of milk. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I guess you can put it in water too, but I remember the. I dunno if it’s the calcium or something, or like, maybe it doesn’t. 


Alison Leiby: I guess. 


Halle Kiefer: Proteins, I don’t know. But. Well, she got it. [both speaking] Yeah. When she goes, he’s able to reach over and look at the, patient schedules to find out where Pembroke is. Alison, he’s getting a transfusion. Don’t love that. 


Alison Leiby: That doesn’t sound like something this place is, like, equipped to do. Like it feels like, oh, more spa than med. 


Halle Kiefer: And also what is he being transfused with? 


Alison Leiby: Well yes, what are they transfusing. 


Halle Kiefer: When indeed. Alison, he, he sneaks down into the subbasement where the transfusion rooms are. He’s not supposed to be down there, obviously. And we see a bunch of, like, orderlies and nurses walking around, so he kind of ducks into a room, only to find Mrs. Watkins nude on a gurney in a darkened room. But it has, like, a bunch of storage in it. And he wakes her up. He says, do you know where Mr. Pembroke is? Where he should be  like, what the fuck are you doing down here? 


Alison Leiby: Right. What’s happening? 


Halle Kiefer: He says no, you. You took him back to New York, so. Well, obviously not. I’m still here. He says, look, I know you know about the history. I think that they’re doing the Baron’s experiments again. I think that Volmer is, like, doing this insane shit. I don’t know what to do. And she said, no, they’re not experiments. They’re the cure. And they work too, because the Baroness, his wife, was pregnant when she was killed. And Lockhart is like, oh, okay. So they had a kid. It’s like, well, they cut the fetus out of her. She was almost nine months pregnant. They cut the fetus out of her and threw it in the aquifer. 


Alison Leiby: What? 


Halle Kiefer: But the baby survived. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, God. 


Halle Kiefer: And then she grabs him by the arm. Classic horror movie. Grab by the arm and say something inscrutable. She says don’t tell her. He looks down, he sees Mrs. Watkins has a little eel squirming underneath her skin. So he rears back and he knocks over like a huge cart full of vials, making the most possible noise you could. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. So noisy. 


Halle Kiefer: The nurse and orderlies run over to the room. He’s able to narrowly escaped out back into another room. And this room? He walks in and it looks like, everything, you know, sort of like they think of, like the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, fetuses that are floating in jars. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So these are, the patients. So there’s, like, 12 patients in these big green, like, sort of glass enclosures. They’re floating in milky green water, including Pembroke. And when he looks, Pembroke blinks in the water. 


Alison Leiby: No, mm mm I don’t wanna see that.


Halle Kiefer: Of course. Lockhart runs into the hallway in a panic, and he, of course, is found by Volmer. Lockhart tries to play it off like, oh, I went to the wrong wing. I was suppose to go to water aerobics. But Volmer already knows he’s dealing with a tooth thing. And Volmer says, come on in here. Come to my dentist’s office and we’ll check it out. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, they have a full dentist office. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: I just like there is no evidence that Volmer is a dentist. 


Alison Leiby: No, of course not. 


Halle Kiefer: But they have Lockhart sit in the chair, and in the trailer you see a jar of teeth, and then within the teeth you see something move. You see the jar like the teeth shift in the jar. But again, Lockhart’s like this is really happening. 


Alison Leiby: Do you have to store eel’s in teeth? Is that something that happens. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, again, much, much like, we don’t know how they reproduce. We don’t know how you store them. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, well. 


Halle Kiefer: Maybe it’s in a big jar of teeth I don’t know. 


Alison Leiby: It could be a big jar of teeth. 


Halle Kiefer: Volmer asks what Lockhart was doing with Hannah in town, and Lockhart said, getting a beer. And of course the orderlies grab him and tie him to the dentist chair. Alison.


Alison Leiby: No.


Halle Kiefer: And they put in, like a metal jaw expander. And Volmer explains, you know, they don’t use we don’t use chemical anesthesia anesthesia, and we don’t use chemical anesthesia because it interferes with the cure, obviously. 


Alison Leiby: I want anesthesia for getting a cleaning like. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s I don’t worry. I have been doing this forever, Alison. He literally takes a drill and then just drills sideways through one of Lockhart’s first teeth, breaking it off. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: He doesn’t even attempt to be like, I’m doing something that’s about. He’s like [makes sound] drills directly. It’s awful.


Alison Leiby: Oh my God, I have to go to the dentist next week. And this is not making me excited to go. 


Halle Kiefer: I need to go to. Outside, a new guest arrives. And they escort her inside. She’s like, oh, I booked two weeks. I probably spent too much money. They’re like, oh no, you’re going to love it here. You’ll never want to leave. And of course, they bring her in and it’s the same driver that we saw before. And as soon as she goes in, Lockhart again. He’s a very smart person. Dives in the back seat and says, drive me fucking back to town with you? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: So the driver does and takes him to the police station and of course, the police, who again is the only cop in a mountain town that is seemingly under the thrall of the sanatorium. And the, head thereof says. Are you sure about all that? Are you sure about that? You know everything he says, and it is preposterous. But also, it’s so insane. I do think you have to go take a look you know what I mean. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: And the chief says, you know what? I will look into it. Don’t worry. You wait here in my office and I’ll go make a phone call. Of course, as soon as he leaves, Lockhart sees he has, like, shelves of historical artifact artifacts and, of course, a blue vial of the drops. 


Alison Leiby: Obviously. Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: A car arrives outside, and Volmer, the police chief and the deputy director of the center, come in. And, of course, they’re like, we’re so sorry about this, chief. He’s not a well man, you know. Lockhart, come with us. You know he’s a patient here. He’s been here like a week. Of course, Lockhart’s like. I am not a patient. I was here to pick someone up, and he grabs a letter opener off the table and says, I am not insane. You’re not doing this? And Volmer says, look, this does happen when the cure brings a lot of, again, you’re purging, you know, so it’s bringing up a lot of, if you have any unprocessed childhood trauma that could be reactivated, for example, for you it’s the suicide of your father. And Lockhart says, how do you know that? I never told you that. And Volmer says, it’s pretty obvious.


Alison Leiby: Is it? 


Halle Kiefer: But it’s sort of like the other guys, like, I’ve seen it all versus like. But how how did you see it for me? 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: And Lockhart says no, I saw Pembroke floating in a fucking fucking tank. There’s no way he didn’t have, like, any apparatus. It’s like, that guy’s probably dead by now. Of course, Pembroke walks in there and says, this man tried to take me back to New York against my will this man tried to kidnap me. And the chief says Mr. Lockhart, that’s against the law. But Volmer, Volmer waves them off and says Mr. Lockhart is not a criminal. He’s unwell. We need to take him back to the sanatorium and help him and Lockhart. There’s nothing you could do. They take him back up the hill. Back at his room, he was able to go to Mrs., Watkins room and get her history book and her cut out crossword slips of paper, and he’s trying to examine it. And again, we hear the toilet handle jiggling. And he goes into the bathroom and of course we see the gardener again. But then he turns to the toilet and he takes the top off the toilet tank, and it’s full of eels. 


Alison Leiby: Of course. I can’t eel my face when I’m with you, I’m just trying—


Halle Kiefer: Hell yeah. Well, that was great. That was perfect. I will say this is a scene where I’m like, we’ve already seen so much. The idea that there’s eel’s the toilet tank, while distressing that it’s too late in the game for that it’s too late in the film, you know what I mean?


Alison Leiby: It’s like we eel’s and a jar of teeth. We saw eels in a woman’s skin. We were like, yeah, like toilet is like, just kind of, like, not shocking enough. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. It’s so. Yeah, I just think that this probably could have been in the edit for sure. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: He did. He puts, he slaps down, but then he opens again and it’s empty. But then when he throws open the toilet lid, there’s so much toilet work at this. He throws over the lid and we see the tail of an eel disappear. So the idea that there were eels in the toilet. But they’re gone. So this man stands up and just murders a toilet. Like, rips the toilet, like throws it, smashes it. And we see him writing his own letter. We hear in voiceover a man cannot unsee the truth. Lockhart sees himself as his father on the bridge that day. So we see the father, but then when we reverse on it, it’s Lockhart himself. Obviously, he’s he’s making the connection. You know, in some ways, perhaps this is working, that he understands himself more. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Can’t argue with results. He. While he’s doing this, he had a look, a realization that he smashes like his carafe, and he uses a big piece of broken glass to cut off his cast. Alison, his leg was never broken. 


Alison Leiby: Oh my God. 


Halle Kiefer: And with that, Lockhart heads to the old church and down in the catacombs so he could finally find the truth of what the hell’s going on around here. 


Alison Leiby: What is going on. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, in addition to answering that question soon, I ask you this question. Who will survive? 


[voice over]: Who will survive. 


Alison Leiby: I don’t think Lockhart is going to survive. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. What about Volmer? The head of the institute. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, I think he will. Survive and continue his practice. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, and what about Hannah? 


Alison Leiby: I think Hannah might die. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. 




Halle Kiefer: Down in the catacombs. Lockhart finds the Baron’s laboratory. It’s clearly being used again. If it ever stopped being used. And it looks like the phantom of the opera’s laboratory. Right?


Alison Leiby: Okay. Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: So like candles everywhere. Like those big old timey, like. I don’t even know what that word from, but it’s like old timey glass apparatuses. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very much, from the Willy Wonka experience. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. 


Alison Leiby: The woman who was the oompa loompa like, standing in front of a bunch of, like, science equipment. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: Exactly. That’s that’s what we’re looking at here. And of course, the main subject of the investigation. Alison, you know what I’m going to say? It is eels, baby. 


Alison Leiby: Eel’s baby. 


Halle Kiefer: We’ve got, actual eel’s, like, flayed. We have, eels in jars. We have, diagrams of eel parts. You see a bunch of fetuses in jars. 


Alison Leiby: Eel or human? 


Halle Kiefer: Human, which appear to be human. And we see at the end a painting of the Baroness, and she’s wearing—


Alison Leiby: Every lab needs a painting. 


Halle Kiefer: You got to have a painting, the Baroness. And there may be a hundred melty candles underneath it. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And then she’s wearing the locket that’s in Volmer’s office. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, the Baroness looks exactly like Hannah. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. No shit. 


Halle Kiefer: We. Then we see Hannah putting on the lipstick she got from the bar in the mirror, and we see her go down into one of these pools. We sort of cut between these two scenes. We see Hannah go down to one of these pools she’s wearing, like her white floaty dress, and grabs her abdomen. And she gets what our, taking to be is her first period and we see sort of blood blooming into the water. Alison, the eels come a runnin. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I my guess is eels like blood. 


Halle Kiefer: I mean, that’s what I assume. Unfortunately, while she is terrified the eels don’t actually attack or the eels form a ring around her. A protective circle, if you will. Almost like the eels. Remember her or know her. Meanwhile, Lockhart goes down to the catacombs and finds this big underground lake, and there is a gurney with a body on it that we saw. The gardener took down—


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Times and he peels it, pulls back the sheet. It is Mrs. Watkins. She has died. Okay. She wasn’t in good shape before because all the eels on her skin. And now she is, dead as a doorknob. The gardener comes down and finds him there, and they start brawling, and Lockhart ends up having to kill the gardener with his own shovel. 


Alison Leiby: Jesus Christ. 


Halle Kiefer: Lockhart. Oh. But before that happens, he sees the gardener dump Mrs. Watkins body into the lake, and the eels eat it. They are feeding the court. That’s why no one ever comes down from the mountain. 


Alison Leiby: In a frenzy? Or just kind of chill. 


Halle Kiefer: Oh, baby, you better believe they’re in a frenzy. 


Alison Leiby: You know, those eels are. 


Halle Kiefer: A great question. And yes, is it a complete eel frenzy? So they run back inside. Lockhart finds. He runs back inside. Hannah runs back inside, and Lockhart finds Hannah in the hallway and grabs her. Is basically, we gotta get the fuck out of here. But she punches him in the face because she’s like, I don’t I can’t deal with this right now. She runs in to find Volmer, who’s again hosting a meal with all the patients. She runs in soaked, her dress covered in blood. He realizes she’s had her first period. Lockhart runs in after her and Volmer demands, like he’s out of his room. Please take this man. He’s unwell. Take the patient back to the room. And Lockhart says, I am not a patient. And he turns. He’s trying to plead with everybody. Says this place is making you sick. It’s in the water. I saw the bodies they’re all dried like mummies. You’re you’re dying and you don’t even see it. And a woman says, no, I’m here for the cure. And he screams, there is no cure. Slowly, some of the patients are standing up and he, of course, foolishly, is like, good, you’re listening to me. Everyone stand up. We got to get out of here. He’s making you sick. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: Of course, they all start saying mumbling like zombies. Like I am not well, I’m not well. Advancing on him and grabbing him. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison, Volmer and his cronies take Lockhart down, to the infusion room and lock him in an iron lung. Yeah, and next to him is Pembroke, and he says, what have they done to you? Pembroke. And Pembroke says, done to me. I’ve never felt better. Alison. We look up and unfortunately hanging over him is a big glass, like, almost, you know, like a big plastic jug. You had, like, horchata in at a party. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. Yes, it. 


Halle Kiefer: Is attached to a tube, and in that tub is a bunch of eels and brackish eel water. Volmer comes in and says. 


Alison Leiby: Okay, yuck. 


Halle Kiefer: You know, this species lives about 12 years, most places in the water of the aquifer. They can live up to 300 years. 


Alison Leiby: We don’t need 300 year old eels. 


Halle Kiefer: Absolutely not. Volmer says, you know, the Baron figured out that the water is toxic to humans, but if you filtered the water through the human body, it distills it to a life giving essence. And he of course has this like villain monologue. He says humanity rid himself of God, of hierarchy, and of everything that gave him meaning, leaving him worshiping at the altar of his own ambition. I’ll tell you right now, you did not get rid of hierarchy. 


Alison Leiby: There’s no there is still a lot of hierarchy going on. 


Halle Kiefer: The basis of this institute is this man was so ravenously consumed by the idea of blood purity that he. He created an incestuous chain of events that have led us here today. One would argue that was the ultimate hierarchy. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: To redeem yourself so godlike as to, want to procreate with your own sister. The hierarchy is inescapable, right? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Halle Kiefer: And he tells Lockhart, you know, you’re right that no one leaves, Mr. Lockhart. But what you fail to understand is no one wants to. You know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because only then is there hope for a cure. Before Lockhart could even say. What does that mean? 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Volmer puts a tube into Lockhart’s mouth and starts pumping in the eel water and the eels themselves. And they’re smaller, but they’re still. They’re not little. 


Alison Leiby: No. No. 


Halle Kiefer: Into his mouth. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: No. And then we see under the iron lung. Like. Like it’s a drip. Like if you ever see. Like you put like a, like a drain, I guess, into the side of a tree to get maple sirup out. The liquid is dripping out of a tube into a blue vial. So I’m like, wait, so is it peepee? I think it’s. I think it’s peepee. 


Alison Leiby: Think it’s people. 


Halle Kiefer: And I guess I don’t know why that really struck me. I was like, I guess I didn’t know they were just drinking piss. 


Alison Leiby: So why was that one lady’s pee like a Negroni? 


Halle Kiefer: Well, I think that that’s. I know, I think that it’s she was headed there, but she hadn’t got there yet. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: I think they wanted it to be more like a Negroni. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. They want me want it to be all eels. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, they. I think that maybe the Negroni part was the eel. 


Alison Leiby: Sure. 


Halle Kiefer: Inside, Volmer gives Hannah a blue dress to mark her, menstruation. It is, of course, the same dress the Baroness wears in the painting the catacombs. 


Alison Leiby: Obviously. 


And he says, I will always be here to take care of you. You’re a woman now. But of course, she’s like, I want to go with them if I like. It’s like, can I not ever leave like I. What does this mean. 


Alison Leiby: This, I thought this was what I was waiting for. And here I am, still here. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. He’s like, no, you’ll just stay here with me. And Hannah, of course, is depressed. She puts on the dress, though, and it’s daytime now. And she goes to find Lockhart and he’s sitting outside now. He’s in a white robe in a white pajamas. And say, that’s when it’s like, you know, you made me think I could leave one day. And he looks and he stares at her blankly. He says, why would you want to leave this place? And she puts the ballerina back in his hands. Alison. Distressingly, that night we see the staff in all white hooded robes and lanterns. 


Alison Leiby: Never want to see that. 


Halle Kiefer: They start, they go. It’s the middle of the night they go in, they line the, the walls of the castle. And at the very bottom we see it’s decorated with flowers and candles and lanterns. And while this is going on, we see Lockhart in his room, sort of in a stupor. But at the bottom of the castle wall is Volmer waiting in his own white cloak and emerging from a door. Is Hannah in her blue dress now in a veil? 


Alison Leiby: Great.


Halle Kiefer: A bridal veil. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. Does she marry an eel?


Halle Kiefer: Well, she’s marrying Volmer, and he’s the closest thing you’re going to get to—


Alison Leiby: He’s basically an eel.


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And she walks in and joins him, and he puts the baroness’s locket on her neck, making her his bride. And all the patients and staff lift their lanterns, and they sort of drop white streamers down over them, and they take them back up. And now it’s just a party. So the staff is dancing in their white robes. Classical dancing. It was Hannah and Volmer spinning around, and he says, come with me. And of course, they go down to the Baron’s lab. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he pulls back the curtain, revealing a bed. And she says, what is this place? A reasonable question. 


Alison Leiby: A great question. 


Halle Kiefer: And Volmer says, this is the place where you began. Alison. Hannah is his daughter. And he is now going to attempt to breed her. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: On his marital bed that he had with his with her mother and she says— 


Alison Leiby: Which I gotta believe, was, like, related to him too. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes, absolutely. She tells him, I don’t want to do that, which I think again great just to have her say it. And he tells her, you look just like she did on our wedding night. The night she was taken from me. Alison, who is Volmer? 


Alison Leiby: The Baron. 


Halle Kiefer: He’s the Baron. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. And his wife was his sister? 


Halle Kiefer: And Hannah is their daughter, who was  cut from the sister wife’s womb and thrown into the aquifer. And I think that’s also why we’re to think that she. She was exposed to it so early that she has, like a special connection to the eels, which is why they formed that circle around her. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, they’re like friends and shit, right? 


Halle Kiefer: Like she could be around them in a way that other people can’t. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. She’s of the eels. 


Halle Kiefer: But yes. Just to summarize, this man, 200 years ago, did impregnate his sister multiple times. 


Alison Leiby: How’s he still alive? 


Halle Kiefer: Well, that’s the thing, Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: you know, you had to take it from the blue vial. That’s what they’ve been distilling this whole time. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: It is essentially an elixir that extends your life. Unfortunately, in this case, for Hannah, extending your life means that she or her father brother—


Alison Leiby: Husband. 


Halle Kiefer: Was waiting for her to have her period so he could impregnate her. And it just took a really long time. You know what I mean?


Alison Leiby: Well, probably the eels are related. 


Halle Kiefer: And in case we didn’t get this, but I think for me, when I saw it, I’m like, oh, no. Okay, upstairs, we see Lockhart is going through Mrs. Watkins history book, and he goes to Volmer’s office and he finds a photo of the institute from, after the fires in 1912. And we see a figure whose face is wrapped. It’s completely bandaged up. 


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: Of course we know that’s Volmer. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: And he takes the picture and he picks up. He smashes it. And when he’s able to get the picture out, he’s able to move the frame out of the way and see that just cut off. The person with the bandage face is holding the hand of a little girl, and it’s obviously Hannah. And this was 1912. So the idea is like because of how she was born, she it took her 200 years to mature. Basically. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. 


Halle Kiefer: Unfortunately, down in the, Baron’s laboratory, Volmer is tying his daughter to the bed. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: And tells her soon we’ll be a family again. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: The way we were supposed to be. 


Alison Leiby: Mm mm. 


Halle Kiefer: And she was able she’s able to get her hand free at one point and slaps across the face and he laughs and says, don’t worry. My sister was somewhat resistant at first, but after a while she grew to like it. He says. 


[clip from A Cure for Wellness]: We tried so many times to make something pure. That something was you. 


Halle Kiefer: I wrote white people problems. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. [laughs]


Halle Kiefer: He rips off the front of her dress, exposing Mia Goth’s bare breasts. And then, of course, is so erotically is so turned on by this. Alison, you’re going to hate this. He reaches under her dress and clearly just jams his fingers into her vagina because of her reaction. And then he takes his fingers out and he smells them. And he says, I’ve waited so long. 


Alison Leiby: I hope he dies. 


Halle Kiefer: Alison. I can’t fight this eeling anymore. But yes, as Lockhart has realized, as we have just realized that the man with the bandage face holding the hand, little girl is Volmer. Volmer is the Baron, and Hannah is his daughter with his sister wife. And they both have extended lives because the eel juice does work. 


Alison Leiby: Yes. Eelings. Everybody has feeling. 


Halle Kiefer: Now. Alison, how do you eel about all that? 


Alison Leiby: I don’t eel good. 


Halle Kiefer: We see the figure of the ballerina fall to the ground, and then this brackish liquid splash all over it. That was like Gore. We get it. But actually, it’s gasoline and it’s literal. And Lockhart has appeared to he’s dousing the lab with gasoline. 


Alison Leiby: Great. 


Halle Kiefer: And, of course, Volmer turns around and says, you can’t keep her here forever. And Volmer says, oh, really? How do you think she’d do in your world? It’s like, well, she won’t be raped. 


Alison Leiby: Better than this, raped by her dad. 


Halle Kiefer: By her immortal mad scientist father. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay. A one bedroom in Long Island City doesn’t sound too shabby compared to that. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah, I think she could figure it out. 


Halle Kiefer: And Lockhart calls it again. It’s like she’s your daughter. And Volmer says, well, what have you ever loved? What have you ever sacrificed? What is the outside world have to offer other than this? You. And then Volmer reaches up and rips off his own face, which is a mask over his burned off, nose less face. Because when he was burned in the original fire. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: And I guess he was able to survive. And with sort of a mask, because of the eel Gatorade.


Alison Leiby: Stands to reason. 


Halle Kiefer: Gwyneth Paltrow found dead in a ditch. And Lockhart said, you’re right. The real world does only have me to offer. And then he flicks his fucking lighter, and he throws on the ground, and the whole goddamn lab starts to grow up. 


Alison Leiby: Thank God. 


Halle Kiefer: And unfortunately, Hannah is still tied to the bed, so it’s like, if she wasn’t, this would actually be great. But now Lockhart and Volmer are brawling like fire. Things can get fired. Smashing over lab equipment, exploding disaster. And then we also see, embers from the fire and the debris burning go up into the air ducts. I did write air ducts in a cave. All right. 


Alison Leiby: Sure, I guess. 


Halle Kiefer: And the sparks enter the main hall where the staff is still dancing and having their wedding party. The curtains ignite and everyone starts screaming and panicking as the staff and the patients try to flee the building. As, of course, the entire building starts to burn again like it did 200 years ago. Volmer manages to get Lockhart down to the edge of the underground lake. It’s basically like holding him over the lake, like classic villain style, you know, 90s villain. Well, he’s about to force Lockhart into the pool where the the, there will be a feeding frenzy and the eels will tear apart. And before they can even do that, Lockhart sees that Pembroke dead body is the next corpse that’s waiting there to be fed to the eels. It’s like I came all the way here. The SEC is not going to believe any of this. 


Alison Leiby: No. 


Halle Kiefer: But of course, he strangles Lockhart, and he says everything I’ve done has been for her. And then from behind them comes Hannah’s voice and she says, dad. And Volmer turns and calls to her, and she steps forward to him and smashes him in the skull with the gardener’s shovel. 


Alison Leiby: Hell yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: Which we saw earlier, sending him falling backward into the pool, and they watch his body be torn apart by eels. 


Alison Leiby: A fitting death. 


Halle Kiefer: And finally, the final gesture. Hannah takes off her locket and throws it in the water. And they walk upstairs to see the entire sanatorium on fire. 


Alison Leiby: Oh, good. 


Halle Kiefer: Some of the staff is trying to fight the flames, and a lot of the elderly patients are dancing on the lawn. And Mr. Nair from London, who we met earlier, turns to Lockhart, says, oh, it’s magnificent, isn’t it? You got me eeling hella good. So let’s just keep on dancing. Hannah, having been through that, says we gotta go and grabs her bicycle and says we have to go. And they bicycle down the hill. And as they’ve turned around a corner, they slam directly into a black car coming up the hill, and Lockhart flies off the bicycle over the car. Luckily he survives.


Alison Leiby: Okay. 


Halle Kiefer: The car is full of the, the other partners from his company, and they’re like, what the fuck is going on? We’re coming to get both of you. And they look up and see the entire sanatoriums on fire. And they say, what did you do? They tell him, get in the car. We got to get out of here. 


Alison Leiby: He saved the day. 


Halle Kiefer: And he refused to get in the car. He said, are you insane? And of course, this is him. He’s deciding. Am I going to go back to my my past, my life—


Alison Leiby: My life.


Halle Kiefer: And they say, are you insane? Lockhart says, actually, I’m feeling much better now. And he gets back on the bike with Hannah. And as they pedal down the hill, his face sort of contorts in this like insane, crazy grin. But I took it to be like it. Definitely positive. Sort of like I have now broken free. What’s going to happen now? 


Alison Leiby: Yes, yes. 


Halle Kiefer: The Cure for Wellness. Alison. 


Alison Leiby: Oh. 


Halle Kiefer: My question to you is okay. If the pee pee is some sort of magical elixir? What about the poo poo? What other parts of the body could they be using? 


Alison Leiby: Right? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I guess the poopoo could be magic. I think pee is working. 


Halle Kiefer: Thank you. I appreciate you saying that. 


Alison Leiby: How did, like—


Halle Kiefer: How to do it? I’m gonna do my best to answer this question. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. I’m just like. I’m like, how did, like. Like. How did they get people to do this? Like was it did they like did that. Did they like particularly like reach out to like. Heads of industry who are like perhaps disillusioned by capitalism to try and be like, that’s the problem because, like, it doesn’t seem like that necessarily is correlated to anything with the eels like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I agree because I, because I was thinking for a while like, oh is the reason they’re loving it because it feels good. But then we don’t see like there’s, there’s no moment where Lockhart’s like, oh, actually like, you know, so I was in like a coma type way, like, oh, this is gross and awful, but, like, I actually do like this and that I can because then I’m like, I thought like, oh, we’re enjoying the relaxation. We enjoy being of service, but we don’t have to be in charge. We’re just being used as a cog in this like system. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: But there’s no implication that that’s true. So yeah, you do kind of want to know, you know, who did he get a brochure? How did people find out? 


Alison Leiby: How were they? How were they getting people to come. Like how were they advertising. Like did they it was it only like specific people would really make it effective? Like, I guess that part is a little gray for me, but the rest of it, yeah, was, eely, eely, eely scary. 


Halle Kiefer: And then finally. Oh, no. Are there any, feel mistakes you think people, might have made in A Cure for Wellness? 


[voice over]: Fatal mistakes. 


Alison Leiby: I mean, I guess the, the white supremacy to incest pipeline is, is direct and terrible. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: So obsession with purity and and all of that is, of course, the basis of everything that happens on this, but also. I guess, like not trying to take the cast off immed— Like. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, that’s. 


Alison Leiby: Why I’m like you. I don’t know. You know, when your bones are broken? 


Halle Kiefer: I would think so. I’ve only broken one bone. I broke my arm at soccer camp in high school or high school, but in my mind you would know, like. And also, I had to take pain medication. 


Alison Leiby: Right. 


Halle Kiefer: At least in the beginning, before it starts to set—


Alison Leiby: Like, would he think he was medicated? Were they medicating him? Like what? Like an earlier attempt to leave? 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: And also when they went down to the bar and you met the vet and all of that, like, that’s a time to then just like, keep leaving. Like, don’t. 


Halle Kiefer: Yes. Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: Like, go back for your boss. 


Halle Kiefer: And I think, I think another mistake is, deciding to become some sort of coffee filter for eel liquid instead of being like, wait, what could I how could I use my, power and wealth and reach to actually do good in the world, which I think what we’re think of Lockhart is like he was a piece of shit, but he did do the right thing, and he did go back and save her, and he was able to reflect on his own life. And he did live up to his father’s legacy, which is being a good person versus all the other rich people where it’s like how you didn’t think about any of that. You did think about, like doing good stuff. You had to go, right? You just have eels be like, put your in your mouth you stupid bitch, you know. 


Alison Leiby: Eel drip coffee. Yeah. But I mean. Then they got out of there. So I guess it all and it burned down. So hopefully over. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And I guess it’s sort of like the whole thing was a mistake. 


Alison Leiby: From top to bottom, just the entire enterprise. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, but I did like the, the the, escaped and got to be alive at the end. I wasn’t expecting I thought this I thought was just going to be. Scorched earth or. Yeah. And then only the eels live and then somebody will rebuild and find the eel water again or something. And then finally, where would you put A Cure for Wellness on the spooky scale? Alison? 


[voice over]: A spooky scare. 


Alison Leiby: I feel like this is a solid six. 


Halle Kiefer: Okay, great. 


Alison Leiby: I think, like, it’s a little over complicated. But. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. 


Alison Leiby: The eels and the teeth and the. And that’s the sanatorium, after all. And then, of course, like the white supremacy, incest is scary. Yeah, I think it’s 6 maybe even a 7, maybe six and a half. 


Halle Kiefer: I really like that. I do agree. I think it just needs to be cut down. I really enjoyed it, but. And I like certain scenes, but, like, I think you got to kill your darlings a little bit. And there a lot of scenes where it’s like, well, we already saw the eels this regard, so. 


Alison Leiby: We’re not like actually heightening them, but I’m not quite sure. Like why we need, like the toilet scene. Like, yeah, that needed to be earlier then or not at all. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah, I will say I do really enjoy I did really enjoy this movie. 


Alison Leiby: Yeah. 


Halle Kiefer: I’m going to give this a four because I do think eels are gross. I wasn’t scared because it had that like Crimson Peak. 


Alison Leiby: Like, yes, the gothic like super esthetic. 


Halle Kiefer: Yeah. And normally I don’t have a problem. Well, I guess I like period stuff to me is not as scary in the same way, like older movies are less scary to you. Like. Yeah. So like I said, in the past of like, they probably were dead anyways. So yeah, I’m gonna go over the four. Hope you guys just. I apologize for a long episode. How about, you’re welcome for a, long. 


Alison Leiby: You’re welcome. 


Halle Kiefer: Episode. And. Yeah, thank you for joining us, you guys. 


Alison Leiby: And, I’m eeling good. 


Halle Kiefer: Hell, yeah. Well. Well, until next time, guys, please, please. Keep spooky. Don’t forget to follow us at Ruined podcasts and Crooked Media on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for show updates. And if you’re just as opinionated as we are, consider dropping us a review. Ruined is a Radio Point and Crooked Media production, we’re your writers and hosts Halle Kiefer and Alison Leiby. This show is executive produced by Alex Bach, Sabrina Fonfeder and Houston Snyder, and recorded and edited by Kat Iossa. From Crooked Media our executive producer is Kendra James with production and promotional support from Ari Schwartz, Kyle Seglin, Julia Beach, Caroline Dunphy, and Ewa Okulate.