Them Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

«They» / Them

Genre horror, drama
Creators Little Marvin, Lena Waite
Cast: Deborah Iorinde (Livia Emory), Ashley Thomas (Henry Emory), Alison Pill (Elizabeth Wendell), Shahadi Wright Joseph (Ruby), Melody Hurd (Gracie), Ryan Kwanten (George), Liam McIntyre (Clark), Brooke Smith (Helen), Michael Harney (Otto), etc.
Amazon Prime Video Channel
Release year 2021
Series 10
Site IMDb

The action of the series takes place in 1953, when the black Emory family moves to the city of Compton, California. Mother, father and two daughters dream of settling in a new place, but the residents of the prestigious suburb are hostile – the locals do not want to see African Americans near them. Gossip model housewives and their superiority-obsessed husbands all try to make Emory’s existence a nightmare. The neighbors succeed in their endeavors, however, the Emory family is already in fear, feeling the ominous presence of inexplicable phenomena.

The main characters drive into the suburbs by car, peering into the walls of pastel houses that lined up along perfectly clean streets, decorated with short-cut lawns. The legendary song “Get Happy” performed by Judy Garland plays in the car. Suddenly, a perky jazz composition with a gospel call gradually slows down, turning into an eerie pulling sound. This melody, and indeed all the songs in the series, literally continue the plot, which gradually removes a beautiful wrapper from the image of an American idyll, behind which a rather unsightly underside is hidden.

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What’s good is that at the beginning of the first series, the showrunners help to understand the background of events, giving a short text reference about the mass migration from the southern states (Second Great Migration): from 1916 to 1970, many African Americans changed their place of residence in search of work outside the countryside.

Also, the creators of the series weave real estate agreements into the plot, according to which prestigious plots in favorable areas were forbidden to be sold to “persons of Negro blood”. By ignoring this clause of the agreement, the dark-skinned heroes of the series incur a series of persecutions, which gradually turns into a series of cruel and inhuman acts.

The series “They” is interesting for the disturbing, at first completely incomprehensible tension that reigns in the new home of the main characters. The Emory family moved not only out of a desire to improve the quality of life, in the past the characters experienced a tragedy that affected each of them. It is difficult to understand what drives the characters crazy, but the atmosphere in which they are, and the episodes that happen to them, turn the series into a real horror.

In the end, the showrunners will nevertheless reveal the essence of what is happening, shedding light on the essence of the otherworldly force. If not for this, the series at some point could have closed in a monotonous war with neighbors, but by the seventh episode the plot takes on a new wave of tension – absolutely everyone loses control over the situation, which reawakens interest in the finale.

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And one more thing – the series will not end on an intriguing scene, the story of the Emory family will be told to the very end (which will put an understandable, albeit symbolic, end). The second season, which has already been ordered by Amazon Prime, will tell the story of completely different characters.

It remains to be seen what direction the second season of “They” will take, the first one is entirely devoted to how scary it was to be black in the 1950s, when society only wants to appear civilized and virtuous. Where the series is truly original is in its depiction of anxiety – its writers amplify it with supernatural imagery that oppresses the characters far more than the real social pressures in the suburban community (curiously, the otherworldly can be disgusting, but it also reflects reality).

In some places, the showrunners still miss, depicting endless evil. Of course, in a horror story, everything can be very exaggerated and even metaphorical, but the absence of at least one positive character in the new environment of the main characters is a clear overkill and, frankly, a big minus of the series.

On the other hand, the main characters always evoke empathy, and the plot fully reveals their traumas. The course of the series develops quite interestingly and not always linearly, exploring the topic of racism at different levels. And, I want to say this again, the series performs all the functions of horror, great at manipulating the viewer’s tension. The entourage also plays a role (the style of the 50s is perfect for horror films), the staging and editing of scenes – all this is done at a high quality level.

Pros: a combination of the events of the Second Great Migration and mysticism; a truly frightening horror atmosphere; music that adds context; the story of the first season is fully revealed Cons: in the suburb where the main characters come, there is not a single positive hero – all the characters are evil incarnate Conclusion:

“Them” is a good example of quality and stylish horror that, with the help of suspense, reveals the problems of racism in the 50s.

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