Arts & Entertainment

The 'Haunting of Hill House' Creator Just Ended the Debate About the Show's Mysterious Ending

Sorry, but your theories are wrong.
IMAGE Netflix
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In the weeks since everyone binged The Haunting of Hill House, fans have been debating what seemed like a surprisingly positive ending (SPOILERS HERE): Hugh sacrifices himself to save his family from the horrible Red Room, and the show ends with Steve (Michiel Huisman), Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser), Theo (Kate Siegel), and Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) escaping Hill House and going back to their lives.

It seemed very happily ever after, until Jackson-Cohen gave an interview in which he posited a theory that the Crain children could really still be trapped in the Red Room.

His theory comes from a tiny detail in the final scene, where Luke's red cake could hint that the family never escaped that goddamn house.

This, of course, sparked a debate among fans trying to figure out if this cake was an intentional clue placed by the filmmakers or just a coincidence. It seemed that The Haunting of Hill House left fans with one more mystery to solve.

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But, the show's creator Mike Flanagan has just ended the debate for good, explaining in an interview with TV Line that the ending "can be read at face value."

I’ve said a lot about the ending, and I’m reluctant to say more. I like that people are able to put their own spin on things, so I’m not eager to take that away from them ... In this case, though, the ending can be read at face value ... If they’re still in the Red Room, it robs Hugh’s sacrifice [and the show itself] of any meaning. For me, it ends exactly as it appears to.

Hugh is dead, Nell is dead, Olivia is still dead. I always looked at it as just having a hint of peace, just a glimpse into the fact that life goes on, and there’s some acceptance for the surviving characters. Acceptance, peace and a little forgiveness doesn’t lessen the loss they experience in that episode; it only shows that life has a way of going on, and that these characters are finally accepting of that.

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Welp, thanks for ruining the fun, Mike.

Everything in the world of The Haunting of Hill House is happy and good. The end.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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