In Netflix’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,’ Mike Flanagan creates a potent cocktail of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, bringing the story of the House of the Usher to the audience. Full of blood and horror, the show follows Roderick Usher down memory lane as he reflects on his life, actions, and the choices that led to the downfall of his entire family. The show goes back and forth in time, revealing only what’s necessary and keeping the Usher family’s secrets intact until the final episode, where all the events fall into place, revealing a complicated picture of Roderick Usher’s life.
All this back and forth might have you confused at times. If so, fret not. Here, we’ve laid out all the events in the show in chronological order. While the storytelling moves around a lot of pieces, we start from the beginning, taking you to the final day, when the House of Usher falls. SPOILERS AHEAD
1953: The Beginning of Roderick and Madeline Usher’s Story
When Roderick sits down to tell his story, he starts from the beginning in 1953, when he and Madeline were still children. They lived with their mother, Eliza, who worked at Fortunato Pharma as the secretary of William Longfellow. In not so many words, she tells them that William is their father, but they are not allowed to reach out to him under any circumstances.
1962: Eliza’s Death
Having grown up despising their father, Roderick, and Madeline’s feelings turn into hatred when their mother falls ill and William does nothing to help them. Eliza is a devout Catholic and doesn’t want to pollute her body with chemicals. She’d rather endure the pain, but this pain eventually kills her. Or so her children think. They bury her in the house’s backyard, but she claws her way out of the grave, walks to William’s house, and kills him before dying herself.
1979: Auguste Dupin and Fortunato Pharma
Following their mother’s death, the Usher siblings are placed in foster care. Despite the difficulties they face, they manage to survive and find employment in Fortunato. While everyone knows they are William’s children, they don’t receive any special treatment but have to start from the bottom, clawing their way up. Eventually, Roderick finds out about Ligadone and proposes the company’s CEO, Rufus Griswold, to invest in the new drug. Instead of giving him the due credit, Griswold keeps Roderick on the sideline while making a profit himself.
This is also when Auguste Dupin finds out about the grave robbing in connection to another drug from Fortunato Pharma that claimed many lives. His investigation leads him to Roderick, whose signatures were forged during the clinical trials. Auguste convinces Roderick to become his informant, and it looks like things might just work out. But, on the day of the deposition, Roderick turns things around by siding with Fortunato and saving the company from ruin.
December 31, 1979
This is the fateful day when everything changes for Roderick and Madeline Usher. This is the night of celebration, as Roderick has proved his loyalty to the company, and Rufus Griswold promises him rewards for his actions. However, the Usher siblings have something else in mind. They drug Rufus and then bury him alive in the wall, concocting a story about his disappearance, which they know will benefit Roderick, getting him much, much higher up the ladder.
Having taken care of Rufus, Roderick, and Madeline leave the company party and go to a bar right across the street to build an alibi for themselves. Here, they meet the bartender, Verna. By the end of the night, they make a deal with her, where she promises them everything in return for a hefty price that will have to be paid by Roderick’s children. The Ushers agree, not quite knowing what they have agreed to.
2023: Two Weeks Before Roderick Usher’s Confession
It has been around forty-three years since they met Verna. As promised, they have everything they ever wanted, but now, the time has come to pay the price. The Usher family and their company are caught up in a trial, prosecuted by Auguste Dupin, who is still trying to bring down Fortunato. He plants the seed of doubt in their mind by talking about a secret informant, and this becomes one of the first nails in the Usher family’s coffin. One by one, Roderick Usher’s children start to die. Prospero, Camille, Leo, Vic, Tammy, and Frederick – all meet an untimely and horrible end.
November 20, 2023: The House of Usher Falls
With his entire family, except his sister, dead and gone, Roderick sits down with Auguste Dupin to tell him everything about his life. He confesses to all the bad things he’s done, all the charges that Dupin laid on him, and more, including murders. By the end, Dupin knows everything but finds it hard to believe until Madeline Usher shows up and kills her brother, while the House of Usher falls down on them. Dupin barely escapes the destruction, horrified at seeing Verna at the top of the rubble.