She would sleep. She would wake. And she would walk.
Those three lines were used to tell the devastating tale of the Lady in the Lake at the center of Netflix's The Haunting of Bly Manor. If you're only a couple of episodes into director Mike Flanagan's follow-up to The Haunting of Hill House, be warned, this story is ripe with spoilers.
But fans who've made it through the entire second season know that episode eight, titled "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes," is not only a spooky tear-jerker, but that it also provides answers to almost every question viewers had ahead of the gut-wrenching finale.
As it turns out, the Lady in the Lake is played by Kate Siegel, who takes on the role of Viola, Perdita's (Catherine Parke) sister who eventually haunts the grounds for hundreds of years after her death in the 17th century. Yep, this episode entirely unpacks how Viola's actions affect each and every single person who dies on the property—even those we meet in the 1980s, when Dani (Victoria Pedretti) arrives from the U.S. to look after the children.
In an exclusive video shared with E! News, Siegel, Flanagan and executive producer Trevor Macy opened up about episode eight and how, exactly, the cast and crew made sure it felt especially significant.
While the central cast of Bly Manor—Pedretti, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, Amelia Eve, Rahul Kohli, T'Nia Miller, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelia Bea Smith—are fantastic throughout, it was up to Siegel and Parke to illustrate the manor's origin story in a format quite different from the rest of the season. For that, Flanagan and the writers decided to shoot episode eight in black and white.
"The idea was to completely pull us out of the established aesthetic," Flanagan said. "Every frame of it is so carefully considered to take maximum advantage of that beautiful, candle-lit gothic black and white horror aesthetic."
And though Bly Manor was inspired by the 1898 Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw, Flanagan specifically took inspiration from James' short story The Romance of Certain Old Clothes for episode eight.
Siegel also shared that she became emotional once she learned of Viola's backstory. "I cried when they told it to me, I cried when I read it and I cried when it was done," Siegel said. "The heartbreak and the misery and the loss and the stubborn willfulness in Viola's heart become this gravity well in all of Bly Manor. She's created a world in which ghosts cannot move on."
And after watching, we can't say we've moved on either.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is now streaming on Netflix.