Warning: This article includes spoilers for The Fall of the House of Usher.
- In “The Fall of the House of Usher,” the black cat’s fate is not what it seems, with the show revealing that its murder is a hallucination.
- Verna manipulates Leo into thinking he killed the cat, using it as a punishment for his deceitful actions towards his boyfriend.
- The black cat serves as a visual metaphor for Napoleon’s guilt, with the hallucination of its murder being a key plot point in the show.
As obvious as it may seem, there is more to the black cat’s fate than meets the eye in Napoleon’s The Fall of the House of Usher story arc. Like every other member of the central Usher family in The Fall of the House of Usher, Napoleon Usher also meets a dark fate. However, the events surrounding his downward spiral and ultimate doom leave several mysteries and nagging questions behind.
Of all these mysteries and questions, the biggest one revolves around the black cat that Napoleon seemingly kills and later replaces to cover up for his immoral actions. Although The Fall of the House of Usher makes it quite evident that Napoleon did murder the cat, some details suggest that the truth is not that simple. To clarify all doubts surrounding the cat and its death in The Fall of the House of Usher, Mike Flanagan, too, has officially made some intriguing revelations.
Pluto & All Other Animal Deaths In House Of Usher Episode 4 Were Hallucinations
Leo’s living nightmare in The Fall of the House of Usher begins when he wakes after a night of heavy partying and discovers that he stabbed his boyfriend’s cat, Pluto, while intoxicated. To cover up for his misdeed, he gets a similar-looking cat from a nearby pet shop, hoping his boyfriend would never learn what truly happened. Things take a grim turn, though, when the adopted cat not only attacks Leo but also leaves dead bodies of other animals around his house. However, as disturbing as The Fall of the House of Usher‘s dead animal scenes may seem, they are all mere hallucinations experienced by Leo.
Verna first plants the illusion of Pluto’s death in Leo’s head and then sells him a black cat that does not actually exist. This explains why no one but Leo sees the adopted black cat. The ending scene of The Fall of the House of Usher also establishes that there were never any other dead animals in Napoleon’s bathtub. They were all projections of Leo’s guilt, created by Verna to mentally torment him and ultimately coerce him to take his own life. In the episode’s final scene, The Fall of the House of Usher also confirms that Pluto never died by showing him walking over Leo’s dead body. Mike Flanagan, too, assured his followers through a Twitter post claiming that Pluto’s death was a hallucination.
Why Verna Made Leo Think He Killed The Cat In The Fall Of The House Of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher‘s opening arc highlights how Napoleon has a drug problem and also constantly cheats on his boyfriend, Julius. By making him believe that he killed Julius’ cat, Verna brings out the worst of his deceitfulness towards Julius and then makes him pay for his past immoral behavior. She might have spared him by giving him a peaceful death, but she makes him suffer by presenting visions of dead animals to make him realize how far he would be willing to go to deceive Julius.
Napoleon’s The Fall of the House of Usher storyline is also based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Black Cat. In the story, like Napoleon, the narrator kills his cat after getting intoxicated. He replaces the black cat with a new one but gradually gets consumed by his guilt, and his story ends with him killing his wife. Like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher portrays the black cat as a visual metaphor for Napoleon’s guilt. The only difference between Poe’s story and Mike Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher is that the black cat’s murder in the show is just a hallucination, while in the book, it actually happens.