Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Goosebumps episode 6.

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Summary

  • Harold Biddle’s great-grandfather was a talentless magician who bought Slappy the ventriloquist dummy to improve his magic act.
  • Slappy revealed his true nature onstage and became a sentient dummy, leading to Ephraim the Great’s success as a performer.
  • Slappy had a dark plan that extended past getting Ephraim rich and famous, but his powers had limits when Ephraim double-crossed him.

Although Goosebumps 2023 episode 6 did explain a lot of Harold Biddle’s backstory, the spooky series also left viewers with a few major unanswered questions. The Goosebumps franchise has changed a lot over the years, from RL Stine’s original series of best-selling children’s horror novels to its 1990s anthology show adaptation to a pair of live-action comedy-horror movies that took a meta-approach to the series. Now, Disney’s Goosebumps reboot has revived the series once again as a self-contained horror-comedy about a group of teens who discover that their parents are connected to a mysterious string of supernatural occurrences that plague them one at a time.

While the first few episodes of Goosebumps 2023began by introducing viewers to Margot, James, Lucas, Isabella, and Isaiah, season 1, episode 6, “Night of the Living Dummy,” went back in time to introduce their parents. Harold Biddle’s ghost spent the first five episodes of the series possessing Mr. Bratt, a new teacher in the high school that the teens attend. Biddle’s spirit used Mr. Bratt’s body to give the teens cursed items such as a camera, a haunted mask, and a scrapbook. In “Night of the Living Dummy,” Bratt sat the teens down and explained why he was doing this and how it connected to their parents.

10 Harold Biddle’s Great Grandfather Was A (Bad) Magician

Ghost character with hair on fire in Goosebumps

Harold possessed Mr. Bratt and began telling the teens his story, but he didn’t begin with Harold’s childhood. Instead, he started the story decades earlier, telling the tale of Ephraim the Great. Ephraim was Harold’s great-grandfather and a talentless magician, at least until he bought Slappy the ventriloquist dummy. Slappy is a classic Goosebumps villain but “Night of the Living Dummy” gave him a new backstory. Here, he was purchased by Ephraim to improve his magic act despite the fact that Ephraim made barely enough money to feed his family.

9 Slappy Revealed His True Nature Onstage

Goosebumps Poster with Slappy the Dummy Cropped

Ephraim proved no better at ventriloquism than he was at stage magic and his first show with Sloppy was a disaster. However, Slappy soon took over and began speaking for himself, delighting the crowd in the process. This allowed Ephraim the Great to become a truly remarkable performer since he secretly had a sentient dummy, and the ventriloquist was soon performing for sold-out crowds. However, his wife left him when Ephraim decided that Slappy was more important to him than his family.

8 Slappy’s Magic Extended Past Talking

The group of friends look up and off to the side while sitting on an old fashioned couch.

Slappy had some sort of shady plan that extended past getting Ephraim rich and famous. To this end, he gave Ephraim a spell that allowed Ephraim to turn his manager into a dummy. While Jack Black’s live-action Goosebumps movies saw him play Slappy as a relatively harmless kid’s movie villain, this version of Slappy is much darker. However, before Slappy could fully explain the extent of his evil plan onscreen, Ephraim double-crossed his dummy and locked him in a box that he hid behind a wall in his hunting lodge home.

7 Even Slappy’s Powers Had Their Limits

Isa Briones as Margot, sitting in the bleachers and staring in Goosebumps 2023

Slappy couldn’t get Ephraim to complete his ambitious plan since his owner trapped him in the crate before completing his side of the deal. This made Sloppy angrier than ever, but there was nothing that the doll could do to make Ephraim release him. However, when Ephraim died, his closest living relatives inherited his house. This was Harold Biddle’s family so Slappy now had a new friend to manipulate. While Goosebumps episodes 1 through 5 made it look like Harold alone was behind all of the cursed items and their impact on the teens, “Night of the Living Dummy” clarifies Slappy’s role in proceedings.

6 Harold’s Paranoia Was Justified

Mr. Bratt possessed by Harold Biddle and holding a shovel with a menacing stare in Goosebumps 2023

Harold had a deep-seated belief that he was going to be bullied in his new school, and this came up later when he claimed that Sarah, Nora, and the rest of the teen’s parents victimized him. However, while this perception was inaccurate, it was justified. This paranoia came from bad bullying he suffered in his last school, a treatment that Harold’s father concedes was abnormally brutal.

5 Harold Owned All The Cursed Items

A possessed Mr. Bratt stares angrily in the snow in Goosebumps 2023 trailer

Harold’s dad gave him the camera from Goosebumps episode 1, “Say Cheese and Die,” and the worms from episode 4, “Go Eat Worms,” were his pets. Meanwhile, the eponymous mask from episode 2, “The Haunted Mask,” was in his basement, and the cuckoo clock from episode 3, “The Cuckoo Clock of Doom,” was also part of Ephraim’s old home. While Goosebumps used many of the original books for inspiration, all the items featured in these earlier episodes tied back to Harold’s home.

Cast from Disney's Goosebumps TV show

When Harold attempted to use Slappy as a ventriloquist’s dummy, he was no better at this than his great-grandfather. However, like his great-grandfather, he got a big boost and a standing ovation from his crush Sarah when Slappy started replying for real. Slappy’s quick wit and Harold’s seemingly impressive ability with the dummy soon made him part of Sarah’s group of friends but, unfortunately, he was already too busy obsessing over Slappy to appreciate his good fortune.

3 Nora Saw Slappy Talking To Harold

Rachael Harris's Nora alone in a dark room looking panicked in Goosebumps 2023

Nora saw Slappy speaking to Harold in an empty classroom and, even back then, no one believed her about the doll’s supernatural nature. The rest of the cast of Goosebumps 2023 wrote Nora off as crazy when she claimed that Harold was after their children, but this episode proves that she has always been right about the supernatural threat that the doll represents. Although Nora couldn’t convince her friends, she did see Harold’s doll speak to him.

2 Harold Killed His Parents

Justin Long getting possessed in Goosebumps

Harold, rather than Slappy, was the one who turned his parents into dummies. He used the same incantation that Slappy gave Ephraim to kill his manager, although it is unclear whether this killed them instantly. Since Harold’s house burned down shortly after, it is safe to assume that they died in the blaze. However, it is not entirely clear whether turning into a dummy killed them and Ephraim’s manager, perhaps because Goosebumps 2023 is relatively kid-friendly as far as horror media goes.

1 Harold Biddle’s “Bullies” Didn’t Kill Him

Disney Goosebumps 2023 Exclusive Image

Admittedly, one or two of Harold’s new friends just wanted to get back at him for humiliating them with Slappy’s standup act. However, thanks to Sarah and Nora, just as many of them knew that the dummy was somehow influencing Harold’s behavior and wanted to help. It. Is undeniable that stealing his ventriloquist dummy and accidentally burning down his house didn’t help Harold, but the teens weren’t trying to seriously hurt Harold in Goosebumps 2023 episode 6.

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