Monsterland Episode 3 (New Orleans, Louisiana) Recap
Episode 3 takes us to a festival in French Quarter where Annie (Nicole Beharie) and her family are currently enjoying. Her son George wants an ice cream so her partner Joe volunteers to get it with him. Annie anxiously agrees and then bumps into an old friend while Joe walks off with George.
Later, Annie finds George running through the crowd, greatly terrified. He sports a sprained wrist and tells his mother a creature with black eyes chased him, trying to devour him. Annie wonders what happened as they take him to a local children’s hospital. While they pull away, we see a man in a purple suit playing the trumpet in the middle of the crowd. His eyes are black.
Fourteen years later, we are brought to Annie and Joe’s posh home. She throws a party for him after Joe receives a prestigious award for his medical research. We also meet a grown-up George who has graduated high school and started attending college in California. He managed to take a little time off and attend his stepfather’s celebration.
During a speech, a young girl thanks Joe for helping her receive a heart transplant. When she finishes, a man named Frank White steps in and takes the spotlight. While Joe doesn’t know who he is, Frank asks if he remembers his sister, Julie White. Based on Joe’s expression, we can assume that he does. Before things get worse, Annie calls the security but Frank somehow manages to punch Joe in the face. George watches all of this happen.
In Joe’s office, Annie asks him about Julie White. He confesses around 14 years ago, after the festival fiasco, Joe had an affair with a resident named Julie. The result led her to getting fired. Joe justifies his act by saying that it happened when she was stressed out over George. Back then, he was regularly having night terrors after whatever he saw in the French Quarter. Annie seemingly understood and looked resolved to leave everything that happened in the past.
The following morning, Annie learns that Julie has uploaded a video online and others have come forward, including an 11-year-old. Annie believes these are false accusations and comforts her partner. Suddenly, Joe claims that he is sick and that he needs help. On the news, other women come forward saying Joe sexually abused them as a child. Annie is shocked and disgusted — she’s in a haze and utter disbelief.
That night, Annie hears a trumpet while a rock is thrown through the house window. She approaches the trumpet player outside and asks him if he threw the rock. Instead of answering, he shows his black eyes and then his fanged teeth. When the trumpet player’s about to grab her, Annie hits him with a rock. She then cleans up the mess and drags his body inside the house.
Morning after, Annie tells George that she saw a monster he talks about when he was a kid. She apologizes to him for not believing him before. Annie says she saw the monster and believes it’s real now. However, George thinks otherwise and that maybe she’s on drugs. He calms her down to talk.
George finally reveals that Joe had also abused him which is why he hurt his wrist. He told his mother at the festival, but she didn’t believe him. She refused to believe and let her son get abused so that they could continue living comfortably.
He further tells Annie that he never got past the trauma and he’s failing school. At the very least, he needs Annie to acknowledge that she knew. However, Annie can’t do it so George defeatedly walks out the door.
The trumpet man then returns, blasting the music throughout the house. A desperate Annie screams until she finds an ice pick on the ground and jams it through her ear.
Monsterland Episode 3 (New Orleans, Louisiana) Hot Take
In a compelling hour, we witness how tolerance plays a huge role in empowering more the abusers. These people who remain quiet despite crimes and abuses play as accomplices, and therefore, as guilty as the predators.
Annie, as a parent, should protect her child and be his voice of truth in times of helplessness. Instead, Annie sacrificed her son to Joe and his abusive tendencies just so she could live a comfortable life.
The monster is a manifestation of Annie’s ignorance to her son’s plight, and her denial to the truth that could hurt her.