Monsterland Episode 7 (Iron River, MI) Recap
Episode 7 introduces us to two young girls namely Lauren (Kelly Marie Tran) and Elena. Lauren is a lonely daughter who’s being neglected and abused by her mother, while Elena is well-off, loved, and popular. They hang out in Lauren’s bedroom while Elena waits for her boyfriend Pete to come over.
When Pete shows up, Elena asks Lauren to go somewhere else so they can have sex. However, Lauren doesn’t want to wake her mother, who works nights and is an abusive drunk. Hence, Elena instead made her wait inside the closet.
After Pete leaves, Elena suggests they go into the White Woods and smoke. By this time, we notice that Elena has her way of bossing around Lauren. She then stands up to Elena and decides she’s not coming because she’s sick of her always bossing around. Regardless, Elena still headed out without her, and she never came back. When the detective questioned Lauren about Elena’s disappearance, she didn’t mention the woods. She just said Elena left and that was it.
Ten years later, we see Lauren again, this time at her rehearsal dinner. She is now marrying Pete, Elena’s old boyfriend. He delivers a touching speech about their relationship, how they grieved together and grew closer. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves except for Abby, Elena’s old friend, who thinks the whole thing is absurd. She feels like Lauren has slipped into Elena’s life in her absence, and she’s even become close to her mom, Rebecca.
Before Lauren’s wedding day, the police recently discovered the remains of a young girl in the woods. Abby thinks they might be Elena’s and implores Lauren to tell Rebecca the news. However, Lauren has failed to do so, which only made Abby more suspicious of her. She believes Lauren killed Elena, and then took over her life. Hence, the reason why she won’t tell Rebecca about the remains.
When Lauren returns to her dressing room, her biological mother, Faye, shows up. Abby actually paid her to ruin Lauren’s day, so she accuses Lauren of knowing more about Elena’s disappearance. She explains that she found dirt on Lauren’s coat and Elena’s scarf in her bedroom back then. This finally prompts Lauren to confess about that fateful night with Elena.
She says that she accompanied Elena to the woods where they smoked. Then, Elena takes off to try and scare her. Consequently, Lauren hears screaming in the distance and chases after Elena, but all she finds is her scarf. Lauren swears that that was the whole truth, but Abby still doesn’t buy it.
While in her wedding dress, Lauren decides to return to the woods. She then runs into a strange, old lady who led her to a cabin in the woods. Somehow, the lady speaks to her mind and says she would have been a perfect daughter. Out of guilt and resent, Lauren admits to slipping into Elena’s life after she vanished because she wanted what she had so badly. In a way, she thinks she did kill Elena.
Suddenly, Elena walks in carrying firewood. She is held captive by the lady and couldn’t speak because her vocal chords have been frozen. Instead, she uses a chalkboard to write messages and begs for Lauren’s help. The lady then tells her that she’s willing to make a trade – Lauren stays in exchange for Elena.
In the end, we see Lauren walking out of the woods in her dress with her head seemingly held high.
Monsterland Episode 7 (Iron River, MI) Explained
In this Monsterland episode, the story explores the themes of envy and privilege. Lauren knows Elena is a bully, but she desperately wants what she has. She has a family and friends that revere and love her. As for Lauren, she only has an alcoholic mother who is mentally and physically abusive.
When she finds the lady in the woods, it is actually her conscience confronting her. The lady reminds her that something terrible happened, even a possible sexual assault occurred in the woods. Whoever took Elena that time also hurt Lauren, and it is that trauma she carries with her. Elena, stuck in the cabin with frozen vocal chords, is the part which Lauren wishes she had told the truth. If she had spoken about the abuse at home or the assault in the woods, things might have been different for Elena.
This is the abusive history Lauren remembers from her childhood. She leaves Elena behind as if leaving all the trauma behind her mind. Walking confidently denotes that she is finally moving on from her abusive mother and insecure thoughts. They will all stay locked away in the cabin in the woods.