I have already spoken at length about “The Haunting of Hill House.” Now, it’s time for me to explain my problem with the ending. Spoilers included.
Before the last episode of “The Haunting of Hill House,” Luke returned to Hill House after Nell’s funeral and attempted to burn it to the ground. Unfortunately for him, the ghosts stopped him and sent him to the dreaded Red Room, a mysterious locked room that is the key to understanding the Crain family’s past.
On the last episode, the father and the other three Crain siblings show up and are each trapped in a ghostly vision where they must confront their flaws and their pasts. The ghost of Nell saves them and says her peace before releasing them, so they can save Luke who has injected himself with rat poison.
While his sisters take Luke to the hospital, Steve stays behind and has one final conversation with his father who reveals the truth and commits suicide to appease the ghost of his wife. After making their peace, Steve leaves and his surviving family lives happily ever after while the Hill House is left standing with its ghosts.
The last part is something I really don’t understand. Why would you leave the house as it is? Why wouldn’t you find a medium to move the ghosts out and then burn the house to the ground?
Sure, the Dudley’s dead daughters reside in there and they like visiting them. Sure, the theme of the story is forgiveness, and sometimes, you need to live and let live. But leaving the house there knowing it could possibly torment another family is an irresponsible thing to do.
Hill House is full of many ghosts whose main goal is to drive their home’s inhabitants to madness. Once the Crain family is gone, the house will go to another victim and continue the cycle of oppression, madness, and suicide that has devastated the Crain family and everyone else before them. By not trying to get rid of the problem, the Crain’s and Dudley’s have doomed more innocent victims to deal with Hill House’s horror.
Staying in the house is not healthy for the ghosts either. Psychologically, dwelling in trauma instead of facing it and moving on is unhealthy. The longer the ghosts refuse to accept their deaths and move on the more psychologically unhealthy they will be and the more damage they will do to themselves and other people.
Furthermore, it sounds harsh, but these ghosts’ lives on earth are over. There is nothing in this realm for them anymore. Crossing over is what’s best for all of them.
The ending uses its emotional ending to try to convince its audience to accept that these decisions are for the best, but really, these decisions are completely irresponsible, and no amount of satisfying character development will ever change that.