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Cabinet of Curiosities season 1, episode 2 recap – “Graveyard Rats”

October 25, 2022

We recap the Netflix Horror anthology series Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities season 1, episode 2, “Graveyard Rats,” which contains spoilers.

Musophobia is the scientific name for an irrational fear of rats and mice. Anyone with this or a slight aversion to creatures may want to look away right now. The second installment of Cabinet of curiosities by Guillermo del Toro, titled “Graveyard Rats,” is full of nightmarish rodents. The episode also features a fun performance by David Hewlettwho was the main antagonist in season three of See and is another frequent del Toro collaborator, working on The shape of water. This addition to the anthology series is directed by Vincenzo Natali (cube, Westworld, and The ringroad).

Cabinet of curiosities by Guillermo del Toro summary of season 1, episode 2

As always, Guillermo del Toro opens the ball with his dark introduction. It talks about cemeteries and burials, secrets and treasures, alluding to the sights that await us, the lucky viewers. Then we are rushed into an old time Salem and encounter two chirping grave robbers. They grab jewelry, rings, and gold, but are soon greeted by cemetery caretaker, Masson (David Hewlett), sporting fabulous facial hair in mutton chops. Pointing a gun at the thieves, he takes their loot for his own and scares them away with a gunshot. But Masson is no hero, he jumps into the open grave to finish the job. He pulls the gold tooth from the corpse, where he is bitten by a rat.

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Rats are Masson’s mortal enemy, but he has more pressing problems right now. With quite a bit of gambling debt under his belt, Masson owes some unsavory guys a lot of money. Tonight’s grave robbery only covers what he owes for this month’s installment minus interest. He has a week to tell the difference, otherwise he will end up in his own grave.

Desperate, Masson meets undertaker Dooley and asks if there are any valuable corpses to go through. Dooley is quite adamant that the latest batch of bodies are just poor people, but he pushes his way through anyway, offering Dooley what appears to be some sort of vial, possibly containing blood. Masson inspects the corpses, but finds no teeth, no head, or wooden prostheses instead. There is however a mysterious curtain on one side, which hides a final corpse. Masson rushes in and finds the body of a wealthy maritime merchant behind him. This mouth is practically sparkling with gold teeth. Dooley states that he can’t have them right now, the coroner will get suspicious, and so Masson has to wait until after the funeral. The widow then arrives, asking that her husband be buried with his medals and a saber given to him by King George – Masson is amazed.

After the funeral, Masson begins to search the coffin and removes the lid. To his horror, he finds that the coffin is completely empty. The rats gnawed the bottom of the coffin and removed the corpse. Masson flashes his torch into the hole, revealing a deep maze below. Masson has a horrific vision of being buried alive by his enemies and realizes he must press on. He enters the warren and drags after his prize. Comically, he continues to spy on the feet of the corpse dragged into the next corner. Masson continues his unsuccessful pursuit.

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Then, Masson witnesses a stampede of rats heading towards him and flees in a panic. He crawls at high speed, evading his enemies, but he is not fast enough. The rats cover him and the guard moans in shock. In retaliation, he shoots the rats, but he doesn’t kill any of them, stabbing himself in the foot instead. The nearest rat smells blood and rushes in, Masson blasts that rodent to death. The murder awakens a Rat Queen, a monstrous-looking creature that fully explains the size of these burrows. The gigantic rat pursues him and Masson falls into a seemingly endless hole in his attempts to escape.

Masson wakes up in a pit of skeleton bones, where he finds the lost treasures the rats have stolen from him over the previous months. Joyfully, he picks up this loot and pockets the riches for himself. There is even the sword that King George gave to the merchant. He then spots an alien-looking statue and a shimmering golden necklace. The necklace is around the neck of a skeleton. Masson ignores all logic and unhooks the necklace, awakening the skeletal monster. This beast attacks Masson, screaming “mine” over and over in a haunting way. Masson tries to escape by climbing a claustrophobic hole, but finds himself surrounded.

The end

With the Rat Queen on his left and the Zombie Skeleton crawling towards him on the right, Masson grabs his sword and prepares to fight. The rat creature jumps on him first, knocking the saber out of its grip. Masson shoots at the roots of the trees above him and the ceiling collapses, flattening the Rat. As the skeleton closes in on him, Masson sees a light flicker above. He pushes his way upwards, though the light is only a reflection of his own torch. Ironically, Masson is back where he started, inside the merchant’s coffin. The rats attack one last time and Masson howls as the darkness consumes him. The two early thieves open the coffin to find Masson’s corpse petrified in a frozen position. The glittering necklace is around her neck, and then many rats come out of her mouth, wriggling.

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What did you think of Season 1, Episode 2 of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities? Comments below.

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