Spoiler Warning: The following story describes the entire episode, including the ending of “New York, New York” by Hulu Monster land.
- Episode 4 of Hulu’s Horror Anthology Series Monster land deals with the corporate consequences of a less fictionalized devastating oil spill and the people involved.
- The episode focuses on a very guilty CEO and his probably corporation-guilty lieutenant / assistant.
- The consequence is a little more difficult to interpret than Monster landprevious three entries; It̵
The first three episodes of Monsterland, Hulu’s unique new horror anthology, which looks at both literal and human monsters, were nuts to be cracked. But after squeezing enough with that little tool you found in your kitchen drawer (aka … your brain when you got into complex thinking mode) they were crackable nuts. The episode’s real monsters and horrors gave way to terrible ideas like leaving the child, radicalizing the internet, and ignoring terrible truths that were right before your eyes. Episode 4 was tough, however. This nut almost feels like a single walnut from the bunch, one that seems like the rest, but it’s just harder to get to the snack hidden in it.
But it’s one that we can achieve. Episode 4, titled “New York, New York,” moves the show’s plot to Manhattan, where we immediately see some skull digging and corporate misconduct. An ambitious young manager named Josh (Michael Hsu Rosen) chases a young woman who cornered her in a taxi and tries to get her to sign some form of NDA. She refuses. He tells him that she is indeed right and that he would do the same in her situation. Not much longer in the episode do we see Josh tell another executive that he somehow got the NDA. We know from the bat that everyone we deal with in this episode is knee-deep in some kind of delusion.
From there, the episode introduces us to Stanley Price (the great Bill Camp, the character actor who last appeared in The outsider), which is basically an amalgam of any corrupt 1% billionaire CEO who appears before a congressional committee, fails to account, and essentially gets away with his wrongdoing. Price is accused of negligently committed an enormous oil spill (apparently reminiscent of the 2010 BP oil spill) and refuses to take personal responsibility.
To be completely honest, the rest of the episode touches a lot of different notes and the message gets mixed up. But let’s go through quickly; Price is insecure, wears a Harvard sweatshirt, and lies because he’s a Boston University student who actually failed to finish and was kicked out of plagiarism. He’s an alcoholic who refuses to admit it. His father was also an alcoholic whose drinking devastated his family and then died in a car accident the same age as Stan. He hated his father so much that he dropped his name.
Josh is seen the whole time as something of the angel on Stan’s shoulder – an angel who has apparently been dressed in devil costume long enough that he almost forgot who he is. He said his intention was to change Stan’s company from the inside out, but it had shown no effect and became a cog in the same machine that he was trying to reconstruct.
All of this is without coming into reality Monster, Part of the episode in which Stan is possessed by a demonic spirit who was spoken to by Jesus Christ in the church and set up as a kind of satanic vessel by spirits like Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan. Don’t ask because we don’t really know.
Stan shows little resistance. He wants to believe that he is a good person like most people, but he never wants to do anything to change himself. When a doctor tells him to sober up and stop drinking to increase his chances of survival, he again shoves a large glass of brown liquid straight into his esophagus in the next scene. Like most of Stan’s positions, his actions speak much louder than his words.
At the end of the episode, Josh brings a spiritual healer who Syd had previously recommended to him to try and save a possessed Stan (yes, he’s obsessed, black mud comes out of every opening in his head and eyes that are completely glossed over ). As soon as the healer addresses Stan by his real name – his fatherLast name – he finally admits the fault and it seems like the whole ordeal is over. Just so that Stan opens his stomach and a demonic black pelican emerges from his stomach and flies through Manhattan. It’s a pelican that looks remarkably like those who were horribly injured during the BP oil spill crisis.
The pelican roars; It is clearly a satanic manifestation of what lies in a realm deeper than the earth and what either literally hurt Stan the most or whatever is some semblance of conscience he left behind is worried about him is injured.
What does the end really mean?
Well, if we’re going to be literal, it doesn’t matter how badly Stanley wants to be Stanley Price instead of Stanley Ransom (his real name) to distance himself from his father’s destructive ways. Stan cut his whole stomach wide open and a monster got out. He’s definitely dead lol. But on a deeper level, his whole business of changing his name and calling himself “a drunkard but not a drunk” was a way for him Not than to identify his father. Yet his ruthlessness and constant lack of listening and accountability led him down the same path. The representation of determinism – which means that whatever is supposed to happen, will happen – can be seen clearly. Even the presence of someone like Josh who was 100% well intentioned and wanted to make change can’t change anything.
At the same time Josh comes home from the whole ordeal wondering what he could have changed. He believes he could have prevented everything from the literal (the burial) to the possibly not (the satanic vascular situation). But the conclusion he draws at this point are the facts: “It’s too late. It’s out there,” he tells his friend.
Whatever he could I stopped playing as soon as he didn’t. But the last line of the episode makes things a little more hopeful. “Is it?” we hear asked. Yes, evil is out there. But “New York, New York” is the final unspoken thought that it is never too late to do the right thing. There is much evil in the world – and there can be up to many incremental, little acts of good to make it better, as incremental little acts of good do to make it worse. It’s all in our hands.
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