A Murder at the End of the World Chapter 5 Recap: What Needs Decrypting?


Darby looks on, concerned, in A Murder at the End of the World Chapter 5, "Crypt"
CR: Chris Saunders/FX

The following recap contains spoilers for A Murder at the End of the World Chapter 5, “Crypt” (written and directed by Brit Marling)

A Murder at the End of the World Chapter 5 begins with a repetition of the scene that ended Chapter 4: Zoomer (Kellan Tetlow) sneezes, Darby (Emma Corrin) asks him what he just did, and he responds by explaining his ACHOO syndrome. This isn’t an exact replay, however. In Chapter 4, Darby is shot from within the room, framed with the window behind her. In Chapter 5, we see her from outside the window before she turns around to talk to Zoomer. Further, there is an added line of dialogue, where Darby asks Zoomer if he has a cold.

It’s entirely possible that these differences amount simply to stylistic choices in the direction of each episode, as Chapter 4 wants to end on Darby’s reaction, framed in a way that feels paranoid, whereas Chapter 5 pushes forward from this moment to her embracing Zoomer in a hug, leading him to ask her why she’s being weird.

And, indeed, that’s how I’m inclined to read things, but for those of you who want to spin out into wild speculative theory land, it should be some grist for your mill. Maybe there is some chance that this all will have turned out to be a computer simulation, after all.

There must be some way in which Darby does not die immediately after the events of this hour, which closes with her trapped and drowning in a pool. At least, I imagine A Murder at the End of the World isn’t going to kill off its protagonist with two episodes to go. There is a figure outside of the pool, however, who might just be the one to save her. My money is on that being David (Raúl Esparza).

Early on in Chapter 5, Darby confronts Andy (Clive Owen) with the fact that Zoomer is Bill’s (Harris Dickinson) biological son. Andy already knew that, because he’s sterile. We further learn that he receives regular life-extending treatments from Eva (Britian Seibert), and this is what he was doing when Bill died. It’s less clear if he’s ill since he doesn’t directly admit to that. Maybe he’s doing a Bryan Johnson kind of thing, or maybe he’s lying about all of this. I’m not suggesting we can rule that out, though I think I believe him.

Andy and Darby thus team up to continue her investigation with his imprimatur, which is certainly helpful. He provides footage from a laser scan of the hotel and notes that it has only a few minutes of downtime a day (right around midnight, for some reason). It would seem that whoever killed Bill knew this and exploited it to their advantage.

David seems to have been in the hall for a long time, and he doesn’t want to tell them why, but Oliver (Ryan J. Haddad) is more than happy to share that he and David had two sexual liaisons that night. First, Oliver went to David’s room. Then, David came to his room wanting more. We’re left to wonder what happened in between the two encounters.

Andy and Darby further discover that Bill called David at 11:07pm the night he died. That call lasted for 27 seconds. Darby becomes obsessed with learning the reason for the call since she didn’t think the two really knew each other.

She tries to ask David by phone, but he doesn’t tell her. Later, her desk lamp begins flickering in Morse code, with the promise of an answer if she goes to the pool at 22:00. That’s how she ends up trapped and in peril as the episode ends.

We’ve seen Morse code a few times in A Murder at the End of the World to this point, but I find myself thinking about the scene in a flashback wherein Bill hacked the lights on the train tracks to wish Darby a happy birthday. One wild theory would be that Bill isn’t really dead (cf. Bill telling Darby in a flashback that he feels like he’d have to die for her to really love him). Another would be that Darby’s mind is very messed up and what we’re seeing isn’t fully real.

I don’t know exactly how bad it is for you to snort Adderall when you have a severe concussion, but I can’t imagine it’s a good idea in terms of brain health. And in the past we see Bill get freaked out about how sleep-deprived and Adderall-riddled Darby has become in her obsession with the Silver Doe case.

The timeline of these scenes has to be getting close to those we saw back in the premiere, as Darby has found the address of the house we saw them go to. But Bill doesn’t want to go there. He’s worried about Darby and thinks they should go home.

What if those scenes from her book never really happened?

Bill and Darby sit on a log during a flashback sequence
CR: Chris Saunders/FX

Andy has known all along that Zoomer isn’t his biological son, and he doesn’t care about that. He’s his son in every way that matters.

What’s intriguing is that it would seem that, based on how she reacts, Lee (Brit Marling) did not know this until Darby told her. The question is what she didn’t know. It could be that she didn’t know that Bill was Zoomer’s biological father, or it could be that she did know but didn’t know that Andy knew.

Darby finds a dark wig and a fake passport in Lee’s oxygen tank bag, and Lee catches her in the act of looking at these things. Suddenly, Lee’s demeanor changes. She becomes very intense and it freaks Darby out. Andy arrives, but Darby just wants to get out of there.

Maybe Lee is looking for a way out of her marriage and the whole life situation she’s found herself in. Sian (Alice Braga) tells Darby that she doesn’t know what Lee loves, though she used to think she was motivated by money. That is indeed hard to square with what we know of the manifesto she wrote when she was younger, but people change.

In contrast, maybe Lee is disgusted by Andy’s plan to build what Ziba (Pegah Ferydoni) calls an apocalypse timeshare for billionaires. Maybe she called the Wall Street Journal. Maybe she wants to destroy Andy in order to destroy this project and then flee to a life as Marie Larsen. Maybe Andy is right that it is all about him and that someone close to him must be behind the murders. But when Darby suggests that person might be Lee, Andy makes Darby persona non grata.

Of course by that point, Sian has also died, and Darby was the only one with her at the time. Andy may legitimately suspect that Darby had something to do with Sian’s death, though it’s hard to see how. Indeed, we’re not given any information about what led Sian to suddenly die. It’s true that she wasn’t in good shape after her emergency tracheotomy. Eva said she had an infection. But Eva was also willing to leave the room for a few minutes, and all indications are that she and Andy are shocked by Sian suddenly dying. What happened after Darby got up to fetch a glass of water?

Darby stands over Sian as she lies in a bed
CR: Chris Saunders/FX

Prior to visiting Sian, Darby is attacked in her room (unless she’s having really wild hallucinations). And Sian is pretty much the only living adult at the retreat we know wasn’t the attacker. You might be inclined to rule out Oliver, but recall how Darby noticed the worn soles on his shoes. This attack would likely be beyond him physically, but he could be dissembling about the extent of his disability more than we know.

Whoever it is, they pin Darby to the floor and make her listen to a message from a computerized voice. It goes as follows:

There is no end to this labyrinth. If you reach the center you will not get Bill back. I do not want to take another life. Don’t force my hand.

If we’re talking Greek mythology, the center of the Labyrinth is where the Minotaur is. Theseus goes there to slay it, while Ariadne provides him with a thread so that he can find his way back out. So we might read the killer as the Minotaur and Darby as Theseus, with the point being that Ariadne (Bill) will not be waiting for her when she’s done. Or we might read Bill as a failed Theseus. Or I suppose we could try reading Bill as the Minotaur. I don’t know. Play with these ideas as you like.

There is another way the second sentence of this message could be read. “If you reach the center, you will not get Bill back” could be taken to imply that if Darby does not reach the center, she will get Bill back. That feels far-fetched since he’s dead, but Darby also resists putting his name to the wind to commemorate him for reasons she expresses along similar lines (“If I say his name, he won’t come back”). Maybe that’s just denial, or maybe Darby has a sense that things aren’t as they appear.

It’s a nice scene, overall, as some of the guests gather for an illicit bonfire in the courtyard, and I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know these people a little better, if nothing else. One of them might be the killer, but I’m not feeling particularly suspicious of anyone in this group at the moment.

David isn’t present, but while I think there’s some chance he’s the bad guy behind the murders, I’m more prone to think he’s going to turn out to be on Darby’s side because he was on Bill’s side, and that he’s been putting on an act calling her an NPC and so on.

Lee continues to feel like the prime suspect coming out of Chapter 5, and I know that may feel too obvious, but I’m not going to dismiss it for that reason.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *