The Fall of the House of Usher follows Roderick Usher (Bruce Greenwood), the CEO of a corrupt pharmaceutical company, who must face his murky past when each of his children begin to die in mysterious and brutal fashion.
Meanwhile, Carla Gugino plays Verna, a shape-shifting demon who torments the Usher family, playing a significant role in their demise.
The series is not an original story from Flanagan, the creator behind The Haunting of Hill House (2018) and Midnight Mass (2021), but an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe‘s 1839 short story of the same name.
While Poe references abound in House of Usher, there are also several more current Easter Eggs.
Warning – Spoilers ahead for The Fall of the House of Usher
In episode six, titled “Goldbug,” the Usher family lawyer Arthur Pym (Mark Hamill) reveals that Verna has been photographed with various high-powered individuals for decades.
In once image, she’s seen with Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In another, she’s seen with media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
Another photo shows her standing next to Donald Trump with his family decades before he became president.
It’s eventually revealed that making a deal with Verna is the equivalent of making a deal with the devil.
As noted by Insider, Trump comes up again two episodes later when Pym tracks down and confronts Verna.
In “The Raven”, Verna offers Pym a deal, telling him: “Like I said to one of my clients, when I’m done, you can stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and it won’t cost you a thing.”
The line is a direct quote of something Trump said at a campaign rally event in 2016. He told supporters in Sioux Center, Iowa: “They say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody. And I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s like incredible.”
In a recent comment piece, Louis Chilton wrote for The Independent: “Though swathes of its story are set years in the past, you can feel House of Usher straining for contemporary relevance in every ligament...
“Though House of Usher’s pointed ‘eat the rich’ messaging is supposed to imbue Poe’s ideas with a timely edge, its attempts at satire too often come across as clumsy and unconvincing.”
The Fall of the House of Usher is out now on Netflix.