Episode 8 brings an origin story; the series probably did not need an entire chapter to explain the curse, but it’s still a well-made production.
This recap of Amazon’s Them season 1, episode 8, “COVENANT II”, contains spoilers.
It wouldn’t be a good horror series without a black and white episode — episode 8 takes us back many years in America. Episode 8 gives the audience context to why the neighbourhood the Emory family moved into is cursed — it delves into the evil that has manifested over many years.
Them season 1, episode 8 begins with a priest talking to God in the middle of barren land. He talks about sacrificing his son for good fortune and wants to know why — he’s trying to stick to his faith without crossing boundaries — the priest is conflicted. He looks over to some trees and sees a young boy curled up — he tells him he will call him “Miras”, which means merciful. The priest takes care of the young boy and takes him under his wing.
This is a priest whose faith has been compromised — his conflict eventually turns to evil.
The young boy warns the priest about some travellers that have broken down on the road. When they go to meet the travellers, it’s a black couple. He welcomes them into the town and feeds them. Some of the white people cannot stop looking at them. One of the locals explains that black people have torn the country in two, evidently referencing the civil war.
Advice on the water well
At first, the town seems like a good fit for the black couple, mostly because the priest welcomes them.
The husband tells the priest that they have enjoyed the hospitality for a week and would like to contribute. The priest accepts his offer. Another man asks the priest why his guest cannot help settle a dispute over the water well. They ask him what they should do. The husband advises on where they should dig. But while the wife Martha sews, the women laugh ask peculiar questions like “how does she give birth”. They laugh childishly at her, believing that black women are uniquely different.
And then the beginning of the end starts to ignite…
The local community is curious about why the black man could find water immediately when they have asked God for weeks. A woman states it has nothing to do with the work of Christians but the work with black magic.
The priest turns
At the start of the episode, the priest doubted his faith, and with the community doubting the black couple, his faith is once again compromised.
The priest asks God to remove any lingering doubts from his soul and asks for wisdom. The next day, the priest drops his cross, and Martha picks it up and gives it to him. The priest sees Martha differently — his vision looks skewed — he believes she is evil all of a sudden and thinks the Lord is right — “that the couple is here to break him”. Martha asks if the priest lured them to this place to work them to death. The priest grabs her, so Martha slaps him. It makes the situation worse as Martha is thrown into the barn with her husband.
Martha curses the priest and calls him the white devil
It’s a point of no return as the priest lets go of his intuition and follows the messages in his head.
The priest organises a trial; the couple is accused of stealing their own horse. The priest explains that the Lord changed his thinking. They blind the black couple with hot poker sticks. The priest announces that they must expel them out and take away their flesh. A blind Martha stands up and curses the priest and calls him a white devil. Suddenly, the priest’s Bible sets on fire and the community attack the black couple. The church and the surrounding buildings set on fire, and Miras smiles. The priest looks ahead of him, and the black couple have been hung, and his people are burning in flames.
The priest and the young boy head into the basement. Miras tells him that this is not the end. He tells him that he is the one he worships, and they are bound together. The boy’s appearances keep changing, and he tells the priest to break their hearts from the inside. He states that if he fails to make a Hell for them, he will have a Hell for him and asks if he accepts the terms. The priest takes the boy’s hand, and the covenant is sealed. The roof collapses on the priest, filling the basement with flames.
The next day, shots show the small town in ashes and then colour returns to the series; it shows the neighbourhood that the Emory family moved into. The town is cursed.
Them season 1, episode 8 brings an origin story; the series probably did not need an entire chapter to explain the curse, but it’s still a well-made production.