‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Episode 5 Explained: A Deep-Dive Into Hannah Grose’s Story
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Haunting of Bly Manor Season 1, Episodes 1-5.]
Each installment of this new entry into The Haunting anthology universe focuses on different characters, and Hannah Grose (the fabulous T’Nia Miller) is at the center of this particular episode. The caregiver helps run Bly Manor, the estate that protagonist Dani (Victoria Pedretti) is sent to nanny at, and as with most beings at Bly, Hannah is haunted.
Similar to Bly‘s predecessor, The Haunting of Hill House‘s bent-neck lady reveal, “The Altar of the Dead,” had a … deadly twist once it’s unveiled that Hannah is among the dead at the English countryside manor. Despite the clues being added up in the final minutes of the episode, there were hints along the way to tip viewers off. Below, we’re breaking down some of the signs which teased Hannah Grose’s demise in Episode 5 and the installments leading up to it.
Why does the mind wander?
Hannah appears to be plagued by memory loss or a serious case of daydreaming in the first few installments of Bly Manor, especially when she first meets Dani outside on the property. If viewers will recall, the first time Hannah encounters Dani is at the water well. In Episode 5, we learn what preoccupied Hannah’s mind in that moment as the twist reveals Hannah died after being pushed down the hole by a possessed Miles (Benjamin Ainsworth). This reveal occurs in a flashback, but it explains Hannah’s spacey demeanor throughout the rest of the episodes.
And her continuous looping in and out of memories that aren’t always her own suggests that her mind was tucked away in those moments when the caretaker wasn’t always “there.”
No food or drink for her?
In the first episode, the children, Dani and Hannah sit down for dinner and while she appears to drink the tea that is served, Hannah doesn’t take a bite of food. “You’re not gonna eat?” Dani asks when Hannah exits the table without consuming the meal. “I’ll have it later,” she replied. But when Hannah left the room, Dani looks down and notices tea is still full, thinking the caretaker didn’t like her concoction.
This tips viewers off that despite miming the act of eating, nothing can be consumed by a ghost, and so her tea cup remains full. The theory is further backed up when there is a spilled bottle of wine at the bonfire where Hannah appears to be drinking with the others at Bly.
Where is she coming from?
Unlike Hannah Grose’s coworkers Owen (Rahul Kohli) and Jamie (Amelia Eve) who seem to live somewhere beyond Bly Manor, she never departs the estate in the episodes leading up to this pivotal installment. When Dani needs something, Hannah seems to materialize out of nowhere and is constantly around the grounds. Even though it is mentioned that there is a live-in housekeeper, Hannah is never shown entering her own quarters on the premises. Either way, Hannah Grose’s lingering presence suggests that she’s tied to the house in a way that her colleagues aren’t. For instance, when Dani needs help with Miles after a game of hide and seek runs amok, Hannah is instantly there, dressed and ready to assist the nanny.
Why the candle fixation?
Hannah also has a preoccupation with candles in the small chapel on the Bly Manor grounds, lighting them for the dead throughout her days there. When Dani observes this, one candle’s flame stands straight up of the four lit. At this point, no one is aware of the fact that Peter Quint (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is dead. So the only candles that should be lit are for Ms. Jessel (Tahirah Sharif) and Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles’ parents. So who would the fourth candle be for? Only Hannah would have known that Peter was dead at that point, or she could have lit one for herself, which would explain the discrepancy in the three fluid flames alongside the rigid one.
Why the cracks?
Perhaps the most damning clue is the cracks that Hannah sees around Bly that take the same shape and size no matter where she looks. At first she notices the markings on the kitchen wall and then sees them on the hallway walls of the home. It turns out that this crack is at the bottom of the well where her body lays. In the fifth episode, Hannah also endures literal cracks in her neck as her head snaps back in unusual ways between scenes as she moves through memories and time. The move mimics the fall she endures which results in her cracked neck and death.
Is she stronger than other souls at Bly?
One thing that’s true of Hannah is that she’s quite a powerful ghost. A conversation she has with Owen in the kitchen at Bly hints at that power as he discusses his mother’s dementia. He brings up the writer Thomas Merton, who as a monk explored consciousness and more.
“He said once we get past consciousness, and identity, and all of the things that occupy the front of our brains, you reach a transcendence, an infinitely abundant source, or what have you,” Owen told Hannah. “So if you take someone with dementia, for instance, and their consciousness is wearing away every day, right? You see underneath it,” he added.
Perhaps the most important moment in the conversation is when he mentions, “I don’t know if it’s transcendent, but I’m learning a lot about being alive.” Perhaps Hannah learned how to be alive by clearing her consciousness and suppressing the memories in order to harness her full ghostly strength. There’s something special about Hannah as a ghost, apart from her ability to move freely without constraint like some specters in this haunting season, she also dons elaborate outfits that rotate each day.
The Haunting of Bly Manor, Streaming now, Netflix