cabinet of curiosities Episode 2 entitled “Graveyard Rats” is a no-nonsense morality tale set in the early 1900s about a grave robber who gets in his way over his head as he tries to take on a vicious horde of rats.
We meet Massan (David Hewlett), who is at his wits end because rats are stealing bodies from the graveyard before he can take any valuables from them. He enlists the help of local thug (and his boss) Hans Overfist (Nabeel El Khafif) in taking down the rat menace, but Hans makes it clear that unless Massan hands over some high-priced items to the graveyard next, he’ll be the one land.
A distraught Massan turns to his accomplice Dooley (Julian Richings), a coroner who occasionally allows Massan to examine his corpses for things like gold fillings in exchange for Massan fueling his opiate addiction.
Massan hits the jackpot on this special visit as Dooley prepares the body of a wealthy and powerful man for his funeral. While in the morgue, Massan overhears the man’s widow making plans for the man’s funeral, which will include burying him with a priceless saber gifted to him by King George.
With dollar signs literally bulging from his eye sockets, Massan joins in the funeral and introduces himself to the widow as the attendant who will prepare Winston for his eternal resting place. He plans to dig the grave as soon as possible to hit the rats on the corpse.
But when Massan comes to dig in the coffin, he is too late. The rats have already made off with Winston’s corpse, eating a hole through the bottom of the coffin that leads into a horrifying maze of underground tunnels inhabited by all manner of horrible creatures and darkness.
A self-proclaimed claustrophobic, Massan is terrified of going down the tunnels behind the body, but he’s even more scared of Hans burying him alive, so he works up the courage to slip into the dirt and make the descent.
Recap of Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 2: Massan descends underground
Most of the horror of this episode stems from Massan’s journey through the underground. It’s dirty and gross, and the tension is palpable as Massan ventures deeper into the mud in search of gold. I want to give a lot of credit to episode director Vincenzo Natali for his skillful handling of the filmmaking in this episode, as the way the camera navigates the tunnels with Massan is a remarkable achievement. Anyone who shares Massan’s claustrophobia (like me) probably agonized while watching this episode.
And if Massan thought the scurrying feet of hundreds of rats was terrifying, his shock is unparalleled when he encounters the queen of all rats down there, a massive and slimy-looking beast whose only weakness seems to be that it is blind is.
But then Massan’s luck turns, at least he thinks so, when he comes across a kind of underground church. At the beginning of the episode, Massan, while pleading with his Hans, had mentioned the existence of “black churches” set up for the worship of Satan, which have orgies and participate in all manner of occult activities. Whatever happens in these churches could have bred the rats and even the rat queen. Perhaps they are being empowered by a darker being.
It also plays into this episode’s religious themes, as Massan is portrayed as a greedy, cowardly man, driven by self-preservation instincts at the expense of everything else, but in his darkest hour, God promises that if he survives me, he will will give up grave robbing and become a pious man, but more on that in a moment.
Since rats don’t eat jewels and scabbards, Massan discovers the old church is full of valuables, including the saber he found in the first place.
You’d think stealing from the dead, even in an “unholy” place, would give Massan pause, but considering he desecrate graves for a living it’s not too surprising that he’d do anything steals whatever he can get his hands on from the church and fails to notice a terrifying statue of a demon with teeth and tentacles. It is probably the deity for which the church was originally designed.
Instead, Massan steals a gold necklace from a corpse propped up near the statue, and it comes to life and pursues. Massan desperately tries to escape the tunnels, now with a reanimated corpse and the Rat Queen still attached to his tail. Caught between one beast and another in the middle of a small ledge in the tunnels, Massan uses a massive boulder to kill the rat and block off the tunnel from the corpse.
Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 2 Summary: Redemption?
With nothing else chasing him, Massan focuses on escaping the tunnels and prays to God to lead him back to the surface. Ahead, he notices a literal bright light at the end of the tunnel and assumes it’s his salvation, but when he gets there, Massan realizes it was just his light, coming from a “Requiescat in Pace” poster on the street Inside was reflected of a coffin.
Yes, Massan accidentally crawls straight into a coffin and when the rats fall on him, just like the bodies he had robbed in death, he becomes complete with several precious jewels adorning his body, which was stolen from the black church.
Later, when another pair of grave robbers find the coffin with Massan inside, they are horrified to see rats crawl out of his mouth as they eat him inside out.
https://netflixlife.com/2022/10/26/cabinet-of-curiosities-episode-2-graveyard-rats-recap-ending-explained/ Cabinet of Curiosities Episode 2 “Graveyard Rats” Summary and Ending