Following the historic storyline of the first chapter, “The House,” Chapter Two transitions to the present era in a very different setting. However, what stays the same is the sinister events inside the house.
Plot Summary: Then Lost Is Truth That Can’t Be Won
The story begins many decades after the first chapter. The house, revamped into a modern mansion on Van Schoonbeek Lane, is up for sale. An anthropomorphic rat is the contractor of the house, who sends away the construction team due to budgetary issues. Having saved £3000, he takes it upon himself to renovate the place. Amidst work, he makes frequent calls to an undisclosed lover on his phone and refers to them as “darling” or “sweetheart.” After refurbishing the house, the contractor arranges a house party to attract buyers. Suddenly, he notices that a swarm of fur beetles and larvae are crawling into the house. At first, he conceals the tiny hole where the insects went back. However, every time the contractor kills some, more insects crawl inside. He desperately dusts the house with boric acid till he falls asleep on the floor. He wakes up to find himself surrounded by a sea of dead fur beetles.
When the contractor orders canapes and champagne for the party, he strangely receives a load of cheap packaged food and energy drinks. Finally, the day of the viewing party arrives. However, the guests (a group of more anthropomorphic rats) do not take an interest in buying the house. Worse yet, they litter the entire place with their filth. Everyone makes their way back after the party, except for a peculiar middle-aged couple who seem “extremely interested” in the house.
‘The House’ Chapter Two: Ending Explained
The couple not only looks around the house but, surprisingly, stays over. The contractor does not ask them to leave at first, hoping that they would be his buyers. However, the strange visitors show no interest in making a purchase. Except, they continue to live there as if the house already belongs to them. They relish in the packed food and energy drinks, watch TV, and treat the contractor almost as their servant. Distressed and confused, the contractor calls his undisclosed lover for advice, but in vain. The contractor drops on the floor, exhausted, and has a bizarre dream about the insects in the house having a celebration. In the morning, when he goes to confront his unwanted guests, he finds them naked in the bathroom, with bodies similar to a fur beetle and a larva.
Having no choice left, he calls the police and seeks protection. Regardless, when the police arrive, they show no interest in his issue. Instead, they warn the contractor to stop calling his dentist, Dr. Jafri, and referring to him as’ darling.’ On the other hand, Dr. Jafri is willing to take the case to court. The police make their leave when the situation worsens. The extended family of the strange couple, all shaped like fur beetles and larvae, shows up at the door in large numbers. They break into the house and create chaos, making the contractor helpless. Finally, he attempts to poison the guests with boric acid. Having inhaled a large amount of boric acid himself, the contractor ends up in the hospital. He wakes up numb from the effect of the pesticide when the middle-aged couple takes him back to his house. All the insect-like rats in the house throw a welcoming party and delightfully invite him in. The rats destroy the house in unison by nibbling away everything into grits. The contractor finds himself in a pool of destruction, having his clothes chewed away. Finally, he digs a hole in the wall (just like the fur beetle) and makes it his home!
Throughout the story, the contractor is so engrossed in the development project that he fails to address his mental health issues. He keeps thinking of his dentist as his lover while living in denial. Even in the presence of his unwanted guests, the only contact he can seek advice from is his dentist. This explains how the busy man had no friends or family and no other place to go. After all, the fur beetles and larvae were likely imaginary. The lonely contractor channeled all his energy into the refurbishment, leading to obsessive perfectionism. And when the work gets completed, he creates more problems for himself in the form of insects.
Despite all his efforts, he feels devastated by the failure to get buyers for the house. Perhaps unable to process this failure, the contractor hallucinates a couple that is “extremely interested” in the house. Perhaps he wants to blame a bunch of imaginary, non-existent people for his own desire to destroy the house. Perhaps the imaginary visitors are just a made-up problem he can seek help for, as he is scared to admit that his real problem is loneliness.
Despite there being no death involved, “The House,” Chapter Two, is very disturbing and visually unsettling! The story depicts a bizarre “pests versus pests” plot! While the contractor spends all his time getting rid of the pests in his house, he eventually meets his fate of being a rat. Just like the fur beetle hole he concealed, his destiny tragically makes him dig a rat hole for himself. While being set in a fantasy world, the story illustrates a very real issue of mental health in developed cities. It captures how people spend their lives chasing their biggest ambitions but overlooking what truly matters.
Read More: ‘The House’ Chapter Three: Ending, Explained
‘The House’ Chapter Two: then lost is truth that can’t be won, is directed by Niki Lindroth von Bahr. It is streaming on Netflix.