Okay, there's something you should know right off the bat. I have seen the original Danish series this show is based on. I actually really liked it. But I also saw it, like, five years ago and, well, it didn't make a lot of sense to me then, so I can't really illuminate this recap with any hidden knowledge. The Danish series was weird, unexplainable, and really, really long. I think the same could be said about this remake. What could also be said about this remake is that Stephen King had a burning desire to tell the whole world all about his terrible accident and somehow turn that into entertainment. I'm a big fan of Stephen, but I think maybe he should have gone to have that burning desire thing checked out by a doctor, because he might have been able to get a cortisone shot for that shit and saved us the trouble of sitting through endless descriptions of hematomas and multiple fractures. I'm just sayin'.
On with the recap. We begin on a swamp. I think. I mean, I can hear the sound of murky waters and dark night creatures. A rather creepy voice-over -- which is wrongly credited to Stephen King himself, even in the closed captioning -- informs us, "a hundred and fifty years ago, the Gates Falls Mill stood here. It employed two hundred men and women. Good Yankees all." We move out of the swamp and into the mill, where we get a good look at these "good Yankees." "Good" isn't really the word I'd choose to describe them, however. "Sickly" and "enslaved" come to mind. They're dusty and damp and appear to need a long nap and some protein. Creepy Voice-over Man continues. "Sixteen-hour shifts during the Civil War, when the Gates Falls Mill made uniforms for the Union army. The job of the men wearing those uniforms was to end the peculiar institution…the peculiar institution being slavery." The huh? That's not even a proper sentence. And I'm copying it directly from the closed captioning, which obviously is pulling directly from the script, because it's got all the formatting of a pre-written closed captioning segment.
Gates Falls Mill, which is, like, the most awkward name to type as well as say, seems to have been fond of employing small urchin-like children to stir their dye pots. The place is packed with the Marriott Lincolnshire cast of Oliver!. We continue to watch as the mill workers go about their drudgery. "When the mill burned in 1869," says Creepy Voice-over Man, "most of them got out." He pauses as we catch a glimpse of a little girl with a bell around her neck. She's ringing it. No, I don't know why. But you can betchyer ass it's gonna be important later. She's also carrying a doll. Also important later. Just trust me on this, will you? "The fire started on the first floor," says Creepy Voice-over Man as we see flames rising from the dye pots. Or, you know, whatever the hell those big watery vats are. "Most of the adult mill workers escaped." The adults make for the doors as flames engulf the building. "Most of the children…most of the children did not." A door slams somewhere, and a bunch of screaming kids start banging on it, unable to get out. More fire. More flames. More screaming kids.
Then we're back to the swamp, which is obviously all that remains of the mill. Rats scramble over fallen logs, mists drift around hulking trees, and oil skims across the murky surface of the water. "This is the realm of darkness," intones Creepy Voice-over Man. Yeah, thanks, dude. The Nosferatu mood lighting and Clive Barker set decoration weren't clueing me in on that fact at all. We promptly head into the credits, which are either designed by the same person who did Six Feet Under or an attempt to raise this series to that show's level by doing a damn fine impersonation of its stylistic and stylish opening credits. I actually like these a lot. They're much darker than Six Feet Under's, which I'm digging.