‘Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities’ The Murmuring Ending, Explained

Welcome to the Ending Explained for Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Episode 8, The Murmuring. The episode, now available on Netflix, is one of the original stories written for the anthology. The episode is directed by Jennifer Kent, based on a short story by Guillermo del Toro. This episode also marks the comeback of Essie Davis with Kent after their terrific collaboration in the modern classic, The Babadook. The episode also stars Andrew Lincoln, most famous for being the main character of The Walking Dead for several seasons.

Like The Babadook before it, the series tells a story mainly that is focused on grief and how ghosts can become the manifestation of that feeling. The episode might be one of the scariest ones in the classical sense, thanks to a lack of violence and gore in the proceedings. This is very much a classic ghost story, one that goes straight to the feelings instead of trying to shock the audience by creating terrible monsters or setting a plot with many twists and turns.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Episode 8, The Murmuring. Read at your own risk.

What Is Tormenting The Husband And Wife In The Murmuring?

The episode begins with the introduction of our main characters, Nancy and Edgar. They are husband and wife, but they are also working partners. The two combined their efforts as ornithologists to record and study birds all throughout the United States of America. We see them presenting their latest finds on starlings to an audience of bird lovers and other academics in the field. The pair is studying the phenomenon known as murmuring, where hundreds of birds fly together in complicated patterns in the air.

From a distance, the murmuring can look like a cloud made out of birds. It is quite beautiful, but also mysterious. The scientists are still clueless about the reason behind such behavior, and because of it, their benefactors have given to Nancy and Edgar a new video camera to film their research. The pair decides to go to an isolated island where they can study the starlings to their content. It becomes clear that there is more than just scientific research behind the trip.

As the story progresses, we see hints of some dark story between the pair of scientists. Something awful happened, and Nancy doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to Edgar. He declares his love for her, but she is not able to say I love you back to him. Edgar tries to initiate sex as well, but she stops it. Edgar is trying to get close to Nancy at every chance she gets, but something on her side is impending that from happening. On top of that, things get worse when Nancy starts hearing strange things in her sound recordings, and she also starts hearing loud sounds at night.

What Is Making The Horrible Sounds At Night In The Murmuring?

The relationship between Nancy and Edgar keeps fracturing; they become more and more isolated from each other, and the sounds that Nancy hears in her recording start manifesting as visions in the dark. She hears the cries of a little boy, saying he feels cold and that his mom is bad for him. Nancy discovers some letters and finds out that the woman who used to live in the house got pregnant by a man who was already married. Once the man came back from the war, he stayed with his wife, while the woman stayed in the house alone with her son.

Edgar doesn’t understand why Nancy is so interested in the story of these dead people. They fight over it, and Nancy feels lost about how to treat Edgar. They finally confront each other’s feelings, and Edgar says how he feels. It is revealed that a year ago, their daughter, Ava, died. However, Nancy has not cried a single tear for her daughter and has been only withdrawing into herself more and more. Edgar explains how heartbroken he is because Nancy doesn’t want to talk about their grief. Edgar sleeps on the sofa that night.

Edgar wakes up early in the morning and leaves. Meanwhile, Nancy hears the ghosts once again, and she is attacked by the ghost of the mother, while the boy tries to escape. It is revealed that the mother drowned the kid and then killed herself after doing such an act. Nancy faces the ghost and defends the kid. She tells the kid he is dead and that he doesn’t need to be in the dark anymore. The boy’s ghost runs to embrace Nancy but disappears when it hits the light. The same happens with the mother’s ghost.

Nancy goes outside, and she is surrounded by starlings, and for the first time, she is free, while feeling part of the murmuring. Nancy then calls Edgar and finally says that she loves him and that she wants to talk about Ava.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.