Welcome to the Ending Explained for Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Episode 7, titled “The Viewing”. The episode, now on Netflix, is directed by Panos Cosmatos, and it is one of the original stories written for the anthology. The episode is written by Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn. The episode tells the story of four people who are invited to the house of a very powerful and rich man named Lionel Lassiter. Once they arrive, a strange conversation will lead them to a terrifying discovery.
The episode brings Cosmatos once again to the director’s chair and with it an aesthetic that the director has basically claimed for himself with this short film and his previous works, Beyond the Black Rainbow and Mandy. Cosmatos is a true author, and his fingerprints go beyond the visuals and leak into the atmosphere and the themes presented in the story. It is clear that Cosmatos and Stewart-Ahn are very much interested in the fantasy genre and are willing to bend it to incorporate sci-fi elements. In this way, the short fits perfectly into the cosmic horror motif that encapsulates most episodes.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Episode 7, “The Viewing”.
Who Are The People Invited For The Viewing?
Episode 7 is truly one of the most bizarre episodes in the anthology, and yet, it fits perfectly with the other cosmic horror stories. The Viewing begins in a very strange way, as we are told that a group of people has been invited to the home of Lionel Lassiter, for a special viewing of an item. The item in question is never mentioned in the invitation, but clearly, the people invited are going to be curious enough to gather at the meeting place to start the story.
At the meeting place, a parking lot building, we are introduced to four of our main characters. Guy Landon, a novelist; Charlotte Xie, an astrophysicist; Randall Roth, a musician; and Targ Reinhard; a psychic. The first thing they realize they have in common is that have all been on talk shows. So they assume that the person who sent the invitations likes talk shows. From the darkness, they see a van coming towards them. The driver introduces himself as Hector, and he will take them to Lassiter’s home.
On the road, they start talking about their host, and it seems Lassiter is one of the richest people in the world, and yet no one really knows much about him. They travel and listen to a lot of cool music. Once they arrive, the group marvels at the home. The architecture is truly fantastic. The group is guided inside a circular room. They talk some more about what they do, and they just wait around for their host to arrive. They are also met by a strange, beautiful woman.
What Are The People Viewing In The Viewing?
The host finally arrives. It is John Lassiter himself, and he arrives with a 50-year-old single malt whiskey. He describes how the bottle survived World War II, a huge earthquake, and also the travel from Japan to the United States of America. Lissater makes a huge impression on the guests. The woman, named Doctor Zahra, serves the whiskey, and they pass it around. They all drink the whiskey and are quite impressed by its flavor. Lassiter expresses his admiration for every single one of his guests.
Lassiter reveals that each of the guests has a very important ability that makes them the people that are going to appreciate what he has to show them the most. He also reveals that while he is immensely rich, and that people think Doctor Zahra works for him, in reality, Lassiter works for her. Doctor Zahra also seems to have a dark history of serving tyrants. It is all pretty spooky. Once Lassiter finishes his exposition, he gets ready to take his guest to the Obelisk Chamber, the room where the item for the viewing is.
So, what were they invited to see? The answer is a rock, but not just any rock, it is a very special rock. The rock in question has shapes and colors that Charlotte identifies as something that might have been a meteor. Meanwhile, Targ reacts to the rock and says that it is spreading some great energy. At the same time, Randall keeps smoking, and then the rock absorbs the smoke and starts making some awful noise. The sound is so terrible that Landon’s head explodes and Targ’s head melts.
The rock breaks, and from it emerges a strange orange liquid. The liquid falls to the ground and grabs Lassiter, transforming him into a terrible monster. Hector arrives and lets Charlotte and Randall go. Hector grabs an AK-47 and shoots at the creature, but it is not enough. The creature shoots lightning at Hector and kills him as well. Charlotte and Randall pick up a car and drive with hell behind them. When they stop, they ask each other if what they saw was real. The episode ends as we see the creature escaping the house through the sewers and reaching the city.