Cabinet of Curiosities episode 1, “Lot 36”: Recap and ending explained

Netflix’s latest horror series has started just in time for Halloween. The streamer is taking a unique approach with this release, creating two episodes of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities per day. The anthology series follows a different cast and story in each episode, exploring all things macabre. As of today, October 25, the first two episodes have been released and we are here to discuss the premiere.

“Lot 36” tells the story of a greedy man named Nick Appleton, played by Tim Blake Nelson, who finds himself in a series of difficult situations. As we see from the first time we meet him, he is a conservative living in the 1990s under President George HW Bush. He’s racist, rude, and portrayed as someone you don’t want to root for right off the bat. It’s always interesting when the main character is a villain.

As we learn more about Nick, we see that he makes a living buying old, unused storage units in hopes of finding expensive items to sell. He works for a guy named Eddie, who runs the warehouse. When Eddie shows Nick suspicious footage of a strange man who has walked into Lot 36 every day for years, Nick is intrigued. He thinks something valuable must be in there for someone to check the device so often, so he buys it.

Meanwhile, a woman named Amelia comes to see Eddie, hoping to visit his storage unit. Sadly, however, she had already been evicted but never received the notice in the mail after moving out. Eddie has already sold his space to Nick, and he suggests that he go talk to him to try to see if he still has his stuff. But as expected, Nick is uncooperative. He thinks she’s not entitled to any of his stuff since he bought the space, even when she tells him she has precious heirlooms she doesn’t want to lose. He ends up giving her a lock but no key.

Nick goes to check out lot 36 and is pleasantly surprised to find vintage items that seem to be expensive. He also finds a strange photo album that includes images of Nazi soldiers and flags. If he’s freaked out, he doesn’t show it, however, and decides to take a candelabra, a table and a few chairs to go and have himself appraised. When he leaves the establishment, we see that Amelia is still waiting outside.

Eddie recommends a woman named Agatha, and Nick goes there to see how much money he can make. Although she doesn’t seem interested in the candelabrum although she says it’s gold, she is excited about the table top, which she says was used for the seances. Together, the two discover drawers in the table top that hold three books – all of which appear to be used for the occult.

Agatha calls a guy named Roland to come check out their findings, and as she expected, he’s incredibly impressed with the items. Even the candelabra. He asks if there’s a fourth volume, since there were only three books, and tells Nick that if the collection was complete, it would be worth $300,000. He confirms that all of these items were used for seances, which seems to make them incredibly valuable. Nick, wanting the money as soon as possible, takes them back to the storage space that night to pick up the fourth book.

Roland begins to fill Nick in on the owner of the storage unit, saying he knows the family. The patriarch was apparently an evil man (which explains the Nazi photos) who gambled all his money and always wanted more. Apparently he summoned an evil entity to possess his sister Dottie, who was never found. Roland’s details are super scary, but all Nick cares about is how much money he could make.

Nick and Roland begin ransacking Lot 36 in an attempt to find the fourth book, meanwhile Amelia is still outside. Roland finds old newspapers with covers about Dottie’s appearance, and soon the two men discover that there is a secret door in the unit. Once they open it, Roland tries to warn Nick about what might happen. He tells her that if they see a demon, he can’t look it in the eye or try to talk to it. Nick doesn’t take it seriously, however, and they walk down the secret hallway together.

Cabinet of Curiosities episode 1: What happens to Nick?

They finally arrive in a room, where the stench is strong enough to cause the alarm. They see there’s a woman’s body pinned to a circle drawn on the floor, and Roland is quick to say it’s Dottie. Inside a hole where his face should be, there is a wriggling creature. Roland declares it to be the demon. None of this seems to scare Nick, who sees the fourth book in front of him and wastes no time grabbing it. In the process, he steps over the red circle drawn on the ground and draws attention to the demon.

Despite Roland’s urges to stop, Nick grabs the book but doesn’t have it for long. The demon is revealed to be a multi-tentacled creature, and it grabs Roland and swallows him. Suddenly, the book catches fire, causing Nick to drop it and run away. He runs out of the storage unit and desperately tries to escape, but the demon is suddenly there with him in the hallway. When he gets to the door from the outside, he can’t open it, but he’s relieved to see Amelia standing outside.

But Nick doesn’t realize that Amelia isn’t there to help him. Although he begs her to open, she decides to take the lock he gave her and put it on the door, locking him inside the building. The demon comes up behind him and eats him before the lights go out.

Nick is dead, while Amelia is safe, and the demon is on the loose to take anyone who crosses his path. It would be fun to learn more about this story, but we enter the next spooky tale with Episode 2, “Graveyard Rats.”

“Lot 36” is now streaming on Netflix. Don’t miss the rest of the episodes of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, as new episodes drop daily through Friday, October 28.