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Welcome to Haplin, Minnesota. We're introduced to this town on the series premiere before any credits roll. A young woman is making out in a car and tells the dude, who we can't see, that it would be nice to eventually be dropped off in front of her parents' house some time. She gets out and hears noises from the ice fishing shack on the pond.
But then it starts to pour and she heads home. Viewers are taken inside this shack, where an old man is tied to a chair. He says he'll tell his anonymous killer everything the guy wants to know and we see him whisper stuff to a guy whose face they never show. After this information is exchange, the older man is killed when a stake is driven through is skull.
We're then taken into sunny Haplin the next day. We meet Henley, fresh off the train and picked up by a very, very friendly and talkative realtor. The latter tells the former all about how great a place Haplin is. For example, there's the Our Daily bread factory, which employs 12% of the town and makes everything smell great. Henley says she's in town because her mother died, used to love to visit Haplin and Henley wants to use her inheritence to open up a candle store.
Until she can find a permanent place to live, Henley is placed inside an old home where a woman named Rose rents out her rooms. The rest of them are filled by elder widows, and one mysterious man named Marrit Grieves. Rose has one key rule: the third floor is off limits.
Also in Haplin, we meet Rachel and Tommy Conroy. They have a daughter in first grade and have been together since prom. She works at the bread factory, he's the son of the sheriff, in a town with no crime, he says early on. Their babysitter? The girl that opened the show by making out and hearing stuff at the pond. Her name is Georgia.
Tommy is quickly called into work by his dad, Griffin. First, they go check on the square, where protestors have hung a banner that reads "Remember to Never Forget." It includes the names and faces of people, along with a symbol: a question mark with a halo over it.
Griffin confers with John Haplin - whose wife we later learn still sits inside his dead daughter's room, changes her sheets, etc. - and says he thought they had a deal. No more banners! They just incite the crowd and remind everyone of darkness. Later, when Henley visits the shop Merrit is opening up in town (an old movie memorabilia store), he tells her all about the banner and the "Magic Man."
For years, this mystery individual would make people disappear. They were numerous kidnappings and, everyone assumes, killings. But it stopped five years ago and it's all been quiet since. Strangely, Merrit also explains to Henley why he loves old movies and specifically cites one called "The Blue Door." Keep that in mind.
Meanwhile, the murder victim is an old man that a lot of people in town thought was a pervert. But not his wife. She tells the cops that the Stiviletto always had problems with her husband. Tommy, who has never been part of any real case before, accompanies his dad to speak with them. There are four siblings and they're all your sterotypical redneck drunks. They say they didn't commit the crime and one appears to have a past with Tommy.
Throughout his investigation, Griffin keeps occasionally asking questions about "Chloe," almost as though he's in some kind of trance. At night, we see him visit Big Dave's pizza parlor and run into Merrit. They have a conversation in which Griffin says he thought he told Merrit to leave town a week ago. But Merrit doesn't seem bothered about it, or anxious to do so. At one point, he reaches down and finds Griffin's ring on the floor. How did it even get there? (Griffin's wife and Tommy's mom died five years ago.) Weird all around.
Also weird? Rose. At dinner in her large, rented-out home, the ladies are having a grand old time, but she pretty much tells them all to zip it and makes them eat quietly. Later that night, we hear Henley on the phone. She tells the person on the line: "Hi, it's me... CHLOE." We also see that she has a back tattoo of the question mark/halo symbol and she says she's about to hear to the off-limits third floor. She does so, but we never see what she finds.
Instead, we're taken to the police station, where Griffin has locked himself in his office and has lost it. He's yelling about Chloe. He grabs an axe and actually hacks off either his hand or maybe just his ring finger. Either way: yikes! How does the episode end? With Griffin's final words (Now that blood has been spilled, The Magic Man will return) and with a shot of the shack on the pond: it has a blue door.