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During their stay, the Crain family encounters paranormal occurrences and is forced to flee without Olivia, who dies within the house, traumatising the rest of the family. Years later, Steven used his family's traumatic experiences to write his book, straining the bonds with his siblings. Although it became a best-seller, Steven missed most of the frightening experiences and does not actually believe in the paranormal. Theo goes to a bar where she flirts with a woman, Trish, and goes home with her.
Steven and Shirley miss calls from Nell, who then calls Hugh and expresses concern for Luke, who has become an addict.
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Steven returns home, he sees Luke leaving with equipment stolen from his apartment and when he enters the apartment finds Nell there. While talking to her, Steven receives a call from Hugh informing him that Nell went to Hill House and has died. Steven realizes that Nell is a ghost. In childhood flashbacks at Hill House, Shirley encounters a box of kittens located in a hut nearby the mansion, and manages to convince her parents to let her take them inside the house.
However, the kittens all end up dying, which deeply affects and disturbs Shirley, who obsesses over why she couldn't fix them. Some time later after she and her family have left Hill House, a funeral is held for Olivia and an initially distraught Shirley is surprised and in awe that the mortician was able to "fix" her mother. As an adult, Shirley is now a mortician who owns a funeral business alongside her husband, Kevin, and rents a guest house to Theo, who is now a child therapist.
Shirley soon gets a call from Steven, who informs her of Nell's death. Distraught and shaken, she requests that Nell's corpse be brought to her and she embalms her sister herself. However, after completing the embalming, Shirley suffers a scare when she encounters a ghost from her past. Flashbacks reveal that Theo is able to perceive feelings from people and impressions from objects when she touches them with her bare hands. An incident with Luke in the dumbwaiter leads to a secret cellar not mapped in the house's blueprints, where he encounters a ghost that attacks him. Luke is upset that no one believes him, so Theo investigates and finds a hidden door leading to the basement.
Olivia reveals to Theo that her grandmother and by extent, she and her daughters are "sensitive" and gives Theo a pair of gloves to protect her hands. While working as a therapist for children in foster care, Theo comes across a child that she can't "read" and who claims to be tormented by "Mr.
Smiley", a monster that lives in the basement. Theo goes to the house where the little girl lives and discovers the truth of the situation through her touch; the foster dad was molesting the girl and Mr. Smiley was a manifestation of the abuse. Theo contacts the authorities and the foster dad is arrested. Afterward, she goes to the morgue, takes off her gloves and touches Nell's forehead. Theo then collapses and screams.
Later, Theo opens up about herself to Trish. A flashback to their last night in Hill House reveals disturbing images when Theo touches her father on the way out including Hugh and Olivia fighting and getting pushed up against the wall and hitting her head. Child Luke was frustrated his family never believed him. He finds a friend named Abigail, who all of the family insist is imaginary. Luke claims a bowler hat his mother finds in the attic and wears it frequently.
In the present, Luke is now 90 days clean and determined to stay that way. Luke and Nell have shared a "twin thing" since birth, and each is able to feel the other's physical ailments. Luke's best friend in the halfway house, Joey, runs away to get high, and Luke follows after. Child Luke wakes up one night and encounters the spirit of a tall man that comes to collect its bowler hat from Luke. Luke finds his friend, but during his search, Luke feels unnaturally cold and stiff. Joey takes the money and disappears and later Luke is mugged, leaving him shoeless and wandering with the hatted man following him.
The feeling of cold from earlier is unbearable and Luke calls the halfway house to beg to be allowed back in. Luke shakily states it wasn't suicide. Meredith Averill. Child Nell is tormented by an apparition she calls the Bent-Neck Lady, a ghostly figure with a broken neck standing at the foot of her bed while Nell is unable to move. Adult Nell sees a sleep technologist, Arthur, for sleep paralysis and the two immediately hit it off.
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They become engaged, eventually marrying. During one sleep paralysis episode Arthur suffers a sudden brain aneurysm , dying, while Nell sees the Bent-Neck Lady again.
Nell begins to use her medication less and less, causing schisms with Theo and Steve. In her broken state, and convinced by her therapist that Hill House is "just a carcass in the woods", Nell drives off to the house. She enters the house and encounters an idyllic scenario of her family and Arthur in a beautifully renovated mansion before finding herself at the top of a staircase, where she puts a noose around her neck whilst imagining it to be her mother's locket, before she is pushed from the ledge by her mother, breaking her neck.
As she dies, she sees herself fall and travel through the past revealing that she herself is the Bent-Neck Lady haunting her younger self, becoming a ghost of the house. The episode alternates between two storms: one the family experienced in the past, at Hill House, the other in the present, the night before Nell's funeral, with the entire Crain family meeting at the funeral parlor to view Nell's body, together in the same room for the first time since leaving the house.
During the storm in the past, Nell goes missing. While searching for her, Olivia sees spirits in the house, and enters a fugue state, acting strangely and unlike herself. The children see a creature in the house. Nell is eventually found, and she says she had been there the whole time, but they couldn't see her. At the funeral home in the present, the Crains share memories of Nell.
Odd things happen: Steve sees a flash of the ghost of his sister, the power goes out, something is interfering with Nell's body, and Hugh sometimes seems to talk to himself. The family demands answers from Hugh about what happened, leading to several confrontations and revelations.
Tempers rise and the arguments turn nasty. This escalates until Nell's coffin falls over, interrupting the fights. Nell's spirit had been in the room the whole time as they fought, though no one could see her. Charise Castro Smith.
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Hugh is getting dressed and ready for the funeral, revealing that he has been talking to Olivia. Hugh attempts to reach out to Shirley, who is uncooperative, but has better luck with Theo, and the two converse over each other's mistakes and make amends.
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During the funeral, Hugh tries to reconnect with his children. In the past, assessing the house for storm damage, moisture and mold suggest a leak, but they can't find a source. Dudley assists Hugh, revealing some history of the house's previous occupants. Dudley suggests the increasingly-erratic Olivia needs to spend time away from the house, sharing some of the strange experiences he and Mrs. Dudley have had, and why they never come to the house at night. Hugh and Olivia agree she needs to spend some time away when her behavior becomes disturbing and dangerous.
Hugh discovers the source of the moisture and solves the disappearance of William Hill, the original owner.
The ghost of Olivia appears twice, attacking Luke at the funeral and then Hugh and Theo in Shirley's office, also putting buttons over the eyes of Nell's corpse. Luke goes missing after the funeral. Steven and Hugh drive around to find Luke. Steven believes the family's issues are mental and explains he underwent a vasectomy to avoid spreading his family's "sickness". Shirley and Theo stay at the funeral parlor to keep watch on whether Luke will use the stolen credit card.
They have an argument and are spooked by unexplained knocks across the walls. Shirley gets a notification of Luke using the credit card for gas, nearby Hill House.
Hugh reveals to Steven that while he was living in the house, Steven had been seeing ghosts all along; he just didn't realize they were ghosts. He also explains that Steven and his siblings are like "an unfinished meal" to Hill House. Shirley and Theo decide to drive up to Hill House, while continuing to argue with each other. Nell's ghost scares them during their argument, until they mend their bond. Luke arrives at Hill House and tries to burn it down, only to be caught off guard by a vision of Olivia and another ghost, who incapacitates Luke.
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