"And the Heart of Darkness" is the eighth episode of the first season of The Librarians. It aired on January 11, 2015 as the second part of a two hour event.
The Librarians encounter the House behind the legend of ALL haunted houses and set out to destroy it.
In the Nitra Region of Slovakia, a scared, blood-covered girl screams and runs out of a house in the woods. She spots a van driving down the road nearby and runs in front of it to stop it. When Eve Baird and the Librarians get out of the van, the girl tells them that there's something terrible in the house. She introduces herself as Katie Bender and tells Eve and Jacob Stone that she and her friends were hiking and found the house, and that a man inside it has her friends. She insists that she needs to go back; however, Jacob tells her they will not let her go into the house alone. Ezekiel Jones votes that they avoid the haunted house and go back to Prague, but is ignored.
Meanwhile, Cassandra Cillian is trying to track down the broken ley lines that brought them to the area. She figures out that the break is in the same direction as the house that Katie had come from, which Eve is not happy about. Eve calls Jenkins to let him know, and he tells her that the magical build up from the broken ley lines could be interacting with angry spirits in the house to cause a haunting. Cassandra gives the team magical scrolls which can anchor the ley lines and contain the wild magic. Eve tells Cassandra to stay with Katie while she, Ezekiel and Jacob enter the house to anchor the ley lines and investigate. Cassandra isn't happy about this decision and feels that Eve doesn't trust her, but Eve points out that Katie is traumatized and Cassandra has already helped by figuring out the location of the broken ley lines..
Jacob recognizes the house as a 19th century frontier house and wonders what it's doing in Slovakia. Eve, Jacob, and Ezekiel enter the house and start to clear the rooms. Ezekiel places the scrolls to anchor the magic, but after the second scroll, the house starts to shake, and a knife floats in the air before slamming into the wall next to Ezekiel. The group quickly flees the house. Outside, Katie asks Cassandra who they are, and Cassandra tells her that they're the Librarians.
After Jacob and Ezekiel active the two remaining anchor scrolls, Eve says she, Jacob, and Ezekiel will go look for Katie's friends, once again leaving Cassandra and Katie to wait outside. Cassandra is still annoyed that she's being left out; Eve tries to explain, but Katie runs into the house, forcing the group to follow her. Eve grabs Katie and tells her to be quiet as there is a noise upstairs. After Eve tries to get whoever is in the house to come down and let Katie's friends go, she orders Cassandra and Katie to stay downstairs while she, Jacob, and Ezekiel check out the upstairs. Although Ezekiel protests, pointing out that this is exactly where things go wrong in horror movies, the three of them split up to investigate the rooms upstairs.
Jacob finds a piano from the late 1800s and a blood-covered crate hammer from the same era, while Ezekiel finds a room with a baby's crib and dozens of shoes of all sorts of styles, sizes, and eras, neatly lined up against the wall. Ezekiel, Eve, and Jacob all find the same photo of the house, with a family standing in front of it, their faces ripped out of the photo. Ezekiel opens a closet, finding it empty; when he turns around, a number of corpse-like hands extend out of it, reaching for him, but he walks away before they can grab him. Eve finds bloodied clothing and then sees a vision of three teens, terrified, trying to run from someone--the shadow is that of a person holding a hammer like the one Jacob found. However, when Eve turns the corner, the only person there is Jacob, and the vision vanishes.
Downstairs, Eve describes the youngsters in her vision, who Katie says are her friends. The group calls Jenkins, who tells them that the broken ley lines are contained, but also that they've stumbled into one of the Mystery Houses, the houses from which all haunted house stories originate. Jenkins tells them there are six known Mystery Houses, although the Final Rest was destroyed in 1350, and the House of Refuge was known to be benign and helpful. From what Eve tells him, he deduces that this house is the Shatterbox, which moves around, takes victims, and then moves on, and has done this since the late 1800s. Jenkins tells them they might be able to destroy the house by destroying its dark heart, which could be anything, but they only have until midnight to do this.
The group tries to figure out if they've found anything that could be the dark heart; Jacob mentions the blood-caked claw hammer, while Ezekiel says that the "pram from 'Rosemary's Baby'" is also upstairs. Cassandra brings Katie to Eve, and Katie tells Eve that her friends got taken out by a man like a shadow, or smoke, with a hammer or hatchet.
Upstairs, Jacob finds the hammer again, but it turns to smoke when he tries to pick it up. When he calls for Ezekiel, he doesn't get an answer. He heads back downstairs to let Eve know that Ezekiel has disappeared, but the truck is still there so he hasn't made a run for it. Katie is convinced that the hammer man got him. Jacob suggests they burn the house down, but Katie says the missing people must still be in the house. While Eve tries to figure out the best course of action, a phonograph starts playing "What Are Little Girls Made Of", as the team realizes that the phonograph hadn't been there before, Katie's name appears on the wall in flame and smoke. Katie panics, believing the house is now after her.
Eve tells Cassandra and Katie to leave the house, take the car, and return to Jenkins in the Annex. Cassandra wants to stay, but Eve says she and Jacob will stay because they can fight, and if they fail, at least Cassandra will remain. Cassandra and Katie go to the car, where Cassandra tells Katie that Eve doesn't trust her, as she betrayed them earlier, and that her tumour makes her useful, but unreliable. Katie says Eve trusts Cassandra, because otherwise she wouldn't have put her in charge of keeping Katie safe. As Cassandra rallies, ready to take on that responsibility, a shadowy hooded figure starts to destroy the car and the two are forced to flee back into the house.
Eve and Jacob go through the house again, with Eve getting increasingly frustrated with the way the house appears to be toying with them. They hear Cassandra and Katie screaming and run towards them. However, Jacob pauses when he notices a doll house standing on the table. He walks towards it and a dark shadow appears behind him, followed by a flash of light.
Eve, Cassandra and Katie block the door as the Hammer Man follows them, trying to break it down. When Eve calls for Stone to come help, he doesn't respond, and they realize he has also vanished.
Jacob finds himself in a house with Ezekiel, who is sitting on a comfortable chair, playing video games. As Jacob realizes that they're inside the doll house, Eve comes looking for them; he tries to get her attention, but she can't hear him, or see him when she peers into the house. Jacob gets annoyed with Ezekiel for not taking the situation seriously, while Eve gets angry and shoots the ceiling of the house, asking it what it wants.
In the doll house, Jacob says the house is trying to kill them; Ezekiel, however, disagrees, and tells Jacob to watch. Ezekiel wishes for a glass of beer, which instantly appears in his hand. He says he got bored of looking at the pictures on the wall and asked for something better to do, and the house gave him an XBox One. Jacob looks through the pictures, recognizing them as being from a wide variety of times and places--960 AD, the Crusades, and onwards--and then realizes that the same house is in all of them, although it changes itself to fit the style of the period. Ezekiel points out that in the earlier photos, the people were happy, but at some point something went wrong; Jacob realizes that they've gotten the whole thing wrong.
Downstairs, Eve, Cassandra and Katie get attacked by the Hammer Man. Eve fights him as she tells Cassandra and Katie to leave. Cassandra and Katie run for it, but Cassandra stops, deciding she needs to help her friends. Katie urges her to leave, saying they can make it to Texarkana by morning, where there's a fort, and soldiers; when Cassandra points out that they're in Slovakia, Katie calls her "Jesse" and says that they're in Nevada, and they need buggies, for the horses. As Cassandra tries to figure out what's going on, Katie's entire attitude shifts from scared to psychotic, and Cassandra realizes that Katie is the one behind everything. Cassandra runs back in the house, calling out for Colonel Baird, as Katie calmly follows her with a evil smile, singing.
Cassandra gets in and finds Eve's gun, and then sees a defeated Eve being dragged upstairs. Cassandra moves through the house as Katie follows her, explaining that she and her family killed a lot of people, but ended up on the run until they found the house. Katie realized that the house was a magical house, that helps her and makes her wishes come true. Cassandra realizes the house can talk to her as well, and figures out that it was a happy place until Katie's family found it, when Katie corrupted it. As Katie heads upstairs, she picks up the knife. She explains that the house has to obey her. In spite of that, it tries to save people from her.
Katie thinks she's found Cassandra, but Cassandra manages to ambush her and knock the knife out of her hand. She quickly aims Baird's gun at her and pulls the trigger, only to realize the gun is empty. The two engage in a struggle over the knife and Cassandra manages to stab Katie in the chest. As she moves backwards, she sees Katie pull out the knife. The shadow man blocks Cassandra's exit and Katie explains that she wished to become death. Cassandra tries to disarm her but Katie cuts her wrist. Cassandra begs for help, but when Katie dismisses her, Cassandra says she wasn't talking to her. Cassandra makes a wish to save her friends; however, Katie says she wishes to kill them, and she was first, so her wish will come true.
Katie tries to kill Cassandra but Cassandra suddenly wields the hatchet. She faces down Katie and tells her that she was fifteen when she was diagnosed with the tumour, and that she sees her own death every time she looks in the mirror. Katie starts panicking, claiming to be the Angel of Death, but Cassandra tells her that death doesn't look like Katie: death looks like Cassandra. She hits Katie with the hatchet. At first, Katie thinks she will heal, but a moment later, she starts to fall apart, crumbling to ash and vanishing. Cassandra passes out as she realizes the house helped her save her friends.
When she wakes up, Cassandra notices an envelope on the toy house. Inside it is a card with the words 'Thank You'.
Downstairs, Ezekiel and Jacob have been freed from the doll house, and Eve is upright and conscious, although clearly in pain and nursing a black eye. Ezekiel tries to convince the other two that they can use the house for wealth and power, given that it grants wishes. Eve, annoyed, says that she wishes she had something for her eye.
Cassandra and the Hammer Man walk in. Ezekiel and Jacob prepare to fight him. Cassandra explains the house doesn't grant wishes, it helps people in need. As she tells the others that the house is meant as a place of refuge, and had not been prepared for a family of serial killers to take advantage of it, the Hammer Man shifts into an elderly butler. As he hands Eve an ice pack for her eye, Cassandra introduces him as the spirit of the House of Refuge.
With their car fixed by the House, Eve and the Librarians prepare to leave. A newly assertive Cassandra wishes the spirit of the house goodbye and tells him to be good, then gets Ezekiel to shove over and let her drive. On speaker phone, Jenkins gives them the history of Katie's family, the Bloody Benders. A family of serial killers, they killed at least twelve people in Kansas and Nebraska in the 1800s before vanishing. Now the mystery has been solved: they found the House of Refuge, and Katie made a wish, corrupting the house. As they start the drive back, Eve falls asleep on Jacob's shoulder in the back seat, and Cassandra turns on the radio, which starts playing "What Are Little Girls Made Of", like the phonograph in the house. When Ezekiel reaches out to turn it off, Cassandra smacks his hand and tells him she likes the song. He leaves it on, and as they drive away, the house vanishes, and the doll house version of it appears in the trunk of the car.
- Rebecca Romijn as Eve Baird
- Christian Kane as Jacob Stone
- Lindy Booth as Cassandra Cillian
- John Kim as Ezekiel Jones
- John Larroquette as Jenkins
- Lea Zawada as Katie Bender
- Sam Kamerman as Sarah
- Kendall Wells as Hammer Man
- Stephen Kelsey as Kindly Gentleman
- This was originally intended to air fifth, and was meant to address the team's relationship with Cassandra.
- The episode was inspired by:
- The real life "Bloody Benders", especially the claim made by Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series, that her father had been part of the hunt for them (the claim is considered to be very unlikely to be true)
- Haunted houses, but especially the "Dionaea House" multimedia story written by Eric Heisserer
- "That one house" that exists in many neighbourhoods that the local kids find creepy and know to avoid
- The trope of the "Final Girl" from horror movies - the one who survives
- As audiences know the tropes of horror stories by now, they felt they needed a twist to the story, and decided to play with the idea of the Final Girl turning out to be the villain.
- Both haunted houses and serial killers came into general knowledge in the mid-to-late 1800s, around the time of the Bloody Benders.
- Director John Harrison got his start working in horror alongside the legendary George Romero, so he was a perfect fit for this episode.
- The actual Kate Bender was part of a family of four known as the "Bloody Benders" who lived in Kansas in the late 1800s and who disappeared just before it was discovered that they were serial killers who had murdered at least ten guests of their small store and restaurant.
- Kate was the daughter of the family, and known as an attractive woman, who used her charm to lure in the family's victims. She also claimed to be clairvoyant.
- Unlike the character in the show, the real Kate Bender was in her early 20s at the time her family's crimes were discovered.
- The shift in Katie's demeanour from cute and scared to gleefully evil was inspired by the real Kate Bender's reputation for charming their victims.
- Using an relative unknown like Lea Zawada for Katie allowed the writers more flexibility with the character--big name guest stars are obviously going to be the focal point of an episode, whereas someone who isn't as well known can be used for a wider range of story lines.
- Most of the episode was filmed on location in an actual house and its grounds, although the second floor of the house was a set.
- The owners of the house were still living in it during filming. During one of the earliest spooky scenes, their dog ran through the house and scared the cast and crew, who could only hear the nails clicking on the floor.
- Using an actual house for most of the episode helped both the writers, who had a better sense of where things could happen, and the actors, who can interact with a real house in a way that's not possible with the more temporary, less sturdy sets.
- One of the big challenges of this episode was trying to create an appropriate atmosphere for a haunted house while still filming mostly during the daytime, and in a beautiful area.
- The art department and the Director of Photography, Dave Connell, put a lot of work into making the interior of the house feel creepy.
- The lighting inside the house was all practical lighting, and was filtered through curtains, shutters, and boards to create a darkened effect.
- For the outside of the house, they created fog using "tubes of death" (rubber tubes with small holes in them, attached to a fog machine).
- The spookier scenes were shot using Dutch angles, where the camera is tilted to give everything an unsettling, off-kilter look.
- The choice of shoes as part of the set dressing was inspired by a conversation in the writers room about what would be the most unsettling thing to find in an abandoned house, where they decided that "a lot of shoes", neatly arranged, would be terrifying.
- The hammer used by the Hammer Man was an authentic crate hammer from the 1800s. It would have been used by dock workers, and variations on the design are still used today.
- The key that appears around the butler's neck was the hammer, transformed as part of the house recovering from Katie's influence.
- Before coming up with the doll house, the writers had considered having the team members trapped within the walls of the house.
- The "Heisserer Index" that Jenkins is reading when he's explaining the Mystery Houses to Eve is named after Eric Heisserer, who wrote the "Dionaea House" multimedia story, which is about a house that exists in multiple locations and eats people and turns them into its puppets.
- The Dionaea House is also one of the Mystery Houses listed off by Jenkins.
- Showrunner John Rogers knows Eric Heisserer and asked his permission to use the Dionaea House as inspiration, as well as referring to it in the show. Heisserer is also married to screenwriter Christine Boylan, who had previously worked with Rogers and a number of other crew members on the series Leverage.
- Lindy Booth cried the first time she read the script.
- She also loved hiding in the pile of shoes, but said they smelled terrible.
- The creators felt that it was important to show that Eve Baird was actually hurt in her fight with the Hammer Man, rather than just miraculously recovering as soon as the danger ended.
- Jacob Stone tripping over things in the hallway was Christian Kane actually tripping over things in the hallway, then turning it into a character moment and saving the scene.
- Eve shooting the ceiling in frustration was Rebecca Romijn's idea.
- Lea Zawada's high school graduation was one of the days they were filming. The crew worked very hard to make sure they got through all of her scenes in time, but still nearly caused her to be late because they'd also gotten a cake for her and everyone got distracted by eating cake.
- Christian Kane and John Kim really enjoyed getting to sit around and play video games as part of filming.
- Horror is Rebecca Romijn's favourite genre, so she was excited to do this episode.
- The murderous smoke man was called the "Hammer Man", which led to a lot of "Stop. Hammertime." jokes on set.
- Cassandra Cillian: "Mr. Jenkins said we needed to find the broken ley lines, and I say they are... That way."
Eve Baird: "Ah. Where the blood-covered girl came from. Anyone here like that coincidence?"
- Katie Bender: "You're very weird librarians."
Eve Baird: "It's a very weird library."
- Jenkins: "Have you ever heard the story of the house on the haunted hill, where a group of paranormal researchers died in madness and terror? Or the one where the psychotic killed a whole sorority one Halloween?"
Eve Baird: "Yeah. Those are just stories, urban legends."
Jenkins: "Yeah... Different stories. Same house. And you're standing in it."
- Jacob Stone: "You wish you had something to shoot, don't you?"
Eve Baird: "God, I want something to shoot!"
- Katie Bender: "It's funny. I can never remember where the begging goes. Does the crying come first?"
- Cassandra Cillian: "You think you are death? I was 15 when they told me that my death sits right here! [pointing at her forehead] So I see it every time I look in the mirror! Every day! Every... Single... Day!"
- "And the Heart of Darkness" on TNT
- "And the Heart of Darkness" on IMDb
- "And the Heart of Darkness" on UPtv
- Listings - LIBRARIANS, THE on TNT - The Futon Critic
- Rogers, John. "LIBRARIANS #106 "Fables of Doom" answer post" Kung Fu Monkey, 10 Jan. 2015, kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2015/01/librarians-016-fables-of-doom-answer.html
- Rogers, John, Geoffrey Thorne, John Harrison, Rebecca Romijn, and Lindy Booth. Audio Commentary. "And the Heart of Darkness", The Librarians, season 1, episode 8, TNT, 2016.
- Wilhelm, Robert. "The Bloody Benders." Murder by Gaslight, 6 Nov. 2010, murderbygaslight.com/2010/11/bloody-benders.html.
- Rogers, John and Geoffrey Thorne. "Writer Vlog: And the Heart of Darkness." The Librarians, TNT, 2016.
|"And the Crown of King Arthur" • "And the Sword in the Stone" • "And the Horns of a Dilemma" • "And Santa's Midnight Run" • "And the Apple of Discord" • "And the Fables of Doom" • "And the Rule of Three" • "And the Heart of Darkness" • "And the City of Light" • "And the Loom of Fate"|