The Fall of the House of Usher tells the story of the rise and fall of siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher and the empire that they built on greed. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Roderick Usher, the CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, and his sister Madeline, the COO of the company, are facing criminal charges. Their company markets an addictive drug, Ligodone, as a non-addictive painkiller and profits, while millions of people are killed.
Assistant US Attorney C. Auguste Dupin is representing the government in the case, whereas Arthur Pym, the Usher family’s fixer, is representing the Usher siblings. Roderick is a powerful man and does not think that anything or anyone can harm him.
He has six children — two legitimate and four illegitimate. While he does not differentiate among his children and gives them everything that money can buy, he never gives them love. There is no love lost between his children as well because they keep competing for their father’s fortune.
When all six of his children die in the span of two weeks, he calls Dupin to an old house to confess his crimes. As Dupin begins recording, Roderick tells him the story of his and his sister’s life as well as how each of his children died. He claims that his children told him about their deaths after they died and that he can still see them.
His youngest son, Prospero, throws an exclusive rave party and invites the most influential people, who get to wear masks and spend the night in debauchery without worrying about their reputation. However, there are cameras there, and Prospero plans to use the footage to blackmail people later on.
At midnight, when the sprinklers are supposed to make it rain, instead of water, a highly corrosive acid comes out of the sprinklers, killing everyone at the party. The cameras catch a mysterious woman making the staff leave the party right before the acid rain.
Roderick’s eldest son’s wife, Morella, was also at the party and was warned to leave by the mysterious woman. Morella’s body sustains severe burns, but she survives. Her daughter, Lenore, the only Usher who is considered a good person, takes care of her.
The next one to die is Camille, a clever woman who has dirt on every family member and knows how to use every situation to the family’s advantage. While trying to find dirt on her sister, she ends up getting killed by one of her sister’s test subjects, a chimpanzee.
Napoleon, a game developer who is a drug addict, is the third one to go. He adopts a cat to replace his boyfriend’s cat, which he found dead after one of his drug trips. The cat keeps attacking him and drives him insane until he accidentally jumps off the balcony and dies.
Victorine, who has been developing a heart technology, is pressured by her father to start human trials. She is ready to break the laws and risk lives to start human trials, but her girlfriend, who is also her research partner, refuses to participate in illegal activities.
In a fit of anger, Victorine kills her girlfriend. She is then haunted by the ticking sound of her heart technology until she stabs herself to death in front of her father. After Victorine’s death, Roderick is left with his two legitimate children, who were born to his first wife, Annabel.
His daughter Tamerlane, whose marriage is falling apart because of no one’s fault but her own, is unable to sleep, which results in hallucinations. She keeps seeing the sex worker she hired to sleep with her husband everywhere. Tamerlane wrecks her home and falls on pieces of shattered glass, which kills her.
The last of Roderick’s children, Frederick, starts using drugs after his wife’s accident. He believes that Morella cheated on him with his brother, so he drugs and mutilates her. He is then killed while demolishing the building where Prospero threw his party.
The deaths of Roderick’s children can be linked to the woman who was seen at Prospero’s party. The woman is Verna; she is not a human being but a supernatural entity. All the deaths were orchestrated by her, and it turns out that Roderick and Madeline know her.
It is important to know Roderick and Madeline’s past to understand their relationship with Verna. The siblings’ mother was the secretary of the CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals. Roderick and Madeline were their illegitimate children, so they considered Fortunato their birthright.
Before dying, their sick mother killed their father, and as their father never acknowledged them as his children, Roderick ended up working a small job at Fortunato. He was the one who found Ligodone, but Roderick only got some money and a promotion for giving the company a golden goose.
Madeline then took matters into her own hands. Dupin was a fraud investigator back then, and Roderick was working with him to expose Fortunato’s illegal activities. However, Madeline made him betray Dupin at the last minute, which led to Dupin losing his job.
On the other hand, Roderick became a favorite of the board members by putting an end to Dupin’s investigation and proving his loyalty to the company. The Usher siblings then killed the then-CEO of Fortunato, Rufus Griswold, leading to Roderick being chosen as the next CEO.
Roderick’s wife, Annabel, who was a good woman, realized that her husband is a greedy man who has no qualms about getting his hands dirty and left him. When their children got a little older, Roderick took them away from her by enticing them with his wealth, and Annabel died.
Years later, Roderick marries Juno, a woman who is much younger than him. He does not love her or care for her and makes her take a heavy dose of Ligodone daily to show the world that the drug is safe. Eventually, Juno wants to stop taking the drug, even if that means leaving Roderick.
When his children die one after the other, Roderick discovers that he has CADASIL, the disease that killed his mother. He does not have long to live. The deaths make Madeline meet Verna, who had left an address for the siblings. The address leads her to her childhood home.
After meeting her, Madeline comes to the conclusion that all this will stop if her brother dies. She then coaxes Roderick into killing himself, but Verna does not let him die, as he still has unfinished business.
Madeline knows that the board members are going to replace her brother and choose a new CEO. With Arthur’s help, she makes them choose her. However, like her brother, she is also required to keep her end of the deal that she and her brother made years ago.
The Fall of the House of Usher ending explained in detail:
What was the deal that the Usher siblings made with Verna?
The night Roderick and Madeline killed Rufus Griswold, the siblings went to a neighborhood bar to build an alibi. There, they met Verna. Once everyone left, they stayed back to talk and drink with her in the empty bar.
Verna somehow knew what they had done that night. She informed them that they were sitting outside space and time at that moment. She then told them that she had an offer for them.
No one would find out that they murdered Griswold. They would be the king and the queen of Fortunato and be extremely rich. On top of that, they would never be convicted of a single crime, and their children would lead a privileged life.
However, the next generation will have to pay the price for this. Roderick and Madeline will die together, and their bloodline will die with them. Roderick and Madeline think of this as a good offer and shake hands on the deal.
The moment they leave the bar, it vanishes. The siblings then start thinking that they had imagined the whole thing, as they were both under the influence, but their lives turn out exactly as Verna had said.
What happens to Lenore?
Lenore’s father does not allow her to see Morella because he is drugging and mutilating her. However, she defies him and goes to see her bedridden mother. When she finds out what her father did to her mother, she reports him.
Unlike the other Ushers, she loves her mother, so she decides to expose her father’s crimes, no matter the consequences. She tells the police everything, and her mother is taken to the hospital. That night, her father dies.
As Lenore is an Usher, she must also die. Verna does not want to kill her, but she has to because of the deal. Before killing Lenore, Verna tells her that Morella will recover. She will get better in three years and go on to save millions of lives around the world.
Fortunato will collapse, and Morella will get a sizeable fortune. She will donate that money to charities and use some of it to start a non-profit, which will be called Lenore Foundation. Verna tells Lenore that all these things will happen in the future because of her, as she made the choice to save her mother.
Verna then kills Lenore, but her death is different. She dies a painless death, and her death is the one that hurts Roderick the most. Verna then shows him the number of people he has killed and asks him to meet Dupin.
How do Roderick and Madeline die?
Roderick knows that he will be dying soon and that he cannot escape it. He does what Verna asks him to do, but before meeting Dupin and confessing his crimes, he has a drink with his sister in their childhood home.
He poisons Madeline’s drink, kills her, and gives her what he considers to be the farewell that a queen deserves, which includes gouging her eyes out. He then calls Dupin there and tells him his life story. Later, he finds out that Madeline did not die.
She was alive when he was talking to Dupin. She manages to find her brother even without her eyes and strangles him. The house starts falling apart then, and Dupin runs out. The house of Usher collapses, killing Roderick and Madeline together.
What happens after all the Ushers die?
Earlier, before the Usher siblings died, Arthur was sent to kill Verna. As she is not a human being, he failed to kill her, but she offered him a deal. She informed him that Camille also had dirt on him.
The file will get found after all the Ushers die, and Arthur will go to prison. She tells him that she can ensure that the file does not get found if Arthur gives up something that he loves. However, Arthur refused to be leveraged and did not take Verna’s offer.
As predicted, the file is found once all the Ushers die. Arthur does not defend himself in court and is found guilty. He will spend the rest of his life in prison. Arthur is the only person convicted in the Fortunato Pharmaceuticals case.
With all the Ushers dead, Dupin’s case becomes pointless. Roderick’s confession is useless now. Dupin decides to retire and spend his days with his family. He considers himself the richest man in the world, as he has what Roderick lost.
After Roderick’s death, Juno inherits everything and dissolves the company. The money is used for rehabilitation programs as well as addiction and recovery research. She is also able to wean herself off Ligodone.
The medicines regulators try to stop the opioid epidemic that Roderick and Madeline started. They killed millions of people for their own benefit and lived a life of privilege. However, in the end, they left a legacy of tombstones.