From (2022) is a fantastic new horror mystery show about seemingly random people being trapped inside a town that, by all accounts, appears to be in an alternate dimension. The one road in and out of town loops back on itself. The lights turn on at the flick of a switch, but have no apparent power source. Oh, and there are monsters hunting the townspeople at night.
The show immediately sets the tone with the death and brutalization of a mother and her young daughter at the hands of a mysterious humanoid monster.
What I love about this show so much is that it’s the type of show that invites theory crafting, and is ripe for the question “what would I do if I ended up here?”. With season 2 around the corner, I recently decided to rewatch the first season in preparation. The following is a combination of things I noticed, ideas I had, and theories for season 2. Spoilers ahead!
Observations and Questions
First, let’s talk about the opening deaths mentioned above, because I think that it’s one of the most important scenes in the entire show because of what we learn about this world. Through this scene, we learn the following:
- The town has a rule. If you do something that endangers others, you go in the box !the box is the town’s gallows. A makeshift jail in the middle of town where the monsters will find and kill you..
- You need to be indoors by nightfall. That’s when the monsters come out.
- Every home has a talisman hanging by the door frame. It is these talismans that prevent the monsters from entering.
- The monsters don’t just kill. They destroy.
- The monsters can still gain entrance to the domicile/shelter if they are let in ! It was unclear at first if it were the act of inviting that undoes the talisman (vampire rules), but I now think that it’s really just about having a point of egress large enough for the monster to enter..
- The monsters will lie and manipulate in order to gain access.
- At the time, the father was passed out drunk at the town tavern.
Something I noticed when rewatching this scene is that the “grandma” monster was outside a window… on the second story. My immediate thought was that they could perhaps levitate, but a later scene shows that the house has a two-tiered roof and the monster was simply standing on part of the roof. However, this still proves that these creatures have no issues with climbing, despite never been known to run.
Toby was the best friend of Jade, and was the driver of their Audi when the pair entered From town. He is of particular relevance because of two things. The first, is that it is his death that finally forces Jade to confront the truth of this new reality !Jade humorously believed the entire Town to be an elaborate escape room. The second is that he was murdered by resident nice girl Sara.
Sara, under the “orders” of a mysterious entity, murders Toby, and more disgustingly brutalizes his body in order to make it seem that the culprits were the monsters. But why?
It later becomes apparent that Sara truly is in contact with other entities (good or bad remains to be seen), but why did these entities order the assassination of Toby? The reason she claims she was given is that it was necessary in order to “go home”, but is this true or was it simply the entities manipulating her? What could these entities possible have to gain by removing Toby from the game board?
The only two possibilities I can think of are that either A) it was necessary in order to get Jade on the right path, or B) it was simply to see how far they could push and break Sara.
I personally think that Jade is one of, if not the most important people in From town.
- He seems to be the only one having hallucinations/visions throughout the season.
- The cinematography and writers seem to have a fixation with his watch.
- He discovers the “power source” and leads the charge on the radio.
- Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox !a quantum mechanics thought experiment involving entangled particles.
- Apparently sold his company that specialized in a quantum algorithm.
- Also had a quote where he referred to everyone as being rats stuck in a maze, looking for the piece of cheese. When the barkeep remarks about how Jade is also one of the rats, he responds that he isn’t a rat, he’s the one who designs the maze.
Just to be clear, I do not think that Jade is in any way responsible for the ongoings of From town, but I do think that his intelligence and experience will be the key to unlocking many of the mysteries moving forward.
The town itself breaks reality in many interesting ways, and I think that understanding all of the differences will be essential to both survival and escaping this world.
- The main road loops back, but going out into the woods apparently does not.
- The world seems to “provide”. The people need food, so let’s have chickens and goats just “spawn” in the woods !simulation theory imminent. The people require light and power, so here are some magic lamps with wires that have no wires. People being hunted by monsters, so here are some talismans to ward them off. Perhaps the world provides with people/skill sets as well?
- Something communicates through the lights and jukebox.
- Weather appears to be consistent, but when they power on the radio a raging storm blows in.
- Sara says her brother’s theory is that the more you push against this world, the more it pushes back. Similar to 11/22/63 by Stephen King. But if true (and the aforementioned storm seems to corroborate this), how did her brother come up with this theory? How did the world “push back” in the past?
- Underground tunnel network where the monsters apparently hibernate during the day. Where are the exists? How do they come up to the surface?
- The portal/vanishing trees. How do they really work? Why do they exist?
- The lighthouse
- Residents come from all across the States, with the “portal” to From town popping up all over.
- There is also the mystery of the bracelet. How did it end up in From town? Do other people have long forgotten relics of their past somewhere in the town? Perhaps someone related to the Mathews was in the town before.
The monsters are humanoid but are certainly NOT human, although, perhaps, they once were. Maybe they were former victims of previous “cycles”. Here are some interesting observations I have made throughout season 1.
- Monsters are cross gender, age, and race. Seriously, there is a little kid monster.
- They seem to “know” things that they should not, such as the names of the towns people. Do they have outside knowledge, read minds, or worse of all, have they been watching and observing the people the entire time.
- They can play the long con, as seen with the seductress monster who gains access to Colony House.
- What’s fascinating about the seductress monster is that she behaved surprisingly human even when not being observed. She doesn’t just immediately kill the guy who lets her in, seemingly allowing herself to enjoy a kiss. She inspects herself in the mirror and cleans some blood off, making herself more presentable, before opening the window again to allow others of her kind inside.
- They truly do seem to be hunters. Sadistic ones at that.
- I do not think they are able to “sense” people though, or they would have found all of the hidey-holes before Boyd found the talismans. They can climb though, so hiding in trees would not have been very successful.
- I believe that the talismans only protect an enclosed area. The area can have gaps and holes, but if there is an entrance large enough for a monster to enter, then the talisman will have no power. The talismans, in this case, really just prevents the monsters from breaking down a wall or making their own entrances.
- Why do they only come out at night? We see them hibernating during the day in the tunnels, but is this something they choose to do, or is it something they have to do?
- Do they hunt because it is their nature, or do they hunt under the control of another power?
I’ve asked most of the questions I wanted to ask in the above sections, but I have purposefully left out some important characters and observations for this section. So let’s jump in with some of the things that I hope will be answered in season 2.
The Boy In White
Throughout season 1, a mysterious boy in white appears to guide some of our townspeople. However, only two seem to have the ability to see him. The first is Victor, and the second is Ethan. I’ll spare you the generic questions like wondering if this boy is a force of good or evil and instead focus on what he might be.
One of the major events of season one is when Sara attempts to murder Ethan. She does this at the behest of the same entities/voices that pushed her to kill Toby. The message was to “kill the boy”, and we as an audience as well as Sara herself take this at face value to mean Ethan. But the Mathews boy is not the only boy we see in From town.
We know that these voices claim that Sara needs to do these horrible despicable things in order to escape this world, but If I’m right in thinking that the intended target might have been the Boy In White, then yet another layer has been added to the allegiance of the entities as well as the BIW.
Tom, the Barkeep
Tom is probably the character I feel most off about. Something just does not sit right with me when I think about this guy. He claims that he was a philosophy teacher, but spends his days in this town serving the residents terrible potato vodka.
The opening incident where the father was passed out drunk on the tavern floor while his wife and daughter were brutally murdered by monsters is also suspicious. These people know the dangers of this world. They know the rules. They know the stakes. Yet clearly, Tom over serves to the point where the father couldn’t even stand. Why was he not cut off hours ago – especially when we find out that this was a somewhat common occurrence for him. What does Tom get out of over serving his patrons? It’s not like they are paying customers.
Later, Tom has a seeming personalty swap. He starts off almost cheerleading Jade, encouraging him to explore solutions and work on the radio. But the next we see of him, his overall stance has changed to “it doesn’t matter, it won’t work”. He doesn’t even go up to Colony House with everyone else to work on the radio tower, preferring to stay in his precious tavern.
It is also his voice that is eventually heard on the radio: “your wife shouldn’t be digging that hole, Jim“. Who is this guy? What is his motive?
In order to understand my hair brained theory, I need to now ask a question that I avoided above. As seen with the Seductress monster, these creatures are perfectly capable of blending in with us. So what if one of them has been among us this entire time !cue dramatic music.
That’s right. I think that Tom the barkeep is actually one of the monsters, or is at least affiliated with them. I think it would be funny if the show goes into an anime direction. Like, there is a mysterious evil entity controlling this world, and Tom (and perhaps even the Boy In White) were this entity’s vassals. But not wanting to be beholden to his master, Tom breaks away and schemes his own evil plans instead.
Another theory is that this world is a giant experiment and all the town people are being observed. This is why the basic needs (food, shelter, power) are provided, and is why every obstacle (the monsters), has a solution (talismans). We even have the dichotomy of the different lifestyles between Colony House and the Town. Also, the world pushing back would be the experimenters trying to discourage the residents from trying to escape too hard.
Another possibility is that the Town is somehow a manifestation of the people’s subconsciousness. For example, people end up in the town with Victor. Victor is a scared and weird little boy, and in his imagination, summons monsters that hunt them at night.
Now with more residents, people start to think about food, so the town provides. Then they want for a way to protect themselves from the monsters, so the town provides. During that first night with Victor as a child, he awakens to a dead and lonely world. So he imagines another child to keep him company and guide him. This is why Ethan is the only other one able to see the Boy In White since he is also a child and the BIW is literally imaginary.
How To Survive From
As I said in the intro to this long article, one of my favourite things about a show like this is how easy it is to place myself in this Town and imagine how I would react to things, and how my presence would affect the others.
But before we get into this, I need to confess that I am very much a combination of Jim and Jade. Also, don’t worry; this isn’t fan fiction.
Like Jim, one of the first things I’d do once I’ve accepted the reality of the situation is to gather as much information as I could and start asking questions. Like Jim, I’d strive to get all the information and question laid out before me so that I can cycle through them and begin trying to make sense of everything. I think this very article is testament to that.
However, I am also very much a Jade. Like Jade, it would take me an insanely long time to come to terms with being trapped here. I would believe just about anything before the truth. What is more likely? That I am in a town full of stupidly dedicated actors committed to a bit, perhaps, as a prank at my expense – or that I am stuck in a pocket dimension with humanoid monsters hunting me at night? Before believing the impossible, I have to eliminate the possible.
Location, Location, Location.
First up is where I would decide to live: Colony House, or the Town.
My answer would be, without a doubt, the Town. Even without the Colony House massacre, I know that it would be far safer in the Town. At Colony, all it takes is one – just one – weak minded fool to doom us all. In the Town, the only fool I would need to worry about is myself.
The Box Experiment
The most important thing I could do is to gather information. This includes interviewing every single resident of both the Town and Colony house. I’d look for patterns, and more importantly, try and see if there are any differences. Did ALL residents see the tree and crows? Were ALL driving? Did ALL have recent traumatic experiences? Who doesn’t fit the pattern and why?
But here’s the thing. Only hindsight of watching season 2 will reveal if these interviews would even turn up anything useful. So what can I do that will gain us new information? The Box.
As horrible as it may seem, I’d petition Boyd to use the father’s sacrifice/punishment to run our own experiments. He was a doomed man regardless, and even willingly goes into the box. We might as well use his sacrifice to learn something.
At this point in the story, we don’t know the limits of the talismans’ protection. The revelation of protecting a single closed room during the Colony House massacre comes later, so at this point we only have the R.V scene as any kind of evidence.
So let’s hang a talisman up in the box and see if he survives the night. If he does survive, then let’s replace the talisman with a homemade one. If we find a stone and replicate the runes, will this new talisman also work? Only one way to find out, and we conveniently have a little guinea pig locked in a cage.
Towers are boring. Let’s build a trap.
With the newfound knowledge gained from the box, we’ll now know how the talismans protect, and we will know that they will protect any enclosed space. So, let’s build a trap. My idea is simple, though very hard and risky in execution.
We start by constructing the above building with two rooms and a courtyard in the middle. We keep a permanent talisman in room
2, but leave room
1 unprotected. We lure one or more monsters into the courtyard then seal off room
1 with a new talisman. This will effectively trap the monsters inside the courtyard.
Of course, this does not account for the monsters digging their way out or climbing out, but that can be accounted for by making the courtyard yet another room, and building a second story so that there is a ceiling (the top floor being a single room protected with yet another talisman).
But what do we gain from such a plan? Once again, I cannot say without the benefit of hindsight. Perhaps season two will provide new information that could have been discovered this way. I think at the very least this plan would achieve the following though:
- Moral. These monsters are not invincible. We are the hunters now.
- We can study them. See what they do and how they act during daylight hours.
- We can talk to them and question them with safety.
- Perhaps trapping one of them will stir the pot. It might change the behaviour of the other monsters or even bring out their master, if a master exists.
I originally posted this article on scariest.monster