Fiction · Podcast Review

Mabel: Season 2 Episode 9

Mabel is a podcast about a homecare worker, named Anna Limon, who is taking care of an old woman named Sally Martin in her old, creepy house. The story is told through a series of voicemails Anna leaves on Mabel Martin’s, Sally’s granddaughter, phone. The podcast plays heavily with surrounding the listener in the atmosphere of the house, along with providing an upfront view of the dwindling of Anna’s sanity as events around her start getting more and more strange.

Episode Nine: Crossed Wires, begins with the familiar rain sound and episode intro, except the intro is phasing in and out and breaking up from a bad connection.

This episode is somewhat interesting, though I think it’s a bit lackluster for a season premiere. Mabel has never been a particularly fast paced, action packed podcast, and that’s why I like it. This podcast has much more of a creeping, gothic horror vibe and I do not expect the show to lose that wonderful aspect. However, there are so many questions left over from last season and this episode answers none of them. The most plot-pertinent information learned is that Anna has not been in contact with her family for at least four days, most likely more. An episode filled with voicemails from others felt more like filler than a season opening.

The strongest voicemails in this episode are from a woman named Clara, who is staying at her mother’s house which is located near the Martin house. The voicemails are left for a friend who is meant to be visiting Clara there and keeping her company, because as Clara says, “I get creeped out when I’m at my mom’s place alone.” While this conversation at first seems as if it’s just for comic relief and an outside perspective, it becomes clear over time there are key clues in what Clara says.

She complains that the lights flickering at the Martin house are creepy because Sally has been in the hospital, so she doesn’t know who is home and messing with the lights. My first thought about this line was to wonder why this woman’s brain goes straight to “GHOSTS” and not relatives/nurse.

However, after that Clara says the line about how she always gets creeped out when she’s at her mom’s house, and after a particularly frightening encounter with a strange woman in the window of the Martin house, Clara describes a recurring dream she had as a child. If it’s assumed her mom’s house is her childhood home I interpret Clara’s paranoia and past childhood experiences as there is something inherently off about the area where Sally Martin and this woman’s mother live (and considering the land is inhabited by fairy-like creatures that’s not surprising). That feeling of knowing something is wrong is the cause of the level of paranoia this woman and Anna portray.  It is interesting to know that it isn’t just the Martin house itself that is a site of fairy activity, but probably the surrounding area as well.

Now I’m wondering about the other residents of this neighborhood. Do they also experience these same events and just ignore them? Are they frightened but don’t want to talk about it? Do the people who live here permanently just adjust to the weird activity and it’s only newcomers who notice what is going on? Or are there only certain houses that are targeted? And what is it about this neighborhood specifically that causes the fairy activity?

One thing about Mabel is the flow of time is extremely unclear. Last season the fairies were somehow taking away any ability Anna had to keep track of time, and while I can’t remember the details now I know there is another instance where Anna thinks she is only gone for a short time and it has been days.

I think this loss of time is also what happened to Clara. Her friend was meant to come stay with her, but for whatever reason wasn’t answering any of Clara’s phone calls, and at the end of Clara’s ordeal her friend pulls up to the house. We don’t get to hear any more after that, so we do not hear any reaction from her friend or explanation for why she didn’t answer the phone and was so late. I think that’s because Clara’s friend arrived right when she was supposed to, and time felt much longer to Clara than it actually was. I also wonder if Clara’s calls were going out at all since it’s been shown that the fairies have the ability to control how phones work and who the calls will reach.

Even though I felt the episode was a bit slow moving for a season premiere, it brought up some interesting questions and theories for me I hope to get answers for as this season progresses.

Let me know what you guys thought about this episode!

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