There’s something about the Netflix model that makes it the perfect vehicle for horror. Stranger Things? A pop cultural phenomenon. Haunting of Hill House? The breakout surprise of fall 2018. But, it’s been a while since Netflix has given us a can’t-help-but-keep-watching horror hit. That is until now, with Chambers, premiering its first season on Friday, 26th April.
The wildly bingeable streaming series follows Sasha Yazzie (Sivan Alyra Rose), a 17-year-old Arizona girl who is Diné — or, Navajo for those of us outside of the tribe — who suffers a near-fatal heart attack. In a case of suspiciously good luck, Sasha’s story doesn’t end there. She winds up getting the heart of recently deceased teen from a town over, Rebecca “Becky” LeFevre (Lilliya Scarlett Reid). Unfortunately for Sasha, her connection to Becky doesn’t end with the transplant.
While it’s possible Sasha’s descent Becky-related horror would happen no matter what, she is pushed along in her spooky journey by none other than Scandal bae Tony Goldwyn and superstar Uma Thurman, continuing a recent spate of TV roles (remember she was in Bravo’s Imposters?). Goldwyn is in full crystal zaddy mode as Ben LeFevre, Becky’s new age-y tattooed, and very ripped dad; Thurman plays his wife, Nancy LeFevre, a woman shattered with grief over her daughter's death. The couple has a strange connection to the Southwest Annex Foundation, which definitely doesn’t sound like a supernatural cult or anything.
A show that combines family trauma of Hill House with the cult-y scares of certain seasons of American Horror Story and just a dash of the teen screams of The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina? That just might be worth talking through. So, we’ll be living recapping Chambers season 1, breaking down every mystery — from its weird masks to what exactly happened the night Becky died — along the way. Keep reading to get to the very heart of Netflix’s most intriguing new drama.
Episode 1 — “Into The Void”
“In four hours, the entire universe had to conspire together to save your life,” Big Frank Yazzie (Marcus LaVoi) tells his niece, Sasha (Rose), within the first 20 minutes of Chambers. For him, it’s a pithy comment meant to remind Sasha she should be grateful to be alive. However, Frank may be onto something— an actual, literal cosmic conspiracy may have saved Sasha’s life.
In the words of another April-premiering TV series, she’s is in the great game now (somehow). And the great game is terrifying.
When we first meet Sasha, she doesn’t seem like the focus of some massive supernatural collusion. She’s an average teenage girl living in the working class town of Cottonwood and preparing to have sex with her boyfriend for the first time. That boyfriend is the loveable TJ (Griffin Powell-Arcand), a sweet boy whose dad owns a local mattress store. In a plot only horny teens could come up with, Sasha and TJ decide to break into said mattress store and lose their virginity on which ever boxspring they like best. TJ even brings candles and what appears to be a bouquet of flowers because he’s romantic like that. It’s all really very lovely.
Then, as clothing comes off and things heat up, Sasha has a heart attack. She realises something is very wrong as she seems to see visions of colourful smoke and some sort of flower-patterned sheet. Poor terrified TJ goes from kissing his way down Sasha’s torso to carrying her limp body around a mini mall screaming for help. The next thing we know, it’s a few weeks later and Sasha has a huge scar in the middle of her chest. This is how Chambers confirms its main character received a crucial heart transplant after the mattress store fiasco.
Ben LeFevre (Goldwyn), of the wealthy, nearby Crystal Valley, shows up at Uncle Frank’s exotic pet shop to tell Sasha exactly how she got that “extraordinary” heart. His teen daughter Rebecca “Becky” LeFevre (Lilliya Scarlett Reid) died mysteriously that same evening. The photo Ben turns over to the Yazzies proves Becky could be the face of a successful YouTube beauty tutorial empire or appear in the feed of any Coachella Instagram account. Despite the strict rules separating organ donors, their families, and the recipients, Ben wants to get to know Sasha. In fact, Ben — whom we’ll soon learn is buffer than buff and sporting a few spiritual tats — wants the Yazzies to come over for dinner on Saturday.
Sasha wants nothing less than a guilt-ridden meal with the LeFevres, but Frank brings up the whole universal conspiracy thing and suggests that the least they can do is have dinner with the family. So, off Sasha and Frank go to Crystal Valley. On their way, a strange old woman on the street immediately screams danger is ahead. “You don’t want it in you!,” she yells, handing Sasha a face mask with a large black rock hidden inside of it. This is the moment that comes in all horror movies: the one where, if you take the red flag warning and go back home, everything would be fine. There would be no need for 10 trippy horror episodes of television. Of course, Frank keeps driving to the LeFevre home.
And, oh, what a home it is. If the Sharp Objects Victorian was upgraded to a crystal-filled, techno-futurist manse, it would be this house. Not only is it massive, but it has amazing things like a glass room where one can enjoy the eerie magic of the Arizona sky. Casa LeFevre is presided over by Nancy LeFevre (Thurman), a ghost of a woman broken by her daughter’s death. She now practices laughing in the mirror to prepare for visitors and grills Sasha on every facet of her academic life. Eventually the LeFevres explain why they’re so interested in Sasha’s background: They’ve installed a full scholarship at Becky’s high school and want Sasha to be its first recipient.
Although Sasha wants nothing to do with the scholarship or this rich family, an unexpected dust storm literally traps the Yazzies in LeFevre manor. This overnight confinement is how Sasha first gets to know Becky’s twin brother Elliott (Nicholas Galitzine), an intense young man dealing with a heroin addiction. She also finds her way into Becky’s room, which is housing a creepy camera and a mouse without a tail. Both, are terrifying. Sasha then runs to her own room to avoid these strange horrors by falling asleep.
Unfortunately, Sasha’s dreams take her outside to the dust storm, where she finds two teens hooking up in a car. It appears one of them is Becky — peep the blonde hair — but, when Sasha looks harder that’s not what’s actually happening. The mystery boy turns towards Sasha and asks, “Becky?” When the girl he’s with moves her face into frame, it’s Sasha. A nightmare.
Yet, Sasha cannot avoid the pull of the LeFevres. After finally having sex with TJ, Sasha decides her mom Lena (Kumiko Konishi), another person in this tale who died under mysterious circumstances, would have wanted her to go to a school as good as Crystal Valley High. So, she calls Ben and Nancy to accept their offer. The grieving parents couldn’t be happier. “This is going to change her life,” Nancy gushes, and, CVHS is so fancy, you almost believe the school could be a good thing for Sasha. In place of a stuffy guidance counsellor, Sasha meets her cool, inappropriately attractive new life coach Jones (Michael Stahl-David). She gets a new laptop, free condoms, all the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos she couldn’t afford earlier, and a bubbly transitional peer partner in Marnie (Sarah Mezzanotte), one of Becky’s best friends.
It’s Marnie who reveals how Becky allegedly died. Apparently, Becky always listened to an old school radio while getting ready. One night, it fell into the shower and electrocuted Becky to death. Sasha’s best friend Yvonne (Kyanna Simone Simpson) points out how strange that story is. If someone is electrocuted, aren’t their organs are fried? Therefore, they wouldn’t be able to donate said ruined body parts — like, a heart, for instance. Odd. Even stranger, that night as Sasha washes here face, she sees a towel-wrapped Becky looking back at her, screaming. For a moment, Becky is standing in Sasha’s place, and in her body.
As Sasha says upon hearing the story of her organ donor’s death, “Fuck.” Welcome to Chambers, this is only the very tip of the crystal iceberg.
Odds & Ends
- Chambers’ title sequence confirms Sasha’s body may not be her own anymore. We see Sasha and Becky share a face in the opening sequence and watch their eyes — respectively brown and blue — flicker back and forth. Yikes.