Warning: This post contains spoilers for Chambers.
After all, it's a simple and easily digestible rule: If a place has the feel of a pristine, new-age spa, get out. Under this guidance, Sasha could have avoided the LeFevres' desert-side mansion, Crystal Valley High, and most ominously, the Annex Foundation.
Instead, by walking down these places' gleaming hallways, Sasha is led toward her grim (but potentially badass) fate. The trouble begins when Sasha goes into cardiac arrest and miraculously receives 17-year-old Becky LeFevre's (Lilliya Scarlett Reid) heart. As Sasha soon learns (a few apparitions later), the heart is tainted. Becky still hasn't let go — and the reason has something to do with the Southwest Annex Foundation.
What is the Annex Foundation in Chambers?
When you heard the words "Southwest Annex Foundation," did the cult alarm bells start ringing? Good instinct. The organization positions itself as a new-age country club. There's a facility where members can stay — or get locked up, as happens to Elliot (Nicholas Galitzine).
Gradually, the Foundation takes over the lives of Nancy (Uma Thurman) and Ben (Tony Goldwyn) LeFevre. Pretty much everyone else in the town is connected to the Annex Foundation, too, including Coach Jones (Michael Stahl-David) and Marnie (Sarah Mezzanotte), the school's facetious do-gooder.
The Annex Foundation borrows from Native American tradition — but it doesn't mean that those practices work for the Annex Foundation's sinister practitioners. The scene where Ben tries to cleanse himself with sage is a good example. “It wasn’t enough to rid him of whatever he was feeling. No matter how many how CDs he listens to. No matter how blue in face he gets. [The sage] wasn’t going to cleanse him of what he wanted it to cleanse him of,” Rose explained to Refinery29. “No matter how hard he believed it, because it’s not for him necessarily.”
How did the LeFevres get involved with the Annex Foundation, anyway?
The Foundation is instrumental in trying to coach the LeFevres through their grief of losing their daughter. Its prescribed methods of "moving on" include hot yoga while listening to mantras and a "cleansing ceremony," during which Becky's possessions are burnt. Whereas Ben is all in, Nancy is slightly skeptical of the Foundation — she keeps one of Becky's things to herself.
In an interview with Refinery29, Tony Goldwyn, who plays Ben, illuminated his character's journey toward the weird world of the Annex Foundation. Ben had a traumatic childhood. As a teenager, he was adopted by a wealthier family. "He was quite the rock star and a high achiever, but he needed a spiritual practice to save his life," Goldwyn said.
Enter the Annex Foundation. Evan (Matt Rogers), Ben's best friend, brought him into the Annex Foundation. Until the experiment with Becky goes awry, Ben had had "a perfect life," in Goldwyn's words.
He even had the Annex Foundation's stamp of approval: a triangle tattoo. Pay attention to the triangles.
What does the Annex Foundation want?
Well, it's not just meditation, that's for sure. The Annex Foundation's end goal becomes clear in the finale of Chambers. It has everything to do with what happened to Becky.
Long story short, the Annex Foundation is looking to implant the spirit of Lilith in a human vessel. (A brief historical aside: According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was Adam's first wife who refused to submit to his authority; she left Eden willingly and went on to prey on men by sucking out their souls through kisses). Lilith's vessel was supposed to be Becky, but she couldn't handle Lilith's power – she self-destructed and took her own life.
"When the door is first open, it can be overwhelming. All the urges and emotions. Becky resisted that power, and what came about is wrath and violence," Ruth (Lili Taylor) explains in the finale.
Until the final moments of Chambers, Becky had been protecting Sasha from the full brunt of Lilith. Once Becky's kicked out, Lilith can shine through — and so can her powers. According to Ruth, Sasha can now "bring equilibrium to this fucked-up world." Spoken less abstractly, Sasha can control the world around her. She magically heals her scar and causes Annex Foundation practitioners in the crowd outside her house to faint.
This cliffhanger opens up a Pandora's Box of possibilities for season 2, should Chambers get renewed.
Is the Annex Foundation based on a real society?
This hardly the first time pop culture has depicted a seemingly friendly religious organization whose ultimate goal was bringing a demonic creature into the world (looking at you, Rosemary's Baby). The movie The Quiet Ones also incorporates a story-line about Lilith possession. The figure of Lilith has fascinated humans since ancient Mesopotamia. Undoubtedly, she'll continue to inspire more modern day myths like Chambers.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.