Lore Season 2, Episode 2 review: The creepy tale of Elizabeth Bathory

LORE -- Photo Credit: Julie Vrabelova/Amazon Studios -- Acquired via EPK.TV
LORE -- Photo Credit: Julie Vrabelova/Amazon Studios -- Acquired via EPK.TV /

Elizabeth Bathory’s ghastly tale was told in Lore Season 2, Episode 2. Did it live up to high expectations? This is certainly one you need to watch.

Growing up interested in lore and urban legends, looking back it’s not surprising that I landed on the tale of Elizabeth Bathory early. Considered the first female serial killer, the Countess’ story has many twists and turns. In fact, there’s not one individual tale about the infamous woman, which makes it interesting to see an episode about her on Lore Season 2.

In fact, it was finding out she was included that immediately made me excited about the second season. Then I learned Burke and Hare and Jack Parsons would be included, furthering my exciting. Throw in Mary Webster and the Hinterkaifeck murders and, well, we definitely have one intense, dark, twisted, but intriguing season.

But I digress. This is supposed to be a review on Lore Season 2, Episode 2, titled “Elizabeth Bathory: Mirror, Mirror.”

It can’t be easy doing an episode about a woman with many stories. Which story do you follow? What elements do you choose to pick out? It couldn’t have been an easy decision for showrunner Sean Crouch and his team of writers, but they managed to tell a tale that was mesmerizing, terrifying, and also somewhat sad.

You start to feel for Elizabeth Bathory

It’s easy to paint this woman as pure evil. To be honest, some people have. After all, she killed virgin girls to bathe in their blood for youth. It’s like a story out of American Horror Story–by the way that storyline was another woman entirely and a completely different post!

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Trying to feel for a woman who would do this is almost impossible. If it was a normal TV show, there would be some sense of redemption arc (unless just an outright villain) to help feel for her. That’s not what you get in Lore Season 2, but you do still feel something for her.

Instead of a redemption arc, we get her story of love and loss. There’s a sadness in her heart that puts her on this path of eternal beauty. In today’s world, we’d look at helping her mentally. But this was 1609, a time when the mentally ill were put in unsanitary asylums just to keep them out of the way and there was no such thing as insanity as a defense.

The Lore writers have, once again, shown their research skills to help create this full story. And it wasn’t just about Elizabeth. We got Margit and Ava’s tales in a sense. This story wasn’t about them, but we learned enough to have some compassion and heart for Ava and fear for Margit.

LORE — Photo Credit: Julie Vrabelova/Amazon Studios — Acquired via EPK.TV
LORE — Photo Credit: Julie Vrabelova/Amazon Studios — Acquired via EPK.TV /

Subtle clues of what was happening

We didn’t get to see much in the way of what Elizabeth Bathory did until close to the end. There were just subtle clues here and there, such as seeing the scars on one of the servant’s hands and seeing the way Elizabeth used the blood from Ava on her lips.

It was only when one of the other servants was tied down outside that there was more of a sense of the horrors that went on. Finally, Ava tried to get Margit out and we finally saw the dead and tortured women.

Hope of survival was dashed when Elizabeth found Ava trying to get Margit out–and, of course, Margit was too terrified and suspicious to listen to Ava after learning what she had. The episode built up to this slowly and elegantly. We weren’t just rushed and forced into the horror of this legendary woman and her castle.

These subtle elements made the tale more terrifying. For those who had never heard of Elizabeth Bathory, the subtleties helped to build the suspense and add another layer of horror to the tale. The subtle shows of torture created the intensity an episode of Lore like this needs.

Getting that bang of reality at the end put us in Margit’s position. We saw what she saw and learned what she learned. By the time we knew what was happening, it was too late to escape the horror and there was that need to see it through to the end. How would the world learn what Elizabeth Bathory was doing?

Changes from the first episode

I’d assumed that much of the storytelling from the first episode would continue throughout Lore Season 2. While I knew Punch and Judy couldn’t be used to tell the story, I thought we’d still get the snippets on the screen with descriptions and explanations.

That didn’t happen, making this a true anthology series. The only bit that was the same as the first episode was the way the narration worked. It was one of the characters telling the tale rather than Aaron Mahnke telling it.

Rather than Punch and Judy, we got the animation that was reminiscent of Lore Season 1. This type of animation has always reminded me of Tim Burton, which just adds another layer of horror to this already spine-tingling tale. As we got to the end of the episode, it turned out that she was telling the story to her diary, writing it down as if a letter to those she had loved, ensuring the tale would never be forgotten.

Finding out her true fate

There were a couple of disappointments in the episode. The first was finding out Elizabeth’s true fate. This story ended with Elizabeth being walled into her room and picking up four years later. There’s supposed to be some subtly in that the fourth year was her last, that this was when she died. It just wasn’t that clear for those who have no idea about the tale.

Maybe this is where the podcast comes into play. After all, the podcast is the “mothership” and Elizabeth Bathory’s tale is one of the stories on there. It’s not one I’ve listened to yet. Considering Burke and Hare’s episode gave us the full ending, I expected that from this one.

The second disappointment was seeing that there were girls who survived. There were more than 300 survivors and witnesses, but none of them were mentioned. We saw the one delivering the physical evidence that helped uncover the monstrous acts, but nothing about the survivors.

Of course, this was Elizabeth’s tale, but seeing just something about the witnesses would have been beneficial. As Margit was being led through the dungeon, it didn’t even look like there was that much space for so many survivors, so seeing more who were possibly still alive would have added more to the tale.

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And to end this on a high note, I love how the story stuck to the facts. There are many theories and rumors that she was a vampire or the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with absolutely no or very little substance. At no point was the word “vampire” uttered. The story told Elizabeth Bathory’s tale from the beginning of the end.

Next. Lore Season 2, Episode 1 review: The story of Burke and Hare. dark

Otherwise, it was another strong episode. Lore Season 2 has surpassed expectations. It brought the tale of Elizabeth Bathory to life with a terrifying storyline, intricate writing, and beautiful cinematography. Here’s to another episode!

Lore Season 2 is now available on Amazon Prime Video.