SurrealEstate 1×4 Review: “A House Is Not a Home”

A House Is Not a Home SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 4 Review
Luke’s team standing in front of Greg’s team, complete with tumbleweed, in ‘A House Is Not a Home’ (Screengrab: SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 4)

‘A House Is Not a Home’ finally showed Susan using her supernatural abilities. Here’s hoping she continues to use them more often as the series progresses. I want an actual Susan vs demon fight.

Before I get to Susan’s cool moment, I need to talk about the rest of the episode. Our team got to deal with two different hauntings in ‘A House Is Not a Home’. Greg, a person Luke’s worked with in the past, reached out to The Roman Agency because there’s something up with a handful of suburban homes. Luke decides to handle that particular case with August and Phil.

I liked the idea of a bunch of homes, part of a tract housing society, being haunted and the residents experiencing unexplainable accidents at the same time. It’s revealed that a ghost named Bernard Nightingale (A.C. Peterson) is behind the paranormal stuff. He’s a lovestruck ghost out for revenge. His fiancée was a fan of sunrooms. So, he made one for her at their new house. However, his fiancée ran away with his brother a few months later. Not only that, his old partner stole the blueprint for the house and said plans were used to construct the houses that are now experiencing Bernard’s wrath.

When Bernard stomped inside his house, it caused tremors in the copied houses. Again, I really liked the idea of having a ghost messing up a number of houses without actually being there. I could be wrong, but I don’t think we have seen such a haunting before on the small screen.

The latest episode also explored Luke’s emotions. As someone who has been talking to ghosts all his life, Luke (Tim Rozon) is able to connect with Bernard. Luke’s all about helping ghosts take care of unfinished business. They can decide if they wish to pass peacefully to the next world or remain in the human world without causing any trouble. However, Luke also knows that a single mistake when judging a ghost’s intentions could result in a lot of deaths. We have already seen a family die because Luke was lenient during a ghost case.

I liked Luke’s conversation with August (Maurice Dean Wint). Luke’s clearly conflicted about how to handle Bernard. So, it was a good thing that August reminded Luke of the agency’s disastrous past mistake while also handing Luke a device to kill Bernard’s ghost if necessary. Luke didn’t use it, of course, but it’s always nice to be prepared.

As for resolving the case of Bernard’s haunting, it involved Luke telling Greg to change the designs of the copied houses or else he would bring in lawyers due to copyright infringement. The entire scene showed Luke being the kind-hearted person he is. Luke could have simply destroyed Bernard’s ghost and accept Greg’s offer of being paid a lot of money for solving the case. But that’s not who Luke is as a character. He’s all about helping the living and the undead. Yes, he will destroy a demon or ghost if necessary, but his first course of action is always to show kindness and understanding.

While Luke’s all about helping others, it’s sad to see how he’s still unable to address his own personal demons. Instead of standing up to the ghost of his mother, Luke decided to avoid Megan’s house entirely. I really want Luke to grab his team and handle the situation over at Megan’s house. There’s a freaking portal to the spirit world in there! Put an end to it!

Coming to Susan (Sarah Levy), her case involved a seaside property she sold to a pair of influencers. Unless the influencers felt perfectly happy with their new home, the agency won’t be getting paid. I liked seeing Susan try everything she could to close the deal even though the influencer couple was incredibly annoying.

Compared to Luke’s case, Susan’s haunted house was scarier. After involving Phil’s impressive research skills, we got to know that the property once had a lighthouse. During the 1800s, the lighthouse keeper forgot to turn on the light and his mistake resulted in a shipwreck. Hundreds of sailors drowned. With humans living in the new house in the present, it triggered something and the drowned sailors were back for revenge. If the angry ghosts couldn’t get to the lighthouse keeper, Susan and Zooey (Savannah Basley) would have to do. According to Phil (Adam Korson), the two women had to find and switch on a bright light to make the house look like a lighthouse.

And that’s where Susan’s superpowers came into play! The entire scene where Susan conjured a big fireball and then raised it into the air to ward off the ghost ship was impressively done. Just look at this visual!

A House Is Not a Home SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 4 review
Susan creating a fireball in ‘A House Is Not a Home’ (Screengrab: SurrealEstate Season 1 Episode 4)

Fingers crossed we get to see Susan use more of her powers in front of supernatural beings. As I have mentioned in the beginning, I want her to battle a demon. Also, I want more lore when it comes to superpowered humans living in the fictional world of SurrealEstate. We know there are people out there with different abilities. Is someone monitoring them? Is there a secret organization that wants to experiment on people with such gifts?

Along with the scares, the seaside haunted house also offered the chance for Susan and Zooey to bond. Susan revealed her pyrokinesis to Zooey while Zooey shared a sad story about losing the guy she loved. When she was younger, Zooey fell in love with Kyle. However, he hurt his back doing construction work and that led him to be addicted to drugs. He died trying to continue his habit and Zooey’s hasn’t fallen in love ever since. Considering ghosts exist in this world, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyle’s ghost shows up to cause trouble for Zooey down the line. Kudos to Basley for acting the s*it out of such an emotional scene. I loved it.

Having said that, I’m still waiting for Zooey to showcase why Luke made her part of his team. August can create devices to fight paranormal beings. Phil’s got mad research skills and is an ex-priest. Susan has pyrokinesis. And Luke can talk to dead ghosts still stuck in the human world. But what about Zooey?

Can Zooey communicate with ghosts that reside in the underworld? Can she heal people somehow? I would love for her to come from a bloodline of witches. That will allow for a nice contrast with Phil’s background as an ex-priest. But then again, considering this show’s track record, whatever the writers have planned for her, I think I will like it.

Before I end my review of ‘A House Is Not a Home’, I would like to say that it felt weird to not see Phil’s husband work with Susan and Zooey. With Susan bringing in a team to check on the paint job and required repairs at the seaside house, I thought Anthony would be managing said tasks. According to IMDb, actor Paul Ewan Wilson is only credited for one episode. I know IMDb isn’t the best source for such information, but I felt disappointed due to the likelihood of Phil’s husband only appearing for a single episode in the entire season, especially after how well the writers handled the queer representation in SurrealEstate.

So, I did what I usually do when I’m curious. I decided to ask actor Adam Korson and creator/showrunner George Olson about Anthony’s involvement. Fortunately, both of them answered. We will be getting more Phil and Anthony. Yay!

SurrealEstate Season 1 More Phil and Anthony scenes gay married couple
Image via Twitter @KorsonAdam
SurrealEstate Phil and Anthony scenes gay married couple
Image via Twitter @GeorgeROlson

Other thoughts and questions:

  • The text messaging between Luke and Megan was cute and felt natural. Texting your crush can make one feel very anxious.
  • Luke and Megan finally kissed!
  • I still can’t understand how Megan is able to live in a haunted house. I wouldn’t have wasted a single second running away from there.
  • I enjoyed learning about how the ghost horseman was connected to the drowned sailors. Phil really is amazing when it comes to researching stuff.
  • August’s into skydiving.
  • What the heck happened between Luke and Greg over that farm case? I need to know!
  • Luke’s team standing in front of Greg’s team with old Western movie music playing in the background was hilarious.
  • We had another Wynonna Earp cast member appear. Actor Patrick Kwok-Choon played one-half of the influencer couple.

What did you think of ‘A House Is Not a Home’?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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