Witch Creek Road S3 E4 Explained (Spoilers)
Episode 4 takes us back to March 2, 1970, where we see Richard Hellier checking into a hotel room. Specifically, he's checking into room 413, which is the “haunted room.” The girl working at the front desk, Charlotte, comments that Richard is “very brave” and goes on to say, “I think it's in Japan where the number four is associated with death. I hear buildings will skip the fourth floor in the same way some buildings here will skip the thirteenth. And here you are, room 413. The best of both worlds.”
Charlotte asks Richard to be careful, telling him, “No one's died up there in over fifty years. Please don't break that streak.”
Richard walks up to the room and goes to bed, and we see a dark figure watching him from the bathroom door.
We jump forward a week and a half, to March 12, 1970. Richard is back at the hotel, and Charlotte greets him with, “It appears you survived your previous visit with us!” She asks how it was, and if he saw any ghosts. He admits that “I turned on the bathroom light. It was too dark and the bathroom light helped illuminate the room a bit. I figured, if I was going to see something, I wanted to see it. Not just some shadow I'd probably explain away as my imagination.” Charlotte teases him, asking if maybe he was just scared, to which he replies, “Maybe. Just a little.”
Charlotte reminds Richard that they “set out cookies and sherry at 6pm,” and to come join the other guests in the sitting room if he's feeling social.
We jump again, to March 23, 1970. We see Richard in the sitting room, and Charlotte comments, “Look at this! It took only three visits before you graced the sitting room with your presence.” Charlotte offers Richard a cookie, and agrees to sit with him for a bit. During their conversation, Richard admits his attraction to her, saying, “I originally came here for the ghosts. I keep coming back for you.”
At this point Charlotte's father arrives and asks Charlotte to help her mother in the kitchen. When Charlotte has left, her father tells Richard, “I overheard you speaking to Charlotte. You need to forget about her.” Richard replies, “I promise, I'll treat your daughter with respect.”
The father tells Richard, “You don't understand. I don't know who that person is. She looks like our daughter. She sounds like our daughter. But that's not our daughter.”
RICHARD HELLIER: Though not expressly stated yet, Richard Hellier is the old man we've been seeing in some of the previous episodes – only 50 years younger.
THE HOTEL and CHARLOTTE'S CLOTHES: The Devey House was originally an old Victorian mansion, but has since been converted into a hotel. It's featured on the city's haunted walking tour for it's haunted history (including some dark events that will occur in future episodes).
While working, Charlotte dresses in Victorian-style clothing, because she believes is adds character to the hotel.
AUTHOR'S COMMENTARY: Some of the ideas for the “Heart in a Jar” storyline came to me while staying in the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco just over two and a half years ago. The hotel is reputed to be haunted, with most of the sightings occurring in room 410. Sadly, it wasn't room 410 I stayed, but I did get a room on the fourth floor. And, like Richard in this story, I ended up sleeping with the bathroom light on, for much the same reasons Richard mentioned.
I didn't see any ghosts, but it didn't really matter. The hotel was so beautiful it became the highlight of my trip. It also heavily inspired the appearance of the hotel in the comic.