Hospitals make a perfect setting for horror. The most vulnerable are at the will and power of those around them, trusting that what is being done for them is all for the best. In “Scion,” the fifth episode of The CW’s horror anthology series Two Sentence Horror Stories, we see this setting, or at least a version of it, exploited to the fullest through our lead character and his sudden illness.
When Noah (Uly Schlesinger), a rebellious teen is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his family’s legacy and wealth ensure him a place in an exclusive, experimental treatment center. This center has a far more sinister transformation in mind for Noah though. From the looks of it, “Scion” offers up a love story, at least in the beginning. Noah and his boyfriend sit on a bench in the park dreaming about their future together. Then, they are literally crashed into by a homophobic runner. Upset, Noah wants to fight him, but then we see that he isn’t well.
Quickly, the setting of the episode changes to a facility, clearly not a hospital, but clearly a facility where Noah is not in control. Scared, lonely, and frustrated, Noah begins his sessions with Dr. Lucie (Kate Jennings). What seems like a clinic for wellness, quickly comes into question as Noah begins experiences violence that he can’t figure out is real or not. While the pristine and proper world of the facility begins to disintegrate and Noah begins to uncover the truth, he has to confront physical violence that he can’t tell is real, his family’s idea of who he is to be, and ultimately find what the secret of the facility is.
Two Sentence Horror Stories has continually used social horror effectively to make the audience feel the stories. In “Scion,” it’s hard to detach the treatment facility aiming to cure him from the real-life existence of “conversion centers” which abuse queer children and teens by trying to “turn them straight.” Given the end of the episode and the way Noah looks when he steps out of Stepford, this feels confirmed.
While the synopsis of the episode and the episode itself initially make it sound like it’s cancer, it’s clear that there is no illness to be treated at the clinic. A sinister shadow shrowds every interaction from that point on.
With all of that said, “Scion” raises more questions than answers. It left me wondering what was happing within the world Noah inhabited and what would happen to him after. The self-contained story feels almost incomplete, even if wonderfully acted and evocative of real social evils harming children and teens.
As a whole, Two Sentence Horror Stories is a beautifully relevant anthology and “Scion” continues that. In addition, the twist comes out of nowhere, which makes it a fun 20-minute segment.
Photos compliments of The CW
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.