‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ Season 1 Episode 5 ‘Pickman’s Model’ Ending Explained

Here is the ending explained to Pickman's Model of Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities.

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cabinet of curiosities episode 5 season 1 pickmans model ending explained netflix

For anyone confused about the ending to the fifth episode of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities then allow us to try and help! We’ll also be covering the remaining episodes of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, but here is the ending explained to Pickman’s Model.

Pickman’s Model is the fifth episode of Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and was directed by Keith Thomas, and was written by Lee Patterson and Guillermo del Toro, and based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft.

Art student Will meets introvert Richard, whose terrifying work of art begins to have a disturbing effect on Will’s sense of reality.

What happened in Pickman’s Model?

Thurber was initially fascinated with Pickman’s artwork, but that fascination quickly changed to fear and disgust, after viewing the artwork from Pickman’s sketchbook and the apartment.

Pickman went into some brief detail about his family history, in particular about his ancestor Lavinia, revealing her to be a hex aka a witch, who had served her husband’s flesh to her coven, and eventually burned at the stake.

Disturbed by what he’s seen Thurber leaves in a state of panic, but while outside a horse-drawn carriage carrying the rotting corpse of Lavinia attacks him, only for Thurber to wake up uninjured in his bed.

Late for a party at Rebecca’s family home, Thurber is all over the place and continues to see the corpse of Lavinia roaming the garden. Rebecca, appalled and embarrassed by his behavior, believes Thurber to be drunk. Thurber struggles to explain the reasons for his behavior, and leaves. He returns to Pickman’s apartment only to discover that Pickman had already left, but a sketch of a decapitated head was left on the wall.

Seventeen years later we discover that Thurber is still heavily involved in the art world as a “tastemaker” aka a curator. In the end, he married Rebecca, and have a son, James, together, and a lovely large home.

Thurber has a nightmare, and dreams of Lavinia and her coven, eating around a dining table adorned with meat, bodily parts, and cockroaches. After awakening, Thurber goes downstairs and takes a glimpse at the painting that was waiting for him in the hallway. Horrified by the painting, it doesn’t take too much for him to put the pieces together to know its Pickman’s artwork. Gazing for too long, he attempts to stab himself in the eyes before his concentration is broken by Rebecca.

Unbeknownst to Thurber, James awoke in the night and also caught a glimpse at the painting. We soon discover the consequences of that night as it is revealed that James has been struggling to sleep thanks to nightmares caused by the painting.

One of Thurber’s colleagues, Minot, reveals that he has invited Pickman, and will display some of his artwork in the gallery. Thurber is scared, and tries to deter Minot, but is accused of being a “Bad Sport.”

Arriving home, Thurber is surprised to find Pickman is there, and they share dinner together. He struggles to hide his disdain for Pickman’s art, and he is criticized by Rebecca later for being rude. However, Thurber did take Pickman’s card if wanted to check out the artwork at his home.

Thurber once again suffers through a nightmare with Lavinia and her coven. But, his son James suffers from an equally terrifying nightmare, except something was in the room with him before escaping.

Angered by the current events, Thurber confronts Pickman, who is shocked by his “friends” anger. Pinkman exclaims he values the judgment of Thurber and wants him to come to take a look at all of his new portraits, in and return he’ll leave Thurber’s family alone, will pull out of the exhibition, and will even allow Thurber to destroy his artwork if he still hates it, to which Thurber reluctantly agrees.

Upon arriving at Pickman’s home, Thurber recognizes the layout of the hallway in particular the large pair of double doors leading to the dining room. The corridors are adorned with Pickman’s artwork. Pickman goes into the basement but is overheard by Thurber talking to someone. Thurber intrudes, but finds the basement empty, except for Pickman’s artwork. Taking barely a glance at the art, Thurber instantly picks up a can of lighter fluid or oil and begins covering the area, much to the protest of Pickman who walked in from a backroom.

Thurber finally reveals his true feelings to Pickman, expressing his disdain for his artwork that gaslighted him into thinking he was an alcoholic or crazy. However he does go on to say that artwork is what makes him, and others crazy. Thurber shoots Pickman, mistakenly thinking he was reaching for a weapon. Pickman, in his dying moments ominously reveals his artwork is not inspired by his imagination, but by real-life, offering Thurber a look at a “family portrait” of monsters.

To Thurber’s horror, a strange monster emerges from the well, but instead of attacking, it drags the body of Pickman back into the well and disappears.

Sometime later, Thurber, with his family, attend the exhibition at the gallery. To his shock and horror, the artwork of Pickman adorns the walls. He quickly finds Joe and finds him standing in front of one of the paintings, chanting in a strange and unknown language. As Joe turns around to face Thurber, he has mangled his face and sliced his left eye. Scared, for his family, Thurber runs away and finds them staring at one of the paintings, and immediately stops them.

At the end of a long day, Thurber returns home, only to discover the worst has happened. Rebecca has removed both of her eyes, and in her madness, has beheaded her own son, and roasted him for “the feast” in their oven.

Why did Thurber not go mad earlier?

Thurber may have a stronger constitution than others, but the small exposure to Pickman’s paintings in his youth almost made him go insane. Had he continued seeking out Pickman’s art, he would have definitely gone insane much earlier.

Is Pickman even human?

While Pickman definitely had a human form, he most certainly isn’t “human.” He belongs to a species of ghouls, such as the monster that came from the depths of the well. This is also why Pickman can create such art without going made himself.

Was James always the target?

Pickman may not have had any known ill intentions towards Thurber’s family, however, his artwork foreshadowed the tragic fates of Rebecca and James. Regardless, the moment Thurber and his family came in contact with Pickman, they were doomed to tradegy.

Which gods are referred to in Pickman’s Model?

We’re not so well versed in the lore of H.P. Lovecrafts pantheon of gods, so it was a struggle for us to determine which gods were referenced throughout the epiosde.

But if anyone can offer some insight of the lore into the comments below then that would be greatly appreciated.

What did you think of Pickman’s Model? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 as a fulltime writer having worked in numerous other industries until that point. Jacob covers all things Netflix whether that's TV or movies but specializes in covering new anime and K-dramas. Resides in Norwich in the United Kingdom.