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The haunted real estate industry is changing, as entire prefab communities are under supernatural siege, and upwardly mobile influencers are buying infested houses. Fortunately, as we learn in Episode 4 of SYFY's SurrealEstate, the Roman Agency is in step with the times, and ready to step up their game too.
But no matter how different things get, one thing is still the same: If you try to cut corners on the job, it’s going to come back to bite you — in this world... or the next.
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for SurrealEstate Season 1, Episode 4, "A House Is Not A Home."**
First on the Roman Agency’s docket is a recent buy: Sophie and Duncan, two well-heeled influencers, got more bang for their buck than they would have hoped moving into a water-front property atop a crag that also just so happens to be haunted by waterlogged, seafaring ghosts. Like? No like.
Since Susan (Sarah Levy) is the agent who sold them the house in the first place, it’s up to her to solve its residual bad juju. It’s either that, or the couple will unleash hellfire, brimstone, and Tweetstorm on the Roman Agency, and sink their online reputation.
At the same time, Luke (Tim Rozon) is angling to upgrade the Roman Agency’s operations by offering their services to modular, tract housing communities. The approach is more or less the same; except instead of exorcising just one house, Luke’s got to manage multiple simultaneously.
That’s because the problem at this particular tract community is, as an old associate of Luke’s who happens to be spearheading the project tells him, that several units are being plagued by inexplicable phenomena — light fixtures falling, Formica tables cracking apart, etc. Could it be the shoddy workmanship and cheap building materials used in McNeighborhoods like this? Probably. But there’s something else going on in addition to all that.
Sure enough, when Luke brings his team in for triage, August’s (Maurice Dean Wint) handheld paranormal activity meter goes haywire. Something else indeed. Back at the office, the team discovers that the freak “accidents” are all occurring at one kind of unit that all share one characteristic: a sunroom. Not only that, but the specs for the problem units were taken from the architect’s real house. The architect who has since died...
Driving home after a long, long visit with her implacable clients, Susan is surprised to see a man on horseback barreling toward her, and veers off the road. Why he’s there in the first place, and why she didn’t account for proximity to a horse run in the asking price, she’ll never know.
Luke tracks down the house of the deceased architect, a fellow by the name of Nightingale, and finds that he’s still there, hanging around in the overgrown solarium. After some awkward prodding, Luke finds out that Nightingale designed the house for his fiancé, the love of his life. But six months after they moved in, she ran away with his brother, leaving him crestfallen and alone.
To add insult to injury, Nightingale's old partner stole his design plans for his house, and built dozens more just like it — all with solariums attached. That was the room Nightingale built specially for his fiancé, and to see it being reproduced en masse and slapped on willy-nilly to cookie cutter derivatives of his work incurs his vengeful wrath.
Meanwhile, Susan has sent the influencers to a spa weekend, so she and Zooey (Savannah Basley) can get to the bottom of whatever’s preying on the house. And although these two have been at each other’s throats thus far in SurrealEstate, tonight’s different. For one, there’s booze. They talk about love, grieve over loss, and put a nice dent in the liquor cabinet. They’re good and tight when the seafaring ghosts have washed up into the living room to give them a scare. Susan’s so stricken she ends up puking up gallons of seawater.
The next night Father Phil (Adam Korson) does some snooping into the local lore, and finds out that the ghosts are dead seamen whose ship crashed on the rocks where the influencers’ house now sits. These lost souls are seeking revenge on the lighthouse keeper — that spectral rider on the horse that nearly broadsided Susan — who was late in turning on the beacon. Since he’s dead too, the ghosts will gladly sacrifice the two innocents in the house.
If Susan and Zooey have any hope of repelling the maritime massacre, they’ll need to find a bright light that can stand in for a beacon. The influencers’ ring light — the brightest thing in the house — has meager wattage, so Susan pulls out her ace in the hole: pyrokinesis. She conjures up a ball of fire and lets it loose into the night sky, satisfying the ghostly sailors’ need to reenact that fateful night.
The next day, the Roman Agency hits their tract housing client with a bit of a curveball: Considering that a copyright is good for 70 years after the holder’s death, and Nightingale’s designs were most certainly copyrighted, the builder is potentially in a lot of legal trouble. But, if they remodel the solarium on all the problem houses, they’ll be rid of their paranormal presences, and Nightingale can pass easily into the next world.
Sometimes that unfinished business ghosts have? It’s really unfinished business.