Dead Boy Detectives episode 3 recap: Crystal and Edwin finally bond amid a dark haunted house case

Trying to stop a nightmarish time loop inside a haunted house causes one character to relive traumatic déjà vu.
DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. (L to R) Kassius Nelson as Crystal Palace, Yuyu Kitamura as Niko Sasaki, George Rexstrew as Edwin Payne, and Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland in episode 3 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. (L to R) Kassius Nelson as Crystal Palace, Yuyu Kitamura as Niko Sasaki, George Rexstrew as Edwin Payne, and Jayden Revri as Charles Rowland in episode 3 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /

"The Case of the Devlin House" brings us almost to the midway point of the series and fixes on a dark and brutal haunted house story with an Amityville-style haunting at its center.

Spoilers ahead for Dead Boy Detectives episode 3

We're recapping the entire first season of the Netflix show so feel free to jump to specific episodes below:

After spending the first two episodes establishing the show's case-of-the-week vibe, this episode starts letting relationships develop between characters and provides us with some backstory for Charles. We also start to learn a little more about the inner workings of the afterlife and the foreboding Night Nurse coming for Charles and Edwin.

Dead Boy Detectives opens its third episode with Charles, Edwin, Crystal, and Niko settling into the ghostly groove of things in Port Townsend. With all the ghosts showing up, the group decides to hear them out before selecting their next supernatural mystery case to solve.

They agree on the Devlin family haunting after receiving a plea from the ghost of a woman named Susan Kessler who reveals her sister and two nieces were murdered by her brother-in-law in 1994. In death, Susan wanted to visit the family house once more, realizing something dark still lurks there.

The group then breaks off into pairs to conduct research into the Devlin family, with Charles and Crystal opting to ask Jenny what she knows and Niko and Edwin going to the local library. Crystal quickly takes notice of Edwin's jealousy that she and Charles are spending so much time together.

DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Briana Cuoco as Jenny Green in episode 3 of DEAD BOY DETECTIVES. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023 /

Between the library findings and Jenny's background info, the group learns that the Devlin family patriarch Brandon slaughtered his wife and two daughters with an ax before then shooting himself. The case was all over the papers at the time due to its violent and sensationalist nature.

By the time the trio arrives at the house (Niko respectfully bows out, still recovering from the trauma of her own near-death experience), they notice it has been blocked off and prepped for demolition slated for the following morning. Meaning Edwin, Charles, and Crystal have just one night to solve this case.

Inside, they quickly realize that the four ghosts, Brandon and those of his wife and children, have been trapped in a horrible time loop for the past 30 years where Brandon kills his family and then himself on repeat. If our teen sleuths don't solve this case before the demolition then their ghosts will be destroyed. With no afterlife, they'll be wiped from existence, doomed to face darkness forever. It's the worst thing that can happen to a ghost.

Before killing his wife, Brandon yells something about her leaving him for "Hudson," that, coupled with Jenny hearing a rumor that his wife had an affair, makes the group think they need to find a love letter that triggered the entire incident.

In actuality, the "letter" is an acceptance from Hudson University (since is the DC Universe, I think we can assume it's the same Hudson University in New York once attended by Dick Grayson). Brandon snapped because he thought his wife and daughters were going to escape across the country. Yet destroying the letter doesn't stop the time loop, meaning there's something else perpetuating it.

During their exploration of the house, Charles and Crystal find a diary belonging to one of Brandon's daughters in which she details her father's domineering nature and constant surveillance. He always seems to know everything she's doing at any given moment. There's no privacy. Reading her words makes Charles recall what life was like for him as a child, also living with an abusive father. He reveals this to Crystal. Not only does he check in on his parents via mirror to see them, but to ensure his father isn't hurting his mother.

Infuriated by the cycle of violence and seeing Brandon kill his family repeatedly, Charles takes matters into his own hands and attacks Brandon. His strong emotional tie to the case pulls him into the time loop, leaving Crystal and Edwin alone to solve the case before the entire Devlin family, and now Charles, are wiped away forever.

They realize a song has been playing the whole time, "Owner of a Lonely Heart," by Yes. At the start of each loop, Brandon turns the music down with a remote pointing toward a small room hidden behind the dresser in his bedroom. Inside, Crystal and Edwin stumble upon a bunch of surveillance equipment, Brandon was watching his family all the time. No wonder his daughter felt like he knew everything.

Deducing that a videotape might be the real culprit behind the loop, Crystal and Edwin prepare to record over the footage. It's never that simple though, right? Just as Crystal starts messing with the equipment, a misery wraith emerges from the bowels of the house. Edwin immediately recognizes it, having seen countless of them in Hell. These wraiths feed on negative emotions.

Edwin tells Crystal to think happy thoughts, which is impeded by an abrupt visit from David the Demon, always choosing the worst moments to intervene. He wants Crystal to let him back into her body so he can take care of the wraith. With Crystal stuck in her own mind, it's up to Edwin to record over the tape.

Just before the wraith can nab them, they successfully break the loop and escape the house with Charles in tow, all before Death shows up to take the ghosts to their respective afterlives. You can guess where Brandon ended up. The trio watches the house light up from a safe distance away as Death performs her duties. Death has been chasing after Charles and Edwin for years due to them avoiding their own afterlives, hence why it's important they hide from her.

And Death isn't the only one after the boys. Night Nurse is still intent on tracking them down but it turns out the afterlife is just as mired in bureaucracy as real life. A pesky notary refuses to file the proper paperwork to give Night Nurse permission to cross over to Earth unless she knows the exact location of Edwin and Charles.

How lucky then, for her, that the episode ends with the two Devlin girls appearing in the afterlife's Lost & Found Department after years of being "missing," revealing that two ghost teens helped them escape a nightmare in their little town of Port Townsend, Washington. Night Nurse happily invites the girls to tell her all about them.

Dead Boy Detectives episode 3. B. The Case of the Devlin House. Exploring a haunted house provides us with more intel on Charles' backstory while also allowing development in Crystal and Edwin's relationship in this dark but touching episode.. Dead Boy Detectives episode 3

Odds & Ends

  • Crystal and Charles finally admit to their growing attraction to one another while Esther's familiar, Monty, takes an immediate liking to Edwin. The Cat King's cat companions, who have been assigned to follow and keep a close eye on Edwin and his friends as Edwin counts cats, take notice of Monty's flirtation, concurring that the Cat King won't like this new development at all.
  • Niko is still keeping her dandelion sprites Litty and Kingham inside the bell jar in her room, I imagine that's going to become a problem sooner rather than later, unless she can really make them become better people (maybe?), or at least less annoying (doubtful).
  • While inside of her head, David shows Crystal some of their memories together, involving them pickpocketing and throwing rocks at cars. Crystal questions if she even wants to get her memory back. Maybe she was a bad person. Edwin assures her it's only what she does now, not what she did, that matters. But I can see this becoming an internal struggle for Crystal moving forward.

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