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I'm a traveler, and I can't help but... I keep bringing souvenirs back. It's such a privilege to be able to experience another person's culture, you know what I'm saying?
~ Dean Armitage to Chris.
Fire. It is a reflection of our own mortality. We are born, we breathe and then we die. Even the sun will die someday. But we are divine. We are the gods trapped in cocoons.
Dean is the son of Roman and Marianne Armitage. Dean was raised as a member of the Order of Coagula and worked alongside his father and fellow Order members to perfect a process that would one day enable them to transplant their brains into the bodies of African Americans in order to achieve pseudo-immortality. Dean was married to Missy at one point and she too became a member of the Order. The two had two children together: Rose and Jeremy.
With his knowledge of neurosurgery and Missy's knowledge of hypnosis, the two were able to finally perfect the Order's long desired procedure for transplanting the brains of members of the Order in the bodies of African Americans. Dean raised his two children Rose and Jeremy as members of the Order and when they were adults tasked them with bringing him healthy African Americans to be used as hosts for the Order's Members. Dean personally transplanted the brains of his parents Roman and Marianne into the bodies of two African Americans, Walter and Georgina who were both lured to the family's estate by Rose. They acted as the family's servants to avoid suspicion.
Since then, the Armitages continued kidnapping and luring African Americans to be hypnotically prepped for Dean's surgery, including Andre Heyworth whom was kidnapped by Jeremy and who became the host to Logan King, a member of the order. Dean himself was also raising his son, Jeremy, to be a neurosurgeon and the next leader of the cult.
Rose invites her boyfriend Chris Washington to a visit at the Armitage estate. Chris is anxious over her parents not knowing that he is black, though Rose reassures him that they are loving and not racist.
Indeed, when they arrive, Dean jovially welcomes the two and hugs Chris. Dean's high spirits embarrass Rose and his wife Missy. When hearing about the deer Rose hit on the way there, he rants about how deer are "rats" and are "destroying the ecosystem". Chris laughs everything off.
While Rose is unpacking, Dean gives Chris a tour of the house. He claims to be a traveler and shows several artifacts he has collected. He also points out a photo of his father, Roman, who was defeated by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. Dean is amazed that an African American won a race in front of Hitler and his "perfect Aryan race bullshit", but adds that his father never got over the defeat.
He also introduces Chris to the Armitage family housekeeper, Georgina, who is black. Dean states that Georgina and the groundskeeper, Walter (also black), were hired to take care of Dean's parents when they were old; when Roman and Marianne died, he couldn't bear to fire the servants afterward. Dean recognizes Chris's uncertainty and assures him that all is well, stating that he "would have voted for Obama a third time if [he] could."
The family sits and talks in the garden, where Dean explains that an annual Armitage family meeting (originally kicked off by his father) will be taking place the following day. He shrewdly realizes that Chris is a smoker. When Chris replies that he is quitting, Dean offers him hypnotherapy treatment by Missy, a psychiatrist, stating that it helped him get off cigarettes after fourteen years of smoking. Chris respectfully declines.
Dean's son, Jeremy, arrives home. At dinner, Dean is hesitant to allow Jeremy to talk with Chris, though concedes when Jeremy claims he has a right to know who his sister is dating. Rose apologizes to Chris for her family's behavior, yet after a strange encounter with Walter and being hypnotized by Missy that night, Chris becomes suspicious of the family.
The following day at the party, Dean's family members and upper-crust friends constantly discuss Chris' skin color, sexual performance, and physical strength. A black man named Logan King—whom Chris recognizes—arrives with an older white woman and acts strangely.
Chris takes a photo of him with a cell phone, but forgets the flash is still on; Logan suffers a nosebleed and screams at Chris to "Get out!" He is forcibly taken away by Jeremy and Missy, returning later with same bizarre mannerisms as before.
Dean rounds up his relatives and friends to get the party "back on track", announcing that they will play bingo. Chris, disturbed by his encounter with Logan, walks off with Rose. In his absence, Dean holds a mysterious auction with a picture of Chris on display; a blind art dealer named Jim Hudson places the winning bid.
Chris becomes further unnerved upon learning from his friend, TSA officer Rodney "Rod" Williams, that "Logan King" is really Andre Hayworth, a friend of theirs who disappeared several months prior. Chris convinces Rose to leave in the middle of the night, though not before finding photos of her with multiple other African Americans (including Walter and Georgina).
However, Dean and the rest of the family confront him. Dean sinisterly asks Chris what he believes to be his purpose in life, stating that fire is "a reflection" of humanity's immortality, and that humans are "divine" and "gods trapped in cocoons." Rose breaks her ruse, revealing to be working against Chris along with the rest of her family. He tries to escape, but is incapacitated by Missy's hypnosis.
Dean and Jeremy carry Chris' body into the basement, where they strap him to a chair. Through both an infomercial-style video featuring Roman on a TV set and conversing with Jim Hudson, Chris learns he is to receive Jim's brain via transplantation by Dean; a part of his consciousness will then be doomed to exist in "the Sunken Place" (part of Missy's hypnosis), becoming a passenger in his own body as Jim controls it. This also helps Chris realize that Georgina and Walter are in fact Dean's parents controlling black bodies, and that the auction from before was to determine who would receive his.
When the time for the transplantation has come, Missy uses the TV to hypnotize Chris so that he cannot resist. Meanwhile, Dean and Jeremy bring Jim to a makeshift operating room in basement; the former mentally prepares himself for the procedure, eventually removing Jim's scalp, and the latter goes to collect Chris.
Unbeknownst to Dean, Chris had faked unconsciousness and knocked out Jeremy, having blocked Missy's hypnotism by plugging his ears with the cotton protruding from the seat armrests. Noticing his absence, Dean calls for Jeremy and ventures out into the hallway.
Chris ambushes him, impaling Dean with the antlers of a hunting trophy. Suffocating on his own blood, Dean stumbles back into the operating room and knocks over a candle, before falling over and succumbing to his wounds. The candle ignites the sheets of Chris' intended surgery chair, the fire of which growing and (presumably) burning an unconscious Jim alive.
Chris goes on to kill the rest of Dean's family and escapes, effectively foiling their villainous plot.