Season 1, Episode 2: “Digging Your Grave With Your Teeth”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin
* For a review of the Pilot episode – click here
* For a review of the following episode, “Like as fire eateth up and burneth wood” – click here
After a decent yet promising Pilot, Chiller’s first series Slasher moves into the next chapter.
This episode starts in prime slasher territory: the forest. A young couple makes out alone, as the young woman feels worried about being out there while a killer runs loose. Her man makes a bad joke, but then they reconcile quickly after an “I love you” from him. Only they’re interrupted by the ginger-haired guy who had a run in with the new Executioner during the Pilot. He’s under a pile of leaves, buried, his face busted in brutally. Nice classic sub-genre moment here. Reminiscent of everything from the end of Friday the 13th to many other horrors which use the gag for jump scares.
Reeling from the death of Verna McBride next door, Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) tries to get past what happened, along with the support of her husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren). Then, up shows grandma – Brenda Merrit (Wendy Crewson). She’s there to stay with Sarah and Dylan, to help, to comfort, until all this nasty business is behind them. Ought to be interesting with her inclusion, as she’s spent “half her life” in Waterbury, so she knows the secrets, the people, and so on.
In town, Trent McBride (Jefferson Brown) talks with real estate agent Robin Turner (Christopher Jacot). Seems like Trent may turn out to be a dubious slasher-figure, though, obviously not the killer of Verna. Just one of those characters on the edge, around the fringe, whose role we’ll not be able to decipher right away. He gives Sarah a nice grim stare while driving away.
Sarah’s looking into the price of the house where Verna died. Likely it won’t sell, for a long, long time. Is this part of the killer’s plan? Robin advises Sarah to sit on her house awhile. So does this play into the new Executioner’s macabre game? Either way, Sarah begins to get settled, opening Waterbury Arts – a Sarah Bennett Gallery. This gives her something to focus on, a purpose, a place in the town now. And while she sets things in place, up shows the woman who Sgt. Cam Henry (Steve Byers) had to deal with in the first episode, Heather Peterson (Erin Karpluk). There’s some history with her and the shop, and Heather rails against Sarah and “the homos“, as if they’re parasites infecting everything in Waterbury. Love how the writing sets up a ton of eerie little backstories, which will certainly play into more of the plot concerning the Executioner, and Sarah’s overall return to her hometown. After Heather leaves, Sarah finds a cryptic biblical message in an envelope, along with a severed thumb; belonging to Verna, of course.
Chief Iain Vaughn (Dean McDermott) tries his best to start an investigation, despite having a problem with Sarah calling the killer Executioner, “like he‘s some god damn super villain.” Mostly, he makes clear Verna had plenty of enemies, people who straight up hated her, so likely it’s one of them. Yeah, right. When Sarah gets angry about no progress and the seemingly nonchalant attitude of Waterbury residents, Vaugh tells her: “Life is not a mystery novel.” But you know she’s going to keep on digging.
There are marital issues between Robin and husband Justin (Mark Ghanimé), which makes me worry for one or both of them. Often times when infidelity rears its head during a slasher outing, this means trouble. Robin’s at the office, jerking off online with another guy, as Justin sits home drinking, waiting for his beau to arrive. But poor Robin is about to have a terrible, terrifying night. The Executioner is hiding in the shadows of the alley next to Robin’s shop. And as the killer hunts him down, luckily a man from a restaurant kitchen opens one of the nearby doors and saves him. For now. A seriously close call.
Back at the prison, Sarah meets with Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow). They do more Silences of the Lambs-style back and forth, not so much quid pro-quo, but definitely calls to mind Hannibal and Clarice, at times. But Slasher is its own series, plunging into the darkness of Sarah’s past with Winston almost like a tour guide to point her in appropriate directions. He even appears worried when she plans to head out for more investigation.
Grandma Brenda tries to convince Dylan to make Sarah head home with her, to stay safe. He makes clear that Sarah does not belong to him, she makes her own decisions. What is that Brenda is so worried about? Surely she knows lots about the past, about Sarah’s mother, possibly the sexual things happening. Is Sarah possibly Peter McBride’s lovechild, or someone else’s maybe? Who knows. I have a feeling there’s plenty more to unravel yet.Sarah explores the woods surrounding Waterbury until locating the entrance to a cave, creepily similar to the supposed Bible quote she received in the mail at her galley. In she heads to explore further. Where she stumbles across a skeleton left lying inside.
This discovery quickly comes out: Peter McBride was shot and then left in the cave.
When Sarah gives the police what she’s gleaned from Winston, about the Seven Deadly Sins and such, Vaughn is not happy. Again, this won’t stop her, nor Dylan who wants the truth just as much. With Alison Sutherland (Mayko Nguyen) helping on the sides, though with a smug sense of entitlement to the story, Dylan and Sarah get her opinion on what may have happened, which involves Verna finding out, then blowing husband Peter away for good after an argument.
On the street, Brenda encounters a woman from town who brings up memories of her murdered daughter, calling Sarah by the name of Rachel. Above all else, we see how Brenda wants to get Sarah away from Waterbury: “There‘s nothing for you here,” her grandmother says. She tries to make it look like Sarah’s father forced her mom into those videos. Afterwards, Brenda goes into detail about the murder, as Sarah reveals she’s been talking to Tom Winston; an action that alienates many around her.
Back in the hospital, Justin tries to make his husband feel better. Robin’s awake again and starting to recover. Tragic to see Justin working so hard while Robin was technically cheating. Especially considering the former feels bad for not being there for his husband the night before. Such guilt, though, Robin doesn’t appear too guilty. They each have their vices, but Robin’s the one cheating. All the same, Justin loves a good dose of nose candy, and the couple was in bed with a bunch of people at the end of the Pilot.
Sitting with Tom Winston is Alan Henry (Rob Stewart), the priest of Waterbury. He has a scar that reminds him of the night when Sarah’s parents were murdered. He managed to survive. Obviously a weight on his shoulders, as well as a reason for him to find his way into the priesthood. And also plays further into the idea of the Seven Deadly Sins, The Executioner and his games.
Although, trouble is on the rise again. The hospital’s power goes off suddenly, which worries Robin. But trusty Sgt. Henry says it’s fine, and he heads out to check the halls and find out what’s been going on. Another excellently displayed use of the slasher tropes, as we false alarm when it seems the killer is after Robin: it’s only a flower delivery man. Except the flowers come with a card displaying condolences for his “loss” – uh oh.Over at the fundraiser, Justin starts to foam at the mouth, and within a minute he dies savagely on the floor, blood seeping from his eyes, his mouth. Everyone’s left shocked. The killer has struck once again. Waterbury is not safe in the least.
Sgt. Henry and Captain Vaughn head over to Heather Peterson’s place, where she goes appropriately wild. Her missing daughter, the other events unfolding associated with her, is taking a harsh toll.
Once more, Sarah goes to Winston. “He or she is smart; a magician,” Tom says about the new killer. They discuss the murders, the recent death of Justin via poison. This murder is chalked up to Gluttony, for over-consumption, but Tom says “there‘s so much more to uncover” and goes on to say “people in this town lie all the time“, so what’s next? How much more will Sarah uncover?
The finale sees a woman on a bridge with a large cinder block. A car starts to pass by, then she drops it. We hear screams, screeching of tires, crying. Stay tuned.Next episode is “Like as fire eateth up and burneth wood” and I’m far beyond excited. This follow-up to the Pilot really amped the mystery, so stay with me for another episode soon.