Season 1, Episode 3: “Like as fire eateth and burneth wood”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin
* For a review of the previous episode, “Digging Your Grave With Your Teeth” – click here
* For a review of the following episode, “As Water is Corrupted Unless It Moves” – click here
Moving on into the first Chiller series Slasher, this new episode promises revelation, and more mystery.
This chapter commences on Prom Night, 1968. Some hilarious dialogue concerning music starts us off. On a bridge ahead of a car filled with teenagers, a woman stands by herself; just as in the previous episode’s finale. There’s talk of a girl who doesn’t know “when to close her legs” and one of the teenagers, Ada, seems guilty over being out on prom. Then the girl on the bridge drops the cinder block. It smashes Ava’s face, as the others weep, screaming in terror.
Cut to Brenda Merrit (Wendy Crewson) next to an older Ada, hooked up to machines: “I‘d switch spots with you in a second, Ada.” Plenty more layers to Slasher and its band of characters.Meanwhile, Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) worries about her own involvement in the killings, that since she returned to her hometown these murders have started. Husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) tries hard to reassure her that’s nonsense. At least Sgt. Cam Henry (Steve Byers) is cautious enough to place a police guard outside their house for the time being. The police claims Heather Peterson (Erin Karpluk) killed both Verna McBride and Justin Faysal. Apparently a vendetta against them. Though the media questions things slightly, only Sarah wonders if this isn’t the case.
Over with Ada, we see Brenda bitchily greeted by mutual friend Sonja Edwards (Victoria Snow). They argue over loyalty to their best friend. Sonja claims Brenda’s only look “absolution“, to which the latter replies: “Too bad that hunk of cement didn‘t fall a little more to the left,” as she storms out.
At the gallery, Sarah receives a customer that seems to know her. He’s an eerie fellow. When he spies a portrait of The Executioner she’s been doing things get tense. However, he buys six paintings and this only makes her paranoid, of herself.
Robin Turner (Christopher Jacot) isn’t having a good day. After Justin’s death, there is a bit of trouble on the money end. Trent McBride (Jefferson Brown) has a huge cheque, in the millions, which bounced, and it was written by Justin. The woes begin now, as if they hadn’t already.
So grandma Brenda meets Sonja’s husband in a bar then ends up in just about banging him. Then she says fuck that, lays into him with a couple excellent insults, and leaves him literally with his pants around his ankles.
Worse trouble than blue balls are happening, though. The cop outside Sarah’s is taken by the killer, dragged from his squad car. Not killed, but unconscious. Inside, she gets calls with no one on the other end; over and over. A terrifyingly creepy voice calls her “brave, stupid Sarah” once she threatens to get the officer outside. As if the voice knows. This sets up a very Scream-like encounter, which I dig. There’s more than just this Wes Craven reference. We get a Halloween moment, sort of, inside the closet, as well. Out of nowhere the voice of Cam. It calls to mind Craven again, almost like Billy Loomis. There’s a brief shot of Cam that suggests he has some residual feelings, something going on for Sarah. And could he possibly be the killer? Is that too obvious, considering his father Alan (Rob Stewart) is a priest, Seven Deadly Sins and all? Something to think on.
Both Sarah and Robin bond over their mutual vulnerability in the killings. Even more, Robin reveals what happened on the land where Justin built their home. A family was driven out of their small “shack” and ended up squatting in an apartment somewhere, which led to their deaths after a propane heating malfunction.Sarah’s ready to take off, as is grandma Brenda. But Dylan agrees to stay on with the newspaper. He chooses his career over her, lying that she could sue, that he needs to give two weeks notice. This is not a good thing for them, not very smart on his part. Career or no career, a serial killer is loose and driving his wife out of Waterbury. Worse than anything, Brenda tries to put doubt in Sarah’s head over her husband, suggesting Cam loves her and they’d be a good bet.
Someone puts grandma and granddaughter off the road. But Brenda retaliates wit a piece hidden in her purse. What a bad ass Brenda is, I love that they’ve given this character so much time. No matter her flaws. She’s allowed to be a real, raw character, and it’s not the typical older woman we see in such stories. Brenda also reveals things about Ada, what happened to her. It has to do with Ronnie, from the bar, and how they’d fallen in love. It was Brenda on the bridge that night, the one who tossed the cinder block. Needless to say, Sarah is not impressed with her grandmother, and wishes she’d turn herself in.
Poor Robin. Things get worse for him after Justin’s death, getting stuck with almost $3-million in debt. At the same time, there is a ton of properties for him to sell and make maybe enough money to clear that. Still, as if a husband dying isn’t bad enough, the hit just keep on coming. More than anything Robin wants to know if his husband did anything “underhanded” concerning that old plot of land, belonging to the now dead family. But apparently it was “just business“, as he solemnly phrases it.
Eventually, Sarah and Brenda find themselves separated. And grandma’s found by the killer. She wakes near the water in a boat house. Her ankle bound to a cinder block. Oh, the karmic brutality of slasher horror. The new Executioner arrives, and we’re just waiting to see if Brenda can somehow survive his nasty vengeance. For her part, Brenda taunts him, with the Bible no less: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. You skip over that section?” Then he tosses it in, beginning her slow descent to the bottom of the lake. Her eyes are the only thing left above water, as she drowns to death.
Sarah soon finds her grandma, dead, bobbing slightly out of the water. She’s more and more becoming a Sydney Prescott-type figure, losing everyone around her. Then there’s Cam who consoles her, as his wife June (Jessica Sipos), a paramedic, stands by watching. So many smalltown relationships that expand upon a situation such as Craven had going in Scream. I like how even the Prescott family past has an influence of Aaron Martin’s writing here. Again, not at all robbing Craven of anything. Mostly it is influential through indirect homage, helping to shape this series’ DNA.In a shack with plenty of dead animals, Robin finds Trent. More slasher sub-genre tropes, the creepy hillbilly sort who seems good enough to pin as the killer. But this is merely another red herring, throwing us off along the way. And giving Robin a bit more trouble to deal with throughout his already sad tragedy.
Then there’s Heather Peterson. She gets released by Captain Vaughn (Dean McDermott) and Sgt. Henry, giving off some creepy vibes. There is plenty more to Heather, too. I’m looking forward to more of her character and backstory coming out. There has to be something else to her, other than being “batshit crazy“, as Vaughn describes her.
With the revelations of Brenda, granddaughter Sarah goes to see Sonja. She tells her about what her grandmother said about Ada. She further reveals details of Sonja’s husband being intimate with Brenda, that he could possibly be her “grandfather” – which Sonja vehemently denies. At the same time, Sarah says she’s headed to the police with what her grandmother has said.
Finally, we’re back to Sarah seeing Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow). She wants him to help “catch this bastard” and as usual, oddly, Winston seems to want to help in return. Sarah tells him about the events her grandmother had a part in. He quotes back some Bible and also adds: “Once we let go of our secrets their power over us disappears.” So at least Brenda died clear of conscience, I guess. His concern for Sarah is terribly strange. Why does he care so much? Could he be somehow further connected to her, in some twisty way? He wants to do what he can, always, and doesn’t want to see her hurt, certainly not dead. Why is that? He talks about the Seven Deadly Sins as a sort of opposite of a rainbow, one that forms “darkness“, but that The Executioner is “lost in zealotry.” We cut to Trent in his shack again, as if suggesting him as a suspect. I doubt it’s him, seeing as how Verna was his blood. But who knows? We’ll see. Soon.
Next episode is titled “As Water is Corrupted Unless It Moves” and I loved this one, so I’m looking forward to more intrigue and revelations of the dark, dirty past in Waterbury.