Hulu’s Into the Dark
Season 1, Episode 1: “The Body”
Directed by Paul Davis
Written by Davis & Paul Fischer
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Flesh & Blood” – click here
In a high rise apartment, a hitman – Wilkes (Tom Bateman) – has just finished killing a man. The victim was dining on Sardinian “casu marzu.” The body has to be delivered within four hours, meaning Wilkes must take the body across town.
Halloween mischief leaves him with slashed tires. He’s also stopped by people with lame costumes trying to get him to go to a party. At the same time, there’s cops all over the streets checking into the Halloween madness. Out of necessity, Wilkes heads off with the group of friends.
Off they go to a big party, where DJ Sasha Grey’s rocking the house. The host, Jack Baker (Ray Santiago), makes a grand entrance in his Hannibal Lecter costume. Wilkes locks eyes with a woman named Maggie (Rebecca Rittenhouse) across the bar, and they get chatting. He’s not particularly talkative. She’s got lots to say about her Marie Antoinette-inspired costume, schooling the man about the “Let them eat cake” quote and getting “mansplained.” He pushes boundaries, talking about his job, whereas she believes he’s another party goer. Wilkes quotes from Dante’s Inferno – “Midway upon life’s journey I found myself within a forest dark / For the straightforward pathway had been lost” – to which Maggie replies with a quote out of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
First, the hitman has to get away from the party and the people there, all of whom are sure Wilkes is heading to a better Halloween party rather than trying to get his contract finished. When the body starts making noise, Wilkes convinces Jack to jump on it— y’know, to get the job done! The friends discover the body’s real, so the hitman puts a knife in one guy’s head, then gives a nihilistic talk on human evolution.
Anybody else notice Maggie’s a bit too calm? She reveals to Wilkes and the others her own blood lust. Yikes! Looks like the hitman has himself an accomplice for the rest of the evening. Jack’s able to slip himself, Alan (David Hull), and Dorothy (Aurora Perrineau) out, along with the body, as Wilkes and Maggie are distracted. When Jack tries warning the party they think it’s all fun and games. Except now there’s an angry, efficient killer after them, they left the keys in the office, and he’s got help. The killer and Maggie get out of the locked office in no time.
A cop outside the party sees Jack. He’s suspicious, but the party host takes him to the corpse. The cop thinks it’s all fake. When they get insistent “Chief Wiggum” takes it as a threat, turning on his body-cam and drawing his gun, radioing in about a possibly armed, “hysterical female.” An appropriate mirror of shitty real life! Jack tears the cellophane off the body to prove it’s real and they all see he’s a very famous man. Right then, Wilkes arrives. The cop grazes Maggie with a bullet and then he gets his throat cut.
“Why couldn’t he just kill Elijah Wood or someone small?”
Maggie uses her tech abilities to change the murder’s narrative, framing her friends. Nevertheless, the hitman has to get the body to the drop-off by 2 AM— no exceptions! So, framing them’s only one part of his contract. Meanwhile, the three friends are arguing over what to do next. Alan figures they have to dispose of the body. A compelling switch.
At a bar, Wilkes and Maggie get cleaned up. Maggie’s an interesting character: she carries a gun and believes in the ‘good guy with a gun’ theory, she’s also a bad ass. She repeats a mantra in the bathroom mirror: “Grow through conflict.” She seems happier about meeting a new man than she appears scared by being in the company of a murderer. She helps Wilkes hack a computer while playing quid-pro-quo. He has to keep assuring his employer things will be fine too, made more difficult by the fact he’s being watched.
Across town, the friends are smashing the body to pieces, burning off the fingertips, and preparing to use acid like Alan saw on Breaking Bad. And they’re being monitored by Maggie for Wilkes, who’ve found the friends’ location and have the cop’s body-cam footage. They’re sent the video, which freaks them out further.
Wilkes and Maggie embrace, both somehow finding a kindred spirit in the other. She wants to be with him. Fitting they kiss in a graveyard, as well. But the hitman’s got other ideas, sinking a blade into her. He leaves her to bleed out, only a short time left to finish the job he was paid to do.
The friends can’t get the job done on the body, prompting them to go to a funeral home to try and incinerate it. They’re not fast enough, because Wilkes gets there before they can escape. Jack runs further into the building, leaving Alan and Dorothy on their own. Wilkes gets inside, hunting the friends, who try heating the incinerator before he can track them down. Jack finds a casket to hide in, though he soon has his eyeballs crushed inward by the hitman, perfectly ready to be tucked away in his coffin.
Eventually, Wilkes confronts Alan, and Dorothy gets the drop on him with a gun. The two friends try fighting, but they’re not quick enough for this seasoned professional who takes a scalpel to the leg and bites off one of Alan’s fingers at the knuckle. Poor Alan gets hooked up to one of the machines used to pump formaldehyde and other fluids in/out of the body, plus a knife to the head— ABSOLUTE BRUTALITY! When Wilkes finishes, he’s at gunpoint again, and Dorothy shoots. However, the bullet ricochets and kills her instantly. Wilkes is in the right place for disposal, as he puts the kids in the incinerator.
After that the hitman goes to dump the corpse at a construction site. He takes a picture, and with forty seconds left until 2 AM he’s completed the task. Done and paid. He should’ve made sure Maggie was dead, though. She’s quite alive, and she’s taking her revenge with a bullet. She finishes him off then uses the costume ruse to drag Wilkes’ body to a dumpster.
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here”
This episode was genuinely hilarious! A great script with so much dark comedy and actually disturbing material. Solid mix of creeps and fun, and an interesting use of a hitman premise. Looking forward to more of these episodes.
“Flesh & Blood” is next time.