Slasher – Ripper Ep. 3: “Backbone”

5×03: “Backbone”
Directed by Adam MacDonald
Written by Aaron Martin & Ian Carpenter

* For a recap & review of 5×02, click here.
* For a recap & review of 5×04, click here.
Father Son Holy Gore - Slasher Season 5 - Kashtinsky Confronts RijkersDr. Israel’s giving Superintendent Kashtinsky a shot of cocaine. Just a “natural” and “totally harmless” drug. Seems that the superintendent is suffering from exhaustion. He’s soon alerted by Dt. Rijkers that there’s a new Widow murder; this time it’s Enid Jenkins herself. The detective’s pissed off at Supt. Kashtinsky for not listening to him earlier. But his boss won’t hear anything about any possible mistakes in the execution of Andrew May Sr. Although Kashtinsky is pretty scared when he sees yet another note from The Widow stating “five more will die.” Even worse, the note’s been printed on the press with skin from Enid’s back. Nasty work. Dt. Rijkers tries to convince Kashtinsky that the man’s life is in danger, yet the latter refuses to hear of it.
Is Supt. Kashtinsky going to be the next one slashed?

A brutalised, scarred Verdi’s attended to by Dr. Israel. Her sisters claim that she “self flagellated” over her sinful behaviour of being alone with a man and supposedly inviting him into her bed. Neither Venetia nor Viviana show any remorse for what they’ve done to their own flesh and blood. They pretend like everything is normal and that they’re dealing with a sibling’s mental health.
Rondeau’s talking with Regina about her psychic powers, calling her a “spectral powerhouse.” He believes they ought to work together. But Regina thinks it was “against nature” to channel her husband like she did, and also thinks that it’s perhaps Alistair’s perversions that brought about his death in some way. She and Rondeau’s meeting is brought to an abrupt end after Dt. Rijkers drops by to speak with her. She’s happy enough to be rid of the magician. She sees the detective as a good man. She allows Rijkers to have another look at her husband’s private study.

Somewhere in The Devil’s Elbow, Eddie gets jumped and taken to see Basil. It appears that Eddie was trying to slip off somewhere. Basil accuses Eddie of being The Widow, but Eddie says that’s not true. Eddie was there that night 12 years ago. He’s just scared of being murdered like everyone else who was there. Nevertheless, Basil beats Eddie mercilessly, then takes a switchblade to his left ear, cutting it clean off. “I own you,” Garvey tells him. “Every last filthy piece of you.”
Father Son Holy Gore - Slasher Season 5 - Enid's Skin Note12 years ago, Andrew May Sr. was practising one of his sermons in an empty church. He got a visit from Margaret Mehar. She told the priest that she was assaulted by “two vipers.” Margaret was staying with the Botticellis, though she was once under the employ of Horatio Dixon on the streets. She wanted to go back to Horatio rather than stay with the sisters. She asked the priest to let her stay in the rectory, but he refused. She also knew a secret about Garvey and was threatening to reveal it. May Sr. advised Margaret not to do it. He knew how dangerous Garvey was even then. He offered to help Margaret get away, yet she had nothing; no money to go away with, nobody to go to, and she was at the end of her rope.

Back in the present of Ripper‘s timeline, May Jr. is at the graveside of Daisy, praying over her, as Crenshaw stands next to him. They say goodbye to Daisy and Crenshaw calls it “a tragic waste of life.” May Jr. talks about sin, from Horatio pimping Daisy to Alistair paying for girls like Daisy. He and Crenshaw briefly discuss Enid, for whom he has no pity. He feels the street should “run red with blood” for what happened to his father. Is it too easy to think that May Jr. could be The Widow in drag? A strong red herring, if not. That’s the fun of Slasher. The series typically keeps you guessing about the identity of each season’s killer.
Dt. Rijkers finds a photograph of Alistair with a group of people a week before Margaret was killed. Among them is Eddie, who’s off getting his ear treated by Dr. Israel. He and Eddie have a contentious conversation about The Widow and Enid, specifically the fact the killer has a decent knowledge of anatomy. The doc references the Hippocratic Oath to assuage any ideas that she might be The Widow. Meanwhile, Supt. Kashtinsky is loading up on the cocaine that Dr. Israel gave him. He’s soon asked about the photograph Dt. Rijkers found, in which Kashtinsky is pictured. There’s someone else in the photo: Georges Rondeau. Is it coincidence that Rondeau was in Toronto on the night of Margaret’s death and never came back until the recent murders started? Or just more red herrings swimming along? Supt. Kashtinsky thinks that Dt. Rijkers has cracked the case. That waits to be seen.

Eddie goes to see Rondeau, pressing him about the murders and the magician’s return to town. The illusionist does a quick disappearing act, slipping away behind a mirror and reappearing behind Eddie. He claims murder’s “too real and odious” for someone like him. He dodges Eddie with another magic trick and it ends with Eddie flat on the floor unconscious. Once the big guy wakes up he’s found tied up onstage by Dt. Rijkers. The cop and Basil’s muscle man are both onto the magician for the same reason. Rijkers mentions the photograph, including the victims who’ve been murdered so far.
Flashback to 12 years ago when Margaret went to Basil demanding money. She threatened to give up the truth about him being a former pickpocket and “son of a whore.” She knew that bourgeois society would see him differently once his story was out there. Basil acted like he was going to help Margaret. She wanted free of the barbaric Botticelli sisters.
Father Son Holy Gore - Slasher Season 5 - Father May & Margaret MeharSuddenly, Dt. Rijkers and Eddie are confronted with The Widow. The cop sends Eddie off for help, facing the killer alone. He pulls out his night stick and then The Widow moves for him. They fight a little, but The Widow gains the upper hand, trying to stab him. Rijkers manages to knock The Widow off, ripping a piece of the killer’s outfit. The Widow runs off and the detective chases after, but soon the killer is gone, as if vanishing out of nowhere. Rijkers is confused, then he’s attacked from behind, and The Widow is there again, brandishing a knife. The Widow backs the detective up onto a fire escape and eventually into a dead end. They fight once again, though Dt. Rijkers is tossed down below into the streets by The Widow. The cop lies there barely clinging to consciousness and bleeding from the mouth, as The Widow comes down to stand over him. But the killer puts away their blade and walks off, leaving Dt. Rijkers alive.

Another flashback to 12 years prior, as Basil brought Margaret to Crenshaw’s club, where they were greeted by Salomé. They brought Margaret to her room, except it wasn’t a normal room but one full of restraints and other bondage gear. In present Ripper timeline, Eddie tells Basil about The Widow and it just gets them into an argument. Eddie isn’t happy with Basil and he’s not going to idly take the abuse any longer. He chokes Basil, telling him: “I hope she saves you for last.” He’s leaving Garvey to deal with things alone for once. Will Basil have such a stranglehold on the city if he’s without his muscle? Elsewhere in 19th-century bourgeois Toronto society, the Botticelli sisters plot to sell Verdi’s “virginity to the highest bidder.” Just a whole lot of terrible people, which is another great part of Slasher as a series: each season always comes with a lot of deserving victims.

We see Dt. Rijkers look through Rondeau’s things backstage, finding blades and a veiled costume, just like the killer. At the very same moment, Eddie’s found by The Widow. He tries running away, but the killer trips him up using a whip. Then The Widow uses a sledgehammer to smash one of Eddie’s legs, then another. We witness another flashback of Eddie with Margaret. He was about to free her, only for Basil to discover them, and then he had to bring Margaret back to Alistair for what was sure to be a horrific night of torture. Back to Eddie having his limbs crushed with a sledgehammer, trying to crawl his way through the streets to the point his fingernails rip off. The Widow stops Eddie from crawling any further, crushing his spine with the sledgehammer. The killer kneels next to Eddie for a brief moment, then they bring the sledgehammer down on his head for the kill.
Father Son Holy Gore - Slasher Season 5 - The Widow Smashes Eddie's Head

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