The Executioner commences Dt. Gordon's trial. Ed and Oswald co-exist in a dungeon, Lee searches for answers about Mario's death.
Jim rushes to find out the court's plans, discovering the terror they have in store for Gotham City.
Season 3, Episode 9: “The Executioner”
Directed by John Behring
Written by Ken Woodruff
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Blood Rush” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Time Bomb” – click here
After the engagement party incident, Dt. Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) is investigating, and his suspicions about Captain Barnes (Michael Chiklis) are, obviously, running high. He quietly talks to Dt. Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) about it, his partner obviously thinks it’s nonsense, nobody would believe the captain did such a thing. Yet Jim knows something’s “been off” about their boss as of late. The partners go to work, hoping his instincts are wrong about Barnes.
Speaking of cap, he’s continuing his work as The Executioner – three new victims ready with nooses around their neck, as he pontificates about the law, the “whisper” in his head dictating those who are guilty, requiring punishment.
Oh, good! More of Ivy Pepper (Maggie Geha), using her altered age to give her access to more interesting, more valuable things than she had access to before, when she was just a little girl. She tells the latest man intrigued by her about her love of plants, all their interesting uses. Such as the love potion she uses to entrance the millionaire, getting into the room with all his priceless treasures. Love this lady. Get the goods, girl!
In her hideout, Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) gets a visit from Ivy, surprised by the change in her friend. Not an easy thing to grasp. She calls Bruce (David Mazouz), as well. Ivy’s in trouble with the guy she stole from recently, who’s connected to Luka Volk (Costa Ronin), not a good guy; not at all. Her friends suggest returning what she stole and Bruce will give her a few thousand dollars.
At the GCPD, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) is shown the corpse of Isabella (Chelsea Spack) after her train accident. Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) is there offering condolences, and telling Ed that she didn’t suffer. A devious relationship these two have, proving poor little Oswald can’t have one without manipulating the other person.
Over in the captain’s office, Jim almost gets caught by Barnes snooping around, then the two briefly, intensely discuss Dr. Symon’s last moments. The cap tries passing it all off as mob business. Afterwards, he and Jim go for a ride together; alone. In the car, Barnes asks to be interrogated about the party, he plays coy, as expected. Simultaneously he rails on about how the “city is a cesspool.”
Lonely Ed is having trouble in the wake of his new love’s death. His pal Penguin is trying to get his spirits up, as he wastes away. So clearly the little man loves him, though even in death Isabella keeps a hold over Ed, endlessly. When Nygma goes to the scene of the accident to try getting over her, a homeless man confirms he heard screams before the crash. He believes it was Butch who organised her death.
When Barnes and Gordon get to where they’re headed, the cap blasts a guy named Sugar away. He turns the gun on his detective. Shit’s getting real now. Barnes knew Jim was looking into him, plus he so deeply believes himself as the law, the sole entity needed for judging the guilt of others, that his mission is near unstoppable. Will Dt. Gordon wind up framed for another crime this time around? Things soon go haywire, so he escapes the building.
So, the GCPD are looking for Jim, all over again. Everything’s fucked up, everyone is up in arms. Bullock rushes to talk with Dr. Lee Thompkins (Morena Baccarin), who knows about Alice’s infected blood; the two of them are the only way Gordon might make it out of this manhunt alive. Bullock and other officers get there, armed with guns and the truth. They know he’s infected with the Tetch virus.
Jim rushes Barnes, then the two of them fight. Before long, he gets the jump on his boss. He has to fire on him to stop from being killed, but just disarms the captain. I wonder if they’ll be able to develop a cure soon, or if they’ll have to drop the guy into Arkham a while until then.
Oh, yes. They’re locking The Executioner up in one of those dark cells. He’ll rot away for now screaming to himself of the guilt, the cesspool that is Gotham. One of these days, we’ll see him again. You bet your ass.
An intense chapter of Mad City. Can’t wait for “Time Bomb” next.
Barnes struggles with the virus infecting him. Jim Gordon returns to the GCPD.
Season 1, Episode 7: “In the Pride of His Face”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin
The penultimate episode of Slasher‘s first season begins in the aftermath of Captain Iain Vaughn (Dean McDermott) being burned alive in a crematorium.
Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) is visiting with Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow). She wants to know the full truth, now that they’re being honest with one another.
Flashback to 1988, Halloween night. A young Tom, as The Executioner, murders the pregnant wife and her husband. Whereas the pilot took us up until the door shut, this episode gives us what happened behind the door. Laura’s mother reveals the baby belongs to her and Tom. This stops him in his tracks. Momentarily.
In the present, Tom claims it was to “save” her from their parentage. But he won’t give up anything further.Robin (Christopher Jacot) comforts Sarah, as best he can. Meanwhile, at home Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) is trying to make amends, for being a “bad husband” and not paying her enough attention while lavishing in the bit of praise given to him for his coverage of the killings in Waterbury. Could he still be a suspect? You never know. She wants to leave, she wants him to stop covering the story. He doesn’t necessarily say that’ll happen, only: “I don‘t wanna lose you.”
A creepy sub-genre moment sees Cam Henry (Steve Byers) sneak in behind behind Officer Sharma (Shawn Ahmed), as they find a room filled with The Executioner’s Seven Deadly Sins drawings. The whole scene is creepy. They find all sorts of things, diaries, lists. Even one that says Sarah and Tom are in the crosshairs for the sin of Pride.
More than ever now Dylan is appearing suspicious. The way he talks with Sarah makes him seem strange. So late in the game, could he be a definite suspect now? It’s easy to be suspicious, though. The red herring game is strong in writer Aaron Martin, following along excellently with the slasher sub-genre trope. Even further than that Sarah catches Dylan in a bit of a lie, making him that much more suspicious. He’s followed The Executioner story since before they met. He did it all for a lead that eventually brought about their marriage. He lied about it all. Sketchy.
Still, Dylan’s out in front of the cameras. All the while, Cam is keeping Sarah safe. And Tom Winston’s being transported elsewhere. That is until he launches an escape, choking out Officer Sharma and then looming over the paramedic. Terrifying.
Lisa Ann Follows (Enuka Okuma) is dangling a book deal in front of Dylan. Could he be guilty of Pride himself? Could this all be a deflection?
Well Winston shows up to take Sarah. Not for anything nefarious, obviously. He wants to protect her, afraid that Cam and the police can’t do the job properly. This is an excellently written series of events because we’re placed in a strange position, at once hating Tom for being a vicious murderer, and at the same time rooting for him because he’s, oddly enough, a caring father at the bottom of it all. The father in him comes out now that we know for sure, and it’s sickly a sweet situation in ways. Again, that’s the sort of paradox writer Martin puts us in; to hate and admire the original Executioner.
Sarah and Tom have a cute little chat about her past, her grandmother, camping, and so on. She again asks why Tom killed her mother and her husband. Then out of nowhere, Tom starts seizing. He manages to smash her phone, but urges her to run – The Executioner could trace the call, if he’s tricky tricky tricky. The police, they catch her phone. Cam and Dylan are both concerned. Even Father Alan Henry (Rob Stewart) offers to help.
Is it coincidence that right after the priest heads out to search The Executioner captures Tom and Sarah?
We find out after that Sarah is guilty of “playing God” when she attempted suicide. That’s why The Executioner has slated her for death. Tom begs for the life of his daughter. But the killer is not interested in that.
Back to 1988. A young Tom Winston preaches in a church. Laura’s mother Rachel shows up and joins the congregation. Tom’s actually talking about Alan Henry, the sins of Waterbury. Cut to him in bed with Rachel. He’s wracked with guilt, and he’s in love with her. The whole situation is tough, especially once things with the married couple devolve. We’re getting a better perspective on why Tom felt so betrayed by everything; he had no idea about being filmed. Such a heavy revelation. I’d not expected this whole angle particularly. The couple blackmailed Tom into leaving their burgeoning enterprise alone. This is what drove him to madness. To murder.
So this is the story of Tom Winston’s Pride.
The Executioner plans to kill Sarah, but instead Tom gives himself up for her. “I love you, Sarah,” he says before going willing into the arms of the killer. He lays down upon the saw, broken on the wheel, and it tears him apart. What a bloody, violent death for Tom! Wow. Very impressed with the horror elements in this episode. Quite vicious.
“It is our duty, our burden, to take action against sin wherever we may find it.”
Sarah’s escaped the grip of The Executioner. Her life keeps getting stranger and stranger, more complex, and not in any sort of good way. Then a mannequin of The Executioner pops up int the middle of town, including a note for Sarah specifically. The plot only thickens.
At home, Father Henry is a little too chipper. Another red herring? Or perhaps his talk of the town being “cleansed” is more than just talk?
There are certainly secrets in the Henry household. In a closet, Cam has a box of mementos. He adds a new one – a piece of bloody shirt, one an awful lot like that which Tom wore. Is this really it? Is Cam truly The Executioner? WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! I had my suspicions, but still. This changes the game.Stay with me, fellow fans. I love this series. I don’t care what anyone else says, despite the flaws and all. Lots of fun. Next episode, the finale, is titled “Soon Your Own Eyes Will See” and we will get our answers.
Season 1, Episode 6: “The One Who Sows His Own Flesh”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin
* For a review of the previous episode, “Ill-Gotten Gains” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “In the Pride of His Face” – click here
After the twisting turning episode previous with the revelation of Captain Ian Vaughn (Dean McDermott) having Ariel Peterson (Hannah Endicott-Douglas) in locked room in his basement, this next episode opens five years previous.
He picks her up from the side of the road. She gets in thankfully. Obviously the biggest mistake she could’ve made. Vaughn used his power and position of authority in Waterbury, the trust of that, to get her inside the car. And things start to get really scary after that. I mean really scary. Vaughn morphs into this completely different person right there in the car with her. I knew there was something off about him, but never expected this at all.
In the present day, he lays in bed with her. She’s obviously got not life, stuck in that room. The whole thing is beyond disturbing. But she may be working out a way to escape, somehow, some way.While Vaughn’s got his own thing going on, Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) borderline accuses her husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren). We can’t really count him out yet, though. Can we? Well Sarah is busy talking with Cam Henry (Steve Byers). They’re sussing out all the mysteries of the Peterson case, or as much as they can, anyways.
For now, we’re privy to more of Vaughn and Ariel. Their entire situation is insanity, of his making. She wants out, as well as out for her little boy. He’ll have no part of it. Soon enough she pulls her blade on Vaughn and stages a hopeful escape. Putting him down with a can to the back of his head she and her boy run. Only the doors are locked, naturally. A setup such as that means Vaughn has got all his bases covered, especially considering he’s a police Captain. His wife witnesses the escape, and does nothing. One shocking, heavy moment.
Sarah goes to see Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow), mostly to tell him he’s not her father. Although, he is adamant – “You‘re my daughter.” Meanwhile, Dylan’s out meeting with Lisa Ann Follows (Enuka Okuma). She wants to reel him in. He’s got his own bigger ideas.An interesting part of this show now heading into its last few episodes is the unraveling persona of Captain Vaughn. He sends Cam home off duty, which will only likely prompt more of Sarah’s little investigation. But Vaughn goes to see the prostitute Marjorie who Cam and Sarah were talking to earlier. Seems Margie’s eager to keep secrets for the ole Captain. For his part, Iain gives his lady friend a present. A nice ride on some electric veins. A real hot shot. Continually now, we witness more of the becoming of Vaughn. His hand is now being forced further and further. Despite his terrifying nature, he’s not even The Executioner, is he? So does that mean The Executioner will be coming for him some day soon?
In jail, Winston finds himself fighting a tall, brick shithouse of a man. He does all right. Until possibly getting his head stomped on.
One creepy scene sees Vaughn pull up to Sarah on the street, much the same as he did with Ariel five years before. Such an eerie moment; he even makes her get in the backseat. He’s got his back against the wall a little, too. There’s an edge to their conversation. Would he even dare to try abducting Sarah? Is he that mentally unstable at this point? She definitely pushes her luck in that respect, having a free flowing conversation with Iain. And then, like those years ago when he picked up Ariel, things get creepy.
“You‘re an idiot for getting in this car“
They have a little discussion, on the Seven Deadly Sins, Sarah’s intentions moving back to Waterbury. Vaughn claims she’s guilty of Pride. Their whole ride together is so tense. The writing is great, even the acting – I love McGrath in this series, not necessarily a huge fan of McDermott, in anything, but here they’re excellent together.
When he takes her out to some dump, she ends up slipping into the woods. Now Vaughn’s whole act is really undone. He’s let a victim get away. This can’t mean anything good for his little family at home.
At the Vaughn household, Cam arrives, Sarah in tow. Things are definitely starting to break down now. An entire facade is washing away. When Iain’s wife leads them to his “man cave” they discover Ariel and her boy. Heather (Erin Karpluk) reunites with her daughter, and that’s one shining bit of brightness in it all.
Winston wakes up in the hospital ward, and Sarah’s by his side. They’re entering a new phase of their relationship: “No more lies.” She flat out asks why he killed her parents, a bold step.
But what about Iain?
He’s off readying a boat, headed elsewhere. Instead of purging himself with fire.
That’s because someone else is poised to do that for him. Unable to escape the watchful eye of The Executioner, the now fugitive Captain Vaughn is trapped inside a coffin, stuck in the crematorium for his sins of Lust. He burns alive in the oven, screaming for help, as a morgue attendant sits outside eating his lunch. Yikes.
More Executioner next week. This was an intense episode, maybe one of my favourites yet. Looking forward to the penultimate Season 1 episode “In the Pride of His Face” next week. This series has gotten a lot better after several episodes, really hit its stride. I hope the finish will be packed with amazing and wild revelations.
Season 1, Episode 4: “As Water is Corrupted Unless It Moves”
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin
* For a review of the previous episode, “Life as Fire Eateth and Burneth Wood” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Ill-Gotten Gains” – click here
After the revelations of the last episode, Slasher moves forward with all our new knowledge of the past: what Brenda did as a young woman, how that has begun to affect her granddaughter Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath).
Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren) tries to comfort his wife in the aftermath. But there’s nothing much to do other than grieve. Then Cam Henry (Steve Byers) shows up with information about Trent McBride (Jefferson Brown).
We cut quick to Trent in the woods. And now he’s in the cross-hairs, as he tries to do a bit of hunting. Someone, likely The Executioner, fires off rounds and has Trent running through the woods. Until he topples into a covered trap. Then the Executioner has a bigger surprise – in go a load of snakes and it becomes a nasty pit where Trent finds death.
Henry and the police are searching for poor Mr. McBride. Eventually, they come across the pit and discover his grisly death. With each subsequent murder, The Executioner’s methods get nastier. We’re clued in on more of the Seven Deadly Sins. This supposed murder takes the form of the punishment for Sloth. Yet Trent appears, by all accounts, quite active and certainly not lazy. The plot thickens.
So without having to resolve their previous problems due to Brenda’s murder, Dylan now gets Sarah to do an interview for him. She goes on record about everything. Great bit of editing in this sequence, as we watch the deaths of Justin and Brenda over again while Sarah narrates. Even further, Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow) reads her interview in the paper where she gives the label “coward” to anyone who has ever taken the life of another. This prompts Winston to go a bit off the handle. What sort of repercussions will rear their head due to this? She’ll no longer have his bit of confidence, no more of his unofficial detective work.
Tom calls from jail to talk. He still has advice, no matter how angry or rejected. She asks if he might talk with Dylan for the paper some time. He requests a lock of her hair in return for doing so.
“I know you think he can‘t hurt you, but the last thing you wanna do is make that a challenge for him.”
The discussion of possible suspects goes on, in typical slasher fashion. Robin Turner (Christopher Jacot) casts doubt on everyone, from Captain Iain Vaughn (Dean McDermott) to Cam, even Dylan. But the possibilities keep on running. Robin also suggests Tom could be the “brains” of a copycat murderer on the outside. The whole thing goes further to suggest that it’s possible Alan Henry (Rob Stewart), Tom’s religious council, could be a part of it all. Certainly he was spared on the night of the original murders, as well as the fact he’s “religious council” for Mr. Winston. Hmm.
Vaughn is checking into the background of Trent McBride. June Henry (Jessica Sipos) is questioned, apparently she has/had a connection with the deceased at one point or another. They were paramedics together. It’s obvious his death hits her hard, both in the way she acts while being questioned, and how she seems after, while alone.
We see her later the bar, hammered drunk. She runs into Sarah and Robin, who try to keep her from driving home. June ends up in the water, skinny dipping, so Sarah tries calling Cam. Meanwhile, Dylan is at dinner with her boss Alison Sutherland (Mayko Nguyen) as they meet with former criminal justice lawyer and current journalist Lisa-Ann Follows (Enuka Okuma). For Follows, it’s all fame and glamour, not so much a throbbing need to help some people in a small town. Sarah’s got her own troubles, though, as drunk June rails against her “slut of a mom” and makes it clear there are still lingering prejudices about Sarah and her family. Might be some trouble with Dylan, too. He seems starstruck, and willing to go a little too deep for his job in conjunction with his personal life.
The next day June apologises to Sarah, as well as reveals she and Trent did have an intimate relationship. Moreover, June tells us a story about Trent encountering a now missing girl – Ariel Peterson. They go to the police with all this, honourable. It causes a lot of mess, though.
At the same time, Dylan goes to see Winston looking for “valuable insight” – a.k.a pieces of fame. Then Dylan gives over the hair he stole out of Sarah’s brush. Nasty. Turns out that Tom received a ton of mail from Dylan before. “How much does Sarah know about you?” asks Winston. The slasher plots are ever intricate, as many characters become prime suspect territory.
Father Henry meets with Tom once again. “Sometimes I forget you‘re a Christian,” says Alan. They talk of God, as Tom reads from the good book. More and more their conversations are captured in a sinister light. Then Tom hands over the hair he received; ah, so there is some kind of plan for it. He’s asking Alan to do something. What that is, we’ll see soon enough.Out in the street, Heather Peterson (Erin Karpluk) rants and raves for everyone to see. Truly going mental. It certainly doesn’t help her case that she babbles about the Bible. Surprisingly enough, June Henry embraces Heather, as she weeps in the road.
Sarah further discovers more truths later. She finds out June was in fact with Trent the night they saw Ariel. Which firmly puts her in the way of The Executioner’s new murders. This does nothing to help Cam and his state of mind. Are they too late? Has June already been taken for the sin of Sloth?
Everyone goes looking for her. When Vaughn June down, she’s stabbed, hung from a wall. Or at least a mannequin is, anyways. June is actually at church, on her knees. Praying. The perfect place to be found. By The Executioner, that is.
June soon finds herself in an impressively devious situation. She’s placed out in a field, naked, full of honey, and nearby are rats, other little creatures. An I.V. runs into her, likely keeping her stationary. Will she get chewed to pieces? I’d bet on it.
Next episode is titled “Ill-Gotten Gains”, so the fallout from this one ought to be massive. More Seven Deadly Sins await. I’m loving this Chiller series. It’s gotten better and is picking up steam at the halfway point. Stay tuned with me, fellow fans and horror lovers!
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.
Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot
Directed by Craig David Wallace
Written by Aaron Martin
* For a review of the following episode, “Digging Your Grave With Your Teeth” – click here
The pilot for Chiller’s first series Slasher starts on Halloween in 1988, giving us a setup for the events to come. A husband and pregnant wife discuss Halloween plans, whether he’ll stay home with her instead of going to a party with his friend Alan. She tells him to take the scarf off his cowboy outfit, it’s too “Liberace“-looking. Then at the door arrives an ominously masked man who’s let in without question, assumed to be a friend obviously. But afterwards his friend Alan shows up. This immediately causes worry: “Who‘s that?” asks Alan. The murder begins, which gets pretty vicious before the killer slams the front door to the world. Police find a man with makeup around his eyes sitting there, holding a crying baby. Wow.
I’ve got to say, despite anything that might come later, this opening is appropriately savage for a series calling itself Slasher. We’re given a pretty neat little scene to start things off.Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) and her husband Dylan Bennett (Brandon Jay McLaren) move back to where she was born, in the town of Waterbury. They actually move right into her parents old house. So we know where this is headed. It’s got a great premise for the slasher sub-genre of horror. The cinematography is fairly solid, too.
Sarah and Dylan do their best to settle in. Meanwhile, we’re introduced to Sergeant Cam Henry (Steve Byers). He’s an old friend of Sarah, so we have one of those almost staples of the slasher sub-genre – both the old friend and the young lawman in the hometown. Then she expresses to Cam wanting to meet with Tom Winston – the man that murdered her family. Yikes. Also, there’s the married couple Robin and Justin (Christopher Jacot/Mark Ghanimé), they’re her landlords. Fun characters. Although, I worry for them; maybe everyone around her is about to find themselves in danger.
Verna McBride (Mary Walsh) calls Sarah’s mother a “dirty slut“, right to her face. There’s obviously some kind of bad, bad blood between Verna and Sarah’s family. What could it be?
All these hometown secrets, the small town mindset, will surely come into play as the plot move on in this series. Sarah wants to start digging into the murder of her parents, and being a good husband Dylan goes along to get along. Helps a bit that Dylan is editor-in-chief for the newspaper in Waterbury. But when they watch a clip of Winston, his rage coming out on camera, it affects her deeply.
When Sarah sees someone following her, they wear a mask like the one worn during the murder of her parents. This begins a typical slasher chase scene, out in the dark, the shadowy streets at night almost swallowing her whole. Luckily, Dylan arrives and they end up coming across a group of young guys, which puts him at odds with them. Not a great start for them in the neighbourhood.
But one of the guys doesn’t leave. He ends up coming across the killer. Who does some serious damage to the kid. Already we see this slasher’s brutality. Must be someone else copycatting right? Or are we so sure?
Well Sarah goes to see Winston after all. He’s almost excited to see her, but she tells him: “You need to stop smiling.” She gives him a good earful about her life, what he did to her through killing his parents. But before she ends up walking out on him, as he can’t keep taunting, Winston says: “You have to immerse yourself in the past, Sarah; all of it. Find out what was going on in your parents lives 30 years ago, find what was buried in that house. No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar so that those that enter may see the light.” This spurs her on slightly, as it would. Even if this man’s a killer, his demeanour is too calm and too rational to completely ignore everything he’s saying.
Turns out there’s a reason why Verna hated Sarah’s mother – she made some pornographic movies with Peter, the husband of Verna. Definitely has a Scream-esque vibe. Although, it’s not copying. Just sort of a wink and nod to the Maureen Prescott plot of those films. Love how there are direct and indirect homages to the sub-genre’s most prevalent titles. This will surely continue as a recurring presence.
Verna’s over in the Bennett place snooping around. At the same time, Sarah shows a picture from the porn she found to Cam, who confirms it’s Peter McBride. Mystery swirls around the deaths of Sarah’s parents, yet Cam believes some things are “better left undisturbed.” Does Cam know more than he says?
Sadly for Verna, she is quite disturbed once finding the porn playing on the television at Sarah’s house; further than that, she removes the tape. Uh oh. There’s no telling what this could do to a woman like Verna, alone in that big house, lots of time to go crazy while drinking wine and obsessing over the newly discovered evidence. At the door someone rings, but when she answers no one’s there. More of the usual slasher elements. Leading to Verna’s encounter with the killer. And it is gruesome.
After seeing shadows in the window, Sarah makes the mistake of leaving her house, door open, and heading over to Verna’s place. Is writer Aaron Martin purposefully letting Sarah do this? If so, I’d say excellent use of typical slasher movie moments. If not, another long line of dumb slasher movie mistakes. Either way, it puts Sarah in the house where Verna was just being butchered. And she finds Verna before a brief encounter with the masked killer. A fall down the stairs renders her unconscious, left by the killer to survive along with the Peter McBride porn tape laid on her chest.
She wakes up in the hospital where Dylan and a police officer wait. Sarah tells the officer it was “the Executioner“, not Winston but “someone dressed like him“, which makes both men sceptical. Lots of interesting confusion is about to begin. Cam ends up hearing about the Executioner rumour from a woman on the street, and it definitely worries him in some way. What’s he keeping under wraps? There’s something.
Poor Dylan is slightly conflicted, being EIC at the newspaper. He does what’s possible to keep her out of the headlines and the aims of his journalists. Only so much he can do, though. He’s also personally interested; he ought to be, perhaps he needs to be wary of what’s coming next. And there’s more to Cam, too. His father is a local priest, he even promises to catch the killer, as if there’s more than simply duty. Is there more behind Cam, possibly his father? Excited to find out more.
This pilot sets up a good deal of suspense and tension. Lots to work off with Verna’s death, as well.Sarah tries to get more out of Winston after the murder of Verna, to see if he has some stake in it, if he’s egged on a copycat. He’s willing to help her, though, has nothing to do with it. “McBride died for a reason; why?” he asks. There’s an almost Hannibal Lecter-Clarice Starling vibe happening in this episode finale. Even some Se7en-ish stuff leaning towards the Bible as a reference for these new murders. Again, not copying. The homage is an interesting part of what makes Slasher work. It isn’t metafictional, but rather it comes to us through allusion to all this other material. It’s fun, and this series is fun.Not a perfect episode. That doesn’t matter. I’m still excited to see what will happen and grow out of all that’s been setup here in the pilot. Stay tuned with me for a recap and review of the next episode, “Digging Your Grave With Your Teeth” – soon to follow!