Friday, February 09, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 5 (Hellowe'en)

It would seem inevitable that a show like Friday the 13th would do a Halloween episode.  The show is about two cousins, Micki and Ryan, who inherit an antique shop.  With the help of their late uncle’s business partner, they hunt down the cursed antiques that were sold through the shop.  Because the late Lewis Vendredi was known for selling cursed items, the shop gained a certain notoriety.

Jack, the former business partner, decides to throw a Halloween party to put everyone at ease and show that any bad vibes have since dissipated.  All goes well until two of the guests find a do-not-enter sign on the vault.  Being that this is all that’s stopping them from entering, they go in.  Rules are for chumps.  Right?  Inside, they find a fuse box and a crystal ball.  They use the fuse box to blow the lights, thereby scaring the other guests.  They use the crystal ball to summon something from the other side.  What eventually comes through is one Lewis Vendredi.

The guests leave the shop in a hurry, as one might expect.  Jack, Micki and Ryan do find the crystal ball, although Uncle Lewis hasn’t come through yet.  Jack goes outside and finds a little girl who needs help getting home.  This leaves Ryan and Micki to deal with Lewis on their own.  Lewis tricks them into getting him an amulet sot that he can become solid again.

It turns out that the girl Jack is helping is actually a demon sent to lead Jack away from the shop, where he might stop Lewis.  He’s trapped behind bars way too easily and makes no attempt to climb over the bars.  Granted, the bars don’t really lend themselves to being climbed over, but Jack makes no attempt to escape until two guys allow themselves to be suckered into helping Jack escape.

Meanwhile, Lewis has trapped Micki and Ryan so that he might find a body to inhabit permanently.  Micki realizes that he has until sunrise.  They surmise that he might have gone to a funeral home to find a body that died peacefully.  Ryan and Micki run off to the nearest location, phonebook page in hand, hoping that’s the one that Lewis went to.  They leave a note for Jack.

Jack gets back to the shop and finds the note.  He manages to run to the nearest funeral home, which I’m not sure is a mistake.  It seems odd, given that Ryan took the page from the phonebook, although it’s entirely possible that Jack would know where to go, given his background.  Jack, Ryan and Micki manage to stop Lewis at the last minute.  Well, they technically stop him after the last minute, but the point is that they stop him.

This episode does show some promise for the series.  It’s weak, but it does manage to fill the whole hour with very little filler.  We don’t get too many scenes with Jack pacing around.  Micki and Ryan are able to get out of their trap quickly, too.  What strikes me as odd is that any of them were tricked at all.  I know that Lewis is family, but Micki and Ryan know what Lewis is capable of.  It’s the entire reason we have a series and they just trust him.

Also, I find it odd that Jack wandered off without leaving a note.  In 1987, they didn’t have cell phones.  I think pagers were still not in common use.  You think he’d maybe invite the girl in and see about calling her home.  Jack just goes off on a little adventure.

One thing I will say is that I liked that sunrise was used as a deadline.  I’ve often found it odd that a plot would rely on midnight, as it’s really just an arbitrary marker of time.  There’s no reason that a curse that was made hundreds of years ago would be bound by our modern conception of time.  Something like sunrise or sunset would make more sense, as they’re natural phenomena.

Another positive is that someone did seem to look at a calendar.  At the end of the episode, Jack points out that Friday the 13th is two weeks away.  November 13 did, in fact, fall on a Friday in 1987.  I kind of like it when people get these things right.

I’ve noted that one measure of how good a movie is tends to be how many other projects the actors have been in.  John D. Lemay (Ryan) and Chris Wiggins (Jack) both seem to have a lot of credits on their IMDb pages.  Even Louise Robey (Micki) seems to have a few entries.  Many of the guest actors seem to have one or two acting entries on their respective pages.

I haven’t taken a look at other episodes, and it’s not always the kiss of death.  The series did get three seasons.  However, the episodes so far have been mediocre at best.   I do remember having seen better episodes.  I don’t know if that the show got better, as many series do, or if I’m just remembering them more fondly than they deserve.  I think I will be sticking with it at least until the end of the first season.

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