Sunday, February 18, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 8 (Shadow Boxer)

Shadowboxing is the practice of hitting the air to train for actual boxing.  It would seem to be the only form of boxing anyone will let Tommy Dunn do.  He’s the janitor at Manny King’s gym, but he wants to be more.  When Tommy asks to borrow a pair of gloves that Manny has laying around, Manny gets mad.  What does Tommy do?  He sneaks the gloves into the locker room and tries them on.  His shadow comes to life and kills Manny, who wants nothing more than to go home.  Being that there were no reports of anyone else in the area, Tommy isn’t questioned.

Meanwhile, at Curious Goods, the team of intrepid cursed-item hunters finds out about the death and make the connection to an item that Lewis Vendredi sold.  Micki happens to have a camera to document what she does at Curious Goods, which she takes with her to the gym.  She takes pictures of the boxers wearing their gloves to examine later, since the gloves have “killer” on them.  (Why they just can’t look at the gloves there is beyond me.)

Tommy takes a liking to Micki; Micki is instantly repulsed by him.  Just her luck, someone figures out that he has the gloves.  Ryan tries getting them from his locker, but another boxer chases him out of the locker room.  They follow Tommy back to his apartment.  Poor Micki has to lure Tommy out of his apartment on a ‘date’ so that Jack and Ryan can search his apartment.  Not that the gloves are anywhere that they’d look

Tommy makes it back to the apartment before Jack and Ryan can leave.  Micki tries to call them from a payphone with no luck.  Tommy tries to fight Jack and Ryan with the gloves, leaving Mr. Shadow to fight Micki.  That’s when we find out why she has the camera.  The shadow has a weakness for light, of course.  Now, it’s just a matter of time before the good guys beat the bad guys.

This is the eighth episode, which features the seventh artifact to be retrieved.  I think this is the first one where it’s obvious how someone figured out how to get the cursed item to work.  You put the gloves on and your shadow takes on a life of its own.  It’s fairly straightforward.  In fact, I’m surprised that it took something like a camera flash to make anyone realize that light was the weakness.  I would think that the writers could have thought of something less contrived than having one of the main characters suddenly own a camera.

This is also the first episode where Ryan gets to use one of the cursed items.  He subsequently realizes why it’s a bad idea.  He has to beat up Jack, even though it’s to save Micki.  This was a little more understandable. Jack and Ryan are friends, but it was a snap decision, as Micki was in danger.  It’s not clear if he could have use a wall to beat up, as there were no other obvious targets that presented themselves.

We also get the sense that there is an evil inherent to the items.  These are not things that could be used for good or easily studied.  The only option here is to lock them up so that no one can use them to harm someone.  I kind of feel spoiled, mostly because I’m used to shows like Warehouse 13, where there’s more flexibility.  The characters do occasionally get to use items for their own benefit, at least in retrieving other items.  Here, there’s no flexibility.  There’s no real room to explore the nature of the items.

This does make for an unusually dark show.  I only remember it in syndication, as I was 11 when the show first aired.  It’s the kind of show that might have given me nightmares, or at least make me afraid of the dark.  I mean, think about what it would mean to be chased by something that can beat the crap out of you, yet not take any hits in return.  It’s also something that would give someone the perfect alibi.  The show, and particularly this episode, isn’t for everyone.

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