Monday, April 02, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 11 (Scarecrow)

Sometimes, when reviewing a TV series, I have the choice of reviewing by the episode or reviewing by the season.  Some series, like 24, don’t lend themselves to an episode-by-episode breakdown, as the story is stretched over the entire season.  Other series have more of an episodic nature.  While Star Trek did have some continuity, each installment tended to deal with a particular issue.

Friday the 13th: The Series tends more towards the episodic format.  Cousins Ryan and Micki inherited an antiques store from their uncle.  With the help of Jack Marshak, they retrieve cursed items so that they can’t harm anyone else.  As you might infer from the episode’s title, this one is about a cursed scarecrow.

Several mailers were sent out by the antiques store asking about cursed items.  Someone in the country responded asking to take back the titular item.  So, Micki and Ryan head out to retrieve it, without help form Jack.  As in the previous episode, he’s out on important business. (It’s established that he’s retrieving another item this time.)

When they get to the house, they find a married couple, the Cobeans.  Tudy appears to want to tell them something, although Nick is quick to be rid of them.  Micki and Ryan eventually leave when the developmentally disabled son is set free from the closet.  It’s a shame, because Micki was about to try that may-I-use-the-ladies‘-room trick to look around.

Micki and Ryan know something’s up because the husband tells them that the scarecrow was destroyed in a fire.  (Cursed items can’t be destroyed.)  So, they do their best to snoop around anyway only to run in to Marge Longacre.  There’s no more snooping around, but Marge tells the cousins that she runs the local bed & breakfast.  At least they have a place to stay.

As luck would have it, Marge is also the one controlling the scarecrow.  The way the curse works is that the scarecrow has to kill three people, but the person selecting the people gets a bountiful harvest in return.  A boy’s father was the first victim, shown at the beginning of the episode.  Tudy becomes the second victim.  When Ryan and Micki get too close, Marge steals Micki’s driver’s license so that Micki can become the third victim.

Several things bothered me about this.  First, you know that she’s going to survive.  So, it’s just a matter of getting the picture off the scarecrow.  Second, the scene where Marge comes across Micki’s license is a bit contrived.  Micki conveniently leaves her purse out where anyone would have access to it.  When Micki returns, she checks her wallet only to notice her license is missing.  Third, the license is the most generic-looking license I’ve ever seen.  There’s no mention of an address or a state or anything else that would identify where the show takes place.  The entire thing is just a way for Marge to set the scarecrow after Micki.

The series so far has been fairly decent.  It seems to have found itself rather quickly.  This is the twelfth episode and it’s a pretty solid one, relatively speaking.  Sure, it’s cliché.  (It’s funny how law enforcement shows up just in time to save Micki.)  The episode is at least entertaining.

The scarecrow looked a little odd to me.  This, to me, is where commentary on each episode would be helpful.  It didn’t look like what I think a scarecrow looks like, but this may be because TV shows tend towards one type of scarecrow.  It’s also possible that the costume was designed to have an actor inside rather than be a puppet.  These are the kinds of things I’d like to know.  Did they at least try for a more traditional look?  Is this just the way Canadian scarecrows look?  I may never know.

Speaking of how things are in Canada, you can tell the series is filmed in Canada if you look closely enough.  For instance, this episode had bridge-clearance signs with the distance in meters rather than feet.  The series does a decent job of obscuring or hiding these details, but they are occasionally visible if you’re looking for them.

One of the good things about the series being episodic is that you can pretty much watch them out of order without much loss.  I don’t think that there’s anything a casual viewer would be confused by.  The only thing someone might ask is why two people are looking for the antiques in the first place.  As long as you’re familiar with the general premise of the show, you could skip around at will.  This is definitely one of the more interesting episodes so far.

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