Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 12 (Faith Healer)

One of the complaints I’ve had so far about Friday the 13th: The Series is how characters will accidentally figure out how a cursed item works.  Sometimes, this is explained by having the cursed item call to or possess someone.  This doesn’t appear to be the case with Faith Healer.

The episode starts with Stewart Fishoff, the aforementioned charlatan, plying his trade on a man who appears to be blind.  You may be saying that I should give Stewart the benefit of a doubt.  Well, cue Jerry Scott.  Jerry has gotten good at debunking such things.  Jerry approaches the blind man to reveal that his cataracts are nothing more than contact lenses.  Stewart leaves the building in a hurry, as the crowd quickly turns on him.

Stewart eventually finds himself down a back alley in a pile of trash.  From that pile of trash, he picks up a pristine glove.  He tries it on.  Just then, he finds himself cornered by one of his would-be victims.  She’s covered in some sort of growth, which she came to Stewart to get rid of.  He instinctively puts his hand on her head, revealing how the glove works.  She’s now cured.

The problem is that Stewart now has the affliction.  Or rather, the glove does.  Stewart runs away only to be stopped by a police officer.  Again, Stewart reaches out and touches the other person.  This time, the police officer becomes covered in the woman’s growth, only to die from it.  So, yeah.  The glove transfers a medical problem from one person to another, thereby killing the second person.

This gives Stewart the chance to go legit.  Does he?  Well, basically.  He continues to be the scumbag that he is.  The only difference is that he doesn’t need an accomplice.  He actually can do what he claims.  It just so happens that the folks at Curious goods happen to be watching the TV when Stewart comes on.

Being that Jack is the one to have procured most of the cursed antiques, he recognizes the glove.  Jack tries to get the glove from Stewart directly, but finds himself thrown out by Stewart’s security.  Fortunately, Jack has a friend.  That friend happens to be Jerry, who only needs moderate convincing to help retrieve the glove.

It turns out that Jerry has ulterior motives for doing so; he’s dying and figures it couldn’t hurt to try.  We get to see a very gross growth on his chest, which I think we’re to assume is cancer.  This may also explain why he debunks.  Jerry tells Jack that in all the years of debunking, he’s never found anyone who shows a glimmer of promise.  If Jerry’s not healed, at least he’ll be able to stick it to Stewart one last time.

Just as one running theme on the series is accidental discovery of a cursed item, there’s another, more prominent theme.  Those that live by a cursed item often die by the same cursed item.  Stewart dies when he can’t transfer gunshot wounds to another person.  Jerry then comes into possession of the glove and subsequently dies when he can’t pass his own affliction on to someone else.

One of the things that I’m noticing about Friday the 13th is that a lot of the episodes are focusing on the horror aspect rather than any sort of moral issue.  Here, we have the guest antagonist as a scammer.  Stewart just wants the money.  Very little dialogue is spent explaining exactly what he does.  It’s really more a coincidence that a faith healer actually gets the powers he claims to have.  Could you imagine if it was just some random person?  It seems like it’s more to explain key plot points, like making it easier to have Stewart figure out how it works.

Speaking of which, David Cronenberg directed this episode.  Yes, that David Cronenberg.  The same guy who directed The Dead Zone.  It seems a little odd.  By the time this episode was produced, Cronenberg had already directed a few big movies.  I’m not sure if he just wanted to direct a TV episode or if he liked the series.

There is one unanswered question that I’d like some information on:  Why only one glove?  Don’t gloves come in pairs?  It’s stated that the glove was created to heal people, but there’s no mention of whether or not it was created as a pair.  I would think that if there was a second one out there, someone would have said something.  Still, who makes just one glove?

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