Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 15 (Vanity's Mirror)

Some shows have internal consistency.  Shows like 24 have a single narrative.  Others, like the X-Files, may be more episodic, but at least have a mythology going.  I’ve come to realize that Friday the 13th: The Series is more of anthology that uses the same characters.

Micki and Ryan inherited an antiques shop that sold cursed stuff.  Along with the uncle’s former business partner, Jack, they’ve taken it upon themselves to retrieve as many of the cursed items as possible.  This serves as a backdrop for the episodes, which seem to follow an item-of-the-week format.  Each week, an item comes to their attention.  With some effort, the trio manages to get the item.

This week, it’s a compact that makes someone fall madly in love with the person using it.  All a lady has to do is use the mirror to reflect light onto an unlucky guy.  Suddenly, she’s his entire world.   The episode starts with a flower vendor using it on a customer that has never really noticed her.  She uses his newly found obsession to lead him into a back alley so that she can kill him.  Her success is short lived, as she’s soon hit by a bus.

A girl by the name of Helen Mackie finds the compact and picks it up.  She accidentally figures out what it does when she uses it on a boy at her school.  The boy is now enamored with Helen, who makes him go into a trash compactor to retrieve something.

Why would she do this?  Helen isn’t that popular.  Her sister, Joanne, has a good-looking boyfriend, Scott.  It’s cruel that two sisters would be so different in terms of appearance and popularity, but life can be cruel like that some times.  Helen decides to use the compact to repay that cruelty to the other boys who tease her.  Thus, several of them meat a similar end.

This is the first episode where the team doesn’t actually retrieve an item.  As far as they know, someone walked off with it.  They just have no idea who.  (This isn’t far from the truth.  In the final scene, we see a hand reaching for it.)  This leads to some major overacting by Louise Robey, who plays Micki.  She’s all torn up over the fact that such a dangerous item is out there.  As Jack points out, they’ve had a pretty good run.  There are also a lot more items out there.  At 23, they’ve almost gotten 10% of the items in the manifest.  That means that there are more than 200 items still floating around.

My big problem is that the episode is more about the item than the issue.  There’s no talk of Helen being beautiful on the inside or using her inner light or anything.  She’s just a homely, awkward teenager that takes revenge when given the opportunity.  She only has a change of heart when she snares someone she actually likes.

Another thing that I noticed was an obvious lack of parents, or any adults for that matter.  All of these students go to a school that doesn’t seem to have many teachers.  Even at the dance, there’s an obvious lack of adult supervision.  Am I to believe that Helen and Joanna don’t have parents?  You’d think that a proud mother and/or father would want to see them off.  There’s no mention of parents working late or Joanna taking care of them.  Having some sort of adult present, other than Jack, Micki and Ryan, would have been a great way to have some commentary, even if it’s along the lines of, “kids these days.”

The show did manage to last three seasons, so I am hopeful that the episodes will get better.  I think there’s a reason why I don’t really remember the show, though.

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