Saturday, September 15, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 16 (Tattoo)

Gambling seems to be a mixed bag, morally.  It’s seen by many to be a victimless crime.  As long as you stay within your limit, what’s the problem?  Those that oppose it might point out that those that don’t stay within their limit might steal or physically hurt someone.

Take Tommy Chen.  As they say, he doesn’t have a gambling problem; he has a losing problem.  He’s borrowed from the wrong people and they want their money back.  Tommy has turned to gambling as a way of getting the money, but he’s up against someone with a cursed artifact.  One of the other players has a tattoo needle that can make the user lucky.  The catch is that they have to draw something deadly, like a venomous spider or snake.  When the tattooed person dies, the person who made the tattoo gets perfect luck.

One of my complaints with the previous episode, Vanity’s Mirror, was the lack of any direct moral lesson.  That holds true here, but the episode does seem to hit the marks with gambling.  The guy who Tommy owes money to isn’t a nice guy.  Tommy is also desperate enough to hurt and steal.  This is how he comes into possession of the cursed needle in the first place.

In hitting the marks, the episode is fairly cliché.  Both of the people that use the needle seem to know how to ink someone perfectly.  There’s also no shortage of available victims.  Several are tied up and another is so high on drugs that she can’t offer any resistance to danger.

Tommy is also shown to be a very unsympathetic character.   Most of the items require some sort of down side.  Usually, it’s death.  Tommy seems to have no problem using the needle knowing full well that it will result in someone’s death.  (I find it odd that so few of the people who use cursed items are either monsters to begin with or so easily persuaded to turn to evil.)

The entire series has been marginal episodes so far.  I’ve been getting DVDs from either the library or Netflix.  If you’re into light horror, this may be a good series for you, but I’d check it out of the library first.  This is one of the better episodes so far, but that’s not saying much.

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