Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 8: “The Devil Inside”
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
This week on Dead of Summer an unexpected eclipse passes over Camp Stillwater, the lake monster begins to emerge, and Alex is a tool.
It is 1988 in Chicago and Jessie is on her way home to prep for her upcoming admissions interview with Northwestern. When she gets home she finds that her mom is throwing a rager with pot, booze and the works with the sweet tunes of Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” playing in the background.
Jessie is concerned for two reasons:
- This is not a conducive environment to prep for an interview
- Her mom has a previous possession charge, so if she gets caught, she is screwed.
Two days later, it is finally time for Jessie to show Northwestern what she is made of. The only problem is her mom, who promised to drive her to the interview, is nowhere to be found. So yet again Jessie is forced to fend for herself. She quickly rummages through her mother’s closet to assemble an interview outfit (which thank god is more appropriate than the revealing cocktail dress her mom wanted her to wear) and gets her ass to Northwestern.
Even though Jessie is extremely late to her interview, her charm, wit, and intelligence wins over the Northwestern Admissions man, and they tell her she is a perfect fit for the school. When she tells her mom the exciting news her mom doesn’t seem too excited. After a few minutes though she musters up some fake enthusiasm and declares they should go out and celebrate.
Momma Tyler celebrates a little too hard and ends up a bit drunk. Jessie offers to drive the pair home, but her obstinate mother refuses to hand over her keys. Her mom continues to act like a toddler by accusing Jessie of being selfish for wanting to go to college. When her mom tells her that she never actually thought Jessie would go to college you can see the pain on Jessie’s face, and hear it in her voice. She has worked her ass off not only to get into school but also to afford school and the whole time her mom was just humoring her.
They get in the car and as Jessie’s mom pulls out of the parking lot they predictably get into a crash. This is a problem though because Jessie’s mom has prior, so she forces Jessie to switch seats with her before the cops come. Jessie tries to protest, saying that if she gets arrested it will ruin her chances at Northwestern but her mom does not care. She retorts with “Northwestern? I’m your mother! I have spent my whole life looking after you.” And that is how Jessie got that DUI she has to go to court for.
While I really enjoyed Jessie’s backstory and actually think it was my favorite so far of the season there are two major flaws that have been bugging me:
- Jessie offered to drive them home when they left the bar because she knew her mom was drunk. Wouldn’t that indicate that Jessie wasn’t drunk? If so how did she get charged with a DUI? (unless she has like a sip of beer and they registered it and any BAC in a minor is illegal?)
- Jessie’s mom’s head hit the steering wheel in the accident. Did the cops not notice that when they got there?
Camp Stillwater 1989
Jessie is on the staff lounge phone talking to her mom. Wait, if there is a phone in the Staff Lounge why didn’t Deb just say, “Hey guys, if you want to call home you can use that phone that is always accessible to you in the staff lounge. If that is occupied by one of the 4 other counselors allowed in the lounge, feel free to use THE OTHER phone that is in my cabin” after Cricket died?
Anywhoo…. Deb meets with the important staff members to let them know what’s going on:
Deb: “What they have determined for sure…”
Drew: “….Is that Stillwater sucks at vetting sheriffs.”
Zingggg! Score one for Drew!
Deb tells them that it has been amazing to watch them, and only them, become close over the past few weeks. And it is because of this closeness that it is so hard to tell them that she is shutting down the camp.
Deb: “The authorities have given me 48 hours before they release the story to the media. After that, the camp will be filled with cops and reporters. You won’t even recognize this place and I wanna protect the kids from them.”
It doesn’t even seem to cross Deb’s mind that when the story breaks every single parent will immediately get their kid the hell out of this camp. Instead, Deb’s main takeaway is that the kids need to be protected from the media. Those bear traps? Nah. Demon Cult followers? Meh. The media: PROTECT THE KIDS AT ALL COST.
She informs them that it will take the top-notch bus she hired 24 hours to get to camp, so they have a day to help the kids pack. Amy is having none of this and goes “Guys, we all remember what happened after Cricket’s death. The kids need to be occupied so let’s give them a fun day to remember.”
The crew goes on to commence their memorable last day at Camp Stillwater when they notice a random eclipse in the sky.
As Jessie looks up she falls into a shroom like trance and gets transported to an alternate reality. And who is in this alternate reality ? FrankenCricket WITH BEAR TRAP SCAR MARKINGS ON HER FACE!!!!!!
FrankenCricket tells Jessie not to turn around because she cannot see the Krampus-esque monster emerging from the lake behind her. Also “it has begun” and the only way to stop the apocalypse is to throw Holyoke’s bones in the lake. She tells Jessie that everyone is out to fuck with her mind…. So trust no bitch. When Jessie looks back up into the sky, she is transported back to present day.
Blair thinks that the eclipse was Stillwater saying goodbye. If by “Stillwater” you mean “the devil” and by “goodbye” you mean “all hell is about to break loose” I would say you are right on the money Blair.
Jessie and Amy lead the campers to the middle of the woods to play blind man’s bluff. When Jessie starts freaking out while being blindfolded though she tells Amy about FrankenCricket’s message.
Amy: “That doesn’t sound like Cricket. That sounds like Holyoke trying to trick you. If Cricket was going to contact someone don’t you think she would have contacted Blair. He was her best friend”
Jessie: “It really felt like her Amy.”
Amy responding with “That doesn’t sound like Cricket” cracked me up. I’m still laughing about it as I write this paragraph, because really? That is the response you give when someone tells you a friend has been talking shit behind your back. Not when a friend tells you that they have been talking to a dead person. Then she goes on with, “let’s be logical here, you and Cricket weren’t even that close. Why would her ghost even want to talk to you? We all know that ghosts only contact their gay best friend and since you are not Blair, it couldn’t have been Cricket!”
Jessie leaves Amy and the campers to meet up with Garrett. Garrett is still overwhelmed by the previous night’s events, but that won’t stop him from his mission to squash the evil in Stillwater. And the only way to defeat this big bad is to kill the vessel (aka Amy). Jessie tells him that actually, FrankenCricket told her a non Amy-killing way to stop the demon. Next stop, the Stillwater Morgue to steal 100-year-old bones. Jessie sneaks into the morgue and successfully finds Holyoke’s bones. As she about to leave though, Damon and the rest of the dead crew come back to life and start chanting “MALPHUS IS HERE! MALPHUS IS RISING!” Suffice to say this lights a fire under Jessie’s ass and she bolts the hell out of there with Holyoke’s bones in hand.
The rest of the counselors are at the tennis court with a few campers. We all know that the only way to make the last day of camp the best day ever is to just force kids to play tennis. Blind man’s bluff and TENNIS: what all camp memories are made of. Amy stops by the courts and Alex tells her that his offer to “show her around camp” still stands. He literally says “If there’s anything you want to squeeze in before, you know. All your memories here don’t have to be bad.”
Amy kindly declines his offer and goes on to tell Joel about Jessie’s “crazy plan” because Amy is definitely not evil or possessed right now and just wants to protect a friend. Instead of helping Amy stop Jessie, Joel formulates his own plan to destroy Holyoke: burn down his cabin. As he is dousing the old wooden cabin with gasoline though, the door to the cabin mysteriously opens and he finds a book that reveals the folk-lore of all the lands.
Joel rushes to find Jessie and Garrett to show them the book. He tells them that the evil demon’s name is Malphus and that he is the “prince of hell.” In turn, they tell Joel that Malphus is most likely possessing Amy and that they may need to kill her. Joel refuses to believe Amy is a demon until he has proof. Luckily that little book he found in Holyoke’s cabin contains a step by step demon test. All they have to do is say “Malphus” a few times in front of Amy and press a few crosses on her body and they will know if she is a demon. Jessie and Garrett try all this on Amy but nothing seems to happen. And then Alex barges in and ruins everything. He shoves Garrett and yells at everyone “How DARE you demon test Amy! After all she did for us?” Over react much Alex? The test involved saying someone’s name and having her hold a cross, it’s not like they were performing an exorcism.
Jessie heads down to the lake with her bag of bones to contemplate her life. As she stares into the distance FrankenCricket appears to her again to convince Jessie to dump Holyoke’s remains in the lake. If she doesn’t the creepy demonic creature currently emerging from the lake will be released!
That is when Drew comes to check in on his bestie Jessie. He tells her that she is the reason that he started letting people in:
Drew: Knowing I can trust you made me think about everything completely differently. Just listen to yourself. To that voice in your head.
Guys, I have so many camp friendship feelings I can’t even handle it.
Taking Drew’s advice to heart, Jessie runs to the dock to throw Holyoke in the lake. Joel tries and fails to stop her and as soon as those bones hit the water, the pair is transported back in time. They witness the night that Holyoke apparently convinced a ton of people to commit mass suicide and learn that isn’t quite what happened. Holyoke was actually performing a mass purification ritual when a bunch of wooden horse mask wearing men murdered all of Holyoke’s followers. Jessie and Joel follow him to his cabin and he tells them “You think you know, but you have NO IDEA! This is this is the Diary of Holyoke.” Turns out that Holyoke is a good guy. Also even though Amy passed the demon test, the demon still lives inside of her. He tells them that he will save her, and absolutely under no circumstances should they kill her or the demon will become even more powerful.
Jessie gathers the clique together (sans Alex and Amy) to discuss the new plan. Deb ambushes this meeting though and demands that someone tell her the goddamn truth about what is going on. See all day, Deb has been wandering around the woods asking every counselor to let her in on the gossip. I mean, it isn’t like Deb has anything more important to do with it being the day before camp ends and every media outlet in the midwest storms Camp Stillwater. Every time she asked a counselor they successfully dodged the question and Deb would just sulk away. Not this time though. This time she is getting answers to the reason that there was a random eclipse just like the one she saw in 1970, and why she had ghost sex with her ex. So the counselor’s decide to finally let Deb in on the scoop and tell her that Amy is possessed by a demon and that they need to find her. Garrett flips out when Deb tells them that she gave Alex and Amy the night off to bone at Eagle Creek because Eagle creek is the fifth point on the map. Off to Eagle Creek they go.
Over at Eagle Creek, Alex and Amy are looking up at the stars:
Alex: “Last time I was supposed to stargaze was with Cricket.”
Amy responds to this comment by mounting Alex and then things start getting hot and heavy. I think this is a good time to remind everyone that it has been literally FOUR DAYS since Cricket died.
When Joel, Jessie, Garrett and Deb arrive at the scene, possessed Amy pulls a knife to Alex’s neck. The crew tries to talk her down, and for a hot second it looks like the old Amy is back, but then Amy goes ahead and slits Joel’s throat. NOOOO! Why couldn’t it have been Alex! To make things worse Garrett goes and shoots Amy a bunch of times. You know the thing that Holyoke said that under no circumstances they should do or else the demon would get stronger. Ugh, guys and their guns man. Out of nowhere, Holyoke materializes, snatches Amy, and brings her to his cabin. While Deb runs to camp to “save the kids” everyone else heads to Holyoke’s cabin to get the Amy Exorcism Party started.
RIP Joel, I wish Alex could take your place.
Other things I noticed:
One of the things about watching a horror movie/tv show to me is guessing who will die and who you wish would get killed. In this show, I didn’t really want ANYONE to get killed…there are qualities of each character that make me want to root for their continued survival. That is, until I was introduced to Jesse’s mom. Even though i knew she wasn’t gonna die in the flashbacks as she is still alive in the ‘present’, I was rooting for it anyway. What a major BEEEATCHH!! A little over the top, too-cliched uncaring mom character for sure, but the way she treated her daughter was so uncalled for, it makes me forgive anything that Jesse ever did that seemed just a little bit bitchy. When that wreck happened, I was hoping it was a truck carrying lead spears, and one would fly off and go right thru mommies head!
Speaking of the wreck, yes, that was a ridiculous plot problem. Jesse did not appear to be drunk at all. When she told her mom that she should drive, mom said ‘with what license’? So as a caring mom, she did not want here daughter to get in trouble by driving with no license, but after admitting that she was in fact drunk, didnt care if her daughter was in the car with her. In fact, the mom knew for sure that she was gonna get drunk BEFORE THEY EVEN WENT OUT, so again, I hate that bitch. But the wreck problem I had involved the switch…ok it makes sense that the uncaring mom would want to switch seats to save her own ass…and yes the mom was drunk…but switching seats DOESNT MAKE JESSE DRUNK!!!! The implication was that the cops would KNOW drunk driving caused the accident, and therefore whoever was driving was drunk…WTF!!!?!? That makes no sense. And not to defend drunk-bitch-mom here, but they were pulling very slowly out of a parking area and were slammed into by someone who appeared to be speeding…why wasnt THAT person at fault to begin with? Its not like Jesse’s mom was swerving at hit a tree, she was slowing pulled out and got nailed. That could have easily happened if the Pope had been driving!
And that was scene was too predictable. As soon as I saw her driving and that camera angle showing her from the side, I knew the car was gonna get hit. That type of shot has become a little too common in both movies and tv shows, same as with the morgue scene. The second I saw all those bodies there, I KNEW they were gonna sit up…it happens all the time now in horror situations.
The other thing that bugged me was when Jesse had the ‘eclipse vision’. Imagine if you or anyone you knew had such a vision…wouldnt you be FREAKED THE F OUT???? And that would be under just normal conditions you would be freaked out. Add to it that you are in a camp when several people have DIED and there is DEFINITELY some weird supernatural stuff going on…and how is Jesse the next scene we see her? Just walking with Garrett having a normal conversation. Really??
And lastly, seems like there are so many crappy mothers on this show. Cricket’s mom encouraged her to accept her fate as someone men would mistreat, Drew’s mother, after not accepting her for years, finally does, then bolts, Jesse’s mother, who wins bitch of the year from me…wonder if these writers have mommy issues? Seems like the remaining bad must be Garrett’s mother, even though we have barely seen her. OK, gotta go watch some Scooby Doo!