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‘Dead of Summer’ Review: “Townie”

Dead of Summer
Season 1, Episode 7: “Townie”
Tuesday, August 09, 2016

As the title of this week’s Dead of Summer suggests, “Townie” focuses around Garrett and his back story.

Townie 1982

It is 1982 in Stillwater, Wisconson and a young Garrett has brought his innocent and impressionable best friend Damon to smash the windows of their teacher’s car. The teacher gave them detention for no reason, so Garrett wants to get even. Garrett hands Damon the bat and tells Damon:

“Time to lose your cherry pal.”

Oh man, no comment.

Damon does not have the will nor the strength to break the window, so Garrett grabs the bat and smashes the glass himself. The cops catch them in the act. And by cops, I mean Garrett’s dad and Sheriff Heelan. Papa Sykes has had enough with his son’s rebellious nature, so he is going to teach young Garrett a lesson by sending him to Camp Stillwater. Garrett reacts to this news as though he just found out he was sentenced to a life in prison.

While at Camp Stillwater, Garrett continues his angsty Townie Loner act when a young Jessie offers him a candy apple.

Townie Candy Apple

See she can’t eat it because she has braces. She is super peppy and nice and so much less jaded than 1989 Jessie. Garrett refuses to tell her his name because “Why should he, they aren’t even friends.” This is horrible logic. I just have a mental image of young Garrett going around life waiting for people to prove their friendship before allowing them to know his name.

Jessie really only came over because they are both on Team Red for Color Wars and she wants to make sure that they don’t lose for the fourth year in a row. She is determined to whip everyone into shape and create perfect team unity. And then “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” and “I Can Go The Distance” start playing in the background as they train. (Man I wish this was true).

In reality the two just head over to compete against the blue team in a game of tug-of-war. Garrett is in front and a douche on the blue team starts shit talking. He accuses Garrett’s mom of giving handies to truckers at the diner (I hate preteen/teenage boys so much). Garrett loses his shit and drops the rope to punch the guy in the face. Jessie is pissed that Garrett let his temper get the best of him, but I am with Lil’ Sykes on this one. That dude was cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

Next it is time for the camp wide game of Capture The Flag. Jessie gives a speech about how they need to work as a team to capture the flag. Garrett takes these words to heart and he teams up with Jessie to steal the Blue Team’s flag. This is the most amazingly 80’s scene of this show so far. The music in the background, the dorky “bad boys” clumsily chasing after Garrett in disbelief that the Townie played them. It was great.

And that is how Jessie won the heart of the Townie. They spend the rest of the summer hanging out, and on the last day of camp the pair carve their names into a bench and have their first kiss.

Townie and Braces

While they are kissing, the Sheriff’s car pulls up to this random bench in the woods, and Garrett’s mother tells him that his father has been murdered at Golden Grove.

Camp Stillwater, 1989

Garrett is meeting with Sheriff Heelan to tell him EVERYTHING he knows. As Garrett is reading him all of the satanic clues he found, Heelan is all calm and collected. You know, the way most non-evil people respond to finding out there is a satan worshiping cult in their town. When Garrett mentions his father though, Heelan’s entire demeanor changes and he agrees to help Garrett on his quest. But they have to keep this in-house, only Stillwater P.D. can be involved. So the entire Stillwater P.D. (aka Sykes and Heelan) head over to camp to get their plan in motion. And what is this brilliant plan that Heelan has cooked up? Well it’s to use Amy as human bait for the satanic worshipers, of course. For some reason Garrett goes along with this.

Sykes: You’re the one they’re targeting. They’ve had their eyes on you since the night of the masked ball. You won’t be in any danger Amy.
Joel: Yeah, except for the dozen satanists trying to kill her.
Heelan: I will personally keep my eyes on Amy the entire time. We just need to draw them out and then we’ll be done with them for good. But we need your help. All of you.
Deb: This is an absolutely terrible idea. You want to bring violent criminals into a camp with kids.

Oh Deb, look at you talking about camper safety! You are slowly learning what it means to run a camp. Garrett comes up with the perfect solution to keep the campers safe. Since it is Color Wars, because of course it is, they should cram all of the campers in the mess hall under the guise of making up team signs and cheers. Deb is still uncomfortable with the idea so Heelan retorts “Well we can always NOT use your counselor as human bait, and NOT put your campers in danger. But if you do, we will shut down this camp that you invested so much money into.” That shuts Deb up.

Amy, the angel that she is, goes along with the plan to save everyone.

Deb: The second I don’t like how this is going, I am calling it off. Got it?

Of course Deb, because you are totally the one in control here.

Heelan hands out walkies to the other core counselors and tasks them with “keeping watch.” Keeping watch of what exactly? Who are they watching, the campers? The perimeter of this entire camp surrounded by woods?

Meanwhile in the satanic cavernous lair Damon is telling his lackey to call out to the vessel. After the lackey screams out “AMMMYYYY” Damon cuts off his tongue and squeezes the blood from the tongue onto a small ram horn/ shofar.

Over at camp Garrett assures Jessie that Amy is completely safe. She has the best most qualified Sheriff in the world watching her alone in the middle of the woods. Just as Garrett leaves, Alex runs up with some pressing news. Anton had been drawing all morning and Alex is pretty sure Anton is still talking to Holyoke. When they show Garrett the picture that Anton drew, he realizes it is the same pictures that Joel’s older brother Michael drew in the summer of 1982. Holyoke’s connection with Anton, Joel and Michael all starts to make sense to Jessie, but Garrett still refuses to see it. There has to be a logical explanation that two campers who never met each other were both talking to ghosts and drawing identical pictures of a random cave.

Garrett goes to check on Amy but when he gets to the field she is supposed to be in she is missing. Upon hearing this news, Deb orders the counselors to come back to the mess hall. Blair and Drew, who are currently enforcing the camp perimeter, are unable to hear Deb’s message because the Stillwater P.D. did not take into account that walkies have a range limit.

So instead of heading back to camp, the pair continue their incredibly awkward and uncomfortable stroll through the woods. Drew assures Blair that he will keep them safe as he flashes the knife he brought for protection to which Blair responds “is that to protect us or is it to over compensate?” Oh man Blair, foot in mouth syndrome. Blair immediately regrets the comment and starts giving the most dramatic apology ever.

Blair: “Doesn’t it make you feel better that I’m an insensitive jerk? I mean just kill me now!”

He doesn’t get to continue this monologue though because he sees a wooden horse mask hanging up on a random tree, backs up, and trips over a root. I am not going to lie, I totally thought he tripped over a bear trap and I was very disappointed to find out it was just a stupid tree branch upon rewatching the scene.

Drew helps Blair limp all the way back to camp and when they are finally back in walkie range they hear Deb calling them back to camp.

The Cave

Off somewhere else, Amy is possessed and walking through a meadow towards the sounding of the Shofar.

Amy: “I heard your call, and I am ready.”

Townie_Shofar

She says it in a really weird accent. I can’t figure out what accent it was, but it was definitely an accent. Damon brings Amy back to the water-logged cult cave, and tells her that The Teacher is coming. He continues to talk to a dazed Amy about how long they have waited to bring her back. All they need is some of her blood. So Amy’s possessed ass grabs the knife from Damon’s hand and cuts her arm. The blood turns the entire cavern water bright red. Once the Teacher arrives, Amy is lowered down into the water and  as soon as her feet hit the water, she comes to, and starts screaming.

Amy Townie

Luckily, Garrett has found his way to the secret cave (which ends up being hidden in a hatch inside an old tree trunk). When he enters he is greeted by Damon and the rest of his wooden horse mask wearing crew. Damon tells him that he still has a chance to join them. That “he” has given them a chance to be powerful, but Garrett declines.

Damon then announces “When our blood mixes with hers we live forever” and then everyone slits their throats. As their blood starts mixing with the pool below Amy, the blood water starts bubbling, and the rope holding Amy up snaps. Garrett jumps into this pool which is deceptively deep, to try to save Amy, but as he attempts to bring her to the surface a claw grabs Amy’s leg. (The same claw that greeted her at the lake the day after she got struck by lightning.)

Townie Claw

It seems like all hope is lost, but then he grabs onto a rope and somehow gets pulled to the surface. Turns out that Jessie is STILL a better detective than Garrett and was able to find the cave with half the resources that Garrett had.

When Amy comes back to the mess hall, everyone tries to comfort her but Amy’s first question is

Amy: “The kids? Are the kids okay?”

Deb takes a moment to compute Amy’s question? The who? Finally, she realizes what Amy has asked and responds with “Oh they’re fine. They’re in the cabins with the staff.”

A few things. First I love how the one counselor that never actually went to camp or knew anything about camp before coming is the only counselor who cares about the campers. Second, ‘they’re in the cabins with the staff.’ The way she says this makes it sound like the rest of the camp staff is below the venerated counselors that stand before her. Third, Alex’s campers have no counselors so are they just in their bunk alone as crazy cult people are running around camp?

Amy is taken to the infirmary, and Blair uses this opportunity to try to win Drew back. He tells Drew that he is the only person that he opened up to besides Cricket (RIP) and he does not want to lose him too. Also that he is the hottest guy he has ever seen and then they hook up and my heart explodes with happiness. They are so cute together that they don’t even let Garrett coming back to the staff lounge distract them.

Joel, Jessie, and Alex are still concerned though and ask Garrett how Amy is doing. “Shaken up,” Garrett responds. Yeah being kidnapped, possessed, and used as a human sacrifice can do that to you. Especially when you had just been struck by lightning and possessed a few nights prior.

Joel gives him the ultimate death stare and Garrett continues on about how all of this crazy supernatural stuff isn’t supernatural it is just human.

Townie Joel

Joel does not let Garrett go that easily though and digs in, asking if there was ANYTHING he saw that he can’t explain. (You know like a giant claw grabbing Amy’s leg).

When the Sheriff comes back, he makes a comment about Damon killing himself which tips Garrett off that he is The Teacher. So Garrett leads him out to Golden Grove to confront about being the teacher. He says that it is Garrett’s fault that Heelan had to kill his father. If Garrett never told Heelan that his father knew Michael was talking to ghosts, he would never have had to kill him.

He says that Papa Sykes’ is the only death on his hands and that him and his cult crew had nothing to do with the others.  He then asks Garrett to join him.

The Teacher: “This place. It calls to you. It called to me and I answered. ”

Instead of joining him, Garrett shoots him straight in the chest.

So there it is, The Teacher is revealed. And the reveal was not very surprising, but that is okay. But the reveal didn’t actually explain anything. I still have no idea what is going on. Here is my possible theory. The Teacher and his cult crew were just pawns in Holyoke/The Big Claw’s game. The True Believer is the one that is Holyoke’s second in command. And maybe he did the killing? I actually have no idea. The big claw is just really throwing me off.

Also:

  1. Every time they made a comment about Garrett “getting even,” I thought “get cool” a la West Side Story.
  2. How did Heelan and Garrett’s mom know to find him at that random bench? Did they just know he was there or did they first go to camp and the “staff” was like, “Oh yeah, you can find them making out in the woods.”
  3. Look closely at the camp brochure. Let me know when you see the error. Wisconsons

About Alyssa Berkowitz

Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa (TV Editor) likes long walks on the beach, Greek food, talking about television, watching a good sunset, and girls who wear glasses. Wait, this isn't a bio for OKCupid? Alyssa got her start recapping in college when her friends got tired of her constantly talking about TV and suggested she start a blog. The idea was if she wrote about TV she would talk about it less. Well her friends succeeded in one of their goals...she started writing about TV.

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4 comments

  1. So, as many predicted, the ‘teacher’ was in fact the sheriff (and in a weird coincidence, a guy dressed like Scooby Doo appeared on Monday Night RAW this week 🙂 ) I did NOT expect Garrett to totally blow him away…things certainly escalated quickly on that front!

    You are so right on so many little things in this episode…how did they know where braces and townie were, the kids are with the ‘staff’, which are people lesser than the staff we have been seeing (and as a side note, how many staff people are there? Seems like about as many as campers sometimes. And why did the rest of the staff not show up on day one like the stars of the show? Oh well…) But these types of problems exist with SOOO many shows i can let them slide here. Truly great shows are rare, and they seldom have any of these types of problems…The Americans on FX comes to mind as a show that even if you try to pick it apart, the writers have taken great care to not have easily identifiable flaws (and that show is also set in the 1980’s),

    After the sheriff gets killed, and we see someone else watching wearing one of those masks…were they sitting down, or extremely short? Could it have been Anton, or even the speak n’ spell girl? I guess time will tell.

    We have three more episodes to find out what is happening at ‘Wisconsins’s’ favorite camp 😉

    • i knew the sheriff had to be “the teacher” because every time garrett told the sheriff about the satanists, he acted like it wan an urban legend that garrett should just brush off. that seemed a little strange to me.

    • Alyssa Berkowitz

      I was actually really happy that Garrett shot him. After this episode, and seeing his backstory, I felt that it was in line with who he is.

      I will admit, I am a stickler for continuity errors on TV Shows. My feeling is if I as a viewer can easily spot errors while watching the show, than the show runners whose job it is to make the show should notice them too. I know that sometimes they are necessary and you have to let it go and just enjoy the show. Believe me, I am still a Soaps fan where the concept of continuity barely exists. But I feel like on this show, the errors are due to either a) laziness on the writers part or b) they underestimate the audience and think we won’t notice.

      Lastly, if Hear n’ Speak girl is somehow The Big Bad it will be my most EPIC TV prediction ever and I will just die!

  2. My disappointment stems from the fact that Amy was my favorite for all of the reasons that she decided to go down this dark path. With only one episode standing between us and the Dead of Summer finale, the body count is rising er, sinking? at Camp Stillwater.

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