Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th - Episode 2 - The Poison Pen

We come to Friday the 13th again.

As such, let's return to Friday the 13th: The Series.

We've already looked at the pilot. So we've been introduced to Jack, Mickie, and Ryan. They've been stuck with an antique shop that's responsible for spreading numerous cursed items, which are meant to corrupt people and lead to the gruesome deaths of others.

So now they have to act to get all the items back to the store, and locked away.

Each episode you'll have to see what dark item they will have to face the power of. This time it's all in the name.

This episode is called:

"The Poison Pen"

The episode opens on a monastery. A towering and gated place of stone and silence. The Eternal Brotherhood Monastery.

Inside the leaders of the monastic order are in discussion. It isn't a debate, because the abbot isn't having any of that. He just wants confirmation of his position. And that's that the monastery shouldn't be sold off to some real estate company.

It is a large chunk of real estate, and it lies right in the middle of the city...whatever city this is Vaneattreal...or something (But when you see the old large stone facility, my mind goes to Quebec.).

Brother Le Croix disagree, but accedes to the abbot.

Brother Le Croix is played by Colin Fox. He's a well known and traveled actor in Canadian based filming. He's been in almost everything (particularly back in the day when it seemed everything was filmed there). Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Maniac Mansion. Counterstrike. Forever Knight. Goosebumps. PSI Factor. Relic Hunter. Dead Zone. Nero Wolfe, where he played Fritz Brenner. And this won't be the last time he appears on Friday the 13th.  (I also notice he has played a lot of clergy.)

Eww. He writes fanfiction about the people he works with.
Later, someone begins doing some calligraphy. They being describing the abbot and his activities. But as they continue, they began describing his fascination with birds, and a desire to fly.

This is followed by the abbot, who is sending off a bird from the roof to walk off the roof, thinking that he could fly.

Damn you, R Kelly!
The abbot crashes to the ground dead.

Don't worry. The old lady is a stingy tipper. She
deserved a cursed item.
Back at the trusty Curiosity Shop, our heroes are going about their day.

Ryan is enjoying the newspaper, and a story about a monk who foretells deaths. Mickie is selling...non-cursed antiques? And Jack is puttering around, waiting to save the day.

As Ryan goes on and on about the death prophecies, and Mickie doubts it could be real, Jack realizes that there is something to the story.

Oh, hell. Uncle Jack is back to looking for evidence of the
end times in the paper..

He recognizes the pen that the monk, Currie, is holding. It's a quill pen he knows well. He got it originally for the shop.

One Silver Quill Pen. And a Partridge
in a Pear Tree!
It's a quill pen, with the tail feather of a giant Chilean condor. And looking through the old sale books, he finds the cursed pen. It is one of there cursed items, and they need to recover it.

The person that bought the pen was Rupert Seldon. He was a business man. And after some colleagues died, he disappeared. Somehow, the pen is now at this monastery.

Of note, in the newspaper article, they mention foretelling airplane crashes and fires. That reaches outside the monastery. Instead of local gain, the killer seems to be using the power of the pen to get at random people. Though it may be to cover for the local murders, it is pretty nasty. (It may also be part of a bigger plot.)

But to do that, they need to get into the monastery. It's isolated, secluded, and not fond of girls. They don't take tourist, or strangers.

"I'm not feeling very 80's, Ryan,"
So Mickie is convinced to do like Carrie Fischer, and tape it down. This only annoys her and makes her uncomfortable. She also has to tie down (definitely not cutting that amazing 80's hair) her long hair to hide it.

As well, Jack puts him many dubious skills to work, and forges a letter from an English monastery, saying that they have come for a short time to the Eternal Brotherhood.

Mickie and Ryan head over to the monastery and offer their letter. Brother Drake is surprised, but seems to buy the letter. He brings them in, and through the monastery. And they make sure to make the place feel nice and weird. Flagellation. And one monk following another monk on his knees, while, it seems, he's being scolded. Religion is weird, man.

As they go, Ryan plays the worst monk ever. He never lets down his normal bravado, and asks pointed questions about Brother Currie, and how to meet him. I wonder if this will make Drake suspicious?

Either the weirdest or most awesome version of
"Bohemian Rhapsody" ever.
He takes them to a cell, with two beds, space is cramped (though it looks a bit spacious, compared to some monastic cells I've seen). He also explains to them that the communal showers and toilets are down the hall. Mickie loves learning about that.

Later, as they settle in, Mickie and Ryan try to determine how they will find Brother Currie.

Ryan has a sharp idea. If Currie is in seclusion (which he is), then they could follow the person that takes him his food. Sounds kind of sound.

Of course, Drake is suspicious of them, and talks to Brother Le Croix about them. Le Croix tells Drake to watch them. So he watches them, and they watch the food courier go to where Brother Currie is staying. It's a nice long train of people not noticing people noticing people following them.

"Oh, yeah! You're just jealous."
And then they end up in a large room...with skeletons on the wall...? I don't know. We'll come back to this room later. Weird.

"What! Jehovah's Witnesses? Going
door to door here?"
But the do find Brother Currie. And he's startled to see them. He doesn't talk and wants to close his door. Then they bring up the pen, and he really wants to close the door.

 That's when Drake pounces on them and demands they leave the area, and allow Currie to maintain his vow of silence. And he ushers them out. And that's it. They are free to go back to there duties.

In which they are told they should
make lawn mover noises as they
push it around the lawn.
And the next day those duties involve maintaining the grounds. And that requires a manual lawnmower that you would only know from cartoons you'd never watch.

Brother Arrupe comes running by in a panic. Ryan stops him and asks what is wrong.

Arrupe explains that Currie has prophesied that that the abbot will choke to death that night. And Ryan points out that this would be impossible. There is no abbot, as the last abbot just died, and no one has been appointed.

That night Arrupe goes to bed, but finds a letter awaiting him. Reading it he sees that he has been appointed the new abbot. Pleased, he goes to bed.

Compact bedding done wrong.
Then the top of the bed (Wow. He has a nice room, for a monk.) begins coming down on top of him. It suffocates him.

Mickie and Ryan find him. They also see the letter naming his abbot. The prophecy was realized.

The next day, Le Croix questions Mickie and Ryan. And Ryan is amazingly unconvincing. He's American, but he moved to England, and joined the order. He has no proof otherwise, so he sends them on their way. But he has Drake send a telegraph to England, to ask about them. (Do people still use telegraphs today? Were people using them in 1989?)

Mickie is hitting a breaking point. People are dying around them. She's pretending to be a guy. She has to sneak showers. She's on a diet of brown rice. And she's stuck doing all this manual labor.

She mentions her plans from the pilot episode, to marry the yuppie jerk, and live in luxury. But she gets her second wind, and continues. They have a mission.

Meanwhile, Jack is keeping busy. He is carefully building a replica of the quill pen they are looking for. Man, he has a lot of talents.

Model Pen Making never took off.

This leads to the next day, when the pair learn that Jack has arrived. He's acting as a newcomer from Ireland, with the thick accent to boot.

He explains that he's made a replica quill pen. They can switch out the pens, and make an easier escape.

Meanwhile, Currie is finally talking. He meets with Le Croix, who now has no one else between him and becoming the abbot. Currie wants to end his work. He's scared, and sickened about what they are doing. All the deaths. And Mickie and Ryan somehow know about the pen.

Le Croix, who gets called Rupert, is annoyed. (We can see now that Le Croix is really Rupert Seldon) Everything is working out great for them. He's been named abbot, and now they can sell off the monastery. There's no reason to change things now.

But Currie is panicking. He's trapped in the cell. He's had to keep quiet as people die. It's all become too much.

Currie has decided he will out what they've been up to, and he leaves.

We learn during this conversation that it's Le Croix that has written the prophecies. He comes to the cell to write, but he's had Currie take credit for them though. It makes sense. Rupert is a known figure, tied to suspicious death. He's keeping the spotlight away from himself.

"Charlotte Holmes and Joan Watson began their latest
So when Currie leaves the cell, Le Croix writes a new prophecy. It's about a fearful man who gives up on life and kills himself.

And this is where we get back to the oddity of this monastery. Remember that skeleton on the wall from earlier? Also in that room are a number of tools for torture and execution. A rack. And, a guillotine...

Why is there a guillotine in the basement of a monastery?

"Why do we even own this thing?!"
Did the writers of this episode confuse a monastery for a house of horrors? ...Maybe they understand Catholic monastic life too well.

Well, here at Casa Opus Dei, Currie leaps up on the guillotine. He fights back, but he can't win. So, he pulls the rope and brings the blade down on his own neck.

Le Croix says that Currie had become suicidal. And everyone just accepts it. Curiously, as the death toll rises, we never see the police show up. Are the monks covering it up?

Mickie and Ryan search Currie's cell now, and they can't find the pen. Where could it be?

"And then Kirk and Spock found
that they were alone..."
Le Croix decides it's time to remove the nosy monks. So he writes them a tragic end, where something crawls in their room and kills them.

"Damn curse! You know how long it took me to reach
here from South America?"
And soon this comes to be. A tarantula crawls in. ...Always with the tarantulas. You know, tarantulas are big. But they aren't that deadly. A tiny black widow coming down from the ceiling, while you are asleep...That terrifying.

The tarantula climbs on Mickey, waking her up...You know, a black widow could go all ninja. Ryan runs over, and knows it off. And Mickie freaks out.

"Who's a good little Theraphosidae?"
Jack runs in, and checks on them. Then he casually picks up the tarantula. See! Not scary.

"Are you two sure you shouldn't
The next day Le Croix is plotting, but shocked to see that the duo are still alive.

Now he knows they aren't who they say they are. The prophecy failed because those named in it were not here. So, when it was enacted, it had no one to strike.

Drake also continues watching Mickie and Ryan. How has he not found any evidence yet? Also, why does the shower have this...

Monastic life. Exactly like Porky's.

Yeah, Brother Drake now knows that Mickie isn't a boy... Peepholes, the work of the Lord.

Who signs receipts like that?
Jack searches the monastic library and discovers writing just like the signature from the original sale of the pen. Now the team know that Le Croix is not what he says he is.

And Le Croix finally gets word about England. The actual monks hadn't left England. In fact they've just died after being bitten by a tarantula. And I do like his reaction. I don't know if he's mortified at the accidental death, or just shocked/amused.

He decides though that he needs finally deal with these tricky interlopers. And he goes for the main threat, Jack. Jack is searching Le Croix's rooms. Le Croix finds him, and pulls a gun. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but nothing replaces a good blaster at your side...pistol.

He takes Jack down to the monastery's...chamber of horrors...Why do they have this?

"So I'm just going to leave you here to die...What?"
And he ties Jack into the guillotine. He then places a candle under the rope holding the blade.

He leaves Jack to his fate. And he goes to a business meeting. He makes a deal to sell off the monastery. He demands that they pay $15.2 million in cash, to him.

Brother Drake overhears the deal.

Cursed gifts. The perfect Christmas gift.
Meanwhile, Mickie has finished her own search of Le Croix office. She finds the pen. Then switches it out for the fake.

Mission accomplished.

But after she's nearly caught, Le Croix knows that something has happen.

While everyone is in motion, Ryan manages to find Jack, and get in out from under the blade. Then Mickie finds them and tells them that she got the pen.

But now, Le Croix appears. He was listening, and now gets his proper pen back. While holding them at gun point, he takes a piece of paper Jack was holding. He tells them that he'll now handle the prophecy properly, knowing more about them.

He writes down on the piece of paper that they faked being monks and falsely entered the monastery, in and attempt to steal the pen, but failed and met their deaths. But he leaves their names blank for the moment.

Drake also appears now, and tries to kill Le Croix for betraying the monastery. He fails.

Then Jack points out how deadly it is to write in a generic prophecy on a piece of paper that you haven't checked out.

Surely we can argue with Satan on
the validity of this.
Le Croix looks at the paper now. It's the receipt from when he bought the pen. A receipt that he signed. He's become the target of the prophecy.

And now the blade on the guillotine comes to life, and lifts off. It chases Le Croix around, and then becomes embedded in a wall.

"I'm so cut up to have to do this..."
Le Croix becomes foolish now. He decides that the prophecies can fail. And then he returns to the Mickie, Ryan, Jack, and Drake. He prepares to kill them.

But the blade returns and slowly moves behind him. I guess it learned patience. They try to warn him, but he ignores them. And then the blade slices into his back, killing him, and completing his prophecy.

80's on display. Super Hair and Miami Vice fashion.
The team take back the pen, and return to their antique shop. They are relieved that it's all over. But they are left with two pens now, and aren't 100% sure which is which.

Thankfully, Mickie's super rad 80's hair is free again. It will never again allow itself to be hidden. Freedom!

You can also notice that between the pilot and this episode that the setting looks the same, except they've renamed the shop. A pretty minor change that isn't that unbelievable. The show seemed pretty well set from the start. And it will be awhile until they decide to tweak the show more.

The pen is a nice classic choice for a cursed item. Pens that write fate are not that uncommon. But you wonder how far it's powers went. It seems that it could only dictate deaths. But what do you expect from a curse? Could it do more? Or, would it take whatever you write and turn it towards death?

As the show continues, the objects will get weirder. Boxing gloves. Combs. Medical equipment. This is pretty basic. Not that this is a flaw. The stories with more classic items prove to be good horror.

It's a good episode, and it will be interesting to see what's next for the team.

Trouble is that I had partially planning to do these only on Friday the 13th's. If I had planned better I would have done 5 episodes this week. But that didn't happen. And the next Friday the 13th is in June.

So I will consider it, but I may have to try and do an episode once a month. We'll see.


Here's the episode, if you want to take a look at it.

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