Monday, April 14, 2014

Friday the 13th on Almost Sunday the 13th - Episode 7 - Doctor Jack

So another The 13th has come? It's time for some cursing and killing.

Last time we saw stage magic gone fatal. This time around, it's medicine.

"Doctor Jack"? That sounds like it might be a Jack the Ripper reference. And with a cursed item that's a surgical scalpel, and an opening of a cloaked man moving through a dark neighborhood, we have an idea of where things will be going...and a late 80's syndicated Canadian production.

This scalpel is a relic of another century, and has a special power, making surgical work quite easy, practically miraculous. But there is another side. It only works for so long, before it demands it's due. Lives. The scalpel demands that it be used to take lives, if it is to be used to save them.

And I wonder, like with the rejuvenating tea cup we've seen, if it's healing effect shifts with used by a person. More deaths are demanded for less healing? We won't learn, but, hey, cursed items are usually bastards like that.

So let us start.

Our masked (well, scarfed) figure walks through an area of poverty. You could always tell back in the 80's and 90's. as there's always a barrel fire nearby.

The figure is out on the hunt. And like Jack the Ripper, he no doubt wants to find a prostitute or a flowergir....

"It'd be loverly if you bought some posies."

He's going to die tonight. He's going to die tonight.
And then he'll die some more.
...elderly man. I suppose this is some way.

The killer strikes the man, slicing his throat with the cursed scalpel. (He's played by Frank Perry. He would go on to voice Shuma-Gorath in a few Marvel video games, in case your curious.)

When people come running, the killer flees. But he finds that a metal gate blocks his escape.

Cool! It's +3 against dead ends.
Luckily, the cursed item has a trick other than healing. It cuts through anything. And the bars on the gate fall away.

And the killer escapes.

Last episode I noted the repeated use of a particular establishing shot for the antique show on the show. It amused me.

And, of course, the very next episode? They switch the shot used.

I miss the lady in white. I wonder where she is?

Inside the team are actually all on the ball for once. They are reading about the odd stories of a small blade wielding killer, who slices through metal with ease. They've tied it to an item in their cursed item manifest.

It is rumored to have been owned by Jack the Ripper once.

Now if you know about the events around the figure of Jack the Ripper, there is no evidence that the person used a scalpel, or was a doctor. It was one of many theories offered up (From royalty to butchers to the Jewish community to doctors). Also some of the brutal wounds that were inflicted were deep and jagged. Of course, in show, it could be that Jack the Ripper used the scalpel for the kill, then moved on to his more sordid, sadistic, and brutal interests.

It does create a certain reason, in universe, for the Ripper's acts. Not a great one. But at least it's not aliens or the Loch Ness Monsters.

Jack goes and figures out just who bought the blade. And using that information, Jack strong arms the buyer to tell him who he ended up selling it to. It was a doctor.

And there is no indication that the original buyer used the scalpel. Guess he's just a person that saw a good deal.

"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for supporting local
operating theater."
But when Jack hears the name of the doctor, Vincent Howlett, he knows it. He's a world famous surgeon. He apparently is unparalleled in the operating theater. It seems theirs no one he can't save. And he's recently moved back to...Toronto? Sure, we'll all say it's Toronto. (I always forget with these shows where they are supposed to take place. At least Forever Knight focused on the Toronto Police force.)

He's also working at a small hospital in the city. It's a run down place, that is desperate to restore it's credibility. And Howlett is their hero. Odd choice for a doctor like this.

In the operating theater, they actually have a large viewing window and seating. But, hey, who doesn't love an audience while you are doing intricate surgery?

Doctors and reporters are watching as Howlett works. He also spends a lot of energy pontificating on the art of surgery. Why not, the magic scalpel is actually doing most of the work.

"Hey! Are you doubting me?
I was on Trapper John."
Howlett is your classic super arrogant and egotistical doctor. He's a god. He's a savior. He demands your adoration.

He's played properly prickish by Cliff Gorman.

His boss is Dr. Price. She's happy to have him there to help rebuild their reputation, but she's getting tired of his ego trip. He likes to make backhanded comments.

But they need him to save the hospital.

Price is played by Doris Petrie. She's been in Scanners 2, Forever Knight, and one of the Tekwar TV movies.

Unfortunately for Howlett, he's brought some of his old problems with him to town. ...This is starting to feel like a medical drama.

He's being stalked by a woman. She quietly follows, and watches and plans something.

This is Jean Flappen. (She's played by Elva Mai Hoover.) And she thinks that Howlett murdered her daughter.

After following for awhile, she places a picture of her daughter on a doorway he's heading for.

He stops to take note of it.

And when he does, she steps out and prepares to shoot him.

"No! I almost got this episode over by the 15 minute
Unfortunately for her, that's when our heroic trio arrive. And Ryan stops her before she can shoot.

She collpses in anguish at the missed opportunity. And then she's taken away and strapped down in the psychiatric ward.

Well, there's certainly no way she can come back pop back up then. I mean, unless this is somehow a horribly run hospital.

Also, on the way into the hospital, Micki had her attention caught by some doctor's using a defibrillator.  But I'm sure that won't come into play later. It's not like this is 80's/90's TV.

After snooping around, Micki and Jack find themselves in Howlett's office. And they do find the scalpel's container. But the scalpel is elsewhere.

Do you ever need a reason to chase
down Ryan?
Ryan follows Howlett and spots the scalpel. And then he manages to make his presence known. And it's chase!

Howlett is eager to run Ryan down, and recharge his blade.

Ryan runs through a clearly abandoned, and utterly filthy section of the hospital. Man this place is a dump. He ends up in the morgue, which seems to be deep in this run down part of the hospital.

"Oh, man! I bet this is where they
keep the candy!"
Looking for a place to hide, he slips into one of the empty slots in the wall.

This week on Dr Howlett, M.D.
Dr Howlett fights death itself.
And then Howlett runs in and pulls open one drawer (which we are supposed to believe Ryan is in) and starts stabbing the covered body.

Micki and Jack appear, and Howlett flees.

Jack gives chase, and Micki checks on Ryan, who was in a different drawer.
"Oh, hey...You're still alive? ...That's just great."

Meanwhile, Jack chases down Howlett and tackles him. Not bad...

And then the fight quickly goes bad, for Jack. Howlett starts hitting and throwing Jack around.

And the whole time behind them we see the open elevator shaft. (Really, hospital? Really?) Howlett finally shoves Jack into the shaft. But he grabs the central cabling.

To finally finish the struggle, Howlett uses his scalpel. (Oh, right. Deadly weapon he had the whole time.) And slashes the cable.

And Jack drops, hitting the ground floor.
"Wait? Didn't I seemingly die last episode to? Man!"
Luckily he isn't really dead. Just mostly dead. He has a number of internal injuries and is in a coma. Looks like he'll need an operation.

"Oh for fuck sake. This is Friday the 13th,
not General Hospital!" 
And Dr. Price goes and gets her best surgeon. Dr. Howlett.

"Damn it, this hospital needs you!" "No! I can't..." "You're a doctor! Start acting like one!" "Wah!"

Anyway. He's reluctant. I'm not sure why. It may be that his scalpel is low on power. They never make it clear.

But he does head out right away, with his "stalking the streets" hat and coat on.

Meanwhile, in the psychiatric ward, Howlett's stalker and almost shooter asks for the straps on her arms to be taken off. And being a really lousy hospital, the orderly looking after her does so. Great staff, Dr. Price.

And the results are as expected. She quickly smashes a flower vase over the guys head.

"Oh, don't mind me back here. I'm just getting my gun."
And if that isn't bad enough, a nurse who is griping to someone on the phone, fails to notice an escaped patient who's breaking into a locker behind her.

And what does she get from the locker? Her clothes. AND her gun! Glad all that got left there, and not handed over to someone in law enforcement.

You know what? I am kind of rooting for this place to get shut down. The morgue is in that weird abandoned, but easily accessed area. Elevators are sitting open. And the staff is just stunning.

Meanwhile, the best surgeon at the hospital is stalking a new victim to kill. And his first opportunity is a child of the times. Backwards cap. Oversized coat. Skateboard.And honestly, for a moment, I thought it might be Ryan pretending to be a teen on a skateboard. (Hey. He hasn't gotten to wear a good disguise in awhile.) But it is a real kid, and when his friends arrive, Howlett walks away.

"Are you looking to hire? ...Cause
I''m a Decker."
Then he comes across a prostitute...or a character from a cyberpunk adventure. (Honestly, with late 80's/early 90's costuming on syndicated TV...)

And how cunning a killer he is! He walks towards her, as she beckons. Then when he's still 20 feet away he pulls out the scalpel so she can see it...

And she promptly runs in the closest door she can reach.

Our killer, folks!

And then, unable to get a kill, he goes to prep for surgery.

And while he's washing up, Ryan slips in and steals the scalpel...Which was going to be used to save Jack.

"Really, Ryan? Really?"
And when he shows it to Micki, she explains all this to him.

So he has to take their recovered cursed item, and hand it back to Howlett.

And Howlett starts the surgery. He's nervous, and looks for a moment at the scalpel. And, I have to assume he's just not sure how well it's going to work. We just aren't given a good sense of how to tell.

And when he's halfway through the surgery, he finally actually looks at who's belly he's currently rummaging through. Jack's. I mean, we know that! It's obvious. But Dr. Howlett? Apparently he never looks over at the face of the people he's sawing into.

"Hey! It's you! Boy that's ironic, huh?"

"Freeze! Crazy Lady, PI."
After surgery, Howlett goes to kill Jack, but our savvy stalker returns, ready to shoot Howlett again.

But she's slow to shoot, and Howlett cuts the gun in half.

I'm a big fan of this scalpel! ...Not the killing part though. I'm anti that.

And when Micki and Ryan run in, he cuts more stuff in half. Yeah!

"...But can it still easily cut a tomato?"
"Not all men!"

He chases the pair down into a dead end...a dilapidated graffiti filled dead end in a hospital. This place...

And so they fight. And Ryan does okay.

"No! Not cardboard!"
Though at one point a thrown empty cardboard container somehow knocks him back...Ryan...

Right when Howlett is readying to kill Ryan, Micki notices the defibrillator sitting in the hall (the abandoned hall), like the one she saw earlier. She turns it on.

She then taunts Howlett.

Then, when he tries to stab her, she catches the blade between the defibrillator paddles. And Howlett gets a shock.

You know what they say. Cursed scalpel always land blade
down, in your chest.
He's thrown and manages to get his scalpel jammed into his chest.

It's not the shock that kills you, it's falling down on to a small blade that you were holding.

And the show comes to a close. Jean, our stalker, goes home, at peace (and apparently no arrest record). Jack is recovering. And Ryan is telling horrible jokes.

Plus, what is with that jacket? Was that a thing? What is with the outfit choices this episode, Ryan? Like that sweater you wore most of the episode?

I have had some dubious sweaters in my day. But, come on!

Next time, we crawl in the ring and go a round with sports equipment.

Please don't be a cursed athletic cup!

And if you want to take a look at the episode.

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