Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th - Episode 9 - Root Of All Evil

Hmm. What day is today?

Thank you, convenient movie caption.

Oh, right! GTK

So that mean it's time to move on from boxing to gardening...Wait, that sounds iffy.

But it's Friday the 13th the Series, come on!

And this time we are facing

"The Root Of All Evil"

We've had creepy dolls and murderous scalpels. I am sure this month's cursed item will be great...

...a mulching machine...Really? You're killing me here, TV show from the 80's.

"I'm evil don't cha know."

Oh. That's a wood chipper. Why are you calling that a mulcher? That conveys a sense of fermenting grass and twigs. A wood chipper makes you think of the movie Fargo, and disposing of a body. ...I think we can guess how this cursed item works.

And can I try and call something right now? I bet our bad guy will end up getting killed by this. Anyone else guessing that is how this will end?

"Well look at that. You can't even make my murder look
realistic. Such a disappointment."
As the episode opens we get that confirmed. We go to suburbia and see a elderly mother and her son. She is griping about how he's doing the yard work beside her, and he's giving her a look that says, "If I had an evil cursed item to kill you with..." Lucky for him, he does.

She tells him to use the "mulcher" and put the cut bushes and branches in. So he turns it on, and then he creeps up on her. He takes a rake and does her in.

No, not by tricking her to step on it's head causing the handle to whap her in the head. Instead he just hits her with it.

He strikes her in the head with the spike side of the head, making bloody marks in her head. I'd have thought they were meant to be holes in her head, but when he moves her the wounds get smeared on his shirt. Maybe those are just contusions.

He drags mom over to the mulcher and then lifts her into it. He then eases into it's metal teeth and watches her go, smiling.

Now I am not sure what the process was here. Did he know it was evil, and plan to use it? Did it lure him to use it? Was it just available, and being cursed is convenient?

"Now you can go to that big farm in the countryside, MOM!"

At this point we can't say, but it does seem like he was a guy that might have snapped. But it may be the curse to. We don't know what boon is given for killing, as the show cuts away now, to our trio of antique hunters...No slight there, Jack Marshak.

Jack seems to have found an old unopened letter to good old Uncle Lewis (The guy that got them stuck collecting evil cursed items.). Seems like it has a note and a 100 dollar bill.

It thanks Lewis for something, and how delving into the dark arts have given the letter writer great returns. That is not something that sounds good at all. It is likely to be tied to a cursed item. (We can assume it relates to the first scene of the show.) While the letter gave no name, they do look into the manifest of cursed items sold and find an address match for the letter.

Our mulcher. And it's apparently 50 years old. So that technology doesn't change much, hmm?

"Yes. You have found the plot."

It was sold to Harley O'Connor, our killer from the start of the show. Harley is played by Thomas Hauff, who once played John McCain in a 9/11 movie. I'll try not to judge.

It seems that it may be time to take a trip. But first they need Micki. But Micki has a issue this episode. She has a rather severe case of subplot to deal with. Her fiance, who we haven't seen since the pilot, is back and is pushing her to leave the shop so they can get back to their life. Remember that? Love, Yuppy Style. He was only in for minutes in the pilot, and came off as a slimy. Maybe he'll be better this time?

Granted, he's pressuring her to quit whatever she's doing. He's agitated that two months on (So the last 8 episodes all happen over 2 months? That's plausible.) she isn't done selling off the shop. She hasn't explained the situation to him.

This pressure will be making Micki a more reluctant participant this episode, eager to check off the mulcher business when they find O'Connor has moved. She will be eager for a reason to quit it all. But she can't escape her fate.

"I can't believe Laura San Giacomo winged a bottle at
my head."
Now we cut to a new house. O'Connor is no where to be seen. There is an older wealthy woman. She is readying to open her grounds as a park for the city. It's a way to give something back.

There are also gardeners maintaining and prepping her grounds. One is played by Enrico Colantoni. He appeared in Veronica Mars, Galaxy Quest, and Justice League as Glorious Gordon Godfrey. This is an early role. You can guess if this will be our main antagonist.

His name is Adrian, and he isn't pleased with his lot in life. He's desperate, but seems to not be a jerk, yet. Adrian is in dire need of money, to keep himself safe. It seems he owes money to some unsavory people. Poor.Desperate. Peeved about his lot in life.

It seems that his boss and everyone else seems happy with him. But he's stressed about money. Then he sees the mulcher and he's utterly enamored. ...He's not like that guy that married his car is he?

"What brings a fine mulcher like you to a place like this?"
It seems to have gotten it's hooks into. Has it gotten into his head? Has it whispered promises? Is that how it works?

Of course, we still need to see how the curse operates overall.

Adrian convinces his coworker to go off, and he gets some time alone with the mulcher. So he goes over to give it a good looking at.

Oh my god. He really is going to propose to it.
As he gets close to the mulcher, it turns itself on (The nondirty way.). As he stares into it's maw, he's interrupted.

An old drunken friend wonders into the area. He laughs to see Adrian. He also brings up Adrian's troubles with some leg breakers he owes money to.

Adrian tries to ask him to not tell anyone where he is. Then he offers him some money. The guy responds by asking for moremoney than Adrian could ever come up with. Then the guy taunts him, and Adrian threatens to kill him.

With that, the machine to start up again. Adrian strikes.

Adrian kneels down before the machine again, and stares into it.

Lights begin flickering inside it.

Out of the mulch dispenser comes cash; bills come flying out. Adrian giddly starts grabbing them all up.

So that is how it works. Kill someone, and you get money. I guess you don't even need to use the mulcher. Or, maybe the first time it is okay, so as to draw you in.

Micki and Jack head over to the O'Connor home and find it empty. Talking to a neighbor they learn that Harley O'Connor left months before. He had been found later, with a large bag of cash. This left the police suspicious, as his mother disappeared just before this, and they wonder what Harley knew.

Harley wasn't of much use. His mind seemed to have deteriorated, and he was institutionalized. Also the mulcher is long gone. But Jack works out it was taken and sold at a police auction. They know who bought it, but they need to track down the new owner, Adrian's employer.

Jack also found $5 at Harley's home.He somehow figured it was important, and took it. It is a curious item. It is a crisp and new bill. It is also has a date on it of 1936. That does seem strange.

Is it just the date? Are the bills meant to be completely legit currency (other than being infernal). Is the date the only part different? Or is the money the same as all currency of 1936? That would mean various aspects would be off (Treasury signature, etc.), and it might not be taken in various stores. I'm assuming it's just the date that is different.

Jack decides to question Harley, to see if he has more insight.

At last. Now we know who came up with DC Comic's New 52.

When he visits him, Harley is a disturbed and unrepentant figure. He won't talk at first, but then he begins explaining that the mulcher gives money. But how much it gives is dependent. The richer the person killed, the large the amount of cash given will be.

It is interesting to at last see someone who was a former owner of a cursed item, some time after loosing the item. The shredded humanity. The eroded sanity. Someone failed some SAN checks.

Later that night, Micki is readying for bed when she sees a shadow in her window. Now THAT is not a sight you want, particularly after everything that happen in just the last episode. She goes to Ryan, and when the person enters their apartment, Ryan tackles him.

"This is for breaking my heart in Ethon!"

It's Micki's fiance. And he's sneaking into Micki's place. Weird. We've already looked at Micki's fiance before. He's played by Barclay Hope, whose been in many shows. But is always remembers as Colonel Pendergast on Stargate SG1. There's he was a dedicated military man. Here he's Micki's obnoxious fiance.

And for the second episode in a row, Ryan really gets into beating someone up.

Once that's cleared up we don't get a good sense why he's skulking at a window. But he is curious and concerned about what is happening to Micki. She is still eager not to explain the curse business...but who would be?

He's indignant about that. And  he skulks back out the window...

Micki and Ryan head out to where Adrian works the next day. I guess Jack tracked down the gardening business (My trick would have involved looking in the phone book.). Ryan goes up to the Adrian's boss and offers him enough money for the mulcher to buy a new one. He quickly agrees to the sale, and runs off to get the mulcher.

But Adrian is nearby and isn't happy. So he goes into horror movie killer mode; all first person for a minute

Then he pounces, hitting his boss on the head with a shovel.

And, instead of being sure he's dead, he drags the mulcher away.

Coming back, he finds no body. Yeah, that's why you check...Not that I have any experience.
You know what this mean?! He's a zombie!
 But Adrian's boss doesn't stay hidden long. He jumps out to fight back, but ends up stabbed in the back.

And Adrians eagerly awaits another pay out.

I'm starting to feel like giving someone money for killing
isn't positive reinforcement.
That is a clear difference this time. Before, Adrian could argue that the guy was going to get him killed, so he was kinda defending himself (If you want to self-rationalize.). But now? His boss was nice to him. He was giving him a real chance to fix things. He also had every right to sell his own equipment.

But Adrian doesn't care. He is getting the money he wants, and that is all he cares about. No remorse at all.

And as he kills again, he continues to not care about the torment he inflicts. Adrian will stab a guy and then feed him into the mulcher, as the guy screams in horror. Adrian only cares about his returns.

Back at the antique shop, Micki's fiance is back. She decides to try and explain things to him. That means a trip to the old curse vault.

Now am I supposed to hope it doesn't kill him?

And, hey, it's creepy doll. Man, there are some call backs to the pilot in this episode, hmm? He doesn't believe any of it.

Would this subplot be more engaging if I seriously thought there was a chance he would ever appear again in the show?

The next day, Jack and Ryan decide to dress up as gardeners and search the gardens. So it's time for coveralls and shears.

"Let's be honest. Ryan. With your love of pop culture and jokes, you're the one that's going to end up being sent up
to a satellite to live with robots."
As they look around, Ryan manages to stumble onto Adrian's bag of money. Adrian decides that's a good reason to kill Ryan. And the chase is on!

"Shut up! I don't run as stupidly as you!"
But the race has to end. And it does, with Ryan tripping and face planting into a monument. He pulled a Ryan. (And I totally didn't notice it was a stunt guy.)

"My hair and I decided it would be
best if I leave."
Meanwhile, Mr. Fiance came back and convinced Micki it would be best to just leave and get married. So she comes to say good bye, before she leaves town.

She and Jack realize that Ryan is missing, and begin searching (annoying fiance -- I mean it annoys the...You know what? Nevermind.). Jack finds him, and he's alive...Really? Is Ryan's life worth so little from the mulcher that Adrian didn't bother? Wow. That is a slam, Ryan.

Still, Jack and Ryan realize that Adrian has one real mission now. Kill the richest person in the place. The nice old lady in the main house. He grabs her at knife point and tries to take her away.

But the team surrounds him.

They tell him that they know what he's done. They tel him they know all about the mulcher.

He doesn't care, he's rich. Yeah, but that money will be no good to you in jail. And it's not like he'll be allowed to keep it.

Not that it matters. Ryan has the money now, and he throws it inside the mulcher. That freaks Adrian out, who races to the mulcher. And then he, yes, dives inside it.

Bye, Enrico! See you in Just Shoot Me.

"I think I'm starting to reevaluate the value I put in material wealth!!!"
Again, Ryan! You keep finding solutions that kill people. Dude!

Still, he at least seems troubled by it all again. He is holding onto his humanity.

And after all of this, fiance is really ready to leave. Micki, on the other hand, feels all the more committed to finishing her task. So, the wedding is off. And I have no idea what I'm going to do with this set of candle holders now.

And that was "Root of All Evil". Definitely not the best of this series, particularly with having to deal with leftover business from the pilot. There were more interesting ways to handle the fiance. But it is on par with a lot of 80's syndicated TV.

On the plus side they had a good find with their main villain. Enrico Colantoni is a good actor and played the role interestingly. He started out more a slow schlub. Then he nicely showed the guy embracing and lusting for the blood money he was making. Also he gave his character an odd gait as he moved around. You can tell he put some effort to give his character some life.

Also, as I mentioned before, seeing a mentally destroyed former cursed item owner. Itis an interesting image and idea. It could even make an interesting center for a whole episode.

And, of special note. Micki's hair, as always.

How many holes in the ozone were made getting that to
stand up like that?

Now, if you are curious to take a look at this episode...

And next time, we'll hide under the blankets with a flashlight from our comic books.

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