Friday, October 13, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Friday the 13th the Series - "Bedazzled" - Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th - Episode 14 - ...The Next Generation?

It seems we've reached another Friday the 13th. And it's in October! What?!

So we have to return to a forgotten tradition on this site. A return to Friday the 13th the Series. More fun with Jack, Micki, and Ryan, as they chase down cursed antiques before the bodies begin to pile up.

Last time we were facing a time traveling vampire. Now we have a seedy seaman, and his evil lamp.

"Beware my might. My cursed lantern's light."

It might seem like a step down, but the episode is another in a set that plays a little with the shows conventions.

So let's get "Bedazzled".

The episode opens at sea, with a treasure hunt underway. A diver is searching a wreck. Above a salty seaman is pointing a massive brass lantern at the water. This apparently leads the way for the diver, who discovers an old barnacle covered chest.

They pull the chest aboard, and head back to dock. There they break open the chest and find that is does indeed have gold and jewelry in it.

Then our leering lantern bearer, Jonah, turns the lantern on the diver that brought the treasure up.The light now acts to ignite the man. flames spreading across his body.

Always remember, cursed items. Even if someone wants to try and be noble with these items. They function to corrupt. They fulfill your needs, while enabling you to fulfill their need for blood and death.

Whenever treasure comes up, the diver that went down has to die. I'd say they'd have a lot of sunk cost with their turnover, but this guy is burning away the expenses.

While this is going on, Jack and Ryan have tracked this team down. They sneak aboard the ship and see the murder. Then they wait for their chance to jump Jonah and get the lamp away from him. And they prove to be rather successful. (Though the success mostly comes because Jonah's idiot sidekick who missed his target and whacked Jonah pretty hard.

They make a run for it, and race home in the car. Jonah angrily watches, and notes their license plate.

Back at Curious Goods, night is falling as a storm heads towards the city. (Is that Druid street sign new, or is my memory slipping?)

After a job well done (Though it's 10 minutes into the episode so Jack should have known better.) Jack and Ryan are heading out. An Astrologist Convention is in town, and Jack wants to catch up with some people.

Micki is ready to enjoy a quiet night at the store, and stay out of the rain. A nice quiet night.

Jack and Ryan leave, and are out of the story until the end. They call back from the road as the weather worsens. But they are stuck across town.

But trouble looms as Jonah has tracked them down to the store. (Well, it is where he bought the lantern originally.) He's determined to have his lantern back, and starts to plan.

After Jonah determines that someone has stayed at the store, he and his sidekick approach a phone repairman nearby, and kill him.

They take his tools and cut the store's phone lines. They then approach the store in some of the phone company's regalia.

Inside, before this, Micki puts Chekov's Mirror on the crate, as you do.

She also is called, and agrees to watch a friend's kid for a little while. Micki has really relaxes since the early episodes, and seems far more open to life's surprises.

Her friend arrives and apologizes for dropping the kid off, but her family is dealing with a range of surprises that night. The kid isn't thrilled to be there. (Geez, kid. You get to hang out with Louise Robey.)

"I was told I could hang out with Catherine Disher."

Once Micki's back is turned, the kid disappears. And when she looks around for him, he pops out to scare her.

I've made it clear in Mr. Boogedy and Trick or Treats my thoughts on pranks and pranksters. Kid. You get one. Then I root for the salty seaman to get you. Luckily the kid is cooled off now, and just goes to read Ryan's comics (which we last saw in "Tales of the Undead").

Our evil doer, once in the store, heads into the basement, to fix the phones of course. Really, they hope to find the vault where the items are kept. But they find themselves stymied..

They can't figure it out. No place for a key, etc. It's just a locked door. And nothing seems to penetrate it. Magic, right?

The kid eventually notices the sound of their work and checks. When he gets freaked out, they grab and gagged him.

No. I said IF he keeps pranking.

When Micki comes looking for the kid, they threaten her. They want in with the cursed items. So Micki has to try and play for time.

"Okay. I know the kid's annoying..."

So she says she doesn't remember how to open the door. She just becomes clueless.

They threaten her life, the kids, and then even worse, her hair. And that would be an act of war with the show's fandom. He better watch out.

"Yeah, it really is red. Dick."

But Micki is holding out. (Okay. There are 2 ways to read this episode. She really has been left in the dark about the basic functions of the store by Jack. Or, she's playing for as much time as she can, hoping she can find a way out. I prefer the later reading. And I think theres enough visual proof to back this up.) She does suggest there is a secret lever, but the instructions for it are in the manifest upstairs.

When they search for the information, it is no where to be seen. Jonah, our scurvy villain flips out, and Micki tries to hit him, but fails. So they go back down to just find the switch to open the vault door.

Outside, a cop has found the dead phone repairman. He also found the damaged phone line. So the cop decides to investigate.

He knocks, and our Jonah's sidekick goes to check. The cop talks to the guy through the door, and feigns feigns believing the guy. He knows the answers are proving him to be the killer he's looking for. And then he kicks the door open and shoots the poor dumb sidekick. It did seems kind of quick. But the guy was wiping around to throw a knife at the cop.


Down below, Micki's stalling comes to an end when Jonah finally finds the switch. The vault is open.

But with the shots upstairs, Jonah shoves Micki and the kid in the vault, and grabs a spear out of the vault. He closes and locks the vault again.

Luckily, this time the stuff in the vault doesn't start acting creepy.

(Jonah must have just taken a cursed item. We just don't seem to see it activate or have an effect on Jonah. So we don't know what it does.)

Sneaking upstairs, Jonah gets the jump on the cops and impales him.

It is interesting to see Jonah after this have a little sympathy for his sidekick, lamenting his death. It gives this evil man a small bit of humanity. Not enough.

Before he can get back downstairs, Micki starts planning. She finds the lantern he's after and sets up a surprise.

The lantern, placed center stage, immedately tempts Jonah as he enters the vault. He can only see it, just in his grasp. Then Micki nails him with a heavy statute.

And then runs with the kid and lantern. Up the stairs to the main floor. And then up more stairs to her room...Okay, that might sound stupid, but Jonah did put something against the door, wedging it shut. So she had limited options. She went with taking a stand.

So Micki needs a new plan.

Operation: Fry the Bastard.

I'm not the only one hearing MacGyver's music right now, right?

She wires the lantern to the power socket, and then waits for him to break in. Then she taunts him until he grabs the lantern. And he gets a bit of a shock.

Micki bolts from the room with the kid, as Jonah goes down. But he won't stay down.

In moments the two tussle again, and Micki nails him in the head with multiple kitchen appliances. He even gets sent over the upstairs railing after the lantern is tossed down to the first floor.

But he still won'r stay down, as he grabs the lantern, trying to blast Micki with it's light.

She ducks away, and comes back up with the mirror from early on in the show. And then she reflects the hellish light right back at him.

And when she hits him, she doesn't stop. He drops the lantern, but she keeps the light on him. Until he burns.

All that's left are his crispy remains.

I would add the kid has been here through all of this. Kidnapping. Death threats. Fight to the Death. Grisly Immolation. Hello, lifetime working all of this out with a psychiatrist.

Really, did she have a choice here? This guy has been taken blows, shocks, and hits all night, and just pops right back up. What the hell is it with this guy?

Besides, if we look at the statistics, how many bearers of the cursed items give up on the item before being consumed by them? It's not good odds.

The next day, Jack and Ryan finally return. They are bellyaching about how bad their night was.

"...and they were even out of my favorite flavor of ice cream."

She seems reluctant to tell them about what happen. I can only guess she's still processing it all, and waiting for the right moment to go through it all with them.

I mean, she had to deal with the police, right? There were three dead bodies, and one of those was a cop. There aren't three corpses in the basement, right? Right?!

Nah. I'm sure she cleared it up with the police. Two guys broke in to rob the place, and the policeman was killed trying to help. And...spontaneous combustion?

But Micki is done with all of this for now.

"Screw you both. I'm starting the bath, and getting a bottle of Chardonnay."

Oh, and Ryan is at a loss for words. Bonus!

This is a fun episode. It gives us a Micki-centric story where she gets to show how she can persevere, outwit, and even outmatch threats in a tough situation. She handled the threat, and now gets to take a breather.

Plus she was given a great antagonist. Jonah makes for someone you can loath. He seems cold, mean, and vicious, while also just a nice bit of pathetic. It gives her a decent hurdle leap.

The one problem this episode has is that Micki has little to bounce off of. The episode can seem a bit quiet. The kid isn't much for conversation. She's trying to be tight lipped and clueless with the villains. So Micki doesn't get enough meaty dialogue. (I feel like Jack or Ryan would have been given more of a running commentary as they were working. But the fact she was matter of factly getting stuff done does balance this a good deal.

This adds into the fact this episode is another of the breaks in format. Instead of chasing the cursed item all episode, they have it within a few minutes. Then Micki is alone and has to protect it from a threat. I always appreciate when the show is willing to try out a new setup and new focuses.

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