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Harper’s Island – Thwack
It was a break-through week for the prospective victims of the Harper’s River Strangler: the week in which they finally realize something is very, very wrong. Predictably (by the tropes of slasher movies), the revelation did not come through any great intuitive leap on the part of one of the characters; it came from all of the principles seeing one of their own get wasted.
So what happened? Let me tell you:
Trish is totally stressing out over last-minute wedding details, so Henry promises her that he can make the decisions and insists she take the morning off. They’re getting married tomorrow, after all. How much can really go wrong before then?
Ha. Ha ha ha.
So Trish and her dad take off for a scenic bike ride through the forest. En route they are attacked with a giant log that swings down into their bikes from on high. Now, despite the first logical step being to go look for whatever the hell just knocked you off your bikes, these two decide hobbling in a random direction–I’m not even sure it was the way they had come–is the right move. They see some creepy backwoods-looking man watching them from atop a ridge. Then we see him sic his dog on them while the man looks on impassively. Maybe he simply can’t generate a facial expression under all his burn scars/special effects make-up. Was this our first glimpse of the murderer? Or simply a local fisherman out for a pleasure walk mid-morning through trespasser-infested woods with his killer dog for company?
Through a dubious stroke of luck Trish and Old Man Wellington find an old camper and manage to climb into the back of it before the dog can actually take off any body parts. The Iron Duke is a crack hand in bar fights, apparently, because he uses a broken glass bottle to kill the dog (and was that really necessary? Really? You had to kill the dog, CBS?).
During their limp back to Chateau le Morte, Trish can’t stand it anymore and tells her father that she saw his new wife being spanked by Shea’s husband. Her dad doesn’t look sufficiently upset by this for me to belief his protestations of shock. Considering that he was paying Trish’s ex to try and wreck her wedding to Henry, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for him to have married some bimbo with the promise of a fat divorce settlement if she managed to seduce his son-in-law, and a comfortable life as a trophy wife even if she couldn’t. But we only know what Trish knows, and that is that her father wants to deal with the issue after her wedding is over.
Meanwhile, Henry the Hapless is trying to figure out if there is a difference between calla and tiger lilies and if so whether it will make a difference to Trish which kind are on her tables. J.D. and the creepy-kid-who-burns-snails-with-magnifying-glasses shoot off a bunch of firecrackers on the patio.
When Henry goes to the church to meet with the reverend, he finds a gutted raccoon on the altar and no sign of the preacher-man (remember, he got wasted in episode 2). He also finds one firecracker on the floor and immediately suspects his brother for the “prank” (side note: who would possibly take a disemboweled animal on a church altar as a prank?!).
The sheriff helps him clear out the carcass and then gets a hunch that something happened to the preacher. He follows the trail through the woods to the reedy edge of the inlet, and pulls up the line that he finds there until body parts and then eventually the reverend’s severed head come out of the water.
Abby had a rude awakening that morning, to backtrack just a bit, when her dad the sheriff knocks on Jimmy the Fisherman’s hovel door–behind which she had spent the night–and wants to know if Jimmy’s still on for breakfast. Apparently they have become friends since Abby left town. Over breakfast the sheriff asks Abby to come look through some boxes of stuff of hers and her mother’s, if she wants, while she’s on the island.
That afternoon Abby goes to his house, and for some reason goes poking around in her dad’s attic. What she finds is a board more obsessive than Paul Ballard’s dollhouse ring about all the Wakefield murders…and new murders, committed in other places, that he seems to think might be the work of a copycat. Of course it couldn’t be Wakefield himself, since the sheriff shot him with his own fair hands. This freaks Abby out so much she leaves; apparently her dad’s obsession with Wakefield was part of the reason she left and all of the reason she hasn’t talked to him in the seven years since.
So that was everybody’s less-than-joyful morning/early afternoon. Despite the lack of an officiating party, the rehearsal proceeds on schedule. They are only marking the ceremony (just going through the directions, not actually giving any readings or words). Abby offers to turn the chandelier lights on, and when she flips the switch a big shiny blade drops straight down at the lucky person standing directly underneath it…which looked to be Father of the Bride. I say looked to be only because they didn’t go so far as to show the impact of the blade into his upturned face, and I can’t decide if it’s because they’re trying to make a big fake-out to start the next episode with it falling an inch in front of him or something, or if they just couldn’t show an ax slicing off someone’s face on network television.
Either way, the MacGyver-rigged guillotine is a pretty unambiguous announcement that the Dread Pirate Roberts is here…and soon they will not be here. The Dread Pirate Roberts is here for their souls!