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Harper’s Island: Episodes 12 & 13

harpersFinal body count: 31

And so it ends, the bizarre, drawn-out slasher flick that would normally only occupy a cool 85 minutes, but instead clocks in at around 546. The mystery is solved, a helluva lotta folks are dead  – but who will walk away?

Before we get to that, I’ll share some of my early suspicions and stuff. Initially, I expected Cal to be the killer. Why? Well, American films quite often cast the Brit as the villain. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that he was neither the psycho nor a coward, less pleasant when he got skewered by John Wakefield.

I thought early on that there must be more than one killer, due to the presence of the primary cast members when murders were committed elsewhere.

In my little utopic Harperian Island, I wanted to see Abby survive along with all round nice bloke Danny, Trish, Jimmy and, yeah, okay, Madison. Kids usually irritate me in these with their ability to live through anything but she had that great creepy vibe and that excellent line: “I’m not going to get to be a flower girl…Abby!”

In Episode 12, Sully and Danny manage to capture John Wakefield, incapacitate and imprison him – everybody still able to breathe breathes a sigh of relief but we know better… Wakefield requests an audience with Abby and fills in a few historical gaps and says he located his son. Suspects narrowed down to four. Is it Jimmy like everyone thinks? Nah… Been down that alley before.

S P O I L A G E   F O L L O W S . . .

After accidentally falling off a cliff (!), Trish finds a boathouse with a working radio and the group manage to summon the coastguard. Wakefield somehow breaks out and fights with Danny, managing to send him eye-first on to one of those paper-needle things (as seen in Intruder in 1988) and Shea and Madison escape. Unfortunately for the others, re-splitting up to take showers and stuff couldn’t be a more dense decision at the time and Trish puts on her wedding dress to show Henry. Coulda seen this coming… a noise outside sends him on the investigative detail and Wakefield attacks her, sending her on a woodland chase in her lovely white dress, which gets all dirty until she runs into the arms of Henry, who subsequently confesses he slipped Wakefield the key, murdered a whole loada people and then sticks a knife into her! Wakefield materialises: “Hi dad!”

Much of the finale sees Henry and his father trying to off the final five survivors before the coastguard arrives. After sending Shea and Madison off towards land in a small motorboat, Sully gets himself killed, leaving only Abby and Jimmy to figure out the truth just in time and Henry shockingly murders his own dad instead of Abby, sets fire to the church to cover up the deaths and, as far as the cops are concerned, all loose ends are tied up.

It turns out that Henry would rather be with his half-sister forever and traps her inside a house on the island where they can live in secret. Jimmy is tied up in the garage as a ploy; Henry wants him to confess to being Wakefield’s accomplice so that no harm comes Abby’s way. Of course, she has other ideas and they manage to break free, kill Henry and save the day, albeit too late for 27 of the other cast members.

So there you have it, Harper’s Island finishes. I’d switched suspects to Henry a few episodes back, given that the writers were trying to push us towards Jimmy as the killer and neither Sully nor Danny seemed to have motive (although in hindsight, remembering that Sully was Trish’s former lover, he could easily have been the killer). In truth, I doubted the killer would be female and half expected Booth might come back from beyond the grave also… Que sera.

They did the best with what was left, but, from about Episode 9 the whole thing was wearing thin. The requisite once-an-episode victim tally couldn’t fill a whole 45 minutes’ worth and flashback padding and drawn out scenes of paranoia and people walking around the woods with shotguns were getting a bit tiresome. Ergo, a mostly successful try at something different for TV but I think this might be the last we see of this format.

I liked the cast a lot, Elaine Cassidy was a good, if not standardized final girl with the usual set of issues and she was backed by some good talent. Here are the blurbs-of-interest for the roster: Katie Cassidy (Trish) was the heroine in the remake of Black Christmas and was also in the remake of When a Stranger Calls; Gina Holden (Shea) was one of the rollercoaster victims in Final Destination 3; both Brandon Jay McLaren (Danny) and Ben Cotton (Shane) were in Scar 3D; Claudette Mink (Katherine) was in both Children of the Corn: Revelation and Return to Cabin by the Lake; Chris Gauthier was one of the rave victims in Freddy vs. Jason and Richard Burgi appeared in Hostel Part II and the Friday the 13th reboot.

Harper’s Island: Episodes 10 & 11

harpersCumilative body count so far: 25

Dire-logue: “Of all the weddings I’ve been to, this one ranks…near the bottom.”

As we head towards the climax of the CBS slasherama-drama, things take a more serious tone; with everybody convinced Abby’s dad is the killer, the group tries to leave the island, thwarted by an explosion and the discovery that the cops sent to rescue them have also beed murdered. Holed up in The Cannery, suspicions and conjecture take over and Maggie’s insistence that the locals are immune to the death train is provded fatally wrong (for her, at least).

Escape attempts ensue as they split to try and find another boat around the back of the island and Jimmy’s bizarre survival of the dock explosion poses some new questions, all of which are shadowed when Abby comes face to face with the real John Wakefield (played by BSG‘s Callum Keith Rennie – who I love).

In Episode 11, with Sheriff Mills permanently out of the way, Wakefield steps it up a gear and assaults those hiding out in the bar, offing Nikki and Shane quicksmart and chasing the others out. So is he the killer, then? It’s a bit of a rubbish outcome if so… Rest assured, CBS said one of the final eight characters is also involved – but who? Madison just might have the answer to that – or does she? Meanwhile, two of my favourite characters are eliminated in an uncharacteristically sad scene of self-sacrifice followed by self-sacrifice, shrinking the number of surviving cast members (Wakefield excluded) down to ‘The Final Eight’.

July 11th sees the final two instalments back to back and, hopefully, a surprising and satisfying resolve.

Harper’s Island: Episode 9

harpersCumilative body count so far: 16

Dire-logue: “Staying here is the only way we’re going to be safe.”

As the search for Madison continues, Abby gets a look at the Wakefield journal and discovers that she just might be his daughter! Gasp-a-rooney! With what JD told her about it all being ‘about her’, maybe we’re starting to get to some answers.

The majority of this episode occurs in the rooms and secrets passages of the Candlewick Inn, where some of the group go looking for a vanished Beth, while Shae waltzes off to find the psychic from several episodes back.

Shane tries to befriend Katherine, while most of the group consider Abby to be the killer or, at the very least, cursed. (Parts of) Beth are found and Abby locates Madison and escorts her to safety, but not after a brief encounter with the unseen killer. Meanwhile, Cal and Chloe do a bad job of babysitting Sheriff Mills, who disappears while they have sex on a gurney – and there’s a second grim surprise waiting in the sitting room of the Candlewick…

Harper’s Island: Episodes 7 & 8

harpersCumilative body count so far: 14

Dire-logue: “Terrified, unskilled people should not be handling weapons.”

With the murders out in the open, Episode 7 takes us into flashback territory. Groan. Ergo, things are padded out with Abby and Jimmy’s blossoming relationship and John Wakefield’s murder spree that claims her Mom.

We also meet Cole Harkin, a deputy who’s burnt up by an explosion rigged by Wakefield – he’s pally with J.D., who is now the chief suspect. Trish is having second thoughts about Henry and the frat boys discover Mal’s secret and the truth about Booth (complete with rhyme!) which culminates in Ep. 7’s one and only murder, which is a bit of a lamo off-camera affair… Things end with creepy kid Madison receiving a note “from Daddy” (who’s, like, dead) and entering a room where the door is slammed shut.

The wedding party attempt to leave but Madison’s disappearance keeps the main set at the Candlewick looking for her. Abby, Henry and Katherine discover Richard’s body and Abby gets a call from Madison claiming that if anybody leaves the island, they’ll die! (how, we don’t know – maybe the killer can fly too). Said killer breaks J.D. out of jail by shooting a nameless deputy and the killer strikes twice more before the end of the episode, which also sees disharmony between the guests, who think they’re immune from the hitlist because it’s mainly the Wellington’s who are under fire.

I’m still banking on my suspect of a few episodes ago, now as one half of a psycho duo, but wish they’d start offing some of the look-a-likey female characters – isn’t that what this genre’s supposedly all about? Not much bloodshed this week, but Abby is still at the centre of things… But why?

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