It’s the Halloween season, so let’s watch season one of Friday the 13th: The Series.
“Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now, they must get everything back, and the real terror begins.”
We’ve reached the show’s first big two-parter, episode nineteen, “The Quilt of Hathor,” and episode twenty, “The Quilt of Hathor: The Awakening.”
This time the cursed antique is a quilt. When you sleep under it, you dream of your enemy’s murder, only for your enemy to die as you dream it. The quilt is owned by Effie, a member of the Amish-like Penitite religious rural community. She’s wants to marry Josiah, the Pentitites’ reverend and leader, and she’s killing all the other women in his life until he marries her. Micki and Ryan get the quilt back, but not until after Effie succeeds in marrying Josiah.
Ryan, meanwhile, falls for Laura, Josiah’s daughter, who is in an arranged marriage to another suiter, Matthew. Ryan loves her so much, he decides to stay and become a Pentitite. To stay, and to have the right to court Laura, Ryan must defeat Matthew in ritualistic combat (!). When Micki returns to the store, she and Jack discover the quilt is a fake, and Effie still has the real one.
In part 2, Josiah takes control of the quilt’s power and kills Effie, hiding her body under his house. He then keeps killing those investigating Effie’s disappearance, framing Ryan for the murders. The Pentitites almost burn Ryan at the stake (!) until Laura saves the day by revealing evidence of Josiah’s crimes. Josiah jumps from the roof of his barn to avoid prosecution by his people. Laura takes over as the Pentitites’ new leader — this being a rare gender-equality religious sect — which means she and Ryan can no longer be together. Ryan returns to the store, where Micki hopes to make him feel at home.
When the show is smart: It might seem hokey to spend to hours crazy religious farmland, but, really, the show is firing on all cylinders here. The dream sequences take place in fancy ballrooms, the tonal opposite of the rural setting. In the end, good defeats evil when the Pentitites curb their religious fervor in favor of listening to reason.
When the show is cheesy: The show demands a lot of the audience to be on board for the Ryan/Laura romance. It’s tricky for weekly shows to do a romance-of-the-week, because everything in the relationship is accelerated due to runtime. The double-length helps, though. Also, Laura is shown having responsibilities and a whole life outside of her romance with Ryan, showing she’s not just here for the sake of the male hero.
Devilish dialogue: Micki: “You’re not a Pentitite. You love hot dogs and Saturday morning cartoons.”
– The name Hathor is in reference to the Egyptian goddess of love and motherhood. Doesn’t seem evil, but she was also goddess of music, dance, and foreign lands, which goes against what the Pentatites believe.
Back in the vault: The two-hour length gives the creators a chance to tell a meatier story, and they go for it. The kill-you-in-your-dreams thing of course offers a lot of creativity, but there’s also a real sense of Ryan as a lost soul, still searching for somewhere he belongs. Great stuff, all around.
Next: You’re on the air.
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