Slasher S4E7/8: Goldfinger/Kindred
What makes a Galloway?
That’s the question this finale – and this season as a whole – has been trying to answer. What exactly is a Galloway? What features does someone need to earn the status of Galloway Prime?
Each episode this season has offered different answers to this question; ruthlessness, a killer instinct, self-centered assuredness, smarts, brains, brawn. It’s the question that Spencer has been trying to answer in finding his heir, and, in this final two-parter, it feels like Slasher: Flesh and Blood has finally given us a definitive response.
First, of course, it’s got to rule out a few members of the final remaining Galloways – Aphra gets lightly sawn in half by the Gentleman, Grace gets gently basted with molten gold, and Vincent gets his head sawn in half by his own brother. In terms of gore and effects, Slasher is going out on a high, with some absurdly gruesome and almost unwatchably nasty real effects; something that I’ve always been impressed with in this show is how unrelentingly nasty it can get, and it’s done itself proud (?) with that once again this season (though nothing’s going to top Bill Moseley drinking blood-coffee last season, which is probably the highlight of TV of the decade, if we’re being honest with ourselves. Though seeing someone getting to root around horribly in the body of the master of body horror comes close, I have to admit).
The first part of this finale, meanly titled Goldfinger, considers Grace as a potential heir to the Galloway fortune; she’s revealed to have murdered Spencer’s first wife in order to take her place, and it’s clear that that was the start of what she saw as a worthy ascent to claim her title as Galloway Prime. She’s certainly almost got it there – she’s willing to kill, to cover up, to take advantage of the situation at hand, to form alliances and partnerships where she needs to. She’s smart, she’s physically at least able to endure a hell of a lot (RIP that cream sweater, by the way, splattered with a paintball pellet’s worth of blood by the time this finale begins), and more than that, she believes she’s entirely entitled to it – if anyone has actually worked to become a Galloway, it’s her. Marrying into the family and establishing herself as a core part of it has, in Grace’s eyes, ensured her continued claim to Spencer’s fortune; she didn’t sit through a couple of decades of letting him slurp on her neck for nothing, you know?
But in the end, it’s that single focus that takes her out; when she becomes the only one to compete in one of the final games, she becomes the only one to lose it, too, and gets embossed by the Gentlemen (revealed to be Persephone, having survived her woodchipper encounter earlier in the season and been working with Spencer all along) as a result. Leaving Vincent, Theo, and Liv as the final three to face off for the title of the One Galloway to Rule Them All.
I guessed from the start of this season that Liv was likely going to be the one to come out on top here – she’s physically and mentally dextrous, and has proved herself over and over again as a formidable opponent to anyone who dares cross her. And, though this finale focuses some of its time on explaining the Gentleman and just what they’ve been doing (Jeannanne Goodsen returns to slither around in a low-cut dress and a fantastic level of sultry, stabby evil, a fun final episode for her), it’s really about why Liv was always going to be the one who won this game.
The final episode’s title, Kindred, could refer to a lot of things; the family bonds that have run through the whole season, the destructive reconnection of Vincent and Theo as twins, the incestuous hurt/comfort shower fingering between Liv and Theo. But more than anything, I feel like it refers to Liv and Spencer; though the final scene of this season has Liv denouncing the possibility of ever having any connection to Spencer again, the two of them share more in common than she might care to admit, and it’s what makes her the best Galloway to take his place.
Because it’s Liv’s choice, ultimately, to make Theo pay for what he’s done – driving a car into a school full of kids, as this final episode reveals, and allowing his grandfather to cover it up – that marks her out as the winner. If Spencer has proved to believe in one thing over the course of this season, it’s a direct consequences for the choices we make; that’s what the games have been about, his involvement with setting the Gentleman after the people not strong enough to win, the twists and pushes he’s put his family through to make them do what he wants. He doesn’t give without taking (as evidenced by the adoption conversation with Seamus earlier this season), doesn’t receive without giving, and doesn’t let people escape without consequence. And that’s ultimately the thing that marks Liv as his natural successor – she makes people pay for what they’ve done, even if she cares for them. Even if she loves them. Even if they’re family. She kills Theo and wins the fortune, and that delivery of the consequences at her own discretion and on her own terms connects her to Spencer in an infallible way.
Liv goes back to the house to raise her own family – including the little incest baby she made with Theo before his untimely throttling – instead of moving on and starting over. She could do anything she wants with her money and her newfound status, but she returns, to put a new coat of paint on the house that tormented her for so long. She’s kindred with the last owner, though she denies it. Like him, willing to do what it takes to achieve her ends. That’s ultimately what makes a Galloway, and what makes her the Galloway of Choice.
It’s a satisfying ending for this season of Slasher, and one that I really enjoy; in fact, this season as a whole has been such a confident outing for the show, and I’m so happy to see it continuing to improve and build on its previous success. Slasher has come into its own with Solstice and Flesh and Blood, with complex plots and characters, while still maintaining its unfailing connection to the nastiness of its roots. Roll on season five – I’m ready to see just how depraved and deranged things are going to get.
Well, that’s us for this season! Thank you so much for all your comments and for reading these recaps; I’ve had a great time interacting with the Slasher community, and I so hope that we’ll get another season so that I get a chance to write some more on this fabulous little show. If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it, check out my other blog, No But Listen, as well as my fiction work! You can also support me on Patreon to help keep this blog running and keep my very demanding little cat in treaties, and me out of her clutches for another month yet.
(header image via Amazon)