Slasher S5E4: Left-Handed Justice

by thethreepennyguignol

Okay, we’re really cooking with dismembered body parts now!

Left-Handed Justice is Slasher: Ripper firmly into it’s groove – by which I mean, the only thing horrible enough to knock the image of that fucking water slide out of my head at last. This is probably my favourite episode of the season so far, because it’s pedal-to-the-metal camp sprinkled with a generous helping of needlessly grotesque gore. The smash-cut to someone vomiting expressively directly after the title card is a perfect summation of the rest of Left-Handed Justice, so let’s get into it, shall we?

Let’s start with my favourite from this week: Georges. I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I’ve enjoyed Thom Allison in this role already, but this was a really interesting (and challenging) episode for his performance. Targeted by the coked-up Superintendent Isaac Kashtinsky, who’s convinced he’s the Widow, Georges has to let his façade slip for a while this week. Seeing behind the proverbial curtain when it comes to a character this mannered and carefully-cultivated can go one of two ways – it can ruin them, or it can make them even more interesting, this is for sure an example of the latter.

Watching him slip out of – and then, with impressive ease, right back into – the character he’s put up for the rest of the world when faced with having his toenails yanked out instantly made him more compelling to me, and the flashbacks we get this episode add an intriguing layer to his morality. It’s one thing to play the huge, camp, sweeping performer that Thom Allison has been giving us so far, but seeing the character unwrapped a little more is far more interesting. Not to mention, this week reveals that Georges is bisexual, which explains why I liked him so much – he’s a man of the bisexual cloth (crushed velvet) too.

Speaking of coked-up Superintedents, Isaac gets the titular Slash this week, and a focal episode to go with it. This episode is basically a roiling ball of full-on jittery panic, as Isaac balances two of the least-recommended healthy lifestyle habits ever: being on powerful stimulants and investigating a murderer who could have you in their sights next. I love the cinematography this week, growing increasingly over-caffeinated and shaky as things spiral out of control for Isaac; sitting through his plot alone had me feeling like I had nine essay deadlines in the next fifteen minutes. Daniel Kash is batshit in this role, somehow managing to capture the frantic, deranged, and downright mutilatious desperation of his dilemma; even his death, getting dragged through the streets and lightly flayed by a galloping horse, feels stressful. I hope Daniel Kash took a long weekend off after this episode shoot, is what I’m saying.

And what we see of his interactions with Margaret build nicely on what we saw of Eddie’s story last week. He offers her a way out of her servitude, via marriage to him, which he declines – later, in her time of need, he brushes off her pleas for help, choosing to watch instead. Like Eddie, it’s not necessarily that Isaac considers himself to have done something outrightly awful – more inaction than direct action – but it’s a death by a thousand cuts for Margaret, as another person who could help chooses not to. Her death so far seems to be a matter of what people didn’t do rather than what they did, and I like what that says about their morality and the way the Widow is targeting their victims. Collusion is enough to condemn you here, not just outright feeding people into a wood-chipper.

The rest of this episode is exactly the mix of gore, absurdity, and people pulling dismembered body parts out of pie filling I look for in a show. Gabriel Darku waving around someone’s spine (real talk: the Slasher “chunks of body” department has to be in the top ten worldwide, and I would like that spine prop to wear as a stole as soon as humanly possible), Paula Brancati feeding her own sister into a lacy corset to take compromising photos, people feasting on actual human body: it’s all here. The gothic and the absurd fit together so well, and Ripper has, so far, had a balance of both those aspects I really enjoy, along with that gleefully nasty Slasher signature we know and love.

Left-Handed Justice is the show firmly in it’s groove for this season – characters are starting to open up, literally and metaphorically – and, if this is what we’ve got to look forward to, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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(header image via Televixen)