Slasher S5E6: Resurrections

by thethreepennyguignol

It’s not often that a show actually makes my jaw drop, but this week, Slasher pulled it off.

There’s always one kill in every Slasher season that makes my face turn inside out with the sheer cringe, but this week’s episode, Resurrections, might just have pipped them to the proverbial post. Doctor Israel (Lisa Berry) wakes up on her own operating table, stuck through with conductive metal rods; her arms and legs have been replaced by that of her recently dismembered friend Salome. The Widow, draped in moulding mourning garb, flicks the switch to start the current – and fries the not-so-good Doctor from the inside out. Cue a cut to black, while the absurdly specific sound effect of “flash-frying human flesh” crackles before the credits roll. It’s ridiculous, it’s horrible, it’s truly putting the Slash in Slasher – I love it. I do. Much as I love intricately-constructed scares and truly creeping dread, there will always be a part of me that wants to watch horror media through my fingers in utter gobsmacked disgust, you know?

But that’s not the only thing to love about this week’s episode. As we close in on the end of the season, we’re getting a whole lot of one of my favourite aspects of the show, the Quivering Finger of Accusation. In fact, this particular quivering finger (and anyone who makes any implications about what a fine upstanding woman like me might know about a quivering finger is getting fired directly out of a canon) comes in the form of three of our remaining would-be Widow victims locked up in prison together, as a terrified Israel turns in herself, Georges, and Basil as culpable for Margaret’s death. As the numbers of those involved whittle down, the tension between them is ratcheting up, and watching them attempt to assault each other to argue their own innocence is just exactly what I needed. Eric McCormack and Thom Allison, the show’s two most enormous performance, coming up against each other in this chaotic drama queen showdown is exactly what I expect as the body count starts to stack up, and I love it..

This is, as I mentioned, though, Israel’s episode, and I was so glad to see a dedicated hour on this performance and character – I’ve mentioned in previous reviews how much I enjoy Lisa Berry in this role, stately, controlled, and commanding, and watching her slowly come apart over the course of this episode before her spectacular death scene makes for some excellent television. I mean, I have a huge soft spot for anything that combines contemporary science with gothic horror, so maybe I’m coming at this with a little more creepy enthusiasm than I should, but watching her twisted graverobbing experiments in the name of medicine on various unfortunate rotting corpses is gloriously nasty, a blend of sterile and utterly sick. The episode opens with her jamming electrodes into someone’s heart to force it into beating again (coincidentally, also how my partner got me up this morning), and the balance of crisp, clean medical centre mixed with gruesome and ungodly horror is deliciously horrible in just the way I like.

Faced with the violent death of a close friend, she folds, and turns in herself and others who were involved in Margaret’s death – after her confidence and containment for the season so far, watching her finally break is fascinating. Much like with Georges earlier in the season, it’s what exists underneath the façade that’s so much more interesting, and Berry really brings out the panic and long-buried guilt over her involvement with Margaret’s murder. It’s almost as though this version of her that we’ve seen in the season thus far has been a carefully-cultivated mask, the thin veil between the truth of her guilt and the considered, cold version of herself that allows her to do her job.

This episode also touches on another aspect of the season I find really interesting, and that’s the apparent involvement of the supernatural – for the second time in Ripper, the widow Simcoe summons a spirit from beyond the grave to have a natter with the living. It’s the first time the show has explicitly confirmed a supernatural force in this universe (at least, that’s what it seems to be at this point), and it opens up some new doors for what Slasher could do with this in future. Not to mention, it gives Thom Allison the chance to gasp dramatically about his lover being lost to the River Styx, like any good bisexual drama queen, so there’s that, too.

This is also a great episode for Eric McCormack, who has been playing things so huge and so ridiculously, cacklingly villainous, it’s impossible not to enjoy him; it’s not often we get a character this openly evil who isn’t the killer, and seeing him revel in the absurd panto-villainy of Basil Garvie is an enormous amount of fun. He’s not trying to conceal anything about his cruelty, his predilections, or his willingness to make the people around him suffer; unlike most of Slasher’s villains, he’s not doing it behind a mask or behind a mystery, he’s doing it basically out in the open, at least to his immediate social circle, and that makes for some outrageously scenery-munching moments for McCormack.

Resurrection is another nigh-on perfect episode for this season, balancing gothic horror sensibilities with campy murder mystery histrionics, along with an iconic kill to top it all off. I’m really keen to see where the final two episode will take us, especially if it involves a whole lot of Thom Allison and Eric McCormack shrieking at each other through prison bars, which I sense it might. Roll the tapes!

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(header image via TV Insider)