SLASHER Review: “As Water Is Corrupted Unless It Moves”

One of the main suspects is dead... who do we think it is now?

Last week's cliffhanger promised that Trent was up to no good and our potential new prime suspect... so it's kind of awesome that he's dead two minutes into "As Water is Corrupted Unless It Moves". In the episode's first scene he is targeted by the executioner while out hunting (with a classic "Someone almost shot me by accident... no, they're TRYING to shoot me!" bit) and falls into a pit trap while trying to dodge the bullets, at which point our Bible-loving killer comes along and drops a bunch of snakes on him. RIP, Trent, we hardly knew ye.

Trent's role in the episode isn't done yet though. I haven't put much stock in Heather Peterson's missing daughter, Ariel, but the signs are now pointing toward it being a key event in whatever set the Executioner off. Via flashback we see that she was last seen by Trent on his way home after a long shift as a paramedic. Not wanting to deal with the paperwork involved with taking her in, he keeps driving by, presumably moments before she was taken. However, he's not the only one with a guilty conscience, because it turns out that June (Cam's wife) was in the ambulance with him. Actually she claims she wasn't, having been dropped off a few minutes before (but feeling guilty anyway), but Sarah tracks down some CCTV footage that seems to prove otherwise. At first I thought this subplot was just red herring/world-building stuff, an excuse to have another unhinged character around, but when the Executioner chooses June as his next target, it starts to seem that Ariel's disappearance may be just as important as Sarah is to the case.

But then, how are Sarah and the Peterson family connected? With Trent (and his aunt) out of the picture, we're facing a lot of exposition via file folders and newspaper articles in the future if their story isn't over yet (even if their lives are), and that'd be a shame. As for June, she's actually still alive when the episode ends, but facing certain death via another of the Executioner's increasingly Dr. Phibes-like death traps - she's in a field, covered in something that's making all the nearby rats zero in on her with very hungry appetites. Given this show's tendency to save people from certain death, perhaps she'll be rescued in the first scene next week, even if it's just long enough to tell the whole story about Ariel (and why she lied about being in the ambulance when she was last seen) from her hospital bed, before the Executioner finishes her off.

Sarah kind of takes a backseat in this episode, opting out of her usual meeting with Tom (they do have a phone call, however) and not getting involved in any of the dangerous scenes. The focus is on June, the backstory with Trent, and Sarah's husband, Dylan. Dylan runs an interview with Sarah in which she refers to his new Executioner and Tom as "cowards", which sets him off when he reads it in prison (his cell looks like a holding cell, by the way). Dylan later meets with Tom for an interview, but we don't see much of it when Tom springs a twist on us: it seems Dylan has written to him in the past, something Sarah doesn't know about. Along with playing along with a very forward TV journalist (think Nancy Grace) named Lisa-Ann Follows (who clearly wants him for more than his reporter skills), he also steals some of Sarah's hair (from her brush) to give to Tom, per his request. And let's not forget his lie last week about needing to give two weeks notice before quitting - Dylan's definitely shady, though at least so far everything can more or less be chalked up to being ruthless in order to advance his career; I still don't buy him as any possible suspect.

Odds on Cam improve, however. I'm an astute enough slasher fan to know when I'm being misdirected, and so when the chief is informed that June is a target and asks Cam to try to call her on her cell, I noticed that we just see him press a button and leave a quick message, without any closeups or cutaways to confirm he's really making the call. The Executioner also finds her in a church, a location it seems Cam (or his dad, obviously) would be far more privy to than, say, Dylan or anyone else from the newspaper side of things. But then again, the writer of this show knows slashers seemingly as well as I do, as he knows when to deliver on expectations and when to subvert them, so I can't help but think that it's impossible for it to be that easy. I don't know if I can say the scripts are "two steps ahead" of me at all times, but I'm certainly not way ahead of THEM like I usually am for modern slasher fare (yes, I guessed Scream the TV show's killer rather quickly)

Speaking of the writing, if I'm not mistaken every episode has been written by (or at least, credited to) Aaron Martin, which gives this a consistency that was lacking in the other slasher shows (Scream Queens in particular was all over the place). This might not be one of the greatest slasher stories ever, but I am enjoying how it really does feel like a really long slasher film as opposed to a traditional TV show. Like, if you were to take all six hours and play it at 4x speed (making it about 90 minutes), I bet the deaths would occur right around at the same pace they would in your average Friday the 13th movie (though there wouldn't be any of those "not really dead!" copouts). And like the Scream films, the suburban setting and non-condensed timeframe (the Screams being among the very few slasher films that aren't focused on one or two nights) allow for a variety in the places of death, not to mention extra character development.

But while we're on the subject of deaths - there are only seven deadly sins, and there are only three left for the Executioner to tackle (Trent was sloth, as it turns out), which means if he's gonna stick to his guns and not take any additional victims out, that leaves an episode without a kill. HIS (or her) death shouldn't be included in the body count, assuming he/she is offed in the last episode, so I hope he starts getting sloppy in order to keep the back half of the show from being an exposition-fest that doesn't live up to its title. I mean, there are at least ten people still alive on the show, and unless Chiller plans to bring it back with the same characters there's no reason to keep them all standing - I am okay for now but by the time episode seven rolls around I want to see some heavy reduction in the cast. Hell, if you go by my "combine them all and increase the speed" idea the last episode should pretty much just be a suped up chase scene!

For those who pegged Trent as the killer - who do you think it is now? Everyone pretty much assuming it's Cam right now?

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