SLASHER Review: “The One Who Sows His Own Flesh”

Chief Vaughn isn't the Executioner... but he's every bit as twisted.

So far, every episode of Slasher has kicked off with something kinda "fun" in slasher movie terms - a kill, a body being found, etc. So it's kind of a bummer that episode six, "The One Who Sows His Own Flesh", opens on a flashback of Chief Vaughn picking Ariel up (moments after the departed June and Trent drove past) and, after a few minutes of awkward conversation, pulling over to the side of the road and forcing himself on her. The usual slam cut to the show's title was actually kind of jarring in this context - I know the show has gotten progressively darker from week to week but yeesh. 

Another thing that has changed significantly since the premiere is how much of the show revolves around Sarah, as she once again has a limited role in the episode's events. Then again, so does the Executioner (and Robin doesn't appear at all), as the main focus this week is on Vaughn, who is not our hooded killer (the ending of the episode makes that abundantly clear, just in case you thought he was also a serial killer on top of being a rapist/kidnapper). As his role has been standard weary police chief who shows up in a couple of scenes every week (basically, just enough to keep him as a suspect), it's about time we learn more about him and his home life, which is considerably messed up. He didn't kill Ariel after assaulting her - instead he has her (and their son) locked up in the basement of the home he shares with his wife. We meet Mrs. Vaughn briefly; she seems heavily medicated and takes a "His business is his business" approach to what's going on almost literally under her nose - it's kind of a bummer.

But it's not nearly as sad as it is to see how much Vaughn and Ariel's son looks up to his daddy, clearly knowing nothing of life beyond that basement (lest we forget, we accept the reality that we're given - for all he knows that's just how everyone lives). At one point Ariel escapes with him, and all Vaughn has to do to get them back is say "Hey champ!" or whatever and the kid runs right into his arms - it's incredibly heartbreaking, as is the later scene where the man, knowing he's done for, attempts a murder-suicide, with the kid just totally terrified and not understanding why his daddy is doing this. Thankfully, he doesn't go through with it, opting to run away and leave them both behind (triggering a sweet reunion between Ariel and her mother), but still, it's pretty grim stuff for a "slasher movie".

Then again, IS it a slasher? It sure as hell doesn't feel like one anymore, with The Executioner's appearances becoming more and more limited (forget about chase scenes) and a general lack of killing. The only one who dies on-screen this week is that junkie lady (the name escapes me), who ODs on bad goods given to her by Vaughn (so he IS a killer, too - just not *the* killer), with The Executioner's only appearance in a single shot, whacking Vaughn over the head and sending him to certain doom in a walk-in oven (as a fry cook eats a sandwich nearby - the only moment of levity this week). I don't know why they moved away from traditional slasher elements after the first three episodes, but I'm starting to really miss them - they'd certainly be a welcome counterbalance to all the rapey stuff with Vaughn and general hatred between just about every other character. Cam's mad at Sarah, Sarah's mad at Dylan, Dylan's egging on the TV lady, etc... in fact, the closest thing to a nice, civil interaction we see this week is between Sarah and Tom, who may be her biological father! Tom was one of her mom's lovers in her video collection, so it's certainly possible (and makes his request for a lock of her hair less creepy - it's a sweet dad thing!).

By the way - this is a crazy month for Sarah - finding out the truth about her actual dad and her actual grandfather while losing her grandmother and watching an inordinate number of tapes of her mother having rowdy sex? If Dylan does turn out to be the killer I think she'll end up in an institution with Laurie Strode.

I don't know why, but I suspect next week's episode will reveal the killer, rather than save it for the last episode. With Vaughn's death (well, impending death - he's still cooking when the credits roll) taking care of Lust, that leaves Pride as the only sin, and Tom has suggested that the Executioner himself is guiltiest of that particular crime - which would mean next week's will lack a death in the last act, so a big reveal will make up for it. We can assume (hope?) all bets are off once he's been unmasked and presumably goes into crazed killer mode, offing anyone who gets in his way, though then again the show seems to be gradually stripping itself of all its slasher-movie clothing in favor of a traditional dark mystery. However, the killer being guilty of the final sin himself is something that is swiped directly from Se7en, and I hope they would anticipate us "calling it" and do something different. I mean, they chose the seven deadly sins for their EIGHT episode series, so surely they must have a trick or two up their sleeve to surprise us (and give us more of our demanded carnage), right?

At this point, even if we exclude Tom on account of his imprisonment, we have four potential male suspects (I've given up the idea that it could be a female): Dylan, Cam, his dad (who doesn't appear this week), and Robin. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a partnership, and potential plot holes aside I gotta say any one of them could be a satisfying answer. The benefit of having six hours instead of 90 minutes means giving everyone lots of screentime overall, so we won't run the risk of the killer being someone who was barely even part of the story like some whodunit slashers of yore (the Sorority Row remake was guilty of this - it was one of the girls' boyfriends, kind of a cheat in a female-centric storyline). If it turns out to be some other random cop we've seen once, or that creepy art enthusiast, or some other one-off character, not only would it be disappointing from a climactic standpoint, but also for the show as a whole, as there's no excuse to background the big bad when there has been plenty of time to turn him into a real character (and, in turn, plenty of other people for us to suspect). Don't let me down, Slasher!


This post is sponsored by Chiller. The new original series Slasher airs Friday nights at 9pm ET on ChillerTV.