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

The big finale is here - who will survive The Executioner's final... er, executions?

Since we found out Cam was The Executioner last week, the only real surprise in "Soon Your Own Eyes Will See" is that it turns out he really has been working alone all this time. I never saw Harper's Island so I can't vouch for that one, but the other slasher serials have had two or more killers, and until the moment he stabbed poor Robin (at that point, the last possible "partner") I was sure Slasher would follow suit. I don't know if I'll ever find the time (or, admittedly, interest) in rewatching it all to see if it totally holds up, but since many of us have suspected him for quite a while now I would assume any "cheat" would have popped in the mind instantly. Speaking of Robin, I guess the episode does offer a second surprise - he survives his injury, keeping the episode from being the bloodbath that it could have been.

In fact the only casualties are Cam himself and his parents; the opening scene flashback shows Cam murder his mom (to look accidental) as a younger kid, and in the present he offs his dad after the man gets on his nerves one too many times. But Cam's death - at Sarah's hands, of course - is the most gruesome, and possibly even the most violent in the series yet, as she slowly stabs him repeatedly (with some "this is for my grandmother..." sort of accompanying dialogue) before delivering a fast/forceful blow that sends (digital) blood flying everywhere. They've said before that any second season wouldn't be a direct continuation but would opt for an American Horror Story-style anthology (same actors as different characters in an unrelated story), but even if they changed their minds and stayed with Sarah and Dylan, they'd have to resort to sub Friday the 13th-ian logic to bring Cam back - Jason needed electricity (and a movie off) to come back from the sort of injuries Cam gets here.

In all honesty this and the previous episode probably could have been combined into one supersized episode (for a 90 minute block, so around 70 minutes total), as there isn't much to really do at this point. Cam frames Dylan for the murders but you know how that will play out (he'll get out somehow and save Sarah from Cam), and I really don't buy Sarah and Cam becoming a couple so soon after all this goes down. In Scream, Sid and Billy had an existing relationship and the various things occurring around them led her to want to consummate it, but these two have been just friends and suddenly she's gonna ram her tongue down his throat? Even with her relatively quick acceptance of Tom proving she's kind of a weird person, I still don't buy it. 

Plus, this unfortunately gives the episode an interior deja vu, as she then has to go through the motions of finding out that her lover is a killer. She's the one who finds the (planted) box of killer mementos that sets Dylan up, and then in a scene that's almost identical to the first, she finds an old photo album that proves Cam is the killer, mere moments after they made love (to put it nicely; Cam's kinda rough and she's clearly not too satisfied with the encounter). It doesn't help that it's one of the more contrived scenes of its type I've ever witnessed - she finds a pic of Cam as a teen proudly holding one of his "how a sin is punished" drawings that they've previously used as a tie to The Executioner. I mean, it's not exactly "Will Benson - Ben Willis' son!" stupid, but it's definitely not one of Aaron Martin's better moments as a writer, and when it's in a scene that we just saw play out with different variables it makes it really hard to swallow.

But there is a chase scene, finally! Not much of one, just Cam chasing Sarah from Robin's Halloween party back to her house, but it's the first one the show's really given us since the second episode I think. The show got less and less interested in its namesake's traditions as it went on, so it's nice that they at least came back to it for the finale, with the usual "killer chases final girl over a long distance" sequence and a "surprise, he's not dead!" bit, albeit not with the killer (Dylan also survives, though his injury didn't appear as fatal as Robin's). I wish he was in costume for the sequence (such chases in whodunits usually occur, at least in part, before the heroine knows who the killer really is), but I'll take what I can get. There were only five characters left by this point and they all get killed or seriously injured in the episode (even Sarah), so it's not like they were holding out on us or anything. Hell they even gave us a little bonus with the mom flashback, though again as this could/should have been a longer episode combined with last week's, that ultimately just seemed like padding - it didn't really have any bearing on anything beyond making Cam's dad's life seem even more depressing.

The most memorable part of the episode is actually the pointless epilogue, where Robin shows Sarah's house to prospective buyers and their six-ish daughter is revealed to be a goddamn lunatic, murdering a stray cat outside while Robin shows the parents the kitchen. I mean I guess they felt they needed a button to go out on (and if they want to do an AHS-style anthology, it'd be very confusing to try to set it up now), but it's a very weird way to do things - are they suggesting this house is like a magnet for the mentally disturbed? Or is Martin a big Desperate Housewives fan, as that show ended very similarly (with the idea that Wisteria Lane would always be home for dark secrets and violent people)? Either way, as much as I love killer kid stories, this felt very extraneous - they perhaps could have used the time to check in with Amber and her daughter, who had been completely forgotten once they were saved from chief Vaughn.

Overall, I'd say it was a decent to good start for what could be a solid alternative to Scream Queens and Scream, neither of which will be killing off their main characters anytime soon due to their non-anthology format. I don't know why they felt both Robin and Dylan had to survive, but with Robin being the sort of Randy of the series (lovable jokester on the sidelines) I guess they felt things were dark enough without offing him too - and again, three out of ten or whatever the main cast total was is hardly anything to scoff at. The story got a bit too rote in spots and Cam was too easy to peg as the villain, but Martin clearly knows how these things work and often used that familiarity to his benefit (the misdirect for when Justin was killed instead of Robin is a fine example), and I like that their homages and references were subtle - not part of the "world" as they were in the Scream films. I never did forgive them for killing off Wendy Crewson so early (they certainly never had as engaging a character to take her place), but it retained my interest, and I have to give them props for boxing themselves in with one killer instead of using two to "cheat" when necessary (i.e. throw us off the scent of one by having them appear in a scene with the killer). Here's hoping they get a second season to keep what works and fix what didn't, and really give us slasher fans a reason to stay home on Friday nights.

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