TV Review: DEAD OF SUMMER – Episode 3: “Mix Tape”

DOSposterThere was a time when I would sit around the radio and wait for my favorite song to play. If I could catch it in time, then I could hit the REC and PLAY button at the same and have it taped onto a cassette. I was very OCD about it and deem the recording useless if I didn’t catch every second. If I was too cheap to buy a CD single at Suncoast or FYE, then these cassettes were keepsakes often utilized to create a themed mix tape. Technology has quickly advanced since then and physical media has become a rare form. Mix tapes changed into mix CDs which turned into playlists. From what I observe, a lot of people don’t even buy or record music anymore, but simply stream it from whatever device to their liking. I like to say I’m a fan of vintage cars, but really I’m just broke which is why my vehicle has several CDs thrown about since it lacks auxiliary cord and bluetooth capabilities.


The third episode of DEAD OF SUMMER finally provided something I felt lacking in the previous two and I desperately needed: nostalgia. Do not set your show in the 80s and think because you throw in a few pop hits I’m going to feel like I went back in time. Director Mick Garris takes the reigns on “Mix Tape” and offers a dose of insecure adolescence that helps elevate the show in something more interesting.

The format of the show has come forward, each episode focusing on a different character, along with flashbacks of their lives prior to camp and what motivates their current (?) behavior. Cricket takes the lead here and she’s definitely the most interesting story so far, though other minor characters are adding some nice touches. It turns out Cricket had some weight issues in high school and sets some goals to lose it in time for camp so she can get laid. Her insecurities get the best of her as we witness her accepting physical attention from anyone who gives it. Her behavior appears to be the result of settling for less as her own mother turns a blind to her husband’s infidelity with the much thinner neighbor. At camp, Cricket’s goal is to get in bed with Alex, but she backs out at the last minute when she realizes she’s worth more than a one time lay.


Throughout the episode, supposed invitations from Alex turn out to be from Damon, one of the Satan worshipping townies who clearly have alternative motives for her. She gets nightmares and visions of being part of a ritual surrounded by black figures in masks. It was likely to lead to her sacrifice in whatever ritual they were conjuring, but the episode ended with Amy, our lead from the premiere episode, walking into the lake and getting struck by lightning. Damon and friends had some part in this, but we’re not too sure as what their plan is.


While “Mix Tape” lacked any real terror, it definitely increased in quality creating some interesting character arcs and adding some mystery to keep interest. Why does Deb have one of those ritualistic masks in her room? Is she affiliated with the cult? Next week’s episode promises viewers a glimpse into what’s inside Deb’s box that she loves to be so vague about.


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