TV Review: DEAD OF SUMMER Episode 6: “The Dharma Burns”

DOSLately, I’ve discovered I’m a sucker for super fucked up love stories. Watching Daniel Radcliffe learn the hard truth about those he loves in HORNS is always heartbreaking. I won’t spoil it, but the ending to SPRING gets me every time and I always put that movie on when I just want to lay under the covers and drift off into a crazy fantasy. Even when Gretchen finally runs into Donnie’s arms and kisses him in DONNIE DARKO makes me swoon and takes me back to my first relationship with all the exciting feelings that come with that. Episode 6 of DEAD OF SUMMER brought on all sorts of emotions in me, never wanting any of the flashbacks to end as they really kept me glued more than some of current camp happenings.

Our focus this time around is camp director, Deb Carpenter. While we’ve been hinted she has some kind of past connection to the campground and secrets to uncover, it turns out her background plays more like a tragedy than a horror origin story. She was definitely a young free spirit who wanted to save the world, but ended up a Harvard graduate working at a high end law firm engaged to a very handsome coworker that genre fans might recognize from FREDDY VS JASON. During these times, she collects postcard with hand written poems from her camp love who she is now seemingly in contact with in the present time. By present time, I obviously mean the late 80’s. His presence at camp really shines a light in her as the brutal death of Cricket in the last episode has left a dark spot on all the campers. Deb’s avoidance on the subject leaves a sour taste on the others, but rekindling with her former love makes her a stronger person with a self discovery arc that may be as cheesy as it sounds, but I loved every minute.

Unfortunately, as we have learned before, not everything is what it seems at Camp Stillwater and it turns out he’s actually been dead since before she ever reopened camp and it’s their memories together that encouraged her to pursue opening it back up. Deb still believes this is the right thing and can possibly save these kids from the danger lurking in the woods.

Speaking of Cricket, you know shit is about to go down when someone whips out an ouija board and Spanish voodoo is involved. Blair doesn’t truly believe that Cricket’s death was an accident and his theory is proven right when, during the seance, Amy becomes possessed and informs the campers that Cricket was pushed. Not only that, Holyoke takes over and attempts to gut himself as Amy, resulting in another failed sacrifice. I’m starting to feel for Amy as this girl is constantly near death, even getting electrocuted in a lake, and no one knows why she has to be treated as some kind of spiritual doorway that is still unclear.

The ending reveals someone else is doing the dirty work in hiding pieces connected to a Satanic ritual in the woods and this third party must have their own agenda no one knows about. Jessie herself became possessed during the seance and found herself drawing some eerie pictures that ended up being a secret map of the woods.

DEAD OF SUMMER has become more engaging with each episode, utilizing a formula similar to LOST in introducing to all our characters prior to current events. It works and the overall mysteries aren’t too crazy to feel like we’ve been let down if we don’t get answers by the end.

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