TV Review: DEAD OF SUMMER – Episode 8: “The Devil Inside”

DOSposterThe nostalgia in me got all excited during the opening moments of the latest episode of DEAD OF SUMMER as Jessie makes her way through a party with Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” blasting. This is her episode and so much about her character makes sense now. See, she used to be more on the innocent side, but was forced to play grown up to her mother who refuses to take responsibility for her actions. Even at previously mentioned party, she doesn’t like her gentlemen friends to know she’s a mother. It can be pretty harsh, but Jessie loves her and has enough ambition to get herself into her dream college for a life outside of this. Everything seems to fall into place until her mom decides to celebrate a little too hard. Remember a few episodes back when Jessie’s mysterious past DUI threatens to haunt her? Well, it wasn’t Jessie who was driving, but her mother who guilts her into taking the problem after a car crash causing any kind of college in her future to disappear. This resentment might be why Jessie is so off putting, but I’m surprised she has any compassion left after dealing with that kind of home environment at such a young age.

In the present time (present as in the late 80s) a random eclipse appears and now a presence is stalking Jessie who was usually not affected by any of the forces at camp. The eclipse causes her to go into a sudden trance and things start getting weird for her.  She receives a visit from a dead Cricket, PET SEMATARY style, who warns her to not listen to the voices. Cricket, however, is giving cryptic advice to throw Holyoke’s bones into the lake to save their lives, but is this actually a trick to feed into their agenda? She shares her visit with the others, but everyone has their suspicions. This begins a series of “trust in yourself” moments and Jessie eventually gives in and throws his remains in the lake. This causes her and Joel to relive Holyoke’s last moments that were seen in the pilot only this time it’s from a more coherent perspective. It turns out Holyoke isn’t the bad guy we seem to think he was this whole time, despite his menacing presence. He serves as almost a protector and is trying to save Amy who has become possessed by a snarky demon. Holyoke offers to free her as long as Joel and Jessie can bring her to his cabin.

Amy lures Alex into woods where their foreplay is interrupted by the other counselors are now all aware she is not herself, despite a failed demon test they tried on her. Amy’s true colors show and she stabs Joel in the throat and is carried off by Holyoke into the cabin where it looks like an eventual exorcism will take place in the next episode.

Deb flees to take the campers off ground sooner than she thought as the place is about to be flooded by cops and reporters who will learn of what’s going on at Camp Stillwater. The previews for the next episode offer a hint that leaving might be able to save them, which is intriguing as leaving isn’t always the easiest answer. Jessie’s determination to save Amy and do right is admirable as she’s always been one of my favorite characters on the show. She proves to be unpredictable and defies any kind of typical final girl you see in projects like this. The soundtrack continues to be killer, including some New Order to help get the mood flowing along with Mick Garris returning behind the camera for another great episode. What I’m really curious about is that Deb keeps mentioning there was an eclipse in 1970 too and can’t tell if she knows the connection or simply just playing dumb.

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