TV Review – DEAD OF SUMMER, Episode 9: “Home Sweet Home”
There’s only one episode left of the premiere season of DEAD OF SUMMER and Freeform is making sure you tune in. The penultimate episode turned the tables on everything you thought you knew and gave us a whole new Amy that was more than welcoming to horror fans. Throughout this season, there’s been no doubt that Amy has been targeted as the key for some kind of demonic ritual and her supposed deer in the headlights act turned out to be a ploy for her own agenda.
Initially, I rolled my eyes when I realized we were getting another Amy centered episode as I found her to be the most bland character on the show, but she had even me fooled. Much of the episode is spent with the counselors and Holyoke attempting to “purify” Amy as she is possessed by the demon Malphas, along with some really fucked up flashbacks pf her childhood that lets us know why she’s the perfect host. Lots of strong emphasis on being caged metaphors as a young Amy “accidentally” allows a childhood pet get stuck in the garbage disposal. For revenge, her punk brother looks her in the garage in the middle of the night. She wakes up to ambulances and firetrucks as her family have all died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Leaving her an orphan, Amy develops a yearning for a place she can call home and, as soon as she dips her hands in the lake, she finds that place in Camp Stillwater.
Here’s where things start to get suspicious. We see her initial encounter with Deb who insists that no more positions are open for counselors so how exactly did Amy get the gig? Well, remember that friend of hers who fell to her death prior to camp? Yeah, Amy set that up to take her place.
Not only that, but Amy has been playing a bigger role than we thought as it is revealed she is the face behind the mask this whole time and has been responsible for all the murders. She’s invited Malphas inside her and has embraced her dark side at the expense of everyone around her. Amy fools the others into thinking they’ve successfully killed Malphas, but in a bloody turn, confesses to Deb of her deeds and hacks her up with an ax in one of the show’s most violent scenes. This whole twist made me so happy that I’ve been paying attention throughout the season as every flashback now has a “ooooohhhhh now I get it” moment attached to it. I find it fascinating that she was born evil and now has a darkness that has latched onto her, feeding off of her desires.
Let’s not forget that Deb’s plan was to get all the kids off the grounds, but ended up going on a bus ride from hell. A sudden burst of fog leads to blood splattered windows and an invisible force that loves to shake the bus, terrifying the kids. Not only that, but the forces that be won’t let the bus start back up, leaving the passengers stranded in danger. I loved every minute.
DEAD OF SUMMER isn’t breaking any ratings records and might not be the pop culture sensation that shows like THE WALKING DEAD possesses, but it’s bound to develop a following if released through streaming services where new fans can discover it. There are memorable death scenes and story arcs that stay with you long after the credits roll, but also characters interesting enough to each carry their own episodes that spill out secrets we never knew played a bigger part in the show.