Welcome to the Friday The 13th The Series rewatch. Each day throughout October, we’ll watch one episode of the seminal 1987 television series and tackle the highs, the lows and Micki’s hair (of course). Now step into Curious Goods and peruse our cursed antiques, won’t you?
S01E021: “Double Exposure”
Wikipedia Plot Summary: Ryan (John D. LeMay) sees famous television newscaster Winston Knight (Gary Frank) hack someone to death with a machete at the same time he was on the air live.
- Director: Newcomer Neill Fearnley directs the first of two Friday episodes
- Writer: Oh dear, “The Poison Pen” and “The Great Montarro” writer Durnford King returns for his final episode
- Famous Guest Star: By this time, Frank has appeared on several episodes of Remington Steele while Catherine Disher would go on to a starring role in Canadian genre TV classic Forever Knight
Cursed Antique of the Week: A camera that produces a murderous double of the person whose picture was taken. The original will die if the negative isn’t destroyed in five hours
Setting: Winston Knight’s apartment / Curious Goods
Best Death: Despite appearing offscreen, Cathy (Disher)’s “the killer is in the house” murder is easily one of the most terrifying deaths on the series so far
Quirkiest Add-On: In his desperation to recover the negative, Knight creates a duplicate Jack (Chris Wiggins) to do his bidding
Character Bits: Judging from Ryan’s repeated insistence about getting into Cathy’s apartment, he’s definitely still a virgin
Corny Finish Line: Not unlike “Brain Drain“, the episode ends on a downer note as Ryan hears one of his last conversations with Cathy play out while staring at her picture
80s Fashion Closet: Micki (Louise Robey) wears a black turtleneck mini, a three-quarter button up jacket and a matching motherfucking bodice. It looks SO RIDICULOUS
Kissing Cousins Incest Watch: Since Ryan is too busy crushing on someone else and Micki isn’t acting completely irrational (like she did in “The Quilt Of Hathor 1 & 2“), there are very few incest vibes in this episode
Friday the 13th is giving me whiplash. One episode is lacklustre, and the next is excellent. The show’s quality is all over the map, but I am happy to report that “Double Exposure” is definitely one of the best.
Part of my appreciation of this is undoubtedly personal: I like mad scientists, doubles and slashers, so this episode is checking all of my boxes. What’s fascinating is that most of the best material in the episode isn’t new territory for the series, but when it is smartly packaged, well-written and tied into the development of our core cast, it works like a charm.
Among the best features of “Double Exposure” is the examination of the camera/photograph as a reproduction that is inferior to the original. There are cameras (and images) scattered throughout the episode, including the picture that Ryan and Cathy take on their last date, the cameras that confirm Knight’s alibi in the television studio and, of course, the cursed camera that literally reproduces a subpar copy of the original. “Double Exposure” reinforces that all of these doubles are inferior copies over its 45 minute runtime. The live feed of Knight doesn’t actually prove he isn’t a killer, his double Knight 2.0 is a mindless somnabulist that can’t have its own life and, sadly, Ryan and Cathy’s picture only confirms her absence after she is killed. This is surprisingly deep material for the series.
Of course none of this would work if all of the other technical cylinders weren’t firing. The gooey vat that the doubles come out of harkens back to classic monster movies (with a touch of Re-Animator) and creating a Jack double for a machete fight in the climax is inspired. Throw in two standout supporting turns from Frank (solid) and Disher (charming and memorable) and “Double Exposure” is an episode I definitely won’t forget after five hours.
What Doesn’t Work…
It’s mostly a minor quibble, but I’ll confess that Jack and Micki’s initial disbelief of Ryan frustrated me. At this point in the series, it’s unbelievable that they wouldn’t trust each other about anything remotely supernatural considering it is literally their raison d’être.
Stream of Consciousness Musings
- I’ll admit that I thought the villain was going to be an amphibian based on the hand that first came out of the goo
- Still don’t care for the way the show randomly introduces new characters like they’ve always been there (see “Brain Drain” and “A Cup Of Time“). At least we’re provided context for how Ryan and Cathy met
- Not only does Ryan try to invite himself in to Cathy’s place, he brings up the fact that she wouldn’t let him later when he’s being questioned by Detective Duncan (Tony De Santis)! Newsflash Ryan: Cathy doesn’t owe you sex because you went on a date, you dumb horny virgin!
- The slow-motion machete attack in the alley is the first indicator that this episode is going to be solid
- The special effects for the doppelgänger death are a little odd: initially it looks like Knight 2.0 is bleeding to death, then he turns to charr like the negative
- Direct from my notes: “Detective Duncan provides Ryan’s name to Knight, confirming that Duncan is, in fact, the stupidest cop on the force”
- Ryan apologizes to Cathy for “dragging her into all of this” so she’s pretty much guaranteed to die at that point
- In case you wondered: Ryan is a boxers man
- The nightmare sequence when Ryan is attacked through the TV in slow motion is really good. It gave me a touch of A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 and a dash of Videodrome
- Knight puts on a good show when Ryan and Cathy visit his apartment. Maybe he should have been an actor instead of a news anchor?
- It’s hard not to blame Cathy for her own death. If she is dumb enough to go home in spite of the knowledge that she left her purse at Knight’s house and then she calls Ryan instead of the police, well she kinda deserves to die
- The sequence when Knight 2.0 turns on the TV while Cathy is recording her message to Ryan is shiver-inducing. It’s a quintessential slasher moment. As soon as we know that the killer is already in the house, you know she’s a goner.
- Also: didn’t she see Halloween? Don’t hide in a flimsy closet!
- I’m pretty sure that random strangers like Jack and Ryan aren’t allowed to just burst into a crime scene
- Detective Vincent wants a statement from Ryan, who is crying profusely, and Jack shuts it down. Good job Jack
- Probably should have anticipated that someone would be duplicated, but I didn’t. So it’s a fun surprise when Jack 2.0 shows up
- Knight thinks that he’s going to win a Pulitzer Prize for catching the Machete Killer? Lol. Dude, get real
- Argument for a standalone episode where we follow Knight’s producer Phil (Dennis O’Connor) as he is charged for agreeing to wait to call the cops outside of Curious Goods
- Ryan realizing that Jack is a duplicate because he doesn’t know the cursed antique can’t be destroyed is good continuity
- My absolute favourite moment of the episode is the freaking MACHETE FIGHT! Bonus points for the moment when Knight 2.0 cuts Jack 2.0 and the watery goo pours out of his wounds
- Sidebar: Jack 2.0 has a machete, and Knight 2.0 has a machete. Is Knight (original flavour) getting them wholesale or something?
- Does the fact that Knight meets his duplicate, then disappears in plain sight, then Knight 2.0 dies on camera mean that everyone now knows that the supernatural is real? (Yes, that’s rhetorical because I don’t expect it to happen)
- I disagree with Jack’s claim that if Knight 2.0 had lived, he would have used the camera to continue making duplicates. There’s absolutely no evidence to support this claim
- Sad Ryan realizes that the three of them are the cursed ones (which, duh!). The real question is whether he is legitimately upset or if he just wistfully realizes that he’s no closer to getting laid?
See you back here tomorrow for Friday The 13th The Series episode 22: “The Pirate’s Promise”