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?
S01E019: “The Quilt of Hathor”
Wikipedia Plot Summary: While searching for a cursed quilt in a reclusive, anti-modern religious community, Ryan (John D. LeMay) falls in love with Laura (Carolyn Dunn) and joins a religious sect.
- Director: Frequent Friday director Timothy Bond returns (past credits include The Poison Pen, Hellowe’en, and Shadow Boxer)
- Writer: Janet Maclean kicks off the first of her two-part stint, but would go on to greater things writing for Danger Bay and Avonlea
- Famous Guest Star: Kate Trotter, who plays villainous Effie Stokes, would eventually go on to play Lost Girl‘s The Norn
Cursed Antique of the Week: The Quilt of Hathor let’s the owner kill others in their dreams
Setting: The Penotite Colony
Best Death: Jane Spring (Patricia Strelioff)’s dream death — she plummets two stories over the bannister and through a table to her death — is both beautiful and just the right amount of gory
Quirkiest Add-On: The fiery — and ridiculous — cleansing ritual
Character Bits: We meet Aunt Sarah Good (Helen Carscallen), a relative of Micki (Louise Robey) and Ryan’s, though she is set on fire before episode’s end
Corny Finish Line: “The quilt is a fake” Micki breathes in shock to wrap up the first part of the cliffhanger
80s Fashion Closet: Penotite culture dictates that its members dress conservatively, which limits the fun fashion choices significantly. However, the gaudy faux-Victorian clothing in the dream/murder sequences is quite enjoyable (albeit not period appropriate)
Kissing Cousins Incest Watch: The more than Ryan falls in love with Laura, the more hyperbolic Micki becomes. Her orgiastic reactions during the “cleansing” fight are over the top hilarious and provide the clearest evidence yet that Micki is just as enamoured with Ryan as he is with her. Her resigned “Me, too” when Jack (Chris Wiggins) says he’ll miss Ryan is quite pathetic
Perhaps because this is a two parter, the pacing of “The Quilt of Hathor” feels much more relaxed. It’s clear that writer writer Maclean and director Bond are taking the time to ensure that the unusual cultural practices of the Penotites has been firmly established. The actual cursed object comes off as an after-thought as a result; Ryan’s relationship with Laura takes precedent.
While I don’t feel as strongly about this particular storyline as I have about Micki‘s or Jack’s from previous episodes, it is nice to see John D. LeMay given more to do on the series. He rises to the occasion when given an opportunity to dig into more emotional material and while the speed of the storyline doesn’t work for me (more on that below), he and Carolyn Dunn have good chemistry that helps to sell their romantic connection.
Less believable, but far more entertaining, is the completely ridiculous cleansing ceremony involving an elevated fight to the death over a pit of flames. While several of the allusions to the Menonites is incorrect (and even inflammatory), this particular practice is so insane that it surpasses any kind of outrage to stand as one of the most bizarre sequences the series has ever done.
Finally, I must applaud Trotter, who essentially takes a one dimensional villain and elevates her into something interesting. Effie Stokes is a lovesick woman who lashes out at her romantic rivals; it’s the broadest archetype of a woman possible and yet Trotter imbues her old English line readings with subtle malice that makes Effie relatable and fresh. It’s good work in a thankless role.
What Doesn’t Work…
As I mentioned above, I don’t love the Ryan/Laura storyline, if only because their love feels artificially inflated. Not unlike Jack’s rush job in the last episode, things go from a crush to a full-on love affair in the span of just a few hours. Whereas Jack’s relationship had a history that made it slightly more believable, here Ryan simply falls in love impossibly fast.
Micki’s reaction is similarly compacted, which makes her histrionic reaction to Ryan’s emotional distance from her and the case of the week feel over the top. Robey does herself no favours during the cleansing scene; once again it’s as though the actress has been told to play her reactions as big as possible and it comes off looking very amateurish. Not her finest hour, though at least it’s not playing enthralled to a vampire.
Stream of Consciousness Musings
- Reverend Josiah Grange (Scott Paulin) is wearing THE worst fake beard I have ever seen on TV. You can literally see the glue lines
- The fantasy sequences are among the most interesting visual technique the series has ever attempted. I don’t get the period piece/Victorian dress-up aspect of it, but the cinematography and costuming looks lush and beautiful
- Please note that Ryan begins this episode dancing with a headless female mannequin and ends it practically engaged
- Sarah Good runs down the ways that Penotites don’t like modern ways. This includes no music, no mirrors, no technology, the requirement to dress conservatively and participate in arranged marriages that are organized when the women are still children. If this is, in fact, taken off real Menonites, only the technology and conservative dress are real rules. The rest is offensive poppycock
- Ryan notes that “we live the same way” when Sarah mentions there are punishments for sexual transgressions which…makes no sense
- Laura looks distractingly like a young Kate MacKinnon
- My main issue with Matthew (Diego Matamoros) is that he’s meant to be so much older than Laura, but he also looks very young and childish
- Actual excerpt from my notes: “Oh Jesus, Ryan – no! Don’t sing!” LeMay does not have a good voice, even for something like a lullaby
- Reverend Grange reminds me of John Lithgow when he insists that they must shun dance. We’re firmly in Menonite Footloose territory
- One of the more interesting things “The Quilt of Hathor” does is find horror not in the cursed object storyline (no one seems particularly upset that people keep dying), but in the relationship storyline. For example: Ryan is stabbed in the arm by Matthew with a pitchfork when he hides in the hay in the barn and the music and direction treats it like it’s the scariest scene in the episode
- I like that Ryan is warned that there will be consequences if he doesn’t stay away from Laura and in the very next scene they’re macking IN PUBLIC IN FRONT OF EVERYONE
- Micki’s reactions during the cleansing fight are so fucking extra. I LOVE IT
- The oddest moment occurs when Sarah Good accuses Effie of being evil and Effie counters that she (Effie) is…plain? Oh. Good comeback, Priscilla
- The line “Who do you wanna call as a witness, the Sandman?” is so, so bad. What a groaner
- While Micki’s plea with Ryan to accompany her home really helps cement the core of their relationship, I do love that part of her argument is that he’s too childish to be in love: “You love hot dogs and Saturday morning cartoons”
- The fake quilt reveal isn’t the strongest cliffhanger to end the first part on. Prediction: Jack and Micki will have to stop Effie before she kills Laura for attempting to prevent her marriage to Reverend Grange
See you back here later today for Friday The 13th The Series episode twenty: the stunning conclusion of the two-parter, “The Quilt of Hathor: The Awakening”