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We are back with Haunted MTL’s continuing coverage of the Chucky franchise. This week, following last week’s surprising turn, we talk about Chucky S2 E5, “Doll on Doll,” which asks how weird a Chucky-on-Chucky fight be.

We learn that it can be very weird.

Chucky – S2 E5 – “Doll on Doll”

Chucky, S2 E5, “Doll on Doll” returns us to the cliffhanger two episodes ago, featuring the showdown between Good Chucky and Buff Chucky, and the episode wastes no time getting to the action. The episode returns the show to a regular format after the last episode’s break. We have more shenanigans at the school with a disappearing corpse, sacrilegious Chucky, and Jake and Devon drifting apart. Meanwhile, we get some fascinating developments in Beverly Hills with Glen, Tiffany, and two surprising reveals for Seed of Chucky fans.

Of course, the episode leaves us with a fascinating hanging thread, introducing yet another new Chucky and the return of a legacy character in a very precarious position in the woods outside of the school.

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“Doll on Doll” is director Leslie Libman’s third episode of the show, while Mallory Westfall and Isabella Gutierrez take on the writing duties.

Screencap of a buff Chucky from Chucky S2 E5
“Don’t f@!k with the Chuck.”

How Was It?

The episode had plenty of fun reveals and nods to the larger franchise. However, I worry that some cracks are beginning to form in the writing of the teenage characters that are a bit forced. It may be the setting, but everyone is amped up and on the wrong foot. With that said, it could be the threat of two Chuckies, but some hair-splitting in character relationships feels more manufactured than organic. My main concern is the Jake (Zackary Arthur), Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson), and Good Chucky triad, where both Jake and Devon are being unreasonable and understanding in equal measure, but the issue is nobody is talking. Not giving characters a chance to speak is one writing trick I am not a fan of.

That’s the worst of it for me, in an overall fun episode that moves the story along on a couple of fronts. e have more stuff for the adults at the school. Father Bryce (Devon Sawa) reveals the depths of his toxic beliefs. Sister Ruth (Laura Jean Chorostecki) gets her chance to screw things up for everyone. We even get revelations about Dr. Mixter’s (Rosemary Dunsmore) role in all of this. With her having been curiously involved in the events of the season so far, this is a big moment.

Episode Highlights

The bulk of the excitement in the episode revolves around Tiffany’s attempt to keep her secret from Meg Tilly and Glen (Lachlan Watson; only for the secret to be blown wide open in one of the biggest reveals possible. The show takes it a step further when you think Seed of Chucky fans are getting everything they want. We’re now moving into a road-trip story of the Valentine/Tilly/Ray family, complete with a couple of very special dolls. I feel the show has very much situated itself around Tiffany right now, and I am all for it. While I love the series leads, I think everything with Tiffany has been absolute dynamite.

Visually, the episode is solid but not as inventive as in prior weeks. I feel the Chucky fight was as good as it could be, given the technical limitations of puppet fighting. The shots were a little safe to make the digital erasure of the puppeteers much easier. I understand why, but I have been spoiled by more visually explosive moments on the show. With that said, the motion of the puppets was good. The hits felt solid, thanks to stunt coordinator Tim Cody.

It also doesn’t help that what was rich, chiaroscuro lighting within the school has become overly dim. I felt the lighting in this episode was rough compared to the first two.

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Chucky – S2 E5 – Kill Count and Spotlight

Only two kills this week, making ten kills for the season so far. The first kill is technical. I won’t spoil how, but it involves a knife. We also get an infamous nailfile kill as well. By issue of technicality, the nail file is the winner.

Seeds of Chucky

As always, each review features some notes on references and continuity in the whole Chucky franchise.

  • There is a significant reference to Apocalypse Now (1979) this week. I won’t spoil it, but you’ll know if you are familiar with that movie.
  • Glen’s eye-twitching has shown up a few times in the show already, but it tickles me to see Glen is still barely holding things together.
  • The ritual Tiffany used to inhabit the body of Jennifer Tilly in Seed of Chucky (2008) had a specific term that paid off 14 years later.
  • More Jennifer Tilly career mentions this episode: Tiffany watches Liar, Liar, and Meg Tilly hangs around for a bit. We also acknowledge her voice acting on Family Guy as well.
  • There is a Chucky Goes Psycho poster in a room of Tiffany’s house, a reference to the film being shot in Seed of Chucky.

That is the review and recap for this week. Kids’ Stuff – A Chucky Podcast is on a brief hiatus. This is due to my co-host’s work schedule. We’re hoping to catch up soon.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

Movies n TV

Fallout, The Beginning

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We’ve now reached the end of Fallout, season one. As I mentioned during the last review, I was heartily concerned that this show, like so many others, was going to drop the ball at the finale and ruin an entire season.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. This episode was everything it needed to be and more.

Let’s discuss.

The story

We begin our story with Maximus returning to the Brotherhood of Steel compound. He has a head, which he is claiming is the real head of Wilzig.

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I don’t know why he thought that was going to work.

Of course, it doesn’t. The elder cleric is about to kill Maximus until Dane says that they hurt their foot.

Because of this, the Brotherhood is sent out to get the head. Or rather, what’s inside of it. They head to the city run by Moldaver. This happens to be the same place Lucy and The Ghoul are headed.

Still from Amazon Prime's Fallout.

There, Lucy does manage to find her father. What she ends up finding is so much more than she wanted to find.

What worked

The first thing I have to discuss is how seamlessly the storylines of the series combined.

Each of our four main characters has been on their own journey. Lucy is trying to save her father. Maximus wants to become a knight. The Ghoul wants to find his family. Norm wants to know what’s going on in Vault 31.

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I sure wasn’t expecting all of these stories to come together in the way that they did. And to preserve the ending, I don’t dare say more. I will only say that yes, all four stories tie in perfectly with one another. By the end, two characters end up having the very same goal.

As I hinted before, I did not see the twist ending coming.

Ella Purnell in Fallout.

Yes, we might have guessed some things from the last episode. We of course guessed that Lucy’s dad was involved in some nefarious and probably sci-fi way. But the way this story twists at the end is nothing short of serpent-like. Which is why I cannot go into too much detail here. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to experience it blind.

Finally, I can give the Fallout season finale the most important praise I can ever give a finale. It did its number one job, getting us excited for season two. We have answers, but now we have new and more exciting questions. And even better, we have a desire to see vengeance done.

What didn’t work

Now that the season is done, though, I can bring up something that bothered me through all eight episodes.

I don’t buy Lucy and Maximus’s relationship.

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Maybe because it’s rushed. Maybe because the two actors don’t have a lot of chemistry. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure even now either character could tell you a single thing about the other. There is just no spark between the two. So their love story feels tacked on. I honestly feel like their love story could have been removed from the show entirely and it would have no negative impact.

I also didn’t buy Dane’s confession. This is a minor spoiler, but it comes up early in the episode. Dane confesses that they hurt their foot so that they wouldn’t have to go into the wastelands.

And at first, I kept expecting Maximus to thank them later. I honestly thought that they were just lying to save Maximus’s life. But no, as it turns out, they were not.

But it just doesn’t make sense. The motivations don’t jive. I honestly think it would have been better for the story if they had lied to save Maximus’s life.

At least then there’d be one other Brother of Steel who had some nobility.

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In the end, this first season of Fallout was everything I could ask for. So far as I can tell, it was everything fans of the Fallout franchise could ask for. There wasn’t a bad episode in the bunch. Honestly, the only real complaint I had was that the season was so short.

I’ll be counting down the days to season two, and I hope you’ll be joining me then. Because war, war never changes.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

If you like my work, you can check out my latest science fiction/horror novel, Nova, launching on May 17th. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon.

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Movies n TV

Fallout, The Radio

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Episode seven of Amazon’s Fallout is the penultimate episode. This is often when a series goes off the rails and starts to mess things up. After being burned so often recently, I was apprehensive when this episode began.

Thankfully, this was a fear that did not come to pass. And so far, Fallout’s finale is doing just fine.

Lana the dog in Fallout.

The story

A lot happened in this episode, so we’re just going to skim over some of the more important storylines. We’ll start with Lucy and Maximus, in Vault 4. Lucy has discovered what she believes is a secret collection of monsters. But of course, it turns out that it’s simply people that the vault dwellers discovered and are trying to help heal. But her meddling around was enough for them to kick her out of the vault. With two weeks’ worth of food and water, of course.

But Maximus assumes they’re going to do something much worse. And so he steals their power coil to fight through the perfectly innocent people and save Lucy.

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Meanwhile, we dive further into The Ghoul’s past, when he was still Western star Cooper.

After attending a Communist meeting, he’s approached by Lee Moldaver. She suggests that Vault Tech is hiding something, something terrible. And she tells Cooper that his wife Barbara knows more about this than she’s letting on. Moldaver gets Cooper to bug Barbara’s Pip Boy, and listen in on an important meeting.

Poor Cooper hears far more than he wants to.

War, war never changes.

What worked

I would like to first point out that this was one of the funniest episodes so far. I mean, it got incredibly tragic and sad by the end. But it also had some great laugh-out-loud moments. This should be a surprise to no one, with such an array of comedians guest starring. Chris Parnell was in the last episode as well but is now joined by the incredibly funny Fred Armisen as DJ Carl. This is of course not his first foray into the funny and spooky world, as he also played Uncle Fester in Wednesday.

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Most of what makes this episode funny is the character’s understated and deadpan responses to wild situations. When Maximus returns the energy coil and is greeted by a simple thank you. When Thaddeus gets an arrow through his neck, and slowly realizes that hey, he might be a ghoul. These were hilarious because they could have been truly dark moments. But because this world is so dark, and the characters have already been through so much, they’re simply done. They take all of this in stride because of course that’s what’s happening. It’s par for the course for them.

Aaron Moten and Ella Purnell in Fallout.

On the other hand, we’ve finally seen the full extent of The Ghoul/Cooper’s past. And it’s so much worse than we could have imagined. I assumed that he’d lost his beloved wife and daughter in the atomic blasts two hundred years ago, somehow not dying with them and instead turning into a literal and figurative monster. The truth is so much worse. I’ll do my best not to spoil the ending. But I will say this. There is nothing more painful than mourning someone and hating them at the same time. And it’s easy to see how Cooper turned into The Ghoul. That sort of pain could drive anyone mad.

This balance between comedy and tragedy is one of the reasons why this episode worked so well. It’s one of the reasons why the series is working so well. It manages to combine the core tenets of theater in a way that never compromises the strengths of either. The eventual downfall of Thaddeus is a great example of this because it’s both tragic and funny. We’ve seen what happens to ghouls, and it’s a horrible end. But as he’s hardly been a sympathetic character, we can all get a good laugh at his predicament as well.

The sheer amount of good old-fashioned gore doesn’t hurt either, of course.

What didn’t work

All that being said, there was one thing that bothered me about this episode. And it was the reveal of Vault 4’s big secret.

Honestly, I was expecting the Vault 4 storyline to go way darker. I wanted it to go way darker. While I’ve never played these games myself, I know enough about the story to say that these vaults are not the bastions of safety and morality that they have so far been portrayed as. And while that has certainly been alluded to, we haven’t seen it.

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We haven’t seen the depravity in these vaults. And it’s there. But maybe we just haven’t gotten to it yet.

In the end, The Radio did exactly what it needed to do. It set us up to have most of our questions answered in the season finale. And I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If you like my work, you can check out my latest science fiction/horror novel, Nova, launching on May 17th. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon.

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Movies n TV

Fallout, The Trap

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Amazon Prime’s Fallout has continued to be a suspenseful delight. And with the last episode’s dramatic cliffhanger, I was certainly looking forward to this one.

Thankfully, it did not disappoint.

The story

We start our story with Lucy and Maximus waking up in a decontamination room in Vault 4. They’re welcomed guests, once they’re done with decontamination.

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Vault 4 at first seems very much like Vault 33 to Lucy. She’s surprised, however, to find that a lot of people who live there are actually from the surface. And the people who live in this vault are, well, a bit mutated. Their overseer, named Benjamin and played by the hilarious Chris Parnell, has just one eye in the middle of his face. Some people have extra limbs or missing ones. And yet it’s clear that everyone’s living together in peace and companionship.

At least, that’s what it’s supposed to look like. There is, after all, the matter of the weird cult the surface dwellers seem to have formed. And, the small matter of the vault level no one is supposed to go to. It should come as no surprise that, of course, that’s exactly where Lucy finds herself before the episode is over.

Ella Purnell in Fallout.

Of course, this episode wouldn’t be complete without checking in with the Ghoul. And his part of the story is, honestly, more compelling.

We see him apprehended by people referring to themselves as The Government. And while he appears to be a prisoner, it’s clear soon enough that he’s the one in charge.

Far more compelling are his flashbacks to his past. While his wife, Barb, is starting to be more secretive, he learns more than he wants to about Vault Tec. He also learns that the Communist party in Hollywood might know more about what Barb does for a living than he does. And it’s clear soon that she never wanted him to know.

For good reason.

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What worked

I first want to draw attention to the excellent way we are learning about the Ghoul. As we learn more and more about his past, we can see how he’s become the monster he is today. It’s clear that once upon a time he had everything he could want. A lovely home, a family he lived for, and a successful career. And he lost all of that, even his dog. And with those losses, he lost his humanity in more ways than one.

But I also think we’re seeing signs that his humanity at least isn’t as lost as he thought it was.

On a lighter note, I loved Maximus’s response to the vault. While he’s apprehensive at first, he is swept away by the welcome basket. He’s lived his whole life hungry, barely surviving, and suddenly he has food. Good food. Caviar and oysters. He has a warm robe and TV and a safe place to exist. It must have been like stepping into a fairy tale for him. And while it wasn’t exactly helpful for Lucy, it’s completely relatable that he decided to sink into a chair and have a snack in front of the TV for a while.

What didn’t work

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While this episode was mostly good, I do have one complaint. When Lucy is first meeting with Overseer Benjamin, we see him accidentally drinking a cup of coffee that has gotten moldy.

Chris Parnell in Fallout.

Now, this makes perfect sense in our world to convey someone too busy and forgetful to clean up old mugs. But it’s hard to fathom someone living in a Vault in which every resource is carefully monitored, letting something like coffee go bad. It’s a small detail, and it was funny. Also more relatable than I’d like to admit. But in this instance, in this world, it was jarring.

So far this season has been intense. There’s a lot of intrigue and mystery. There’s a lot of high emotions. And there’s a lot on the line for everyone. Maybe, for one character, more than we’ve ever realized before.

Good thing we still have two episodes to discover what’s happening.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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If you like my work, you can check out my latest science fiction/horror novel, Nova, launching on May 17th. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon.

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