Chucky – Season 1, Episode 3: I Like To Be Hugged

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Up to this point, Chucky has been a very interesting fusion of the type of stuff you’d usually expect from a Child’s Play film mixed with far more character work than the franchise has been previously allowed. Of course, the switch to TV means that instead of a mere 90 minutes to tell it’s story, we have 8 whole episodes to really plough into what makes these characters (Chucky included) tick. However, only 3 episodes in and we already seem to be building to the usual kind of endgame that finishes off the movies – so what gives? Does Chucky have a major twist in it’s cards?

Jake is still licking his emotional wounds after Lexy’s disgusting Halloween prank had her mock the “accidental” death of Jake’s father, but despite his growing rage he still stopped Chucky from killing her at the party. Never one to back down from a challenge, Chucky steps up his campaign to turn his buddy from a bullied teen to a vengeful psycho-killer and schools Jake through the finer points of murder by relating the story of his first kill. Stalking Lexy as she jogs, his confidence is shaken when he mistakenly almost attacks his Cousin Junior instead who is also having misgivings about his girlfriend Lexy’s behavior. However, the two might actually reach some kind of truce thanks to the latest tantrum from Lexy’s little sister Caroline who has an obsession with Chucky and has even bonded with him at the Halloween party. Trying to offer a horribly disjointed apology as a way to convince Jake to give Chucky to Caroline (she thinks saying sorry is an act of charity) the two seem even more at loggerheads – but as always, Chucky has a solution and it involves being handed over to Lexy so he can take her out himself. On the eve of Lexy throwing a party (How many fucking parties do these kids need to have?), Chucky aims to give Jake what he wants with fiery results.

While Chucky has made the shift to the small screen seem abnormally easily, there’s a real sense that the show is biding it’s time before fully turning on the crazy and while I Love To Be Hugged certainly has it’s moments of lunacy (Chucky having to cut his way out of a blanket thanks to being tucked in too tight is a winner) the first three episodes seem to have traced a path that the films have already long since worn down. In many ways it’s been textbook Chucky – hide in plain sight, groom a youngster for nefarious purposes, kill someone every now and then and then prepare for a big showdown which in this case is the apparent murder of Lexy. However, with 5 episodes to go, it’s apparent that the show is poised to use this as a launching pad for something greater – after all we still haven’t seen the likes of any classic characters and newer characters like Junior and Devon still haven’t really been fleshed out yet. However, what Episode 3 does give us is two vital pieces of the puzzle which defy the usual conventions. The first is that on the eve of her very likely demise, Lexy is given some very important motivations for being such an utter C-word. Being the daughter of the mayor has left her massively entitled but being marginalised in favour of her emotionally delicate sister has also left her lonely and disconnected so her hideous nature is her acting out in ways she can’t really understand or control. The other is an extended flashback to Chucky’s youth where we find out that in the middle of a home invasion, he is the one who stabbed his mother to death much to the attackers admiration – and it’s here where we find out what Episode 3 is actually about; that old debate about nature vs. nurture. Jake can’t kill Lexy himself because he’s not that guy and the act of sending Chucky out to do it for him has him repenting at his mother’s grave. On the other hand, Lexy has everything she could ever want except the attention of her parents which forces her to lash out really frequently. And the there’s Chucky, apparently born as bad as can be who can calmly butcher his mother simply because the opportunity presented itself – it’s no wonder he believes that “Everybody’s a killer if you push ’em far enough!” if that’s the only emotions he’s ever known. It’s also a breath of fresh air as it bucks the trend of movie killers all being abused kids you should have empathy for (I should have empathy for Freddy Krueger? Since when?) and plants the infant Charles Lee Ray as being nothing more than a murderous, destructive force.

While the actual overall plot of Chucky thus far has been somewhat standard, the character work has excelled and whatever secrets the show has in store for us, it’s bound to start the very next episode. But until then, we possibly get the greatest shot of Chucky we’ve ever seen… screaming with laughter, wielding a knife and surrounded by a raging inferno.
What the hell can come next?

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