Chucky – Season 1, Episode 4: Just Let Go

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We’ve just about reached the halfway point of Chucky’s small screen odyssey and things are noticably starting to heat up. I mean that literally, of course, as the previous episode ended with a huge inferno after Chucky tried to take out the bullying Lexy once and for all, but not before slicing the smug Oliver into ribbons. There’s been a distinct sense of the show playing to the crowd somewhat up till this point as many of the story beats of previous installments have either been riffed on or outright copied – but after Just Let Go, we see that the filmmakers have, in fact, been using this to lead us by the nose as the show prepares to mutate into something else. What it’s going to mutate into is a question I can’t wait to be answered, but before we head onto pastures new we first have to take stock.

In the aftermath of the fire, numerous partygoers are in hospital receiving treatment. But while both Devon and Junior are being treated for smoke inhalation while little Charlotte is on a respirator (not to mention the fact that Oliver is dead), ironically Chucky’s actual target, Lexy, has made it out with barely a scratch. However, after fending off Chucky’s attempted garotting, Lexy is now fully aware that the Good Guy doll that’s been constantly in her life is a living, sentient and utterly homicidal thing that wants her dead – but why? Lexy may be horribly self obsessed, but she isn’t stupid so it doesn’t take long for her to make the only connection there is to make: Jake.
Confessing to her that he did indeed put a hit out on her via a plastic maniac, a remorseful Jake and a slowly thawing Lexy manage to see each other’s point of view long enough to realise that they’ve got to take Chucky out if they’re ever going to let their guard down ever again. Meanwhile, Devon, acting on a hunch, starts looking into the controversy surrounding numerous instances of Good Guy related homicides and starts putting two and two together while his police detective mother gets ever further from the truth.

Before we plough into this episode’s story like a scalpel into a spinal cord, we have to address the various flashbacks the show is using to dig into Charles Lee Ray’s sordid backstory. Slowly increasing in importance with every passing episode, this week gives us a glimpse of life in an orphanage for a 15 year old Chucky as he first reads Peter Pan to some younger orphans and then sets up a grisly game based on the novel using the freshly murdered body of a caretaker. This is important, not only because the whole Peter Pan/forever young thing hints to why he’s so willing to remain in his little plastic body (in the first three films he fucking hated it) but aldo because we get a massive deep cut in the form of fellow orphan, Eddie Caputo. Long time Chucksters would remember Eddie as Charles’ accomplice during his human days and his inclusion here would suggest that Chucky’s habit of for corrupting youth long before he ever crossed paths with young Andy Barclay.
Back in the present day and we find that some surprising actions are being taken by the creators; the most notable of which is the rehabilitation of Lexy. Much in the style of Cordelia from Buffy or Steve from Stranger Things, the agonisingly slow shift from precious princess to reluctant protagonist is refreshingly welcome and watching her and Jake finally finding middle ground over what anxiety meds they take is a subtle masterstroke. It also means that this temporary truce signifies that Jake has probably moved on from that whole wanting to kill people phase and that Chucky’s influence has ultimately failed to the point where he actively saves Lexy’s life from a fatal fall while the killer doll swipes at her ankles with a knife. Also getting more to do is Devon, belatedly joining the main narrative as he starts to pick apart the many urban legends around Charles Lee Ray and the Chucky doll and he’s finally moving out from the shadow of merely being a love interest for Jake and the more proactive they get, the faster the plot moves. Not faring as well, however, is Junior who’s unspoken tension about following in his dad’s footsteps as a long distance runner so far is going nowhere.
Further fucking with basic Child’s Play conventions this episode is the appearance of Chucky himself. Looking freaking spectacular with half of his face melted into a grotesque, Dali-esque blob, the mangling of his body would usually signify the wrapping up of the movie during the original trilogy. After all in the first movie he’s burnt to a crisp, the second he’s melted into a puddle and the third he had half of his face sliced off, only for the angry little bugger to keep fighting until he’s finally put down – but this time we still have four episodes to go and I strongly doubt he’s going to look like Dr Protorious from From Beyond for the remainder of the show.

With business picking up and predictable tropes being cast aside, Chucky is growing less predictable with very passing episode and it’s huge fun to be toyed with in such a gleeful fashion.

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