Even though I’ve gone on about it until I’m blue in the face (from repetition, not because I’m getting choked out by a killer doll), one of the most endearing things about Chucky’s renewed life on the small screen is surely its devoted adherence to the continuity that it’s been building on since 1988. From the Andy vs. Chucky phase of the first three movies, to the Tiffany and Glen era of Bride and Seed, to the Nica Pierce saga of Curse and Cult, franchise creator Don Mancini has made sure the new adventures, while introducing a new group of foils for the deranged dolly, have never left long term fans behind.
Well, it all finally pays off. In a franchise merging event usually reserved for a Fast & Furious sequel or an Avengers movie, the 7th episode of season 2 brings almost every one together in one room to perform the most strenuous team based act you can perform in a church. No, not a wedding – a fucking exorcism.
After the untimely and genuinely tragic death of Nadine at the plastic little hands of a morally glitching Good Chucky, everyone involved in the continuing misadventures of the wayward soul of Charles Lee Ray has has it up to here with death and dolls. However the obsessed Dr. Mixter, Chucky’s childhood psychologist, rams a spanner in the works by making a bizarre deal – help her expell Good Chucky’s soul from the last existing Good Guy Doll in order to have a vessel to place the essence of Chucky Prime in after it’s been removed from the body of Nica Pierce. It’s surely a catch-22 situation, but Jake, Devon, Andy, Kyle, Glenda, Nica, Father Bryce and Sister Catherine all agree that it’s worth the risk in order to give the long suffering Nica some well earned peace and so everyone prepares themselves spiritually and physically for the ordeal at hand.
Meanwhile, now that the authorities want Jennifer Tilly for multiple murders, Tiffany (in Tilly’s body) reasons that the only way out is to once again switch bodies with Jennifer (currently in Tiffany’s doll form) and continue her flaky existence living the life of a plastic fantastic, but due to an act of kindness by Glen, Tiffany finds that that option may not be viable any more. Elsewhere, Lexy’s drug addiction and her continued exposure to numerous, violent deaths is nearly the end of her, but a vision manages to put her back on the right track.
Back at the chapel of the School Of The Incarnate Lord, Father Bryce has prepared everyone by taking confession and the exorcism begins as Good Chucky doesn’t seem to be very good any more. Throughout the chanting, doll vomit and more references to The Exorcist than you can shake a crucifix at, it seems that this sizable group has succeeded in banishing Good Chucky’s soul to Hell, but if they manage to successfully transfer Chucky Prime from Nica back into the doll, are they really just going to let him walk away with Dr. Mixter?
Anyone concerned that the truly crazy amount of plot threads that Chucky keeps spinning on a weekly basis was finally going to end in tears needn’t have worried, for while there are a few wet eyes in the house by the episode’s end this really is the episode that any long term Chucky nut has been waiting for. Finally converting plot lines and character arcs that, in some cases, has been bubbling over since the franchise began, this penultimate episode of the impressively high quality second season actually manages to end a bunch of journeys even if were aren’t quite finished yet.
Chiefly I’m talking about Alex Vincent and Christine Elise who debuted way back in Child’s Play 1 and 2 respectfully and who potentially close out their arcs in a surprisingly touching manner. After reuniting after being separated near the end of season one with shared digs about each other’s hair (“You look like fuckin’ Jesus.”), the climax which sees Andy gunning down the final Chucky in a bloodily cathartic scene reminiscent of Willem Defoe’s exit from Platoon, Andy and Kyle leave genuinely uncertain what place they have in a world without Chucky, but making the moment hit home even harder is that it’s intercut with the final shots of Child’s Play 2 as their much younger selves emerge from the Good Guy factory to a similarly uncertain future. It’s an insanely poignant moment not often gifted to survivors of slasher franchises (Jaime Lee Curtis is the only other one I can think of) and if Andy and Kyle’s story really does end here, then it’s a cracker of a way to go out. Likewise, Fiona Dourif’s regularly inhumanely treated Nica comes heartbreakingly close to a resolution after finally having Chucky’s soul removed from her head since it was put there back in Cult Of Chucky. After all the indignities the character has had to endure (not least of all getting Boxing Helena-ed by Tiffany), she’s surely next in line for a happy ending, but last minute assassination attempt on Tiffany that results in Glen taking a bullet surely means she’s not done yet.
Also bowing out (but not in a happy way) is Devon Sawa, who is now up to an impressive three deaths over two seasons thanks to him playing multiple characters, but thanks to a late in the day revelation (we find out that for all of his harshness, he’s secretly gay) and a spectacular exit (the dude explodes like John Cassavetes in The Fury after absorbing Good Chucky’s soul), Father Bryce redeems himself before the end. Last to tag out, seemingly for good, is Jennifer Tilly’s soul who is presumably catapulted into the great beyond after her doll body is pulped by a truck as she tries to escape which leaves Tiffany in something of a bind. Wanted for multiple murders and stuck in the body of a very recognisable actress, Tiffany’s realisation that she may actually have to take responsibility for her actions for once predictably causes a histrionic meltdown and the fact that Glen ends the episode by taking a bullet meant for her at the hands (metaphorically speaking) of Nica means that despite all the closure we get, there’s still some strands of the story left to tell.
But for now, the story is told remarkably smartly. The confessionals of the different characters (shot in a style similar to Sin City) is a neat way to separately give them all screen time to discuss what Chucky means to them personally (hint: nothing good) and the exorcism itself is predictably wild involving a levitating doll and copious references to mothers sucking cocks in hell.
All in all, it genuinely feels like Goin’ To The Chapel is the sort of cumulation for the franchise that the entire series was created for and as a long term Chucky nut, it’s something of a low-key Avengers: Endgame moment that’s pulled off wonderfully.
Sure, there’s a slight issue here and there, Lexy’s realisation feels too separate from the main thread, Sister Ruth’s appropriately grusome demise ended a nonsensical subplot that never got started and some of the Exorcist and Hannibal Lector homages are maybe a little too spoofy for such an important moment for the franchise, but with one episode to go and the threads of Glen and Glenda and Dr. Mixter still to be resolved, don’t relax just yet; we could be just getting started…