Dead of Summer “Townie” Review (Season 1 Episode 7)

ELIZABETH MITCHELL, ALBERTO FREZZA, CHARLES MESURE

On the latest episode of “Dead of Summer,” it was Garrett flashback time, as we saw what led to his Sheriff father’s untimely demise, found out what the cult was up to- at least to a certain extent- and finally discovered who the mysterious “Teacher” was, in “Townie.”

Interestingly, it was Garrett that was the young troublemaker as a kid, not Damon, with whom he used to be friends. His dad catches him in the act of vandalizing his principal’s car for giving him and Damon detention all week, which Damon was actually hesitant to do.

Not knowing what to do with him, the Sheriff opts to send the boy to Camp Stillwater for the summer, hoping it will instill some positive values into the troubled kid. It doesn’t go over well with Garrett, to say the least, who wastes no time getting into a fight with an older boy that disses his mom.

DOS 01

But a young Jesse helps to reel in his worst tendencies and eventually Garrett learns to be a team player, playing a key part in helping the “Red Team” win the “Color Wars” in a game of “Capture the Flag.” (This is also what’s going on at camp in the present, though we don’t really see much of the current generation’s competition.)

Unfortunately, that victory, which is sealed with a kiss and a carving in a bench by Garrett and Jesse- aka “Townie” and “Braces”- is short-lived, as Garrett finds out that his Sheriff dad has been killed, investigating an occurrence at Golden Grove, involving a cave and a boy named Michael.

Even worse, it was Garrett that tipped off the bad guy as to what was going on, inadvertently leading to his father’s death, as he told his Uncle Heelan (Charles Mesure, “The Magicians”), aka the current Sheriff and then Deputy, about his father stopping by the camp and where he was headed.

ALBERTO FREZZA, CHARLES MESURE

Heelan, as predicted by me and plenty of others, was revealed to be the much-referred to “Teacher,” who was in on everything the cult was up to, giving Damon orders on how to proceed and recruiting misfits from town to aid in realizing his diabolical plot. (Speaking of which, nice touch, having Garrett get in trouble for wearing a Misfits t-shirt to school in the past.)

Of course, it’s not as if there were a lot of options as to who it could be, as the only non-flashback adults we’ve seen are Heelan and Deb, and she was already cleared. So, yeah, not exactly a shocker there. However, we did catch a glimpse of another involved party at the end, as a masked person in a cloak watched over the final scene, so someone is still in the game.

Heelan gave himself away, both by leaving his walkie at the scene of the crime and accidentally mentioning how Damon died before Garrett told him what actually went down. It seems that Damon and his cronies kidnapped Amy, who came pretty willingly, being somewhat in a trance at the time, and took her to a hidden cave in Golden Grove.

ELI GOREE, RONEN RUBINSTEIN

Garrett knew about the place, both from his father having headed there the day he died, and from two pictures that were drawn years apart of the same place, one by Anton in the present, and another in 1982 by a counselor named Michael, who supposedly went crazy and started hearing voices telling him something bad was going to happen there.

Interestingly enough, Michael was none other than Joel’s older brother, with the event being the one that sent him home early from camp that year, and later causing him to kill himself, as the voices never quite stopped. This came as quite a shock to Garrett, who had no idea about the connection that ultimately led to his father’s death.

After Amy, who was being used as “bait” to lure Damon and company out of hiding- but was being “watched” by the Sheriff, who, of course, was in on it- went missing, Garrett went after her to the cave, alone. Fortunately for him, Jesse had his back and followed him without his knowledge or he’d have been screwed.

RONEN RUBINSTEIN, MARK INDELICATO, ELIZABETH LAIL

When Garrett discovered the secret hidden passage in a tree, he went down a ladder, which led to the cave in question, where he found Damon and his fellow misfit acolytes, who had tied Amy up above a patch of water and were preparing to submerge her into it, after having her willingly cut herself and bleed into it.

Then the “Teacher” lowered her down, but bailed before Garrett could see him, instead cutting through the rope just enough to cause her to fall eventually. Damon didn’t resist the gun-wielding Garrett, and instead, he and the others slit their own throats, sacrificing themselves to whatever lurked beneath the surface of the water. Now THAT, I didn’t see coming.

As Amy fell into the water, screaming, obviously herself again, Garrett leapt to her defense, diving underwater to save her, as the demon hand we saw earlier in the season tried to grab Amy and pull her down into the depths of the water. Thankfully, Jesse arrived shortly thereafter, and was able to pull them both up via the rope pull from earlier.

ALBERTO FREZZA, PAULINA SINGER

Garrett gave Amy CPR and she lived, seemingly okay, with whatever Damon and company had planned interrupted before it could be finished. Upon arriving back at camp, Garrett pulled the Sheriff aside and told him that Damon was dead, but Heeland slipped and showed his hand when he mentioned how Damon died, which Garrett never said.

Telling Heeland he’d lead him to the scene of the crime, Garrett instead lead him away from the camp and confronted the Sheriff, telling him he knew that his Uncle was the “Teacher” Damon spoke of before. Heeland tried to recruit him, saying that he had planned to before his father died anyway, but Garrett steadfastly refused.

Heeland admits it was he who killed Garrett’s father, as he had gotten to close to the truth back then and had to be eliminated. From there, Heeland had proceeded as planned, recruiting Damon and others to the cause, with the plan being to resurrect the demon in order to secure power and immortality for all concerned, until that meddling Garrett screwed everything up. (This was nothing if not a “Scooby Doo” episode gone horribly wrong, lol.)

DOS 15

Garrett responds in kind by shooting the Sheriff repeatedly, including one in the head to make sure he was dead. Guess he won’t be teaching anyone else anytime soon. However, as aforementioned, it ain’t over until it’s over, and at least one acolyte remains, as we saw a masked figure watching this unfurl in the distance. Besides, we still have three episodes left!

All in all, this was a pretty action-packed, fast-moving episode. It was interesting to see that Garrett was actually the “bad” kid stirring up trouble, while Damon was the meek one, hesitant to start anything, but the roles reversed after the death of his father, when Garrett decided to follow in his father’s footsteps after all.

While I think it’s safe to say most everyone saw the “twist” about the Sheriff being the “Teacher” coming, I didn’t think they’d wipe out the entire cult in one fell swoop, so that was a bit of a shocker. Of course, anyone who knows anything about most cults knows they don’t often end well, so I suppose even that was to be expected.

DOS 05

Still between mass throat-slitting and tongue-cutting, this was the first episode to really go for the gore quotient, making it feel truly like one of the 80’s movies it’s aping, for arguably the first time as a whole, as opposed to merely in bits and pieces.

Even better, unlike past episodes, I couldn’t really pinpoint this one to any specific source of inspiration, beyond just general Satanic cult movies, like “The Devil’s Rain” or “Bay Cove” or what have you. What that means, of course, is that “Dead of Summer” is finally starting to become its own show, hopefully, which is a good thing.

Had the show simply gone on stealing from other, better sources, it might have worn thin, but by striking out into relatively new territory, it’s finally starting to formulate its own voice. To be fair, thanks to the flashbacks, it was already halfway there, but as mentioned previously, some of the flashbacks were better than others, and that led to some of the episodes being better than others.

DOS 08

But, by connecting elements of past episodes to this one, we start to see there is a well-thought-out plan here, and that everything is intentional, with more and more things starting to add up, such as Joel’s brother’s involvement in Garrett’s father’s death, and how a lot of them have crossed paths before, and not just in camp.

I suppose one could point out that, despite past events, not enough is being done with the current generation of campers- as in the younger ones, who we barely see- but then, it’s not really about them, yet. Although, there is Anton, who wasn’t seen in this episode, but was nonetheless still involved, so it’s not as if they haven’t put forth a little effort, at least.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more to come in regards to the younger campers as well, especially if they want to set up future seasons, even though they’ve already said the next season, if there is one, will take place in the 70’s, I believe.

RONEN RUBINSTEIN, MARK INDELICATO, ELIZABETH LAIL, ELIZABETH MITCHELL

Still, there’s no reason they couldn’t make the following season set in, say, the 90’s, and have an older Anton on the scene, as well as the handful of other kids mentioned this season, like the one with asthma, whose name escapes me, and the ones who were bullying Anton. So, definitely some wiggle room there.

Beyond that, this was a solid enough episode, and I’m definitely intrigued to see where it heads next, what with the cult now eliminated, and their nefarious plot nicked in the bud before completion. Will Garrett be put in jail for his actions, or will he cover them up?

What is Holyoke really up to- is he a “good” ghost, trying to stop the water demon, or a “bad” one, trying to resurrect himself somehow? It will be interesting to see what happens next, for sure.

ANTON STARKMAN, SHAYLA WELLS

Let me know what you thought of the latest episode down below, and see you next week!