Dead of Summer “The Devil Inside” Review (Season 1 Episode 8)

ZELDA WILLIAMS, MARK INDELICATO, PAULINA SINGER, ELIZABETH LAIL, RONEN RUBINSTEIN, ELI GOREE, ELIZABETH MITCHELL

On the latest episode of “Dead of Summer,” the focus was on Jessie (Paulina Singer), as Camp Stillwater prepared to shut down for the summer, in light of last week’s events, hoping for one last day of fun before the kids were sent home, in “The Devil Inside.” Fat chance!

Jessie’s story ended up being a decent, if somewhat unremarkable, tale of a girl who was infinitely more mature than her deadbeat “party mom” Renee (Sharon Leal, who is definitely the definition of a “hot” mom, to be sure).

PAULINA SINGER, SHARON LEAL

As Jessie scoured the hallways of her and her mom’s apartment- Room 217, naturally (no doubt a nod to director Mick Garris’ take on “The Shining”)- she fretted over whether or not she would realize her dreams of getting into the college of her choice, Northwestern, as mom partied with seemingly the entire complex.

To make matters worse, her habitually drunk or stoned mom didn’t show up to take her to said college interview, forcing her to get there on her own, for which she arrived a good hour late. Fortunately, she managed to talk the recruiter into giving her ten minutes of his time, the end result of which was that she got in after all.

SHARON LEAL, PAULINA SINGER

Naturally, her mom wanted to take her out to celebrate, but alas, Renee ended up partying a little too hard and the two fought over everything from Jessie wanting to drive them home to her leaving in the first place for college after “everything” Renee had done for her, which is a questionable statement at best.

In the end, Jessie relented, and let her mom get behind the wheel, a decision she would come to regret, as she almost immediately wrecked the car. Even worse, she had two strikes against her, so another would have landed her in prison for sure, so she unfairly asked Jessie to take the blame, being a minor and all.

PAULINA SINGER

Though it’s never said outright, chances are the occurrence caused Jessie to lose her place at the college in question, thus ruining her life, at least in the short term. One assumes this is why Jessie returned to camp, where, as with most everyone else, she could at least hope to return to a moment in time when things were better- or so she thought.

Of course, we all know better, as things have gone from bad to worse for the counselors of Camp Stillwater, with several losing their lives, while others continue to fight for them- and it’s definitely looking like a losing battle, despite the worst seemingly behind them.

ELIZABETH MITCHELL, PAULINA SINGER, ZELDA WILLIAMS, ELI GOREE, RONEN RUBINSTEIN

As Deputy Sykes (Alberto Frezza) was being investigated for the occurrences of last week’s episode, Deb (Elizabeth Mitchell) was told she had some 48 hours to evacuate the camp before both the cops and press descended on the place and it became a media circus.

She arranged for the kids to be picked up the following day, as Amy (Elizabeth Lail) and the others plotted a big send-off for the kids, so at least their memories of the place would be intact in a hopefully positive way.

ELIZABETH LAIL, MARK INDELICATO

Of course, when several people die while you’re at camp, there’s not much chance of that. Deb better brace herself for all the lawsuits that are going to be filed by the parents of the kids there- good thing she used to be a lawyer!

Granted, Deb and the others did a good job of concealing all the dubious goings-on there from them, but still, once the press gets hold of things, it’s all downhill from there. Looks like Deb’s plan to bring back good memories was a big failure all around, which is too bad for her, or everyone else, for that matter.

PAULINA SINGER, ZELDA WILLIAMS

During the day’s festivities, there’s an unexpected eclipse, which no one knew was coming, which is unusual, for obvious reasons. Even weirder, Deb recalls there being another one back in 1970, when she was a camper there, though she can’t quite recall what happened back then for some reason. Hmm…might it be because the show is saving it for another season? Probably.

Either way, she remembers enough to know it was bad, and that the camp should be on its toes for potentially the same thing to go down, despite all signs that the worst of it was over. To that end, Jessie has a vision during the eclipse, in which the late Cricket (Amber Coney) appears to her and warns her of some bad stuff about to happen.

ELI GOREE, RONEN RUBINSTEIN

According to Cricket, there is a demon afoot, and the only way to stop it is to put Holyoke’s bones in the lake before sundown. Otherwise, the demon will be unleashed, and it will be all downhill from there. Only one problem: the bones are in the county morgue.

Calling on Garrett for help, Jessie sneaks into the morgue to get the bones, where she is assaulted by visions of Damon (Andrew J. West) and the other dead members of the cult getting up and coming after her, in an admittedly creepy scene. She simply ignores them and leaves, though Damon tells her it’s too late to stop it, and that “Malphas” is here.

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Meanwhile, Joel is convinced Jessie is being duped and that this is all a plot by Holyoke (Tony Todd) to come back from the dead, and that by putting the bones in the lake, she’ll be playing right into his hands and resurrecting himself in the process.

To that end, he goes to Holyoke’s cabin and pours gasoline all over it, planning to burn the place down to the ground, in hopes of stopping Holyoke’s return. He shouts out that if Holyoke has something to say for himself, he better do so now, and, as if right on cue, the door opens and Joel goes inside.

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We all know what happens next when you do that in a horror scenario, and sure enough, the door slams shut behind him and locks him inside. However, a book on the floor also opens up to a certain page and Joel takes a closer look, where he sees a write-up on…you guessed it- none other than the aforementioned Malphas.

The demon is listed as being Satan’s “second-in-command” and a “master of mimicry.” The book also lists ways that one can identify whether or not a person is possessed by Malphas. As Jessie suspects Amy is possessed by a demon of some kind, this could come in handy, needless to say.

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Also worth noting is that Malphas looks a good bit like the infamous Baphomet, aka the beast with the body of a human and the head of a goat, along with a nifty pair of wings, what with his being a fallen angel like Satan and all. We catch a cool glimpse of him coming out of the water behind Jessie in one of her visions, a much more effective visual than that laughable demon hand we saw in previous episodes.

The gang, to that end, “test” Amy for demonic possession, calling her by Malphas’ name, which does indeed elicit a reaction, but when they try a use a holy relic on her in the form of Jessie’s cross necklace, it seemingly fails, as she has no discernible reaction to it.

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On the other hand, Alex comes in at the last minute and chastises them for what they’re doing and leaves with Amy before they can look any further into it. As we see later on, it was all Amy needed to pull a fast one. Suddenly acting somewhat out of character, she beckons Alex to take her to Eagle Creek to see the sights, it being their last day at camp and all.

Fortunately for Alex, they run into Deb along the way, letting her know where they’re headed so she won’t worry. Meanwhile, an undeterred Jessie takes the bones to the lake and tosses them in, despite Joel’s reservations. No sooner does she do it than she and Joel are enveloped in a dark mist and presented with a flashback.

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We see Holyoke and his followers gathered by the lake, about to “purify” themselves in the waters. Suddenly, a group of figures in robes and the creepy masks we’ve seen throughout the series appear and descend upon the worshippers, and set about drowning them in the lake, as Holyoke watches in horror.

One of them turns to Holyoke and informs him that it will all be blamed on him and he retreats to his cabin. Sure enough, as we saw in the pilot, Holyoke is sitting at the piano as the militia break in an arrest him, and we all know what happens next after that.

Before that, though, Holyoke turns to a transfixed Jessie and Joel and tells them he can save Amy if they can get her to his cabin, but they have to hurry. To that end, once the vision ends, the two race to find everyone else and, once Deb informs them that Alex and Amy went to Eagle Creek, they all head there.

Among them is Deputy Garrett, who says that Eagle Creek is another one of the sites marked on his map, where someone is supposed to die. They arrive to find Alex and Amy about to make love, as Amy, who has a knife at the ready, was preparing to kill him.

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Interrupted, she plays it off at first until Garrett brandishes a gun, at which point she grabs Alex and holds him at knife point. The gang plead with her to let him go, which she does, showing them how the cross necklace burnt into her palm upside down but they missed it when Alex burst in, thus allowing her to get away with it.

Unfortunately, she then takes the knife and plunges it into Joel’s neck instead, killing him almost instantly. Damn! I did not see that coming! RIP Joel. I certainly feel for his poor family, having now lost two sons to this camp, albeit one by his own hand, technically.

Garrett, not taking anymore chances, pumps Amy full of lead as he shoots her repeatedly before she can do any more harm. Alas, it does no good whatsoever, as Amy springs right back up, ready to attack once again.

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Enter Holyoke, out of nowhere, who manages to grab her and drag her back to the cabin, telling everyone to join him there. The show ends as the gang arrives at the cabin to find Amy tied up and screaming, as Holyoke prepares to perform, one assumes, an exorcism of sorts.

So, as I predicted some time ago, Holyoke was indeed not a bad guy, and was in fact, framed for his alleged crimes, which were instead committed by members of another group, a local Satanic cult, from the looks of it, much like the one with Damon and company.

That much I can’t say I was surprised by, as it was set up perfectly every step of the way by the show’s writers, with plenty of foreshadowing to that end. But despite that, I still enjoyed the overall execution of it, and I noticed there were plenty of others online fooled into thinking Holyoke was the main villain of the piece.

Understandable, given that he’s played by regular baddie Tony “Candyman” Todd, not to mention that he was referred to as “The Tall Man,” an obvious nod to the “Phantasm” baddie of the same name. But, as I predicted, there’s another evil afoot, and your guess is as good as mine as to who that is.

I mentioned in a previous review how it was likely one of the town’s elders, perhaps a high-ranking official like the Mayor or someone along that lines. Given that we haven’t met any other adults outside of the various counselors’ parents- save maybe Garrett’s bartender mother, which could be a possibility, I suppose- it would have to be a new character.

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However, I haven’t entirely ruled out the possibility of it still being Deb, who, after all, mentioned herself being at camp in 1970 during another unexpected eclipse, and not being able to remember what went down. Is that true, or is it that she can’t remember because she herself is under the influence of the demon at hand?

I don’t doubt that Amy is possessed- the proof is already there, from her kiling Joel to the mark left on her by the cross. But I don’t rule out Deb’s involvement, either, even if she genuinely can’t remember anything she’s done when she’s possessed.

For instance, maybe she really did sleep with Joel previously, or it’s possible she could have even killed her ex in that motel as well, by administering a fatal dose of heroin. She might not know what she’s doing- but she just might, as well, and be that last masked person we saw observing Garrett at the end of the last episode. You never know.

Despite my prediction being accurate, we’ve still got two more episodes to go and anything can happen, and unlike that scenario, I honestly have no idea what will happen next overall. One likes to assume that the gang will get the demon out of Amy and she’ll be okay in the end, but you never know.

ELIZABETH MITCHELL, RONEN RUBINSTEIN, ELIZABETH LAIL, MARK INDELICATO, ELI GOREE, ZELDA WILLIAMS, PAULINA SINGER

One thing I have to give the show credit for where credit’s due is: they’re not afraid to do the hard thing. Unlike “Scream: The TV Series,” which consistently pulls its punches nearly every step of the way, “Dead of Summer” has indeed taken out some of its most likable characters, while some of its more despicable or questionable characters have made it through the events intact thus far, i.e. Alex and, to a lesser extent, Jessie- though Jessie has redeemed herself considerably, as the show has progressed.

As such, it’s way more unpredictable on that count, and there is a definite sense that not everyone will be left standing at the end of this thing, which is a good thing. I also have to give it up for the near-impeccable plotting, even if some of the flashbacks were infinitely better than others. You can definitely tell that these show-runners cut their teeth on the likes of “Lost” and “Once Upon a Time,” where long-term plotting is the norm, not the exception.

So, what did you think of the latest episode? Will the gang be able to save Amy? Who is the remaining masked figure? Is it Deb, or is she involved in any way? What exactly happened to her in 1970? Why can’t she remember? Who will be left standing in the end? Will evil win? Sound off in the comments section and see you next week for the penultimate episode of the season!