Dead of Summer “Home Sweet Home” Review (Season 1 Episode 9)

TONY TODD, PAULINA SINGER, ALBERTO FREZZA, RONEN RUBINSTEIN

Whoa! I did NOT see that coming! In the slam-bang penultimate episode of the first season of “Dead of Summer,” no holds were barred as the gang split up- never a good idea in the horror genre- to deal with separate situations before it was too late, in “Home Sweet Home.” Fair Warning: it’s about to get spoiler-ific up in here, so abandon all hope of not being absolutely ruined on this series once and for all those who keep reading.

Okay? We good? Let’s proceed. We picked up right where we left off, with Amy in the grips of possession at the hooves of the notorious Malphas, aka the Baphomet-type demon that has been trying to come back to Earth by any means necessary.

As we headed into this episode, the working theory was that someone had been knocking off various people in order to bring Malphas back, but that it wasn’t the Sheriff and Damon and company, who were actually more minions than the ones in charge.

TONY TODD, PAULINA SINGER, RONEN RUBINSTEIN

Ostensibly, the gang had stopped things before it was too late by interrupting the ritual at the last minute, but that proved wrong, as in the final moments of the last episode, we saw that Amy was indeed possessed after all, to the point where she was seemingly impervious to harm, as evidenced by the fact that Garrett actually shot her and she simply brushed it off like it was nothing.

Enter Holyoke, who told them to join him at the cabin where there was still the possibility he could save Amy if they moved fast. To that end, Garrett, Jessie, and Alex headed to the cabin while Deb, Blair and Drew headed back to camp to rescue the campers and get them the hell out of there before the demon hit the fan, thus potentially putting them all in harm’s way.

Meanwhile, a familiar-looking hot girl (Jenna Berman, “iZombie”) was headed to camp herself when her car broke down, forcing her to accept a ride from a shady-looking stranger. Who was she, and why was she headed to camp, least of all at this particular time? What’s more, who was the driver? Might they be involved with what was currently going on?

ELIZABETH LAIL, TONY TODD

Back at the cabin, Holyoke informed them that he had a receptacle with the last of the pure water from Stillwater Lake in existence, and that they needed to purify Amy with it. However, though it was big enough to put her inside it, to do so would be to kill her, so they had to use it more sparingly.

To that end, he had them fill up canteens with the water and splash it around the room to keep the evil out, as well as to keep the evil within Amy trapped inside the cabin when and if they were able to get it out. Rather than an exorcism, Holyoke said, they needed to do a purification ritual, in other words.

Holyoke also informs them that many have tried to bring back Malphas before, but none have succeeded to date because the vessels weren’t pure enough- until Amy. She was the most pure, which is exactly why Malphas chose her. However, Holyoke’s power was rapidly waning, so they needed to move fast.

PAULINA SINGER, ALBERTO FREZZA, RONEN RUBINSTEIN, ELIZABETH LAIL

After that, as we saw Deb load all the kids on the bus and head out in the middle of the night, we got another flashback, but this one was decidedly unexpected. Rather than being Blair’s, aka the last one of the counselors to get a flashback to date, we instead were transported once again to Amy’s past, way back in 1980, when she was just a child.

It seems that once upon a time, young Amy set her brother’s pet mouse free, feeling bad for it as it was locked up in a cage all the time. The mouse scares the crap out of her mother, causing her brother and father to get upset with her for letting it out in the first place.

Later on, her vindictive brother tells Amy that her parents are so upset with her that they’re planning on sending her away to live with her grandmother, much to her shock. Then, when her mother goes to use the garbage disposal, something causes it to stall. She reaches inside, only to find poor Ralphie, the mouse in question, much to everyone’s horror. But did Ralphie find himself in there by accident- or was he put there?

TONY TODD

Back at the cabin, Holyoke begins the ritual to get the demon out of Amy, warning them not to interrupt until it’s done and not to believe anything the demon says to them, as it would do anything to get free and is a master of manipulation. Holyoke begins to play a song on the piano, as blood rises from the lake and covers the cabin.

Then, suddenly Holyoke begins to bleed himself, first from his fingers, then his eyes. “It can’t be,” he exclaims as he disappears into a pool of blood himself. The candles and fire go out, and when they return, Holyoke is gone, leaving the rest in a decidedly awkward position, and unsure of how to proceed next.

We return to 1980, where we see Amy’s brother, who blames Amy for what happened to Ralphie and as revenge, takes her outside to the garage to “show her something,” then locks her inside overnight. The next day, she wakes up to a fireman outside, who lets her out and breaks some awful news to her: her entire family is dead, the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning after the flue to the fireplace was closed accidentally- or was it?

RONEN RUBINSTEIN

Back at the cabin, Alex notices a demonic symbol was made on Holyoke’s piano, which is likely what caused his disappearance. Garrett remembers he has a recording of the hymn Holyoke was going to play, but Jessie says he can’t go outside at the moment, as the evil is out there surrounding them.

Instead, she thinks she can perform the ritual herself, using Holyoke’s book. But the book says that first they have to get the demon to reveal itself for it to work, and at the moment, it is still under the guise of Amy. So, she fills up her canteen with the lake water and pours it down Amy’s throat, causing her to freak out and her chair to slide across the floor on its own accord to get away from Jessie.

Garrett tries to talk to Amy about her past to calm her, but it taunts him as his father, causing him to recoil. It also speaks to Alex in his native Russian, telling him he can do anything he wants to her if he lets her go and spreading Amy’s legs seductively, which was pretty chill-inducing. Now knowing that they are speaking to the demon itself, they can proceed with the ritual, obviously.

ALBERTO FREZZA

Outside in the bus, we see that it has also been covered with blood and, as they make their getaway, the driver seemingly hits something, as he is not able to see in the fog that has arisen out of nowhere. He stops to investigate- always a good idea in a horror scenario- and is subsequently killed.

The demon then scribbles on the window: “Let me out.” Knowing what’s going on to a certain degree, and clearly blaming herself for it, Deb says she’ll go outside to distract it while Drew drives the bus out of there and to safety. They agree, but hysteria reigns inside the bus, with all the kids screaming their heads off in fear.

In the cabin, Amy makes an appearance, remembering how her brother told her that her parents didn’t want her anymore. Garrett goes to comfort her and the demon takes over again and bites part of his ear off, as Jessie grabs him away from it and begins the ritual in earnest.

ELIZABETH LAIL

We get another flashback, as we see Amy in a Foster home, about to start a new life in a new high school. Things have clearly not gone well for her, as it is mentioned that she’s lived in nine different locations with seven different families, all of whom were unable to deal with her, thanks to her extreme emotional trauma. Or was it something else? Either way, her Foster mother assures her with every new start, there is new hope.

Back in the present, Jessie apologizes for being mean to Amy when she first arrived, as Garrett reads incantations from Holyoke’s book. Amy falls over in her chair, screaming, as the demon fights their actions. There’s a sudden knock at the door, with the person identifying themselves as Deb- but it’s not.

It’s actually a demon within Deb’s body, posing as her, with the real Deb still back in the vicinity of the bus, looking for the driver. Amy seems herself again, leading them to believe the exorcism has been successful, but the horror isn’t over yet. Jessie pours a line of water right inside the doorway, blocking the demon’s path inside and shuts the door quickly.

PAULINA SINGER

Unfortunately, Amy is still possessed, and has gotten herself free in the distraction, demanding that they let her out of the cabin. They refuse and, using telepathy, the demon tosses Alex out of the room and shuts the door, then slams Jessie into the wall, knocking her out and goes after Garrett with a rope in hand.

Garrett is knocked out as well, then comes to, tied to the rafters with a noose around his throat as he is standing on a chair. Jessie also wakes up to see what’s going on and the demon tells her she won’t kill Garrett if Jessie opens the door and lets the evil in- or out, as the case may be. (Probably a little of both, TBH.)

Outside, Deb calls out the demon and tells it if it wants someone, take her, as she sees the dead driver laying on the ground. Suddenly, her dead ex appears, and tells her that everyone is going to die because of her, as she was the one who brought Amy here, thus providing the demon with the “perfect” vessel it needed. He begins to choke the life out of her as she fights it tooth and nail.

TONY TODD

Back in the cabin, Jessie does the same, offering herself up to the demon in exchange from Amy’s freedom. This time, the demon takes her up on it, recognizing that Jessie is also “pure,” as in a virgin, one assumes. As the demon switches from Amy to Jessie, Alex is able to get back into the room and scrambles to them first, at Garrett’s behest.

Jessie revives and is able to fight off the demon long enough to tell Alex to put her inside the receptacle of lake water, which he does, despite Garrett’s protests. The demon fights it, but Alex holds the lid shut until it stops struggling and falls quiet. As this happens, Deb’s ex melts into blood like Holyoke did before it, and she is freed from its clutches.

The blood returns to the lake, along with the blood from the cabin and the bus, and Drew is finally able to get the bus started and high-tail it out of there, as the imminent threat seems to be over for the moment. Alex gets Garrett down from the chair and the rope off of him, as Amy wakes up, seemingly fine now.

TONY TODD, PAULINA SINGER, ALBERTO FREZZA, RONEN RUBINSTEIN

Garrett rushes to the water receptacle and retrieves Jessie, as Amy realizes what has happened. Amy pushes Garrett aside to perform mouth-to-mouth on Jessie and CPR, in hopes of reviving her. At first, it seems too late, but eventually Jessie coughs up water and is alright after all, and at first glance, anyway, seems to also be demon-free, apparently also “pure,” as Amy was.

As everyone heads to the car, Amy stays behind a beat to say “goodbye,” despite all that has happened. Deb also arrives and we get a flashback to a month before the camp opened, as Amy and Deb meet for the first time. Both them comment on how the camp “feels like home.”

However, there’s a problem: Deb already has filled up all the counselor positions in camp, and there’s no slots available left for Amy. Deb does say that, should one of them not work out or someone not show up, then she would certainly call her to fill the slot in their stead.

DOS 17

After that, we get another flashback, this time to the night Amy’s friend Margot died. We see that Margot’s death was no accident after all, as it was Amy herself that called the cops on the party and then, when Margot found herself about to fall off the roof, the one who let her fall to her death, as it turns out that Margot was one of said counselors standing in the way of Amy going to camp.

As she does so, her friend Krissy sees Amy crack the slightest smile after she puts on a show for the cops and takes note of it. This is the girl we saw from earlier, and she arrives at camp just as Deb is going through a box, seemingly of Amy’s stuff and finds a map marked up with a pentacle, just like the one Garrett has, as well as a bloody knife.

Krissy tells Deb Amy is not who she claims to be, just as Amy herself arrives behind her. Amy hits her with an axe, killing her instantly, then sets her sights on Deb, who has wisely ran off and hidden herself somewhere in the cabin in the meantime. We get a short flashback, as we see that Amy let Malphus back inside her when giving Jessie CPR, thus explaining her current state.

DOS 44

Amy tells Deb that she wanted the demon inside her, and that he was never looking for someone pure- quite the opposite. He wanted someone evil like him, which is why it really took so long to find the “perfect vessel.”

Amy admits that she was the one who killed her family way back in 1980, and had been looking for a place to be herself and “free” ever since until she found this place and it “spoke” to her. (In a previous flashback, we saw her with her hand in the lake, which is likely when this happened.)

Deb sneaks up behind her and stabs Amy with the knife, but Amy is as nonplussed as when she was shot previously, and simply reaches back and removes it. Deb stumbles back and onto the floor, where she sees one of the ritual masks and a robe, along with other stuff in Amy’s box.

DOS 12

Amy points out that Deb isn’t so innocent in all this, either, and there’s a reason she came back as well, and asks her if she remembers it now. We can tell that she does, but we never quite get what it is she remembers, but the implication is clear: Deb has done something awful her own self, likely back in the 70’s. I guess we’ll have to wait until next season, if there is one, to find out what that is, but at least I was right about one thing!

As Amy axes Deb to death, covering herself in blood in the process, we get a series of flashbacks as we see that the Sheriff spoke the truth: neither he or Damon and his crew killed anyone. It was all Amy. We see her kill the groundskeeper, Blotter, and Cricket, and relocate Blotter’s head when Garrett got too close, all the while dressed in one of the masks and robes.

As her “friends” call from outside, Amy tells them she’ll be right there as she goes to the back to wash up and join them, and that is where we leave things for now. All I have to say is, um, WOW! I totally fell for all of this hook, line and sinker and I’ve seen plenty of horror movies/shows over the years, let me tell you.

TONY TODD

I’ve got to hand it to this show: they really thought all of this through, big-time. Even Amy’s initial flashback, which I not only thought was underwhelming at the time and one of the indications that the show was a little iffy, in terms of what it considered a rough upbringing, turned out to have way more to it than we thought.

While Alex’s was still a little on the meh side, admittedly, we nonetheless found out real quick that there was plenty more to Amy’s story, and that it all added up when looked at in retrospect. I loved the twist that the demon wasn’t looking for someone that was pure, it was looking for someone that was pure evil.

When you think about it, that makes perfect sense, and explains why no one else succeeded in bringing it back in all this time- it needed someone that was practically born bad, and Amy was one bad seed, to name another influence. (Obviously, this episode’s big influences were “The Exorcist” and “The Bad Seed,” for the record.)

DOS 5

This show just keeps getting better and better and boy, are they not afraid to go for broke and not only get gory with it, but to take no prisoners in terms of plot twists. Those of you thinking that any given character might be safe moving forward, I hope you know now such is not the case.

Though I suppose it’s likely that the demon will be defeated in the end, I wouldn’t count on everyone making it out alive, either, even those who seem safe at the moment, i.e. Drew, Blair and the kids.

Then again, they might well go for the dark ending and let the demon be the one that makes it out alive. You never know. The show certainly hasn’t backed off from the gritty stuff, that’s for sure, which is more than I can say for the likes of “Scream: The TV Series,” which just recently limped to a lame conclusion. I just hope “Dead of Summer” sticks the landing and follows through with its excellent set-up for a decidedly dark finale.

DOS 1

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying everyone should die in the end and evil reigns supreme, necessarily…but wouldn’t it be something if that happened? Probably not, but like I said, don’t count on everyone making it out alive, either. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Alex needs to watch his back. Though it would be unexpected if they took out, say, Garrett or Jessie instead or as well. We shall see.

What did you think of the latest episode of “Dead of Summer”? Are you liking the twists? Or were you disappointed Amy turned out to be evil? Who do you think will be left standing in the end? Will anyone? Will the demon get away? How about Blair, Drew and the kids? Or will Amy catch up with them, too? Make your crazy predictions below and see you next week for the big finale!