When the title of the episode is “A Friend to the End” and we open in a cemetery, we know we’re in for something slightly twisted this time. In this case, it’s Howard and Marjorie, a nice older couple doing a bit of grave-robbing, stealing the corpse of a boy who died in 1891. They take him to their Not A Murder House style home and place the bones in a coffin, just in time for the foreign au pair to arrive and get attacked by the corpse, which then transforms into a real live boy. Well, relatively speaking. And then we cut from the grainy flashback to a modern art studio, where DeJager is using the Shard of Medusa to create vaguely sapphic statues with the models she kills. When Ryan is too late to save her latest model, Micki decides to volunteer, just in time for JB, Micki’s never before mentioned nephew by her never before mentioned sister is dumped on them apparently for the nth time. Rather than call the Not Canadian Child Protective Services, the pair gives the kid an antique bicycle and tells him to entertain himself at the park, as they prepare to go deal with a stock evil lesbian.

JB heads out to the projects and meets a gang of kids doing stunts on their bitching mountain bikes, unaware that they’re really just amusing themselves by bullying him. Specifically, by daring him to go into the Not A Murder House where Ricky and his parents, and a whole slew of alleged other people, went missing, leaving behind only “blood and gore.” Inside the house is decrepit and rotting, save for a child’s play room in pristine condition, and a voice asking JB to be his friend, prompting JB to run outside and discover that his bike has now been stolen. Back at the shop, Micki and Ryan, who have dealt with time-travelling vampires and doll houses that eat people, are skeptical of JB’s claim to have seen a ghost, and so when Micki and Ryan go off to deal with DeJager, JB sneaks out to the prove there’s a ghost. Instead he finds Ricky, a slightly anachronisic boy, leaving alone in a deserted, decrepit house, who wants his new friend to stay with him but forbids him to enter a specific room, in between having fits and flashbacks to an abusive 19th century father. When JB decides its time to go back home, Ricky asks for him to call the drugstore to send someone over, so that Ricky can kill and eat him as he starts to turn back into a corpse. Meanwhile, back in the B Story, Micki and Ryan manage to get the Shard of Medusa back.

It’s a short lived win, though, as Micki and Ryan get back to the shop to find DeJager holding JB hostage. She gets away with the Shard and JB throws a tantrum when Ryan continues to insist that he’s making up stories about Ricky. Because Ryan knows where his priorities should lie. Ryan goes over DeJager and Micki stays with JB, who sneaks out again the next day when Micki forbids him to see Ricky again, prompting her to actually stop and think and so quickly finding evidence that, yep, the Not A Murder house is actually a Murder House! And not only that, but the owners were corresponding with Lewis Vendredei and bought things from him! Micki rushes off to save JB, who turns on Ricky when he sees the boy try to kill a cop, and winds up trapped in the corpse storage room under a broken stairwell. Ricky gets the jump on Micki when she arrives and is about to kill her when JB pleads with him to let her go because they’re friends, at which point either the magic runs out or Ricky relents, and turns back to a pile of bones. And so JB goes back home learning an important lesson about friendship, and Ryan fails to stop DeJager from escaping.

This is one of occasionally frustrating episodes the series throws out, because it’s so close to being good but just misses the mark. There’s some ambition going on here, with some interesting lighting and camera angles used to build suspense, but the child actors making up the bulk of the scenes using those techniques take you out of the story a bit. There’s also the rather jumbled Shard of Medusa subplot, which is nice in that it’s another “one that got away” story, but it’s a big hook to use and not really do anything with. Then there’s the fact that we have two queer coded villains here, the stock Evil Lesbian, DeJager, who is only in that subplot that doesn’t go anywhere, and the fey dead boy Ricky, whose almost obsessive attachment to JB reads like subtext trying to break through the limits of what the censors would allow with preteen characters. We have both a regressive queer and an almost maybe kinda sorta progressive but not really queer in the same story, and it creates a bit of whiplash.

A Very Robey 80s

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