Micki and Ryan are raring to go to the “Solstice Carnival” happening on their street, but Jack demures, claiming that he’s waiting for an old friend, a legba, to come visit him, before giving the kids a surprisingly non-Hollywood breakdown of the major features of Afro-Caribbean religions. It turns out that the four voodoo guardians of the elements, of whom Jack’s friend Hadley is one, are gathering in Not Canada for a special ritual. When he arrives, Ryan immediately begins making goo-goo eyes at his grand-daughter Stacy, who is being ordained a priestess as part of the Carnival.
In another party of the city, spoiled rich-boy Carl is storming out of his lawyer’s office after being told that he’s spent his entire fortune, including the coffee plantations in Haiti, and everything that was left has been sold to creditors. At his home, he meets the real estate agent who has already changed the locks and is demanding Carl vacate within the hour because the eviction notice was served at an unspecified time in the past, so, well, that’s a hinky lawyer straight up stealing the house of a dick client. In any case, Carl finds a crate in the basement leaking glowing yellow ooze, and inside a voodoo snake mask. When he puts it on, a snake comes out of the mask’s mouth and rips out the real estate agent’s throat, which we just learned is where the soul resides in voodoo. And then the mask starts talking to Carl, because it houses the soul of Laotia, a murdered voodoo priestess out for revenge. Laotia was the one who made the plantation prosper, and she tells Carl he will become wealthy again if he uses the mask to kill the four legba in town.
At the first part of Stacy’s initiation, Carl appears and kills the wind priestess with the mask. Hadley relates a legend of the god of death returning a soul to life in exchange for four others, and Stacy reveals that Laotia was a powerful priestess who claimed to have the ability to steal souls and used her powers to benefit the plantation owner, in addition to killing her parents. And Jack immediately finds the record of the mask and its being sold to the plantation owner in the Manifest. Micki and Ryan go to the address listed and find the real estate agent’s body. Carl sees them leave, but Laotia teaches him to use the mask’s power to create a bird to follow them, and makes a cryptic reference to the price she will ask of Carl once he kills the three remaining legbas. Once everyone catches up, Hadley reveals that Laotia created the mask, and he killed her, with Jack revealing that Lewis Vendredi released Laotia’s spirit and sent the mask to the plantation to make sure it would eventually be used. And then Carl kills another legba, making Laotia more “real” with each kill, and Ryan is attacked by the magic bird Carl created because he hasn’t done much so far this episode.
Back at the shop, Hadley reveals that the glowing yellow ooze is the residue of a spirit returning to the world, and that Laotia was his wife, and that her ultimate goal is to possess Stacy. Ryan arrives to catch everyone up that it’s Carl, the plantation owner’s son, who has the mask, just as an earthquake hits, and Carl and Laotia arrive to kill the third legba and kidnap Stacy. Now almost fully incarnate, Laotia has Carl take Stacy to the mansion. Once there, she uses the mask to kill Carl, because of course she does. Micki and Jack are incapacitated by Laotia’s clever “wait until someone shows up and stop them” trap, but Hadley soon arrives and goads her into anger by telling her how good it felt to kill her, giving Ryan a chance to knock the mask out of her hand just as the snake emerges, so that it kills Laotia instead.
This is one of the better episodes, though oddly it’s one of the weaker antiques. It has an interesting mechanism, to be sure, and visually the snakes coming out of the mask are striking. But the story behind it makes Lewis out to be micro-managing for Satan, taking a particular item and putting it in a particular place, rather than just let evil out to fester as it will. The rest of the story is quite good, though, and it’s nice to see a fairly accurate (at least comparably speaking) portrayal of voodoo in which the voodoo priests are not the bad guy, and it’s unequivocally the white guy exploiting the religion for his own ends that sets everything off.
A Very Robey 80s
After a brief recap about the clip show from Jack, ending with the warning that “Lewis feels closer to ever,” we cut to a demonic looking door. Which then explodes, alerting Jack that supernatural evil is afoot. Meanwhile, parolee Eddie (played by perennial “That Guy” Louis Ferreira) is working at a gas station when his criminal pal Buddy shows up to rob the place, killing the Kindly Old Man owner, as part of a particularly dumb scheme to blackmail Eddie into helping with a job. And at the shop, Jack is trying to find the mirror Lewis keeps using to appear in the manifest, only to be told by Micki that it’s from Lewis’s bedroom, which Jack explains makes things even worse because mirrors that have occult rituals performed in front of them because passages to the Realms of Darkness, which means Lewis is coming back to life, for reasons. On top of anything else, examining the mirror reveals the deed to a house owned by Lewis, which just happens to be where Eddie and Buddy end up.
While Jack goes to look for Rashid for help, Micki and Ryan see an image of Lewis in his house searching for something, prompting them to race off to the address because they, for some reason, are unable to see the very obvious trap Lewis is setting. At the house, they’re immediately captured by Eddie and Buddy, and while no one is looking, Eddie is pulled into a mirror by Lewis. While trapped in the very budget conscious Hellscape beyond, Eddie is possessed by Lewis, which we know because he’s suddenly wearing Halloween store “green witch” make-up. He uses red Force lighting to compel Buddy to kill himself before ditching Eddie’s body, leaving him to think that Micki and Ryan killed the, uh, murderer forcing him to commit crimes. And during all this, Jack and Rashid are watching events through a mirror shard, trying to determine what Lewis is up to before rescuing the kids.
While Jack and Rashid try to break into the magically sealed house and Lewis body-hops in and out of Eddie, Micki discovers that Lewis was dragged to hell one year ago this very night which I’m pretty sure is a continuity error, but whatever. Just as Rashid realizes that the only way Lewis could have this power is if he’s opened a door to hell in the Realms of Darkness, Lewis pulls Micki and Ryan into a mirror, where they’re attacked by zombie arms. He yanks them back out as soon as Micki yells a warning to Jack about the date being the deathiversery, and tries to goad Ryan into killing the possessed Eddie, because Lewis’ plan is making less sense than Buddy’s. As it turns out, Lewis can return to the world with immortality if he can bring three uncorrupted souls to Hell on his deathiversery, but the catch is that his power until then can’t extend past his house, so Jack and Rashid plan to trick Lewis and get Jack a chance to seal the door to Hell. While fighting off vampire plants with crosses, Micki and Ryan go smashy-smashy on the mirrors to distract Lewis from his demon-summoning ritual. Jack physically closes the door to Hell and bars it with a cross, while Micki and Ryan drag Eddie outside of the house, exorcising Lewis, who is presumably destroyed once and for all. And everything turns out okay, except for Eddie, who is probably looking at multiple murder and accessory charges.
All told, this is a bit of a weak episode. Both carrying on from the previous series finale and creating a story as continuity-heavy as a fight with Lewis Vendrede mean that the season is starting out by catering to returning viewers instead of recapping the series premise. It doesn’t help that the plot itself is somewhat muddled and unclear.
A Very Robey 80s
Posted by Dorian in PBBC
The Prophecy Con, 2014, Patrick Weekes
The sequel to The Palace Job isn’t quite as good as the original, with a back end that drags on a bit, but it’s still inventive high-ish fantasy with a refreshing diversity of character for the genre.
Jack is treating Micki and Ryan to an imprompteau celebration to mark a year of mostly-successful cursed antique retrievals when a mysterious man, accompanied by swirling smoke and winds, enters the shop and returns an item before walking out. It turns out to be a jackal-headed urn, and there just happens to be a canoptic jar listed in the Manifest. Pleased at their easiest retrieval yet, Micki and Ryan go to put the jar in the vault, while Jack double-checks the Manifest, convinced that the entry had never been there before, especially since no customer is listed as a purchaser. Once there, the jar opens and pale green smoke pours out, as the vault door shuts itself with Micki and Ryan inside.
And then the clip show starts, recapping all the super spooky moments of the last season.
Yes, it’s all a sinister plot by the ghost of Lewis Vendredei, currently haunting the mirror from Bedazzled, to kill Micki and Ryan by forcing them to relieve their most dangerous moments until they die of fright. Jack calls his friend Rashid to help cast a spell to send him into Micki and Ryan’s psyches and talk them down before their hearts explode, while Lewis taunts Jack about his latest deal with Satan, to swap places with Jack in exchange for letting Micki and Ryan live. Rashid’s spell works, however, even with the vision of Jack’s previously unmentioned son, Peter, who died when a spell went wrong. But Micki and Ryan live, and now the only problem is Lewis hanging out in mirrors.
This would have worked out all right for a season finale, with several threads that carry over into the first episode of the new season, except that the bulk of the story is clips from older episodes. It’s hard not to be disappointed by that, especially considering that this is a first season episode and most shows hold off until at least the fifth before resorting to that tactic.
A Very Robey 80s
Posted by Dorian in PBBC
The Thin Man, 1992 ed., Dashiell Hammett
Is there a better mystery novel? No, no there is not.