Spoilers for the sixth episode of Chucky, titled “Cape Queer,” ahead. For more, check out our review of last week’s episode.
So far, Chucky has been able to keep its madcap premise moving forward at a brisk pace while still managing to flesh out the characters in surprisingly grounded ways. While “Cape Queer” celebrates the show’s strong black comedy sensibilities in some pretty dire circumstances, this week’s episode moves at too quick a pace to do justice to the major events that take place as Chucky (in all his various forms) closes in on Jake and his friends.
Last week’s “Little Little Lies” finally introduced Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) and the Chucky-possessed Nica (Fiona Dourif), establishing them as an oncoming storm for Hackensack’s residents. “Cape Queer” introduces the storm chasers. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and his foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise) are two of Charles Lee Ray’s longest-standing survivors, and travel the country eliminating the Good Guy dolls that the killer imbued with pieces of his soul.
Chucky: The Series Gallery
As the two pose as census takers to get close to “Charlie,” the show re-establishes Kyle as Andy’s caretaker nicely by contrasting her controlled questioning of the unsuspecting family with Andy’s straight-to-the-point attitude. Andy says all he needs to about how seriously he takes the threat of Chucky (Brad Dourif) when he pulls out a gun and shoots Charlie/Chucky in the head as the doll’s 7-year-old owner holds him in her arms.
It’s the kind of pitch-black comedy that Chucky thrives on, but later scenes featuring Andy and Kyle buckle under the weight of too much “previously on Child’s Play…”-style recap. Chucky has mostly succeeded in its trips to the past by thematically aligning these vignettes to what’s going on in the present. Here, Andy and Kyle’s past is simply represented by quick shots from the first two movies in the franchise that tend to distract from rather than add to their current mission as Chucky hunters. The opening scene did a fine job of illustrating Andy’s fragile mental state without having to cut to a “Cult of Chucky” clip featuring Andy torturing Chucky’s severed head. God, this franchise is weird.
While Fiona Dourif was the runaway star of last week’s episode, Jennifer Tilly is the veteran MVP in “Cape Queer.” Tilly hasn’t lost a step in bringing Tiffany’s gleefully deranged bubbliness to life, and if there’s a ceiling for how zany she can get while satiating her own bloodthirst, Tilly hasn’t even come close to finding it. Tiff laughs off having stabbed Nica in the leg ten minutes prior to confirm that Chucky had lost control of the parapeligic’s mind with a throwaway ease that really hammers the strength of Tilly’s comedic chops.
We do get another flashback to Charles Lee Ray and Tiffany’s early days in the ‘80s, but it’s a case of diminishing returns compared to last week’s well-crafted exploration of their first meeting. While “Little Little Lies” went out of its way to film Dourif and young Tiffany actress Blaise Crocker in ways that mitigated any sense of uncanniness in these different actors bringing established characters to life, the bright, residential neighborhood in which this scene occurs allows for no such obfuscation. Hopefully the show won’t rely too hard on these flashbacks; to ruin the magic of Fiona Dourif’s excellent recreation of her father’s Child’s Play performance by going back to that well too many times would be a shame.
Whatever end Chucky is moving to, it has no qualms leaving its teens motherless in getting there. Bree’s (Lexa Doig) stage 4 cancer diagnosis, revealed last week, seemed like setup for her to sacrifice herself for the kids at one point, reinforced by her acceptance of her fate in her therapy session. So Chucky pushing her out a window and sending her plummeting into the windshield of her own car — face-to-face with Junior (Teo Briones) — was a genuine shock. But unlike Luke’s death in the premiere, which was played with a tongue-in-cheek sense of macabre, Bree’s fall and Junior’s experience of it is one of the show’s darkest death scenes. Unfortunately, the absurdly long lead-up to Chucky’s pushing of Bree and the terrible visual effects as she flies through the air detract from this monumental event in Junior’s life.
Now that he’s broken up with Lexy — a scene that feels two episodes overdue — the isolated, haunted Junior is on the precipice of the same corruption Jake narrowly avoided, which sets him up as yet another threat for Jake, Lexy, and Devon as we move into Chucky’s final two episodes of the season. Where Bree’s death felt vital to the story, Detective Kim Evans’ (Rachelle Casseus) fatal tumble down the stairs at the hands of Chucky was a relative afterthought, but I don’t think many will miss her anyway. Detective Evans never had much to do outside of pushing the various criminal investigations forward and giving Devon (Björgvin Arnarson) someone to softly rebel against. For as important as it was to Devon to come out to his mom, that scene doesn’t have the same emotional impact as Jake and Devon’s first kiss because Kim’s more or less a stranger to us. With Kim accepting Jake’s innocence and Devon’s sexuality, she had no real conflict left to resolve and felt like an easy choice for the chopping block.
The one loose thread Detective Evans’ death leaves is the intriguing question of Ms. Fairchild (Annie Briggs), somewhat bafflingly accused of the Chucky murders. Evans’ mention of Ms. Fairchild’s “delinquent” past is a plant just waiting to pay off, and makes you wonder whether the flame-haired teacher has any connection to the other redhead currently laying siege to Hackensack.