Friday the 13th - Season Two Episodes


Episode Count: 26

Overall Comments: Generally, the second season is the strongest of the three. The show pretty consistently hits the mark that it often tried for and missed during the first season.

(If you prefer the more varied third season with the occasional non-antique oriented story, then you'll probably like that more).

We get more interesting curses, better acting from the regulars, a generally stronger guest cast, and the loss of Uncle Vendredi. The Devil decides to take a more direct hand against the foolish mortals who are opposing him. We begin to see the rigors of antique-hunting set in, and very few episodes end on the jokey note of much of the first season's earlier episodes.

In this season we get the first non-antique story (The Butcher), a two-antique story (A Friend in Need), the only episode where no one dies (The Playhouse), the death and resurrection of a regular (Tails I Win...), hints of Micki's true powers (Coven of Darkness), and the gradual introduction of Johnny Ventura (Wedding Bell Blues, The Prisoner), soon-to-be regular in the third season. There's plenty of variation if you know where to look.

One continuing theme that does get a little irritating is the death of anybody who becomes romantically involved with the regulars. These all provide nice tragic moments, but reaches extremes in Wedding in Black, when three former friends show up and you know they're all going to die.

There's also a heavy reliance on coincidence, in episodes like Symphony in B# and Better Off Dead, that gets really annoying.


Doorway to Hell

Item: Mirror
Rating: 3
Plot: Vendredi is still trying to escape hell, and his newfound powers seem to center around a previously-unknown house that he owned, a house filled with mirrors and a young man fleeing the law.
Comments: A direct sequel to
Bottle of Dreams. The introduction of a James Dean-like drifter who spends his time getting possessed doesn't do much for the story. This is the last we see of both Uncle Vendredi and Rashid, although both will be mentioned in future. Somewhat of a letdown from the relatively strong first season finale: probably backlash from the writer's strike. That doesn't explain why "hell" looks like a junior high production, however.

The Voodoo Mambo

Item: Voodoo Mask
Rating: 6
Plot: The spirit of a dead voodoo priestess strikes out at the ones who supervised her death. Her next target is her former husband, a friend of the cousins and Jack.
Comments: This is more like it. Joe Seneca (Crossroads, Amazing Stories, The Blob/remake) is featured, and comes across effectively. Use of black & white photography of actual voodoo rites, intermingled with similarly-filmed flashbacks to the priestess' murder, add a nice cinematographic touch.

And Now the News

Item: Radio
Rating: 6
Plot: Mental patients are dying in an insane asylum, hallucinating their worse fears, while others are miraculously cured.
Comments: A strictly by-the-number "Cure someone by killing someone" episode. Ryan displays major idiocy in trying to climb an electrical fence. Still, there are some humorous moments, including the last scene when the radio has some news for the cousins...

Tails I Win, Heads You Die

Item: Coin
Rating: 9
Plot: A reporter and a gravedigger have turned up dead, the brand of a coin on their foreheads. Only the Coin of Ziocles can be responsible. The coin can raise the dead, at the cost of a life. The situation becomes notably worse when Micki is killed.
Comments: Colin Fox (
The Poison Pen) gets a much better return appearance as the leader of the Satanic cult. This episode is one of the best. From the cunning bad guy who has a demonic scheme for the antique in question, to Micki's death and the subsequent reactions of Jack and Ryan, to the dramatically-staged finale, this episode hits every note perfectly. The short-lived reporter seems a homage of sorts to Carl Kolchak of Night Stalker fame.

Symphony in B#

Item: Violin
Rating: 6
Plot: Mysterious murders involving skewered victims plague a symphony hall, and Ryan's new girlfriend seems to be at the heart of the matter. Her, and her mysterious mentor who lurks in the shadows.
Comments: If you read the above and thought "Phantom of the Opera," give yourself a franc. Composer Fred Mollin goes just a tad overboard with his booming pseudo-orchestral score, and there's lots of shots of people rushing through tunnels. Plenty of chilling moments, but the level of coincidence here is just a tiny bit too high. Ryan just happens to fall for this girl (his third, see first season's
The Quilt of Hathor and Double Exposure) who just happens to have been previously involved with a famous violinist, who Jack just happens to know all about, etc., etc.

Master of Disguise

Item: Make-up Kit
Rating: 8
Plot: Micki gets her big chance at movie stardom at the behest of a famous male actor who has become enamored with her. A series of mysterious deaths plague the set, however, and it appears that Micki's boyfriend is not all that he seems.
Comments: Although the murders are brutal, this episode has a strangely gentle touch, perhaps because the bad guy engenders a certain sympathy and doesn't die in the end. The reference to William Pratt (aka Boris Karloff) is also a nice touch. Micki seems just a bit too willing to give him the benefit of the doubt (she was just killed by an antique in
Tails I Win...), but that's easily overlooked if the on-again off-again continuity of the show doesn't bother you.

Wax Magic

Item: Woman's Handkerchief
Rating: 7
Plot: A mysterious axe murderer's trail of death parallels that of a travelling carnival, attracting Jack and Ryan. A mysterious woman seems to know the secret, but her jealous husband keeps her isolated.
Comments: Sigh, another romance for Ryan. Oh well. This episode has a surprise that I won't spoil here, but it is nicely done and unexpected. The fact that nobody is sure what the antique is, much less what it does, helps to maintain an air of mystery about the proceedings.

Read My Lips

Item: Boutonniere
Rating: 6
Plot: A series of murders seem to jump from one ventriloquist to another, along with the dummy that changes hands when its owners tire of it...or it tires of them.
Comments: This episode feature Billy Drago (John Bly on Brisco County Jr.) in a rather eccentric performance...although it's pretty much par for the course for him. Fortunately, we aren't asked to accept a cursed antique ventriloquist dummy. And murderous dummies aren't particularly new (Twilight Zone, Tales From the Crypt, Magic). Still, there's a general air of gloominess contrasting with the forced hilarity of the ventriloquist performances that works. Washed-up comedian John Byner plays, appropriately enough, a washed-up ventriloquist/comedian.

13 O'Clock

Item: Pocket Watch
Rating: 5
Plot: A series of mysterious crimes and murders can only be accounted for by a complete stoppage in time. The trail leads to Castle Hill subway station, and a strange watch.
Comments: A familiar face, Ingrid Veninger, from last season's
Vanity's Mirror shows up here again in a different role. An interesting concept, although not a particularly original one (see Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Wild Wild West, M.A.N.T.I.S.). The ending is very confusing: what did happen to the bad guys? This episode received an Emmy nomination for its cinematography.

Night Hunger

Item: Silver Car Key Chain
Rating: 5
Plot: A teenager seeks revenge on those who have tormented him with the aid of his car...which he can control mentally.
Comments: A mid-season lull, maybe. Heavy borrowing from Stephen King's Christine, definitely. There are some creepy scenes, like the key crawling into the kid's chest wound. Still, nothing to write home about.

The Sweetest Sting

Item: Bee Case
Rating: 9
Plot: There seems to be a connection between mysterious deaths by bee sting and accidental deaths in the farms nearby. But what? And why are wealthy businessmen seeking honey so badly?
Comments: This episode revolves around someone else's tragedy, adding to its effectiveness. Even so, there's a lot going for this one. Like the cult leader in
Tails I Win...), the guy with the bee case has a plan, and one that even makes sense! Most people kill with the antiques: this guy kills someone, sets up another person, then gets them to kill another person for him. And all while making a fortune. Art Hindle cheerfully starts at one corner of the scenery, then chews his way methodically to the other side as the maniacal villain. Even the concept of vampire bees has a certain appeal, although the low-budget special effects don't do them justice.

The Playhouse

Item: Child's Playhouse
Rating: 6
Plot: The disappearance of children seem related to an antique playhouse that two kids in the neighborhood use to escape their troubled home life.
Comments: The only episode where no one dies. The playhouse interiors bear a certain resemblance to Joe Dante's Twilight Zone - The Movie segment. The kids using the playhouse aren't particularly likable, which tends to lessen the episode a bit. We really don't care if Micki and Ryan save them.

Eye of Death

Item: Magic Lantern
Rating: 9
Plot: A fellow antiques procurer is able to obtain as-new condition Civil War antiques and get huge profits from selling them at auction. They are new: he uses an antique magic lantern to travel back in time.
Comments: The second time travel episode, simulated with sepia-tone. This one deals with the paradoxical elements of time travel raised briefly in first season's
Baron's Bride). Plus Tom McCamus, who played the "Baron" in that time travel episode, returns here as antiques procurer Atticus Rook. A particularly grisly and effective ending. Look for Bernard Behrens (last season's Pirate's Promise) and The Quilt of Hathor) as General Robert E. Lee.

Face of Evil

Item: Compact
Rating: 5
Plot: The cursed compact has fallen into the hands of a model who will do anything to retain her fading beauty. This time it has a new curse, allowing the model to kill to keep her youthful looks.
Comments: No, not the Doctor Who episode, but a sequel to first season's
Vanity's Mirror. Although the concept of a mutable curse is interesting, there's nothing really special going on here.

Better Off Dead

Item: Silver Syringe
Rating: 8
Plot: A doctor must perform experiments on the soul itself to find a cure for his rabid daughter.
Comments: The only episode to have a warning of graphic content during its original air run. On a show with such heavy levels of violence this might be surprising, but it's not unwarranted. BOD is truly chilling with scenes of brain surgery (without anesthesia) against a background of classical music, and Micki's frothing-at-the-mouth, wild-eyed insanity. Not for the weak of heart. Some very unlikely coincidences, like Micki's friend being grabbed as the good doctor's victim, detract a bit.

Scarlet Cinema

Item: Movie Camera
Rating: 6
Plot: A series of campus killings look like the work of a werewolf. There are no such things as werewolves, so a curse must be involved This one involves a camera that grants an owner his fondest wish after three killings. The owner in this case is a unpopular student who wishes he were a werewolf.
Comments: The episode's dismissal of true supernatural creatures seems a bit uneven (as it did in Baron's Bride). There's a nice initial sense of homage with the scenes from Lon Chaney Jr.'s Werewolf, but we quickly get tired of too many of them. The killing of the werewolf with camera film (treated with silver nitrate, of course) is a nice touch. A pity they didn't use the silver syringe from the previous episode.

The Memphisto Ring

Item: Black Sox World Series Ring
Rating: 6
Plot: A man dies, and his son discovers that the World Series ring left him lets him foretell the future of sporting events...at a deadly cost.
Comments: No season would be complete without an appearance by Denis Forest, and here he is in full-blown creepy/pathetic mode. Again, the tragedy is, for the most part, happening in someone else's life and there's another surprise ending that works pretty effectively.

A Friend in Need

Item: Medusa Shard/Child's Coffin
Rating: 6
Plot: In the first half, the cousins attempt to recover an antique piece of rock (?!?) that turns its victims into stone sculpture. In the second, a neighbor child befriends a mysterious child living in an abandoned house.
Comments: The two-story nature rushes the first part a bit, but gives it a nicely open-ended feel: not every episode has to end with the bad guy defeated and the antique recovered (although the Shard is referred to in a later episode). The second half is more of a ghost story and is adequate.

The Butcher

Item: Amulet of Thule
Rating: 8
Plot: The members of Jack's WW2 platoon are being strangled with barbed wire. There could be only two man responsible: one is dead and the other imprisoned in Germany.
Comments: Nigel Bennett (LaCroix of Forever Knight) warms up here with his role of a mysterious radio talk-show host with a low view of humanity. Colin Fox (
Poison Pen, Tails I Win...) makes his third appearance as well. The focus is on Jack as he goes it alone: Micki and Ryan absent, his friends being killed off one at a time, and an enemy resurrected from the dead. The "Amulet of Thule" is not one of Vendredi's items, making it the first non-antique the regulars become involved in.

Mesmer's Bauble

Item: Amulet
Rating: 5
Plot: A young man, fan of a beautiful singer, gets hold of a amulet that will grant him his greatest desire. If he can just figure out what it is.
Comments: This episode was made when Vanity, girlfriend of "The Actor Formerly Known as Prince," was popular. The role of a beautiful singer isn't much of a stretch for her. For those interested in tracing the literary roots of episodes, this one bears a strong resemblance to Stephen King's Misery. The episode seems to have had the title "The Secret Agenda of Mesmer's Bauble" at some point. A rather weird ending even by the standards of the series.

Wedding in Black

Item: Snowball
Rating: 6
Plot: Our trio is lured to a mysterious house by their friends, a house that isn't what it appears to be. Micki is chosen as the bride for the Lord of Darkness, Satan himself.
Comments: There's a strong element of deja vu as several friends and loved ones show up to be cannon fodder. There is some foreshadowing to
Coven of Darkness since Satan is interested in mating with Micki. The only episode where an antique is actually (if somewhat inexplicably) destroyed.

Wedding Bell Blues

Item: Pool Cue
Rating: 4
Plot: Micki needs the help of a young street punk to locate a cursed pool cue that gives its owner great skill, with the usual cost.
Comments: Steve Monarque's first appearance in the series as Johnny Ventura in a guest role. He's not particularly interesting and actually comes across as somewhat swarmy, hitting on Micki. The story itself has a few twists and turns before the typically tragic ending. Nothing special.

The Maestro

Item: Symphonia
Rating: 8
Plot: A dance composer plans to complete his final work with the aid of a symphonia that drives its victims to dance themselves to death...a dance that the composer will make his own work.
Comments: Yep, another friend of Jack's (well, a daughter of a friend of Jack's), another tragic ending. The scenes of dancers being driven to dance unto death are impressive against the musical crescendo. And you get the first of two performances by Colm Feore, later to gain substantial fame as Andre Linoge in Storm of the Century.

Shaman's Apprentice

Item: Indian Rattle
Rating: 5
Plot: A cursed rattle gives a young Amerindian doctor the ability to heal if he first kills.
Comments: A revamp of first season's
Tails I Win... and Doctor Jack. There are hints of other supernatural forces at work, but otherwise probably not enough to warrant a third visit to this theme. Even the introduction of a friend of Micki's who is next on the list to be cured, raising all the old familiar, "Do we have the right?" arguments, doesn't help.

The Prisoner

Item: Leather Kamikaze Jacket
Rating: 3
Plot: Johnny becomes inadvertently involved in the hunt for a WW2 Japanese pilot's jacket when his father is killed by someone seeking the proceeds from an armored car robbery. He is locked up in prison with the man responsible, who is able to come and go as he pleases since he can turn invisible.
Comments: How turning invisible lets you pass through locked cell doors and walls is never made clear, in one of several plot holes. Johnny being sent to prison without bail, on minimal evidence, are others. The "invisibility" F/Xs are okay.

Coven of Darkness

Item: Witch's Ladder, and Scultping Tool
Rating: 6
Plot: A "witch's ladder" (necklace) may hold the key to great supernatural power. A black witch wants it, and mesmerizes Ryan into getting it for her.
Comments: An OK episode. There's some interesting continuity (the black witch was associated with Vendredi), and hints of Micki's powers that are never brought up again. Ryan gets in some sleepwalking/zombie practice for next season's
The Prophecies. Catherine Disher (last season's Double Exposure, Natalie on Forever Knight) has a very minor role as the second-in-command of the coven. The powers of the witch's ladder seem rather vague defined: although it amplifies a witch's power, all the head witch does with it is what Ryan later does: fire blasts of energy. A secondary antique item, a sculpting tool used to create voodoo wax images, plays a more important role in the story.



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