Friday the 13th - Season Three Episodes


Episode Count: 20

Overall Comments: Generally, the third season is tied with second for the "best" season of the series in this author's opinion. The series was apparently cancelled early however, since it only runs 20 episodes compared to the 26 of the first two seasons.

By now, the concept of finding a cursed antique each week was getting a little predictable, and those associated with the show seemed to realize it. Several variations were introduced to try to change the pattern.

The first was the introduction of Johnny Ventura (Steve Monarque) as a regular character. For several reasons, Ryan Dallion was written out. Johnny had the benefit of being pre-introduced in several second-season episodes. However, quite frankly, he was never as interesting as Ryan.

However, the introduction of Johnny allowed the writers to rewrite several "standard" stories that cast him in the role of novice antique recoverer. So in Hate on Your Dial and Crippled Inside, he screws up. In Bad Penny he repeats Ryan's mistake (way back in Shadow Boxer) of using a cursed antique himself.

There was also some minor efforts made to introduce a romance between Johnny and Micki, something previously impossible since Micki and Ryan were distantly related. Naturally, you couldn't have a show with a male and female lead and avoid all hints of romance between them. F13 was no exception. Fortunately, after The Long Road Home this element was dropped.

There was also a steady trend away from antique-hunting, as our intrepid trio either became involved with other supernatural forces (Midnight Riders, The Charnal Pit), became peripheral to the main storyline (Repetition, My Wife as a Dog) or both (Night Prey, Year of the Monkey).

There was also some effort to expand the show beyond antique hunting. The Prophecies allowed Satan to follow up on his efforts in Wedding in Black and take another shot (albeit indirectly) at the group. However, the possibilities of the "Big Guy" becoming a continuing threat were dropped after that. Demon Hunter at least addressed the issue of where the heck all the antiques were going to be stored.

Perhaps all of this was a natural evolution of the show. If it had gone to a fourth season, these elements would doubtless have been expanded on further.

Still, despite the above, antique-hunting was still the main emphasis of the show. Some stories were very basic, as if the writers didn't see any need to do much else since these were "new" stories from Johnny's point of view. As noted above, Crippled Inside and Hate on Your Dial are good examples of this. Many other stories dwelt even further on the guest characters involved, making the third season's "villains" the most sympathetic. Episodes like Epitaph for a Lonely Soul and My Wife as a Dog are the best examples of this trend

The third season pretty much stands on its own continuity-wise. After The Prophecies wrapped up the Ryan storyline, only Bad Penny made any specific reference to the events of previous seasons. We see nothing further of Uncle Vendredi, Rashid, or Satan. Although Jack has a brief reunion with his father, no further mention is made of his dead son.

Speaking of Jack, he is moved even further into the background. Since the main characters as a whole are moved back a bit from the plot, Jack gets even less emphasis. He gets no "solo" episodes (such as Faith Healer or The Butcher). He does have a major role in episodes like Spirit of Television, Night Prey, and Midnight Riders, but doesn't contribute much otherwise. His main roles now appear to be: chewing out Johnny when the poor guy makes a mistake, supplying a bit of mystical research, and getting knocked over the head.

As a minor note, the episodes themselves undergo some minor restructuring. On the assumption that after two years the audience knew the basic concept of the series, the voice-over narration was dropped. Instead, we get a pre-credits "teaser" for the episode.

Overall, the third season is an acquired taste. There is enough variety that you won't get bored, even if you've been watching the show regularly during the first two years. When the show tries to break out of its previous framework is when it is at its most entertaining this year. If you were getting kind of bored, then you'll probably enjoy the third season more than its predecessors.


The Prophecies, Pt. 1

Item: Devil's Bible
Rating: 8
Plot: Asteroth, a minion of Satan, has obtained the Devil's Bible, and intends to use it in a small village in Europe to unleash Satan on Earth.
Comments: This is a very involved episode, with a number of plot elements introduced, including Ryan's background (going way back to first season's
Scarecrow and Pipe Dream), the faith of the young girl, the corruption of a holy place, and the relentless fulfillment of the prophecies. The episode is also helped by its overseas filming, the truly chilling sequences such as the riot at the hospital, and a hammy yet effective performance by veteran actor Fritz Weaver. The first part is as close as we get to a Jack solo story this season, but a concussion takes him out before he can do much of anything.

The Prophecies, Pt. 2

Item: Devil's Bible
Rating: 7
Plot: Ryan plays an integral role in the completion of the prophecies, as Asteroth's plans near completion and all looks hopeless.
Comments: A minor let-down after the atmospheric part one. Ryan's zombie routine becomes very old very quickly, and the final resolution is rather confusing. In one sense, a final hurrah for the series, since after the apocalyptic events of this two-parter, anything that follows would be somewhat of a let-down: essentially, the team saves the world! The Prophecies could just as easily have been the series finale with a little reworking.

Demon Hunter

Item: Dagger
Rating: 6
Plot: A family team of demon hunters are searching for a hellspawn unleashed upon the earth, unaware that one of their number is not what he or she appears.
Comments: Very reminiscent of Aliens, as the hunters try to track down their prey, using heavy firepower and hand-held tracking units. The question of how much room is in the Vault (particularly with the first season's trefinator and electric chair) is finally answered.

Crippled Inside

Item: Wheelchair
Rating: 5
Plot: An old man aids a crippled girl in gaining a cursed wheelchair that will eventually let her walk and gain revenge on those responsible for her handicap. Johnny has to solve this one himself.
Comments: A "Johnny screws up" episode, the first of several. There's a reference to last season's
A Friend in Need and the Medusa Shard from that episode (we never find out if it's recovered). "The old man" seems to be a substitute for Uncle Vendredi, although his presence and any connection he might have to Vendredi is never made clear, or used again.

Stick It In Your Ear

Item: Hearing Aid
Rating: 6
Plot: One member of a mind-reading act stumbles upon a cursed hearing aid that gives him actual telepathic powers. He must eventually discharge the thoughts and bring about someone's death, or die horribly himself.
Comments: Gore galore! In probably the most visceral episode of this season. Appropriately enough, since to some degree it's a reworking of Cronenberg's first season
Faith Healer. If you were upset by ceti eels crawling into Walter Koenig's ear in Star Trek II, this one should be avoided. There's some nice commentary on the fleeting nature of fame. Still, one might think after this episode the secretive nature of the trio's efforts would be totally blown. Bad guy Adam Cole is played by Wayne Best, who had a small role in last year's The Playhouse.

Bad Penny

Item: Coin of Ziocles
Rating: 7
Plot: The Coin of Ziocles resurfaces, in the hands of two bad cops. Johnny recovers the coin, but decides to use it to resurrect his father (killed in
The Prisoner last season). Meanwhile, Micki has to deal with her own fears since the Coin was used to kill her previously (in Tails I Win..., also last season).
Comments: One of only two episodes that are direct sequels to previous ones (the other is second season's Face of Evil). This is a far superior one, cross-referencing several episodes and wrapping up at least one loose end (Micki's reaction to being dead and resurrected). Although the cops are the typical evil-incarnate bad guys, there's several nice character moments with Micki, Johnny, and Johnny's resurrected father.

Hate On Your Dial

Item: Car Radio
Rating: 7
Plot: A cursed car radio falls into the hands of a retarded man and his racist brother. The racist uses the car radio to go back to the 1950's and help his father and the Ku Klux Klan.
Comments: Another "Johnny screws up" episode, and the third of four time-travel episodes. This one is simulated in black-and-white. The time travel gimmick is a bit over-used by now: even Johnny seem rather blase about it, despite never having done it before! Still, there are some nice portrayals of life in the South of the 50's.

Night Prey

Item: Cross
Rating: 8
Plot: A deranged vampire hunter gains a cursed cross that can incinerate vampires. He uses it in his efforts to regain his girlfriend, who was transformed into a vampire years ago.
Comments: This episode is almost a precursor to Forever Knight, and similarities abound, right down to the cinematography and the musical score that Fred Mollin later "borrows" from himself for FK. Particularly effective are Jack's opening and closing narrations, as we see the toll of antique-hunting catching up once more. A mild contradiction is that vampires were implied as not existing in a previous episode (
The Baron's Bride), but here exist as independent supernatural elements.

Femme Fatale

Item: Film Reel
Rating: 6
Plot: A director of film noir with an invalid wife becomes obsessed with a cursed reel of film of one of his movies. He discovers he can substitute a young woman for the character in the movie that his wife played, so that "Lili" can emerge into real life. Micki becomes trapped in the film.
Comments: An interesting commentary on levels of reality, and some people being happier with fantasy. The sequence when the "Lili" from the movie goes into a theater and sees her adoring fans is a nice touch. The ending is a little confusing: the invalid Lili shoots her husband and takes Micki's place, which inexplicably destroys the "character" Lili from the movie. Huh? Keep an eye out for one in-joke: the musical composer for the film, "A Scandalous Woman", is listed as one "Frederick Mollin" (Fred Mollin was the composer for the series). One down note: the endless scenes of trapped women running through the movie become very tiresome after a while.

Mightier Than the Sword

Item: Fountain Pen
Rating: 6
Plot: A writer of crime biographies enhances his reputation by using a cursed fountain pen to turn innocent people into serial killers, controlling their exploits by writing his stories. Micki is his next target...
Comments: No season would be complete without Micki being mentally controlled into doing something against her will, and acting sultry and seductive in the process. At least she isn't forced to fall in love with the author (Colm Feore, from last season's
The Maestro, and recently Storm of the Century). An okay episode, enhanced only by Robey's performance as a psychotic murderer.

Year of the Monkey

Item: Monkey Statues
Rating: 8
Plot: The trio must make a deal with a retired samurai: in return for an antique tea set, they must recover a set of three Monkey statues from the Tanaka clan. The statues are used by the father to test his children. The one who passes his test gains all of his wealth, and immortality until he or she finds a worthy successor in turn.
Comments: Interestingly, the statues aren't cursed items but simply magical artifacts. This gives the story a slightly different spin. The trio are also forced to travel to Hong Kong and New York to gain the statues (although the sequences were filmed on Canadian sets, of course). Both these factors help to "open out" the show a bit. Now well-known actress Tia Carrere (Relic Hunter, Wayne's World, True Lies) is cast as a Japanese woman (?!?). Robert Ito (Sam on Quincy, and Highlander episodes "Revenge of the Sword" and "The Samurai") plays the head of the Tanaka clan, while Von Flores (Sandoval on Earth: Final Conflict) plays a minor bad guy.

Epitaph for a Lonely Soul

Item: Mortician's Aspirator
Rating: 6
Plot: A mortician (the title's "lonely soul") finds an antique aspirator that lets him do the old "Kill Person A, resurrect Person B" shtick. With the added bonus that they (initially) don't recall much of their previous lives, and accept anything he tells them.
Comments: Neil Munro vies with Denis Forest for the award for "Actor Playing the Most Different Bad Guys": Epitaph... is his second of three appearances (he was in last season's
Better Off Dead). He's no Denis Forest (thankfully, no one is), but as the mortician this is the most sympathetic of his three roles. The resurrection/healing concept itself is way overdone by now, but the romantic angle helps a little bit. If you ignore the hints of necrophilia, that is.

Midnight Riders

Item: None (Motorcycle Gang)
Rating: 6
Plot: While visiting a small town, our trio become involved when a motorcycle gang rolls into town - a gang of ghosts, that is. Jack's father also mysteriously shows up, after having disappeared years ago.
Comments: Another non-antique episode. Like first season's
The Pirate's Promise, this episode borrows heavily from John Carpenter's The Fog, with ghosts coming back from the dead to wreak vengeance for an injustice. The non-antique angle and the revelations about Jack's father, Cawley, are the best parts.

Repetition

Item: Locket
Rating: 5
Plot: A newspaper columnist runs over a little girl...and her voice emanates from her locket to tell him to kill someone else to bring her back to life. He does so, except the next victim does the same thing. Repeatedly. Just like the title. At the end, the guy kills himself from the stress.
Comments: This episode only marginally features the main characters, and is basically a character piece on the columnist, as he slowly goes nuts. But the episode is kind of...well, repetitive. I suppose that's the idea, but still, watching the guy go nuts over the course of 40 minutes just isn't that interesting.

The Long Road Home

Item: Yin-Yang Amulet
Rating: 5
Plot: After recovering an amulet that allows the transference of souls, Johnny and Micki head back, but run into two wacko brothers who have their eyes set on Micki. When Johnny is wounded, he must transfer his soul into one of the brothers to stop the other.
Comments: >Deliverance meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with a bit of Psycho thrown in (the brothers practice taxidermy, which provides a cute "twist" at the end). The brothers are probably the most depraved characters to ever appear on the show, and considering their competition, that's going some. One is played by Angelo Rizacos, who played an obsessed sculptor in second season's
Wax Magic and the Electrocutioner in the first season episode of the same title. Angelo manages to be even less likable here. This episode bears a strong resemblance to Bedazzled two seasons earlier. The first part of the episode (actually, the pre-titles teaser here) deals with the recovery of the antique, while the rest of the episode involves our friends' efforts to keep it while being hunted down by two evil-doers. There are hints of a Micki/Johnny romance here, thankfully dropped. The episode is redeemed slightly by the ending, which has a truly chilling moment when the surviving brother finds a new body to possess...

My Wife as a Dog

Item: Dog Leash
Rating: 6
Plot: A fireman's only friend is his dog, which is dying of old age. His wife has divorced him rather than tolerate his obsession. But the fireman discovers an aboriginal leash that will grant him his fondest animal-related wish: to heal his dog and make her his only companion.
Comments: This episode is as close to a comedy as the show ever does. The trio has no real clue what's going on, even at the end, and a lot of dog jokes are made. Denis Forest, going on his fourth appearance in four different roles, gets his one and only shot at a sympathetic character, albeit a homicidal and somewhat insane one. Very bizarre.

Jack-In-The-Box

Item: Jack-in-the-Box
Rating: 6
Plot: A young girl uses a antique to kill those responsible for her father's death, in return for being able to summon his spirit. Eventually, she decides she has to join him.
Comments: A pretty standard "get the antique" episode, enhanced by the focus on how the mother and the girl deal with the father's death (neither handle it very well, although they are portrayed realistically enough). Also, the father's spirit isn't a willing party to his daughter's actions, but is rather summoned forth by the antique. This provides for an interesting character study, and an episode with no real villains. Oh. Well, yes, the people who actually kill the father are your typical scum (who knew working at a rec center pool was such a dangerous job?), but they're dispatched in short order.

Spirit of Television

Item: Television
Rating: 5
Plot: A would-be psychic uses a cursed television to show her clients the ghosts of who they want to see. Unfortunately, the ghosts must then turn vengeful, killing the one who wanted to see them. The psychic gains a few more weeks of life in return.
Comments: A very average episode. The scenes with the summoned spirits, initially kind but later grotesque and vengeful, are impressive. Otherwise been there, seen it, done it.

Tree of Life

Item: Fertility Statue
Rating: 7
Plot: A cult of female druids uses a womens' hospital in a bizarre set up. Infertile couples come to them, and the druids use a cursed fertility statue to sacrifice the father so the wife gives birth to a twin boy and girl. They then claim only one child was born, give the boy to the mother, and keep the girl to raise in the druid way. Our trio stumble into the situation.
Comments: Another hint of supernatural powers other then the antiques, although the druids' magic seems to derive only from the cursed statue: they seem to lack any powers of their own. Still, their cold-hearted use of the antiques to further their own goals is very effective, albeit reminiscent of
Tails I Win... and The Sweetest Sting. The concept of an antique spawning duplicates of itself is also raised, a truly chilling thought.

The Charnal Pit

Item: Two-Sided Painting
Rating: 8
Plot: A two-sided painting has magical powers. When fueled by blood from a dead body, it acts as a portal back to the time of the painter, the Marquis de Sade. A 20th century scholar gets hold of it, and uses it to supply de Sade with victims in return for the Marquis' personal diaries, which he then uses to bolster his own reputation as a de Sade expert. Things take a turn for the worse when, while investigating, Micki accidentally passes through the portal and must masquerade as a Duchess.
Comments: The fourth and final time-travel episode, this one is just filmed normally. No sepia tone, no black & white. A somewhat elaborate plot, but it gives Robey a chance to step outside of her typical role and indulging in a little period dress. Some interesting insights into Micki's character are presented. Neil Munro does an excellent job of playing the Marquis in his third F13 role. In fact, the episode is rather explicit in tones of sexuality until reverting to a more typical gore-fest at the end. The painting itself is not cursed, but Micki inadvertently leaves a letter which Vendredi got hold of, leading him to procure the painting: a nice paradoxical time-travel touch. Her concerns about returning to the present are also well-portrayed.



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