Links of the day:
Today’s episode begins with Betty Anne in mid-terrorist interrogation. Oh wait, that’s just her friend Sam, who is getting inducted tonight. Remember when Frank got inducted and he only had to wear a blindfold? I wonder what triggered the need for them to start covering their friend’s heads with potato sacks before bringing them to the meeting place.
Anyways, everyone is shocked to learn it’s actually a girl and that Sam is short for Samantha. Kiki seems particularly offended by that abbreviation. Frank tries to put the moves on her, and Gary can barely keep himself from drooling all over her.
Once they contain themselves, it’s story time. Betty Anne throws a handful of Fun Dip powder onto the fire and Sam begins. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, she calls this story…
We meet Sarah, who’s arrived at a new summer camp. She’s an overachiever, and has earned every merit badge a Trailmaker could earn. Here, “Trailmaker” means Girl Scout and “overachiever” means dork.
We also meet Kelly, who’s not new to the camp and hates it. Allegedly she has a lot of friends back home and wants no part of the camp. This of course causes her to act like a bitch. Kelly and Sarah shockingly end up in the same cabin! Will this odd couple ever learn to co-exist? Stay tuned.
Later that evening we find Kelly has taken Sarah’s Trailmaker vest and mocking the badges she’s earned. Sarah has apparently jumped out of an airplane and lived, and cleaned up all the pollution in the whole world. I find it strange that a Girl Scout type group would require it’s members to perform such feats. Or perhaps Kelly is just being a bitch and making things up. Really, it could go either way.
Kelly then shares with Sarah the legend of Watcher’s Woods, which is and I quote, “A place where people get blipped.” Blipped, it turns out, means to disappear, which is something people have been doing in Watcher’s Woods for ages. It’s called Watcher’s Woods because those who do make it out come back insane, rambling about The Watcher, a forest demon. Three sisters who went to the camp blipped in 1919, and the only thing trace that was ever found of them was their whistles.
Who’s up for some nitpicking? I sure am! The sign says “Never Enter Watcher’s Woods, Ever” That’s a fine warning, expect that a few minutes later the girls tell Sarah that no one knows where Watcher’s Woods is, and that it moves around like a shark. So, never enter the place that no one knows the location of, and that very well may move around? That sign is about as effective as one warning to “Never Randomly Get Hit by a Car, Ever”
The next day, it’s time for the campers to go on a nature walk and collect specimens to earn a badge. That seems pretty tame compared to the other things Sarah has had to do. In a shocking twist, Sarah and Kelly are paired together, and neither is too happy about it. I’m happy about how hilarious their counselor looks.
Kelly is apparently a smoker, and at the ripe old age of what looks to be 13. Sarah won’t let her, because the counselor warned about fire, and she’s a huge square. The tension mounts. Kelly makes a deal with Sarah, saying that she’ll show her a pheasant nest if they can stop hiking early and go swimming. The dork, of course, agrees.
Kelly, being her bitchy self, has of course tricked Sarah. While Sarah is looking for the nest, Kelly steals her backpack and leaves. Some may think Kelly is taking things to the extreme a little quickly, but she was clearly jonesing for that cigarette earlier. Blame the addiction, not her. Unfortunately for Kelly, karma is also a bitch, and she soon finds herself lost in the woods. Both the backpacks also disappear, because karma is apparently a particularly vindictive bitch.
Night soon falls and Kelly and Sarah are both lost in the woods. They both wander around aimlessly until Kelly finds a strange eerie glow in the trees
And Sarah runs into this guy:
Gosh, both of these seem so very promising.
Kelly has apparently stumbled upon some sort of campsite that’s inhabited by three old women. Here, “old women” means “oh my god, look at those hideous hags!”
It seems they think Kelly has stolen their whistles, and are prepared to shoot flaming arrows at her if she doesn’t tell them where they are.
The arrow sadly passes harmlessly through her, and for some reason the hags act like that’s given them some sort of leverage. Kelly puts two and two together and realizes she’s dealing with the three sisters who went missing 75 years ago. They remain convinced she stole the whistles, despite the fact that she’s only like 13. Sounds like someone is just bitter.
Turns out they’re just really mad that The Watcher won’t let their souls go free until they find their whistles, so they’re stuck their for eternity. Sarah eventually stumbles upon this little pow wow and watches in secret as Kelly attempts to convince the sisters that she’ll get their whistles for them. The sisters let her go, only to trap her in another cage because they don’t believe her. And probably because they’ve got nothing better to do.
To further torture her, they stick a bucket of mice in the cage with her. Kelly hates mice.
Sarah finally makes her presence known and volunteers to go get the whistles for the sisters. The sisters of course keep Kelly caged up as collateral. Sarah runs off, but only ends up running into The Watcher again. Apparently, Sarah fascinates him, and he wants to add her soul to his woods. Sarah’s not big on that idea and gets herself permanently on Smokey the Bear’s shit list by threatening to burn down the forest.
Sarah gets the whistles and brings them back, but not before we get some references to cannibalism from the sisters, and the sharpening of a machete. They’ve got some pretty hardcore backwoods stuff going on here.
Sarah clumsily falls down and one of the whistles falls into the bucket of mice. The sisters are convinced Sarah is playing a horrible trick on her and strap her to some sort of guillotine. Kelly must face her fear of mice and retrieve the whistle or they’ll both be killed in surprisingly macabre fashion for Nickelodeon.
Of course it’s too good to be true and Kelly gets the third whistle for the sisters. The sister’s blow their whistles and are magically transported away. Probably to World 8, because that’s what cheaters do.
Kelly and Sarah leave the woods as best friends and as they head back to camp, a car carrying the three sister, now back to their childhood form, passes by them. Does this mean that their driver was cursed to wait around until they found their whistles too?
Of course Sam is approved to be a member of the Midnight Society. That fills out The Midnight Society for the next few seasons, which means character introductions are largely over with and I can start jumping around to episodes a bit more randomly. Yes, there’s one more member who provided one of the most requested episodes and I’ll get to that later on in the project.
I like Watcher’s Woods, it’s one of AYAOTD’s more outright creepy episodes and carries a bit of a slasher movie vibe. I remember being scared of it as a kid, and watching it now it’s easy to see why. The sister’s are clearly not fucking around in the woods, and all their scenes come off as PG version of Wrong Turn or Deliverance. It’s pretty great. The Watcher could have been a bit more fleshed out as the main villain though, instead he takes a back seat to the hags. Oh, and according the credits, they are hags. Boss hag, Hump hag and Fat hag. Awesome.