I got links for days
Oh today’s episode is a favorite from season two. We begin with The Midnight Society roasting marshmellows over the campfire, which is something you’d expect to see them do more often, consider how frequently they are around one.
Kristen and David arrive, and David is sad because someone stole his bike. Jeez, life just doesn’t get easy for David. David goes into a long eulogy about his bike, but I can’t listen to him talk without being transfixed on his unibrow.
Unsurprisingly, David’s been inspired by this incident and has come up with a story. He tosses some paprika on the fire and begins. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, he calls this story…
We meet Ricky and Mike, who are racing on their bikes. Their race ends on a bridge overlooking a spillway, just as the water has been released. They banter back and for a few minutes, and then part of the bridge breaks and Ricky falls in an dies. If that depresses you, when he first falls, it looks like this.
Turns out that was just Mike, reliving his friend’s death in a nightmare. He wakes up in a cold sweat and we meet his little brother, Ben.
It seems Mike has been tormented by dreams of Ricky’s death, because he feels like he failed to save him. The next morning, we meet Ricky’s father, who is awesomely compassionate about his son’s guilt and Ricky’s death, as you’ll soon see. Aw hell, just go watch the first few minutes, Mike’s Dad is one of my favorite characters ever; everyone should experience his amazing parenting skills.
Mike is having some serious problems dealing with Ricky’s death and has hallucinations about Ricky’s bike.
And he also sees Ricky’s ghost in the middle of class, causing him to have a grade A freak-out.
This little episode causes Mike to end up in the nurse’s office. Here, the nurse asks him who Ricky is, but then seems to focus on asking Mike if he and Ricky had a fight. Makes me think she lost some money gambling and she’s looking to win it back by placing bets on schoolyard fights.
Ricky explains to the nurse that he feels guilty that he didn’t save Ricky, and in his dreams he keeps trying to, but always fails. The nurse tells him rather bluntly that his friend is dead, regardless of the outcome of his dream. This bluntness is a recurring theme. Mike of course, hallucinates again and sees Ricky standing outside, bike in hand.
Once that image fades away, Mike turns back to the nurse but instead he sees…
This leads to Mike going into shock, and soon he’s in the car with his wonderful father, headed home from the doctor’s. Once again, this is a moment that really needs to be watched, as Mike’s father is wonderfully blunt about Ricky’s death. I’m sure he loves it when his son again sees Ricky, this time riding his bike, and forces him to follow the ghost.
The catch up to “Ricky” and Mike leaps out of the car and runs over to him. Turns out, it’s just a girl who is undoubtedly terrified.
This leads to my favorite Are You Afraid of the Dark? line. Mike tries to reason with his dad that it was perfectly reasonable for him to assume the girl was Ricky, and his father’s response is to flatly tell him: “Ricky’s dead, let’s go home.”
Back at home, Mike’s bed ridden and has a heart to heart with his brother, who of course believes that Mike is actually seeing Ricky. After some bonding, and plans to sneak Mike out to go fishing, it’s off to bed for everyone. Ben also tells a lame joke, but really if you’re going to skip any part of the episode, this is it. I’m sure you can guess what it leads to anyways. If you guessed more hallucinations of Ricky, give yourself a cookie.
The next morning, Ben tries to wake up Mike so that he can sneak out and go fishing with him, but he’s foiled by this father, who seems to like Ben a whole lot more than Mike. Ben is forced to go fishing alone, while Mike sleeps soundly. I imagine he’s dreaming of Ricky as that is the only character trait he is given in this episode.
Mike wakes up and sees Ricky beckoning him to join him outside. This is really getting old, however with no one around to stop him, Mike is finally able to follow Ricky.
Meanwhile, we learn that Ben’s friends are douchebags, and one of them hurls his fishing lure into the spillway, which just happens to be adjacent to where they’re fishing. The same friend earlier asked if the spillway was “Where your brother’s friend got killed” Delightful.
At the same time this is going on, Mike is having a conversation with Ricky on his front lawn, surely making his neighbors think he’s crazy. Turns out Ricky isn’t haunting Mike because he couldn’t save him, he’s come back to warn him that Ben is in danger. What kind of danger? Well he’s gotten his foot stuck in a rock on the spillway, so I’m going to go with the drowning kind of danger.
Ricky gives Mike his ghost bike, and he speeds off to rescue his brother, but not before telling Ricky how much he misses him. He then ruins the moment by riding the bike like someone who’s never seen a bicycle before.
In a moment of wonderful idiocy, Mike passes the guy who’s responsible for opening the spillway and says….nothing. So in your rush to save your brother, you’ve got nothing to say to the guy who is solely responsible for unleashing the wall of water that could potentially drown him? I’m beginning to think Mike would have found a way to let Ricky die regardless of what happened that day.
Since no one said anything to the spillway guy, he opens the gates and lets the water come rushing in. I suppose we could blame him for not checking to see if any kids were down there. Perhaps Ricky should be haunting him. Of course Mike rescues Ben in the nick of time, but when he looks back at the ghost bike he rode to get to the spillway, this is all he finds…
David informs us that the next day a fisherman finds Ricky’s remains and it took so long because he was waiting to pay back Mike for attempting to save him, by helping him save Ben. But that seems absurd, I’m sure he was just trapped under layers of soil that the spillway washes up whenever it empties. Your explantions are stupid like your unibrow, David.
The Tale of The Shiny Red Bicycle is the least intimidating name for a spooky story in the history of forever. It’s also one of my favorite episodes purely because of Mike’s father who is wonderfully detached from the mental trauma his son is suffering through. It’s not like he’s some hardass father without feelings either, he seems almost joyful most of the time, it’s magical. For a ghost story, it works well and Ricky comes off as pretty creepy most of the time. Still, some foresight by Mike to simply ask the guy running the spillway not to open it, would have made everything easier. Why the hell didn’t Ricky figure that out either? It’s not like he had anything better to do.