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So, at the beginning of Season 5, Frank has moved away, and it’s time for a new member to be initiated into The Midnight Society. This time it’s Tucker’s turn to recommend someone, which no one seems too thrilled about.
Tucker’s chosen to bring his friend Stig. I’m going to assume that’s short for Stiggleton, because I can.
Kiki knows who Stig is, which again ruins that whole idea that the members don’t know each other outside of the meetings, and her intense dislike of him puts everyone on edge. But the Stig man is confident he’s got a story that will blow them all away. He has Tucker toss some powdered detergent onto the fire, and he begins. Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, he calls this story…
Stig’s story begins in 1951 at a pool. A young boy( Jay Baruchel, in his first of 4 AYAOTD appearences) begins swimming, while the lifeguard is putting the moves on his sister. The young boy’s sister, not the lifeguard sister, this show isn’t that scary.
The young boy smells something strange in the water, and then is pulled down by some unseen entity. The lifeguard attempts to rescue him, but we fade into a fake volcano exploding before learning what happens. Spoiler alert, the kid died.
Anyways, the volcano is a science project done by Zeke Matthews, who Stig refers to as “one of those dips who lives for schoolwork” and “the smartest loser in school” He knows all about chemistry, it’s all he’s interested in.
Oh wait, he’s also interested in Clarice, a girl on the school’s swim team who’s completely uninterested in Zeke. He tells her he has something to show her after school, and I’m sure she’s totally skeeved out that a dip like Zeke is talking to her at all.
Clarice agrees to meet him the next morning, and he takes her into the boy’s locker room, which she says she’s seen already, leaving us to assume Clarice gets around. Turns out, Zeke has found a secret pool that the school kept hidden behind a row of lockers. What a great use of space.
Clarice manages to get the school to fix up the pool, and a few weeks later, she’s successful.
It’s not without problems of course, and soon people are complaining about terrible odors coming from the pool, but really, what do you expect from a pool area that’s been closed off for 40 something years?
Elsewhere, Clarice needs help passing chemistry, and Zeke volunteers to tutor her, in exchange for her teaching him how to swim. Zeke is terrified of the water however, so instead of swimming, they just sit in a raft in the pool.
Zeke tells Clarice how he almost drowned as a kid and now thinks that there’s something in the water waiting to get him. Clarice guarantees him there’s nothing in the pool that wants to get him, and she’ll feel really stupid about that later. Things are going well, until Zeke recognizes a strange odor that he identifies as acid, and his then pulled into water by something
Clarice pulls Zeke back aboard the raft and he swears something tried to drown him. There’s not much time for discussion however, as their raft starts to rock. You know what they say, if your rafts a-rockin’…get out of the pool, which is exactly what they attempt to do. But Zeke smells the acid scent again, and they’re flipped out of the raft, only to be rescued by the janitor and what appears to be a pool skimmer.
We learn the janitor is Charlie, the lifeguard from 1951. He tells us his girlfriend’s brother drowned, as I mentioned before. I also assume that was probably the end of his relationship with that girl. No one believed him that something had pulled the boy down to his death and it wasn’t until 3 more people drowned in a similar fashion that the pool was finally closed.
Charlie says that when they built the pool they had to take down an old cemetery and move the bodies. He says the nearest he can figure, they missed one and its spirit wants revenge for being disturbed. Nearest he can figure is a really stupid way to describe that theory, as that’s pretty much exactly what is going on. They worry the evil spirit will start killing again, and no one will believe them because it’s invisible. Luckily, Zeke is a dip who likes chemistry and figures out that there’s a chemical they can dump in the pool to make it visible, based on the smell it gives off.
They pour the solution in the pool and what’s the result? Badass. That’s the result.
They run in fear, or awe, of the red corpse creature and Charlie goes into shock, probably from seeing how awesome that thing looks. Did you see it? Look at it again.
Zeke figures out it’s made of water, which I thought was sort of a given. Clarice remembered Zeke’s earlier explanation for how to make lava in his volcano experiment and brought the chemical along with her. Oh, this does not sound like it ends well for our awesome looking corpse friend.
They drag it out to build tension, the chemical container falls in the pool, Clarice dives in after, corpse guy goes after her, Zeke jumps in to try and save her, and of course succeeds. Then they throw the chemical on the creature and he’s vaporized in what appears to be a slow and agonizing death. Everyone else lives happily ever after though.
When I first bought the AAYOTD dvds, this was one of the first episodes I watched. When I brought them to college with me, this was by far the most requested episode amongst my friends. It’s easy to see why, it’s got far and away the best creature effects in the series. That corpse looks excellent, and has aged extremely well, unlike so many other monsters in the series. The story is well told, it’s got good pacing and suspense, which is all you look for in an episode. This was going to be included in my week of favorite episodes during the last week of this project, but because it’s so popular and introduces Stig, I figured I’d get it out of the way early.
Of course with such an awesome story told, Stig gets in easy.
He doesn’t get in?
They let Frank in with The Tale of the Phantom Cab and THIS isn’t good enough to get someone in?
Yep, Stig’s only allowed to be a probationary member. He’s a victim of circumstance, I bet show producers just wanted to show that not everyone gets into the Midnight Society on their first shot, even if their first shot is one of the best stories in the series. Keep your chin up young Stiggleton, in rejection you will only become a martyr!