As I said last week, I’ll be doing some Are You Afraid of the Dark? reviews as a reminder of where this blog started out. They’re also being done by request, so feel free to leave me a comment on here or Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr to request an episode. Tonight’s episode was requested by Rachel, and is from Season One.
Here are your links:
We begin with The Midnight Society, all waiting anxiously for Kiki to arrive. Gee, I wonder what race our protagonist for this story will be. Kiki finally shows up and begins snapping polaroids of everyone. It seems like it’d be rather annoying, but Betty Ann seems enthralled by watching the picture develop, commenting that “It’s like a ghost becoming real.”
The whole picture business of course has something to do with the story. Kiki elaborates on it, with a brief anecdote about Indian tribes thinking cameras stole their souls. She then tosses some powdered laundry detergent on the fire and begins. Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, she calls this story…
Meet Danielle, who along with her parents, has arrived at a hotel for a much needed vacation. Danielle complains that it looks boring, and that they should have gone to the ocean instead. I’m not one to nitpick, but it looks like there’s a massive lake behind her. Learn to settle for what you can get Danielle.
After having some difficulty opening the door, the family meets Peter Kirlan, the third, the young innkeeper. Peter Curly, the third, has apparently been busy experimenting with electricity lately, judging by his hair.
After the family checks in, Danielle and her dad play catch, while Peter Kirlan, the third, sits on the steps and stares at them. Danielle’s father tries to get Peter involved in their game, but it only leads to him showcasing an embarrassing lack of hand eye coordination, and an arm weaker than Johnny Damon’s. Danielle’s mother soon arrives on the scene to take a picture, but before she can, Peter curls up in the fetal position.
Peter assures everyone that nothing is wrong, and volunteers to take a picture of the family together instead. For some reason they all just brush this off like it’s nothing. The guy pretty much pissed himself at the idea of having his picture taken, and everyone is just going to ignore that? They deserve whatever doom is sure to follow. Later, Danielle begins poking around the upper levels of the inn, and discovers Peter Kirlan, the third’s room. Peter doesn’t seem to mind her being in there, until she almost disturbs one of his experiements, a device used for energy transfusion. Once she almost touches it, Peter points out that Danielle appears to be breaking out, because Peter apparently likes to pick on people’s insecurities. While Danielle freaks out over her new zit, Peter presses a button and his room turns into a laboratory. The featured contraption looks like something made from pieces left over from a Double Dare Physical Challenge.
While the family all look at themselves in mirrors, Peter Kirlan, the third, locks himself into some kind of hyperbolic chamber. He’s either trying to steal their lifeforce, or attempting to become Captain America. Being that Danielle’s dad realizes his hair is suddenly turning gray; I guess it’s the former. You lucked out this time, Hitler.
We get a super rare cutaway scene, with the Midnight Society discussing the story so far. It’s something that’s only happened in a handful of episodes, so it’s a cool moment. Really, it’s something they should have done more often at the halfway point of episodes, because it makes sense that people hearing the tale would have questions. Then again, the whole thing gets kind of tarnished by Kiki hammering home the fact that mirrors have something to do with Peter’s plans. I’m pretty sure most everyone already figured that part out.
Back to the story, we find Danielle’s parents too tired to do much of anything, while Peter has all the energy in the world. Danielle meanwhile, is simply getting more zits. Angry at this development, she ends up smashing a mirror, and revealing a hidden camera behind it.
Danielle’s father dismisses it, because he’s now too old to think anything but “Young whippersnapper” followed by some endless diatribe on the state of music, or something. Danielle decides to throw some water on the camera, because that is always a great idea when you’ve got exposed wiring. Lucky for her, she’s not the one who has to pay the price. That falls on Peter Kirland, the third, who’s tube time is interrupted by Danielle’s actions, and he comes out looking like he’s cosplaying Sideshow Bob.
The next day, Danielle finds a small cemetery behind the hotel. She notices a gravestone for Peter Kirlan, the third, that states he was born in 1907, but it has no date of death. Danielle pretty much ignores this and heads back inside to take down all the mirrors. Her parents, now old to the point that they hate change, protest. Danielle pleads with them to leave the hotel and go home, but her dad is too busy wearing his pants up to his nipples.
With no other options, Danielle goes to confront Peter Kirlan, the third. He isn’t in his room and she discovers his laboratory and secret cameras. While watching the cameras she notices her parents being tended to by an old man. When she heads to the room they’re in, she finds only Peter. Finally putting it all together, Danielle heads out to the cemetery, where she’s confronted by Peter. He attempts to convince her to join him and be young forever, but instead she takes his picture and runs off.
The final confrontation occurs in Peter’s lab, which he has for some reason returned to, despite Danielle still being at large. With the help of a mirror, Danielle manages to trap Peter inside his tube, and then, showing a sudden mastery of metaphysics, figures out not only exactly how his machine works, but how to reverse it. Feel free to join me in this plot hole, it’s big enough for six.
As his laboratory for some reason explodes, Peter is turned into an old man, while Danielle’s parents regain their youth. Danielle finally convinces them to leave the hotel, but before she can go, the elderly Peter tells her she should enjoy her youth while she can, and that he’s going off to the cemetery to be with his family. In other words, he’s going out back to die. I hope you’re happy, Danielle. As they get in their car, Danielle’s mother gives her a picture she found, showing Peter in his true form, which Danielle dismisses as just a picture of a sad, old man.
The Tale of the Captured Souls is a fun episode for the most part. Peter is a great villain, the actor portraying him does a great job of making him just the right amount of creepy. Sure, the plot wraps up at light speed, but I can forgive that. It’s another solid episode in the excellent first season of the series. It’s also got one of my favorite post-story scenes, which ends simply with The Midnight Society taking a group photo.