Blogging Harper’s Island (Because Someone Has To)–Episode 3: Ka-blam!

I am typing as I am watching Harper’s Island, which means I am paying very close attention today and should get my facts (if not my remembered facts) right the first time.

Lots and Lots of Spoilers Await You

I think it’s funny that the first thing I think of in an episode named after an explosion is the connections this show has made to other things. Jaws, of course, from the first episode (what with the ocean night swim) and Silence of the Lambs in the second one (the little dog, the girl in the pit, the other gross stuff). I also can’t believe that I haven’t recognized Henry from Ugly Betty before now; I think him having the name Henry was throwing me. But what puzzles me is how none of the people at the wedding party have missed Fun Uncle yet, or wondered where Crisp Lucy is, or gossiped about Cal hanging upside down. They’re all staying at the same hotel, right? I suppose the upper half of Fun Uncle’s body could have slipped through the missing slat of the footbridge, but the skeet shooting contest is obviously the morning after the scavenger hunt, and Fun Uncle’s been gone for a long time.

Watching Henry try to prove himself as worthy of Bride’s hand by outskeetshooting the father is straight out of some fairy tale, complete with the jealous and less worthy older son. Madison’s Dad seems to be Bride’s brother, or else he wouldn’t be in this little contest in the first place, I don’t think. Henry may not have toppled the king but he bested the heir, and Madison’s Dad didn’t like it. I think he’s letting Madison punish the flowers on his behalf, to get back at someone. We’re probably going to learn that he’s got something of a vicious streak that Madison inherited or learned, and that the mother is weak and let’s them walk all over her. We already know that Bride’s Father is just a prick. I could have done without the wife lovingly stroking his hair, if that was his hair and his wife I saw. It was a bit too fawning, and it may have been some kind of continuity error (we saw it twice, and it confused me because I thought he was standing somewhere else, so I probably saw the scene wrong), but it, you know, establishes his power.

I like the juxtaposition of his invisible but potent power over his family with the official but ineffectual power shown by the coroner/doctor and the sheriff. On the surface, neither of them knows what precisely to do, and the coroner makes a point of saying that he’s out of practice and the sheriff makes a point of saying that his job is making him ask those unpleasant questions. It was a little off-putting to hear those two old men discuss that the girl had sex the night before, and I suspect that the boyfriend is going to be hauled in for questioning any day now. We got some close-ups of her strange tattoos, so that will be used against her somehow. I wonder if the tattoos were added after she died, to cast doubt on her state of mind. I don’t know that much about the tattoo process, but I’m pretty sure it involves blood. You can probably identify right away a fresh tattoo, even with a layman’s eyes. But could you tattoo a corpse? You’re just putting ink below the skin, and dead skin wouldn’t bleed. Verryy mysterious, this is. I had a sudden, unsubstantiated thought, too, that maybe the coroner was the murder. I suppose the sheriff will ask some question later that reveals he has first-hand knowledge about how strung-up, murdered women look because of, you know, his wife. Perhaps that will put these two figures of weak authority into conflict with each other. Perhaps the sheriff will turn up dead!

Back to the program…

OK, I could use a swimming pool mimosa! And I loved Cal and Chloe freezing Sully, whose name I suddenly realize is perfect for a scumbag. I don’t understand the conversation following, though–they all know that he left Cal hanging from a tree and they are joking about his apology? They all Clearly Have It Coming, and Spa Girl who announces that her plans for the day are to spend it all at the spa is very likely going to die there. Sauna accident, maybe? Let’s find out!

Back to the program…

…aanndd… Bride is going to choose Dad over Henry when it matters! I guarantee it! He is right to worry. (And I’m adding this in after watching a few scenes: Good for him for being suspicious about the ex, whose name I keep forgetting. We all know by now that Henry might be lucky to escape with his life and without his fiancee–not that I wish her ill–because he’s too nice of a guy to end up with Rich Jerks. He Clearly doesn’t Have It Coming, but guilt gets painted with a very wide brush and it could come for him while he’s just standing there. Besides, I think we are supposed to be admiring Abby’s grit and persistence, and she is the female BFF. I wouldn’t marry a guy with a female BFF. Unless I were a man.)

Back to the program…

The spa set up was pretty funny, as was the shot of all those Buddies having their lemon-iced water in their bathrobes at the spa. As soon as Chloe said the stuff was honey, I figured she was pranking Sully, although I thought it would be a waxing joke. I really did not see the pillows coming. The little showdown between Madison’s parents (I cannot keep that guy’s name in my head) fooled me, although it served the purpose of putting a gun on the bed in Act I. You know what that means! Gun’s gotta go off by the end of the act… who do we think gets rifled?

I hit a commercial break right after the Moody Brother got hit by a car in the woods. I can’t decide if he is going to come back or not. That would be appropriately shocking, but we sort of need him around for the rest of the episode, to provide testimony–or suspense about whether he\’d provide testimony–about Kelly’s bouncy, cheerful state of nonsuicidal mind. He ka-blammed my idea that the tattoos were post-mortem, however. I don’t mind. It was getting complicated for me to think about, so I am sort of relieved to have that taken of the table.

Back to the program…

So now we’ve got Abby silently and nervously creeping through the woods looking for Shane, and Bride silently and nervously creeping through the woods looking for Hunter. (Hunter! That’s his name. And what a name, sir.) The tension surrounding Abby is if 1) Shane has already done in JD or 2) if he’ll do her in. The tension with Bride is if 1) Hunter will tell the truth and 2) if Thomas (the father) will kill him before Hunter has the chance to. Bribing Hunter with $50,000 is interesting. That’s a lot of money, but not. It’s supposed to be a tempting amount, and if that’s a tempting amount, then Hunter is not a Rich Jerk. He’s being played with. Hunter and Henry might be allies in a way, although I doubt we’ll see them comfortably ever in that position, because I think Thomas will have gotten rid of Hunter one way or another. The secondary tension surrounding Bride is if her wedding dress is going to be all ripped up or destroyed before she gets back to her room. It could all be a ruse just to get at the dress, but I’m sure something is going to happen to it because we’ve seen her wear it, people comment on it, her pet it, and her leave it prominently on the couch before walking away.

SIDE NOTE: I absolutely adore this business of sliding little envelopes under the door.

Of course, we’re getting towards the end of the day, as evidenced by the appearance of leather jackets on people standing around in foggy weather. No one misses Fun Uncle yet? Or Crisp Lucy? You’d think that maybe the little dog would have turned up at the hotel without her, or somewhere at least. You’d also think that someone would have found Hanging Curator or whoever the old man was, who died in a clearly murderous way, instead of worrying overmuch about poor little Kelly. The generic absences for more than a day I suppose could go unmentioned by people in a small community, but missing wedding guest? No. Also, would sea critters start to nibble at Drowned Cousin tied to the keel of the yacht? I know it’s still too soon for body parts to detach and float to the surface, but I can’t believe they haven’t wondered about him yet, either. Maybe they all deserve to die for being this clueless.

Commercial break! That crafty Henry… and that creepy Shane… so now I have to worry about JD and Abby at his hands. Maybe she’ll fight him off and kill him instead. Back to the program…

OK… so it wasn’t Madison’s Mother Richard the Dad was having his violent way with–it appears that it was Voluptuous Stepmother. And the gun did go off as promised by the end of the second act! But it was Richard and the Voluptuous Stepmother we saw it with. Thomas gave Hunter a check–then why the cash? Something is up. This is the Niggling Seed of Doubt duly planted. So Thomas doesn’t want a sassy boat washer in the family; does that make him evil enough to commit murder? Boinking your stepson is much, much worse–now Richard is a suspect! He does have a sufficiently large inferiority complex. (Does that make sense?) He could totally be the perp!

So if John Wakefield is very much corporeal, do we have a copycat or a scapegoat situation? I refuse to consider ghosts. Did the sheriff kill the right man? Why did Wakefield wait until now to go after this group of people? These are important questions but none as big as the next: Why was Hunter taking a speed boat across the Pacific Ocean alone at night in the first place? Dude. He was totally going to die out there, either from exposure or tidal wave. He’s lucky that the gun got him first, frankly. But now I’m having thoughts… did he steal that money AND get the check? Was the handgun his own? Interesting… Even if it wasn’t particularly Clear, he probably Had It Coming.

I really thought there was going to be an explosion. I was wrong about that wedding dress, too, and the girl at the Spa. Such is life.

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  • Katie  On April 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    I thought the money and gun were Uncle Marty’s, and that Hunter looked quite surprised when he saw that bag. I’m pretty sure it was planted on the boat. My biggest question is, why kill Hunter at all? Heh, I blogged about that. But, gosh, you must be a really dedicated fan to type all this as you watch.

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