Stitchers: When Darkness Falls – Zed’s Dead Baby (Review)


Stitchers is back. Not all the way, it is still a long time before  the next season starts, but this little taste of what makes this show so special proves that the gang are not resting on their laurels.  This one-off Halloween episode, titled When Darkness Falls, keeps the topical humor running and has some real “treats” in the script and a couple of clever tricks.

In the area of humor, what can be more topical than Kyle Harris, as Cameron, doing a “corn” riff, a’la Amanda Stenberg‘s “Don’t Cash Crop my Corn Rows” video. And…for treats, Aussie actress Emma Ishta, aka Kirsten Clark, gets a few “in-jokes” included in the script. The tricks all belong to the plot twist in the episode’s storyline.

In the area of treats, for example, the automated zombie that Camille uses in her attempt to scare Kirsten is referred to as “Zed,” by Allison Scagliotti‘s character  which is obviously a reference to the “Z” letter being called zed in the land down under, just as it is in England. Later, Kirsten herself mentions Australia and actually drops a little “Crocodile Dundee” type pronunciation in the same line.

Clever writing and topical humor aside, the plot for this Halloween episode of Stitchers is top notch and offers fans of the show a Cameron and Kirsten “cuddle moment.”  It also has Linus (Ritesh Rajan) in a much happier mood than when he was last seen in the season one finale.  Suffice to say that Cameron is not dead, or in a coma, in this episode but as the time period is not really specified, this could be somewhere in the middle of season one’s time line and not after the “Cameron!” shouted out by Kirsten at the end of the finale. 

In terms of  plot, it is noted that everyone is well aware of Camille’s annual Halloween party which has to be relocated, meaning, apparently, that the group have all known each other for at least a year. However, It should also be noted that Tim from engineering (Cameron Britton) is not at the party and after spectacularly saving everyone in the lab towards the end of the season, his lack of appearance at the Halloween “do” indicates that this is before the gut wrenching final episode.

When Darkness Falls starts with Camille being frustrated about not getting rise out of Kirsten. The stitcher explains that she does not do “scared” (as in creepy, ghosty, scared) and after an amusing scene where Cameron and Linus trot out some costume ideas for the upcoming party, things move to the lab under the Jade Frog.

Linus with real “working” udders…

Cameron gets out his corn rant just before the alarm sounds for the latest stitch. Enter the “victim” for the episode, (2003’s Peter Pan star Jeremy Sumpter in a brilliant guest role) one Devon Landry, who is found hanged with a note stating that he is “Sorry for what I did.”

Maggie (Salli Richardson-Whitfieldtells the group that “what Landry may have done is kidnap a girl.” They have to do the stitch to find out where the young lady is and, if she is still alive, save her.  Cue Cameron’s usual “references” pre-stitch, which includes calling Kirsten “Scream Queen” and rumbling out “Here’s Johnny” as the the sequencing begins.

Once Kirsten is in the stitch, she learns a bit about the dead man and at one point, he talks to her while she is in his dead memory. Properly freaked out, Clarke ends the stitch and is not overly impressed with Cameron’s and Linus’ explanation about the occurrence. After the stitch, Devon shows up in the real world and once again Kirsten is, understandably, frightened. While Halloween shenanigans may not frighten Ms. Clark, nor the thought of being in dead people’s brains, a “stitch” following her around is a different matter.

While the “hauntings” continue, the group search for the missing student, Kelly Marino. Camille does not allow this to stop her search for a new venue for her Halloween party and when the stitchers gang (like the Scooby Doo gang sans dog) head to Landry’s house, Camille decides that this location is perfect for the “Nightmare on Camille Street” shindig.

There is a satisfying plot twist that involves twins, an apparent ghost, that is not dead at all, and some clever thinking on the part of Kirsten.

Before any of these things occur, Cameron and Linus explain to Kirsten that Devon talking to her in the stitch, did not really happen. She is not convinced. Clark also sees the dead man standing over a dead body, under a sheet, with a bone saw in his hand while in the stitch.

Linus (Ritesh Rajan), Cameron, Camille and Kirsten all head to Devon’s house and Kirsten sees someone upstairs. The four colleagues enter the dead man’s home,  and the two guys decide the the place is decidedly creepy. After finding “no body” (Linus’ joke) they leave.

Later, after Camille makes “eye-dourves” and then leaves with Linus to pick up a coffin for the party, Kirsten is visited by the dead man who looks at her through her bedroom window.

A creeped-out Kirsten heads to Cameron’s apartment (one of the funniest bits in the show has Ms. Clark knocking nonstop on the door until Cameron answers it) and after having a spoonful of “calming” hazelnut spread,  Kirsten tells him he has the couch and she is sleeping in his bed.

Kirsten has a very intense, and scary, nightmare and after waking up, she sees Devon in the hallway outside of Cameron’s apartment door. Grabbing her host, they look and Landry is nowhere to be seen. Kirsten then  asks Cameron to stay in bed with her. The next morning, the two are sleeping when Fisher (Damon Dayoub) calls and the stitch pilot seems pretty pleased with himself. 

As the episode moves on, they learn that Devon worked in a cadaver lab (bone saw) and when they arrive to search the lab, she finds a clue; Landry’s phone.  Before finding the smart phone, Kirsten mentions that Cameron snores and Fisher’s  bemused response is, “TMI.”  On the dead man’s phone, they find a picture of the missing student and “Devon.”

Later, back at the stitchers lab, Camille does  the math and finally explains that the kidnapped girl has 124 minutes to live. (Note: Listen to Kirsten’s pronunciation of “parameters.”-  “Tie me kangaroo down sport.” Great nod to her place of birth and a nice treat for her fans.)

After another stitch, where things are quite weird and Devon speaks to Kirsten again, she learns where the girl is and the group go to rescue her. After the student is safe, it is time to party and the gang show off their outfits and have some brilliant moments of interaction.

By the end of the episode, Kirsten proves that she really can take care of herself and Camille shows that she can clear a room.  Turns out that Devon was not the kidnapper or  attempted killer of the girl and not the ghost that was scaring Kirsten.

Brilliant episode with some hints (Maybe?) about Cameron and Kirsten as well as Camille and Linus. Example: Was the fact that Linus and Camille are arguing at the party a coincidence?  Probably not.

It has to be said, that Emma Ishta wearing a set of purple angel wings and outfit  is gorgeous as an angel (or Superhero That-Look) and Allison Scagliotti as a vampire space princess totally rocks it. (Great vamp teeth…and oh so impressive in that outfit.)

Stitchers: When Darkness Falls was an excellent telling of a “one off” tale for the season. (The scary one, not the Ho-Ho-Ho one.) A reminder of what we love about the series and all the characters that fans care about.  Who can possibly not like an episode where Cameron “gets the girl” and fans get to go “Awwww.”

The second season of Stitchers returns in 2016 on ABC Freeform. While waiting for the second season to start, have a look at Emma with Zed (Brian La Rosa) or do a little binge watching of season one.

Zed’s not dead baby…




Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

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