Episode two of Dead of Summer follows the slow pacing of the pilot but offers up Tony Todd’s tall man roaming around the camp a lot more. Backstory flashbacks reveal that Alex Powell is Alexi and this Russian immigrant has very talented fingers. Alex is also “a playa” in that he is a master manipulator and con artist.
Blotter, played by Zachary Gordon, (real name Jason…Get it? Get it?) scores some drugs from Damon (Andrew J. West). Damon is the local satanist who is already on the radar of former counselor turned local cop Garrett Sykes (Alberto Frezza).
Alex (Ronen Rubinstein) zooms in on new girl Amy (Elizabeth Lail) while making a connection with the young Russian lad Anton. The boy’s appearance in camp and his being bullied by the other campers in his cabin prompt memories from Alex’s past to surface.
We learn firstly that Alex is really Russian (Alexi) and that he was, and is, a very talented pianist. It is also revealed that Alex’s father died too young and that the first man Alex remembers his dad working for in America was a douche.
Blotter makes moves on his childhood friend Cricket (Amber Coney) and Anton busily speaks to his “invisible” friend the Tall Man (Todd). The ghostly apparition insists that Anton “find him” or someone will die. The Russian boy goes missing twice and after the first time Deb (Elizabeth Mitchell) promises that someone will be fired if it happens again.
The Tall Man’s bones are found by Blotter after Alex slips acid in his drink. (The counselor has a melt down – pun intended – trip and while tripping Jason can see the Tall Man and finds his remains.)
When Blotter tries to show off the skeleton it has been removed. In the end Jason is fired by Deb. The boss lady has a secret (she implies this when getting flirty with camp camera guy Joel (Eli Goree).
Alex sees his dead grandfather several times and we see him extort the dry cleaner store owner for clothes. (Powell may be clever at manipulation and taking advantage of opportunities but his dreams are relatively small. Although he does get Nadia hired back by the owner.)
Sykes takes Damon in for questioning. The tall satanist is a suspect as far as the cop is concerned. Blotter knows that Alex “dosed him” and messes up his former friend’s chances with new girl Amy.
Powell finds the boys picking on Anton and he reveals to the boy that he speaks Russian. The two talk and he gives the lad tips while helping him set up the bullies with a prank. Anton reveals to Alex that the Tall Man says “It’s only just begun.”
As an upset Blotter leaves the camp he sees the Tall Man who points to something behind the fired counselor. Jason turns and screams. It seems pretty safe to presume that Blotter has been dispatched by something under the Tall Man’s control.
Episode two of Dead of Summer has not been quite the snooze fest that one was but it is close. Things are still moving at a snail’s pace and the only saving grace is having the splendid Tony Todd roaming around the camp and looking rather scary. (How much scarier if Todd were allowed to speak, eh? It is a given that Tony has cornered the market on looking menacing but add in that deep voice and “Oh my!” )
It is interesting that headliner Elizabeth Mitchell (as Deb) has a secret and that she was much more visible in this episode. (As was Todd.) Joel still has a crush on Deb (“She’s as old as your mom, ew!” says Jessie (Paulina Singer)aka Braces in years past.) so perhaps we will be seeing more of Ms. Mitchell.
The Alex backstory is a nice touch. The guy has problems, not least of which is his creepy looking dead grandpa haunting him at the camp, and he seems to be a psycho in the making. (On a sidenote: The whole extortion thing was pretty lame. Blackmailing for fancy duds? Sheesh…guy. Dare to extort big.)
So far this Freeform “Friday the 13th” wannabe is a one step above a yawn and a snooze. One can only hope that the producers have realized that to pay homage to a slasher classic the body count needs to be higher and on screen. (Come on guys, even the annoying MTV Wes Craven rip off Scream got that right.)
By the way: The title “Barney Rubble Eyes” is what Alex tells Blotter will happen to him if he takes the acid. Rubble was the second banana on The Flintstones whose eyes were all pupil.
Dead of Summer airs Tuesdays on Freeform. Stop by and see what you think. Is this worth watching? Sure it has Tony Todd in it but is that enough. One skeleton, some floating bodies and a molasses in winter pacing does not a scary show make. Tell us what you think.