Dead of Summer: Townie – Shocker (Recap and Review)


Dead of Summer “Townie” manages to match the earlier shocker of Cricket dying via bear trap and easily surpasses last week’s “spirit board” possession. Thus far the series has run pretty much on the bland side. Not much in the way of death and despite the “slasher setting” has focussed on malevolent ghost Holyoke and the local group of Satanists.

This episode focusses on Garrett’s backstory. In a splendid twist, Damon was Garrett’s Wilbur Milquetoast friend when they were 14. Garrett forces the young Satanist into bashing the principle’s car with a baseball bat. Years later, the kid grows up to embrace the dark side and Garrett is a cop. Nice bit of irony there chaps.

The backstory shows that Garrett was a kid obsessed with “getting even.”  Flashbacks show his one summer at Camp Stillwater. We see his introduction to “Braces” and  Michael Goodson, Joel’s big brother is also  seen peripherally.

Young Garrett slowly turns himself around at the camp. This is all down to Jessie, who obviously likes the local kid, aka Townie.  It is when they win “Capture the Flag” that the two really connect.

Jessie  is the one who carves their names on the bench, although she uses his nickname for her; Braces. She also puts Garrett’s name as “Townie.”   They share a kiss and then Garrett learns of his dad’s death.

In the present Garrett correctly surmises that Amy is the target and that the Satanists will attempt to kill her.  He lays out his theory to Sheriff Heelan (Charles Mesure) and they decide to handle things themselves.  Amy is used as bait for them to catch the potential killers. 

Prior to executing the plan Damon takes one of the counselors for his ceremony. Parker (Donnie Cochrane) is forced to call for Amy and then his tongue is cut out. The organ is held over a wooden or bone “horn” and blood is dripped over the thing. 

Deb is against the plan initially. She sends the counselors out to keep an eye on things and this allows Blair and Drew to patch things up.  Amy  goes into a trance and voluntarily goes to Damon and Heelan go missing.

The remaining three counselors show Garrett a drawing that Anton did. It shows a cave and the picture matches one that Joel’s brother drew in 1982.  Using the sketches as a reference Garrett goes to find Amy.

Inside the cave, Amy is still in her fugue state and is voluntarily participating in the ceremony, she cuts her arm to “bleed” herself. Amy only “wakes up” when her feet touch  the water. She begins to scream.

Damon (Andrew J. West)

Garrett confronts Damon and his followers. The Satanist explains why he is sacrificing Amy; eternal life. The group then all slit their own throats and fall forward into the bloodstained water.

The rope holding Amy snaps and she falls into the water. Garrett dives in after her. He swims down and grabs the girl. The same demon hand that reached for Amy before, grabs her foot. For a moment Garrett cannot pull her to safety.

Jessie lowers the rope into the water and helps Garrett drag Amy out. He gives the girl artificial respiration and saves her life. Heelan turns back up and Garrett tells the Sheriff that Damon and his group are dead.

He returns Amy to to the camp. Blair and Drew kiss and Garrett thanks Jessie for her help. Joel is still bothered about Holyoke.  Garrett talks about the teacher. Heelan mentions Damon killing himself.

Garrett realizes that the sheriff is the teacher. He confronts the man who confesses to killing his dad. The two fight and Heelan blames Jack Sykes’ death on Garrett. Heelan reveals that he did not kill David or Cricket.

Heelan tries to get Garret to join him and the deputy shoots the sheriff to death. A masked figure witnesses the event.

This was one of the better episodes in terms of backstory. It revealed a lot about Garrett Sykes and,  a bit about Jessie.  The mass suicide of Damon and his followers was shocking as was Garrett’s killing of Heelan.

There were some issues with “Townie.” The blood dripping from Amy’s arm for instance. When she cuts herself for the ceremony,  her blood mixes with the lake water and turns it red. In reality the amount of blood needed to do this would be  way more than what Amy has in her entire body.


Also in the grotto, when the group slit their throats they all fall forward instantly. Once again this goes against what would really happen.  Even cutting the carotid artery would not cause instantaneous death. (Although to be fair, it did look impressive.)

Dead of Summer is picking up the pace. The death count has risen substantially.  Heelan, killed by Garrett and the mass suicide of Damon and his Satanists makes for an impressive tally.  (Presumably Parker died as well after having his tongue cut out since he was, apparently, a new recruit.)

Garrett and Heelan

Garrett will now have to answer for killing Heelan and Amy will have to recover from her ordeal.  The big question is why did the giant demon hand let go of Amy’s leg?  The ceremony was completed so why did the creature not follow through?

And…Where was Holyoke?

The show’s makers will have to continue upping their game now. With the massive upswing in deaths and with the ritual almost completed things should  really get adrenalized in terms of plot and pace.

Dead of Summer airs Tuesdays on Freeform. Tune in and see who will the next victim of Camp Stillwater.


Guest starring  Shayla Wells as Young Jesse, Lucas Wyka as Young Damon , Anton Starkman as Young Garrett and Dan Payne as Jack Sykes.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

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

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