Slasher: Flesh and Blood is the highly anticipated fourth season of the anthology series Slasher. The first three seasons were a bit hit and miss at times, though I think the most entertaining one is Season 2, Guilty Party. The title Flesh and Blood was an interesting tease, and staying away from any images/trailers created for a really fun viewing experience. With hints of Ready or Not, (possibly) Orphan, and the copious amounts of preceding slashers, Flesh and Blood starts fresh and hopefully will continue to keep us on our feet.
Episode 1, “Thicker Than Water,” flirts with the idea of a life or death game played by The Galloways. In a scene set 25 years ago, Seamus (Chris Jacot), Grace (Rachael Crawford), and Florence (Sabrina Grdevich) savagely compete in a race to get a gold bar. Seamus gets his foot brutally caught in a bear trap, which Florence uses to her advantage and gets closer to the gold bar. Florence gets to the gold bar but drops it, then goes to try and find her sons. Theo stands lonesome as his mother screams at him asking where his brother Vincent is. We soon find out Vincent was kidnapped on the day of that game, when two masked villains infiltrate the island on a boat and take him.
Cut to 25 years later, the present day. The Galloway family meets on a dock waiting for the boat to take them to their father’s, Spencer (David Cronenberg)’s, personal island. We’re introduced to Seamus’s wife Christy (Paula Brancati) and their adopted Russian daughter Aphra (Nataliya Rodina) who suffers from Pica, an eating disorder where she is compelled to eat things that are largely inedible. Florence waits for the boat with them, as well as one of her kids O’Keeffe (Breton Lalama), and Theo (Alex Ozerov). The daughter of housekeeper Bridget (Patrice Goodman), Liv (Sydney Meyer), is back from a tour in Iraq and is coming back to visit her mother. Theo is pretty smitten to see her.
Upon getting to the island the Galloways are greeted by their father’s second wife Grace and their kid Jayden (Corteon Moore). At this point, things feel pretty tense as the only time we’ve seen Grace, Seamus, and Florence together was when they were battling each other for a bar of gold. This is around the time we are presented with the first kill, and boy oh boy does it set the bar for the rest of the series. Murrow the boat driver is working on fixing his engine so he can go back out an fish, but unfortunately he won’t make it. He gets hit in the head with an I Know What You Did Last Summer fish hook that knocks him out, then gets hooked in the mouth, like a fish, and dragged to his final resting spot, which happens to be hanging from the ground by his mouth. Moments later Murrow gets Casey Beckered and gutted like a fish. The special effects used are brilliantly gory and insanely realistic.
The family starts settling into the house as Jayden regales Christy with a story of the person who built the house, only known as The Gentleman, Jayden even goes so far as to posit that The Gentleman is one of a few ghosts who haunts the house…Seamus wholeheartedly disagrees.
The few interactions we see between Seamus and Aphra are a bit strange. Firstly when they are all waiting for the boat, Aphra consumes wet paint on the ground and then bites Christy’s finger. And secondly, after Jayden’s ghost story, Aphra runs up to Seamus telling him that she wants to leave the island and that things don’t feel right. Seamus quickly brushes off any help from Christy and tells her to take a take a bath, right before ushering Aphra into her room and quickly shutting the door behind them. So my first theory is that something nefarious is going on between Seamus and Aphra. They even go so far as to show Aphra watching, and enjoying, Murrow and Grace bumping uglies in the shed.
The reason they have gathered on the island is to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Vincent going missing. Florence gives, what she thinks is, a moving interpretive art performance, gaining ridicule from her father.
Spencer calls everyone together for lunch and drops a huge bomb on the family: he’s dying and is deciding to Kevorkian himself. His final cruel trick? He is bringing back the games they used to play, but this time the prize is his fortune. Most people are pretty pissed off about this. Now that the games are almost underway Spencer is ready to die, but has a conversation with Bridget before so. She asks him if the games are open to all his descendants, and he says yes. What seems like a weirdly innocuous question leads to a theory we will cover momentarily.
It’s now time for Dr. Persephone (Jeananne Goossen) to administer the drug cocktail, and he is ready to go. Now Spencer is well aware of what privileged assholes his kids have become, but he’s not much better for enabling them financially. It’s fairly obvious that he was not a hands-on father and provided little to no emotional support for his kids, but he has a seemingly subtextual line before the Doctor kills him and asks, “Will I feel anything?” The Doctor assures him he will not. While it’s fairly obvious he is asking about whether or not he will feel pain from his impending death, between the lines it feels like he is realizing that he spent his whole life working and rarely spent time with his kids, and when he did spend time with them he made them play death games for his entertainment. He is asking if he will finally feel something from life. After the Doctor gives him the cocktail she goes to look over the first round of the game, readying us for kill number 2.
On the verge of death, Spencer hallucinates his first wife and has a sweet little conversation with her. She soon morphs into a masked person who injects Spencer with acid, giving us a WILD second kill as Spencer’s chest literally melts, the acid soon disintegrating his heart. It’s probably one of the most David Cronenberg ways to die.
It’s time for the first test, a test of endurance. The family surrounds a bunch of ropes and are told they have to climb the ropes. Moments before climbing we see a hooded figure standing in the center. He takes his hood off and we see a grown-up Vincent (AJ Simmons).
Here are my two final theories and ideas of where I think the show will go: 1) Bridget’s line regarding descendants is referring to Liv, and Liv is probably also Spencer’s child, but Theo is into Liv, and I think Liv is into Theo, so they will get together at some point before realizing they are related. 2) Spencer orchestrated Vincent’s kidnapping to train him for the death games. That second theory is a bit looser, but we’ll see as the series goes.
Slasher: Flesh and Blood continues its fast-paced, blood-soaked history of its previous seasons, with an addition to some better acting, crisper directing/cinematography, and all-around more compelling characters. At the very least, it’s gonna be a crazy-a** ride.