Slasher: Flesh and Blood—the “Family Ties” That Bind (S4E5)

Slasher: Flesh and Blood has started creating more questions than answers and continues to stay vague about what is transpiring. It has remained bloody, angry, and ambiguous since Episode 1, “Thicker Than Water.” One of the best antagonists, Florence Galloway (Sabrina Grdevich), is a flat out evil bag of rotten meat who has no positive attributes whatsoever, doing whatever she can to get ahead of any single human that crosses her path, whether they are related or not. So yeah, you know that little introduction means we’re dealing with a Florence episode and the internal plight of a failed artist with Episode 5,”Family Ties.”

The Galloway house sits forebodingly the dark waiting for the horrors to come

This episode starts out at 100 miles per hour. Liv (Sydney Meyer) and Vincent (A.J. Simmons) come to head with a fist fight, and due to her military training, Liv unsurprisingly beats the crap out of him, which ends up with Vincent in an arm bar. This really exhibits one thing that has been in the back of our minds since the beginning—Liv is badass, that is. He’s at least a foot taller than her and probably has quite a few pounds over her, but she takes him down as if he were light as a feather! It was honestly great, and it was some good visual backstory for Liv’s character. After Vincent’s ass beating, Florence expertly delivers one of the most unintentionally funny lines in the season which nearly made me spit my coffee out when she calls Liv, “feral little c*nt.”

Soon Liv and Theo (Alex Ozerov) start the search for Brigit (Patrice Goodman), hoping for the best and expecting the worst. Brigit’s death feels almost cruel. Not that the other ones aren’t, but getting buried to your neck and having dirt shoveled onto your face until you slowly suffocate is unbearable to even think about. When they find her body, there is a crab picking at the whites of her eye, and it is absolutely bonkers; it’s a really interesting piece of visual horror that I didn’t realize was a trigger until I saw it!

The masked killer buries Brigit to her neck before she suffocates

O’Keefe (Breton Lalama) has some wonderful moments in this episode, specifically one where she sees Grace (Rachael Crawford) crying and talking to Jayden’s (Corteon Moore) corpse. Oh, also, they just started putting all of the dead bodies in the freezer, which is unironically hysterical. They have a conversation together about how much Jayden meant to O’Keefe and how much they will miss him, in a really touching scene. This absolutely infuriates Florence, who already begins plotting how she will get back at Grace for this.

We’re treated to a flashback of Florence blatantly copying the work of another artist, with the only addition to their piece is cut up 100 dollar bills. Grace walks by and pretty much tells Florence she is a hack of an artist. This is where the real conversation of the plight of an artist comes to light. We’ve seen her terrible art up to this point, but how did it get here? It’s interesting that even though she lost a child, which is obviously traumatizing, she still didn’t channel that into her art. Instead, she did what she had always done, and that is take. It’s honestly sad because one of the pieces she makes later in the episode is unwholesomely unique and weirdly beautiful.

It’s finally time for the pre-game—a qualifier of death, if you will. The family must take paintball guns, and hunt each other; the first and second place winners will be granted access into the bunker for ‘safety.’ We find out that instead of paintballs in the guns, there are rubber bullets. Even in death, Spencer Galloway (David Cronenberg) can find a way to hurt his family. There is also a great line that is delivered by Florence from her father, “Scars will help us remember what we did wrong.” Looks like the only thing anyone here has ever done wrong is be associated with his psychopathic ass.

The masked killer looks into the window after Liv escapes their wrath

Vincent, Grace, Aphra (Nataliya Rodina), and Florence team up to get Liv out of the game, just to make sure she doesn’t win. On their walk to find Liv, Florence has another flashback. She takes the copycat art to a gallery, and it does not go well. The gallery person tells her, besides being a copy of someone else’s work, there is no heart or pain in her work. Then she horrendously pronounces Van Gogh, and he walks out laughing. As much as I hate Florence, she has some great lines in this episode!

Liv and the anti-Liv team get in a shootout, resulting in Liv being ousted from the pre-game, and delivering a line to Vincent, “My mom should have f*cking drowned you.” Again, unintentionally hilarious. Ready to get back at Grace, Florence shoots her directly in the eye with one of the rubber bullets, and it looks gnarly and is incredibly cringe inducing.

Aphra’s Pica is brought up a couple times, once when she eats a cork from a wine bottle. The next time is when she (bleh) licks Grace’s blood off of some of the gauze. This leads me to believe she’s going to eat someone’s dead body some point soon.

Florence and O’Keefe go to their victory bunker, giving us the final flashback of the episode where Florence reveals her most interesting and thought-provoking pieces, titled Save Me. She makes Theo listen to the audio interview between him and the police, post kidnapping, while he watches video screens of her crying and laughing with a doll dressed as Vincent gets showered with blood. She films his reaction, which he vows to make sure never sees the light of day.

We find out the actual game is between O’Keefe and Florence as gas starts to fill the bunker, and only one oxygen mask is available. We all saw this coming, but Florence lets O’Keefe die so she can live; this is when Theo and Vincent turn on her, realizing what a scumbag she is. They zip tie her to the Vincent memorial she created, telling her this is the trail of the “best mother of the decade,” and that if she makes it through the night, it will prove she isn’t the killer.

Florence gets put on trial by her sons after letting O'Keefe die

Theo’s turn here is incredible from the stance of acting. He has a breakdown in the pantry which is beautifully filmed. His audio is silenced as the music swells with his emotions in the background. When he is tying Florence up, the anger and hatred in his eyes are insanely intense, and if I were acting against him I would have truly feared for my life. It may be one of the greatest acted moments in the entire season.

Slasher: Flesh and Blood continues to be an intriguing and emotionally brutal season, complete with beautiful cinematography and an excellent score. The choices of when to use handheld shots and static shots really sell the intensity of certain scenes and are bound to elicit intense responses based on visuals alone. We still don’t know who the killer is, but we at least know it’s not O’Keefe!

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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