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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


  • Harper's Island
  • How our lives are remembered
  • Limitations of a film adaptation
  • Work place experience versus schoolroom education
  • Social Networking
  • The constructs of family in modern society
  • Mythology
  • How we perceive crime in modern society (I've become very interested in how our typical perceptions of the world are based on old world stereotypes when society has evolved to be much more complex, especially in our darker undertakings)
  • Potential of the horror genre in a TV environment
Sorry about missing yesterday, work stuff. Don't worry, I skipped my football blog too and I'll do two posts today, keeping us even.

So a few posts ago (here), I spoke of CBS's suspense, thriller crime drama that started on Thursday nights, but was eventually moved to Saturday nights because of poor ratings. Now I kind gave a brief synopsis of the show in the previous post, but I'll kind of wrap everything up. I am going to reveal the big 'mystery', so - you know, if you're even quasi-interested in watching for yourself (all of the episodes are available online at, stop reading now and do so. There are only 13 episodes, and at 45 minutes a piece, you're only looking at killing a little more than 4 hours which ain't too bad given how much else there is out there in terms of bad TV, and this is at least a degree.

So anyways, in episode 10, it is revealed that the brutal killer who staged the massacre 7 years prior on the island is in fact alive, traveling via tunnels throughout the island and is now back. This is my biggest complaint because this has got to be one of the biggest writer cop-outs I've ever seen. The concept of the series was that of these limited number of locals - who could the suspect be? By adding in another character, with a history of killing in his background, in the tenth episode was a weak escape from the fact that all of the other characters were given substantial alibis for at least one of the other murders. Now obviously, he wasn't working alone, which is fine and dandy, but adding in a suspect that far into the storyline and an explanation as to why he wouldn't have been seen by that point...ridiculous.

So anyways, his 'assistant' turned out to be Henry, the groom. You see...Henry is actually Abby's half-brother. John Wakefield (the original killer) had a child with Sara (Abby's mom), however by the time she gave birth, she had gotten away from John (probably because he was psychopathic killer) and gave the child (Henry) up for adoption. Nobody knows this until the last episode, although it is revealed that Henry is the other killer in the 12th episode. So Henry grew up with Abby, unknown to either of them that they are related. So fast forward to the current bloodfest...because Henry was the shunned child (given up for adoption instead of raised), he feels some resentment towards Abby, much like Wakefield felt towads Sara for giving up his child (she was his first victim in the original massacre) and now feels he much kill Abby for the same reason. However, given the opportunity, Henry kills Wakefield and kidnaps Abby so that they can 'be alone together forever.' He sets it up so that Wakefield's body and blood from the only remaining survivors (Abby, Henry and Jessie) are found in the burning church, giving the FBI reason to believe that all remaining people on the island have been killed. This is actually a set-up because Shea and her daughter, Madison, succeeded in getting off the island. In fact, Henry has tied up Jessie in order to get him to sign a confession to helping Wakefield and locked Abby up so they can live together. Obviously, things happen and Abby kills Henry, then she and Jessie go off and live happily ever after. Yeah, for Hollywood endings. Here's the problem with the finale though (which I pretty much summed up)...

Henry kills Wakefield, so he and Abby can be together. That's fantastic! I love allusions to incest as much as the next guy, but was this really necessary? They had some great dialog early in the episode, some cathartic ramblings by Henry, confessions of sorts, prior to killing his best friend and then again, to Abby before the showdown with Wakefield. However, after he kidnaps her...he goes into a very long monologue about being a child, the shunned child, and only finding out in his adult years. His growth as a killer and his formation of this grand plan to get Abby alone. To give you a timeline, she is kidnapped with twenty minutes remaining in the episode. That's right, half of the episode is dedicated to his obsessive love of his half-sister. This is overdoing it a bit much. Honestly, I would have liked to have seen a flashback of all the murders, who did them (Wakefield or Henry). Why bother with getting a confession from Jessie? Shea figuring out that Wakefield had an assistant and it couldn't be Jessie (who she already suspected, but Wakefield had the key to get out of the jail cell and Henry was the only person capable of giving him it)? That's not enough motive to keep Jessie alive, you already set it up for everyone to think you're dead...therefore, it doesn't matter if Shea or Madison figure out it was you. The FBI will likely do an investigation, come up with little evidence of an accomplice and even if they do figure out it was you, you're that's the end of it. The finale was kind of a let down given the action leading up to it in the previous few episodes.

My next beef is with the methodology. In the killing spree seven years prior, Wakefield set off an explosion at the marina to distract the local law enforcement, killed Sara and then went on a random killing spree before being shot and falling off a cliff (and never seen again until now, although he was supposedly buried...has a grave and everything). So, from this, it is reasonable to gather that Wakefield's M.O. is to have a plan in order to get to a single target, then kill randomly until stopped. In this killing spree, the murders were often elaborate traps with the planned target chosen ahead of time. Now, it is reasonable that this was Henry's affect on the dwindle the numbers until Abby was the only remaining person on the island, but why? Wakefield's intent the whole time was to kill Abby and Henry's was to get her alone...seems like a lot of work, killing everyone else in such elaborate schemes.

This is my final beef, with the show at least...opportunity. Henry is running around with Trish (the bride) for the final twenty minutes of the 12th episode before finally killing her. Why wait so long? It was seem much more sensible to kill her when the first opportunity arose, then going out and killing others. Time management for serial killers is important...especially since by that point, the coast guard had been contacted and were on their way. Time is of the essence, let's get going with the murders already!

CBS created a parallel web series (Harper's Globe, which can also be found at the website I directed you to before), which merits it's own entry, I think...given the ridiculous plot they formulated for it.

I don't think I'll do another post immediately, I have to get back to work, but I'll try to do another post tonight so we stay even. Ta.

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