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Dead of Summer recap: Mix Tape

A freak lightning bolt claims the second dead camp counselor. Well, maybe.

Posted on

Jack Rowand/Freeform

Dead of Summer

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth Lail
Drama, Horror, Mystery

Rude: A backstory episode about a character named Cricket that does not explain why her nickname is Cricket. Ruder: Ending said episode with a surprise twist in which the show’s protagonist gets electrocuted in a lake during a thunderstorm summoned by a satanic cult. Two crimes, unbalanced in magnitude, but equal in impropriety.

Of course, we don’t get to the Electrocution of Amy™ without first exploring the strange case of Cricket, who gets the brunt of the backstory in episode 3 of Dead of Summer, which I’m keen to dub Cricket’s Big Night — or, Cricket’s Series of Two Big Nights and Half a Big Day.

On the first of these eventful nights, Cricket is taking a shower in a bathroom facility, located far too many leagues away from camp to be considered a sensible proximity, when the first noises begin. What Cricket doesn’t notice in her unwieldy trek back to civilization is the sudden appearance behind her of hooded figures wearing wooden deer heads. In the dark, their masks are terrifyingly gnarled wooden deer busts; in the light, they just seem like your average living room decor on Pinterest.

Cricket somehow manages to not see them, yet they appear in her dream that very night, because Camp Stillwater has a way of making weird s— like that happen. In her dream, one of the masked men grabs her and puts a knife to her throat. She escapes and wakes up in a cold sweat, telling Amy the next day that she had the strangest, most visceral nightmare. Curiously, the boots she was wearing in it have now gone missing.

Still, Cricket dismisses the spooky experience and the bootless aftermath as but a dream, too focused instead on her primary mission this week: Winning the heart of Russian laundry thief Alex. Her quest for his unrequited attention brings her to Bad Night Number Two at the local townie bar (which she’s warned against attending by a sentient Hear ‘n Speak that a camper inexplicably brought).

At the bar, Cricket tries to make Alex jealous by accepting a joy ride from local drug dealer and bandana aficionado Damon. I’m willing to look past the fact that Damon is constantly around the camp and is just one Instagram like away from being a straight-up stalker. But I’m keenly unwilling to ignore what Cricket finds in his glove compartment: The red Sharpie she’s been using to self-mythologize her non-slutty ways all over camp, and the knife that was held to her throat in her nightmare. (Obviously, it makes perfect, non-questionable sense to Cricket that Damon and his knife appeared in her dream. Obviously.)

So, Cricket gets into a scuffle with Damon, who crashes the car and is eventually apprehended by Garrett, tailing closely behind. But of course Damon gets released from jail, ostensibly for the second time in a week, because the sheriff can’t think of anything to charge him with (other than, maybe, some sort of assault and/or battery and/or theft and/or criminal bandana use).

The good-ish news: Cricket ends up alone in a room with Alex, finally getting a chance to get the man she’s always wanted. They start to hook up in the bunk, and it’s a brief moment of bliss before they fall to the floor and Cricket discovers a mixtape Blotter made for her. Suddenly, mid-pre-coitus with the man of her dreams, Cricket decides that she would rather save herself for a boy who would make her a mixtape instead of a boy who would rather just give her his 8-track. So, Alex romance over.

It’s worth noting that Cricket has the realization during one of the episode’s flashbacks, which involve her struggling with her body image in high school. That’s where she first started self-slut-shaming, despite Blair’s discouragement otherwise. But Cricket’s biggest trauma comes from discovering that her father has been having an affair with the blonde bombshell who lives next door. Her mother, who we’re told is overweight based on the amount of bacon she takes with her morning maple syrup, apparently already knows this information, which hurts Cricket even more. She’s crestfallen at her mother’s advice that “women like us sometimes have to settle.” And even sadder, she’s not talking about Catan.

The happy ending, sort of, is that Cricket spends the next morning listening to Blotter’s mixtape, and it miraculously gives her the confidence to take off her shirt and wear her bikini during beach volleyball (even if literally nobody else was wearing a bikini). It’s a delightful day! She’s newly motivated and, hey, she looks great! Nothing can go wrong!

Except she hits the ball into the middle of the lake, and Amy, who wades in to fetch it, gets electrocuted thanks to a thunderstorm summoned by Damon and his gang. Okay, so, no, not really a happy ending, actually.

NEXT: Garrett Sykes and the Silly Satanists