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Chucky - Just Let Go - Review

Welcome to this week´s review of episode four of Syfy´s Chucky. Going into “Just Let Go,” I was concerned Chucky was going to repeat the dynamic of its first two episodes: a wildly eventful mini slasher movie followed by a slower episode to unpack what just happened and fill in gaps in the lore. Last week’s chaotic cliffhanger certainly primed this week’s episode to be another breather… which, given the fact that a kid gets their ventilator unplugged by Chucky this week, was a figurative and literal misprojection on my part. Even as the characters regroup in the hospital, “Just Let Go” wastes no time getting its foot back on the gas, forcing Jake (Zackary Arthur) and Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind) to confront their transgressions against each other as Chucky’s motivations become clearer. With Chucky’s (Brad Dourif) attack on Lexy’s (Alyvia Alyn Lind) party nearly burning the Cross home to the ground, most of the characters find themselves at Hackensack’s hospital, with Devon (Björgvin Arnarson) and Junior (Teo Briones) among several kids being treated for smoke inhalation. Jake (Zackary Arthur) and Devon spend most of the episode dealing with Chucky in the present and past, respectively, so their time together is brief, but impactful. Their mutual crush is an earnest bright spot in a show which so gleefully celebrates mayhem.

Don Mancini’s team finds a balance between significant reveals for Charles’ childhood and Chucky’s current mean-streak, even if we’re still waiting patiently for a few familiar franchise faces (already announced in casting news) to make their appearance. I can´t wait. Junior’s interaction with dad Logan (Devon Sawa) is a lot less sweet. Just like his dearly departed twin, Luke, Logan has a dark side which comes to the surface as he practically coerces Junior into saying he likes cross-country and doesn’t do it because he’s forced. It’s sinister work from Sawa that sets up Logan as a more villainous figure going forward.

This episode forces Jake and Lexy to work together as they attempt to put a stop to Chucky. Even in the midst of a truce, the teens have serious problems with one another and Arthur and Lind’s performances keep that disdain just under the surface of their teamwork. Even though some of their arguments veer hard into melodrama, Arthur and Lind’s chemistry smooths out a lot of those rough patches and elevates the clunkier dialogue. Impressive, considering Lexy totally has a point about how messed up it is that Jake kinda sorta sent Chucky her way. I have to say i have been hating on Lexy pretty much the first three episodes but this one i didn´t as much, so maybe that´s progress? It was great that they showed layers to her character while being mean, something that did not happened before.

Even with the chaos going on in the modern day, Chucky still finds time for another vignette from Charles Lee Ray’s childhood, which shades in the killer’s attempts to mentor Jake nicely. Devon’s research reveals details of Charles’ stay in an orphanage after the man who invaded his home murdered his father, inspiring him to do the same to his mother. That Charles wanted to pay forward that spark of inspiration from a young age is a smart way to add to Chucky’s backstory in a way that’s still relevant to Jake in the present.
The rawest moments of “Just Let Go” both commiserate and evolve teenage characters, primarily since Jake and Lexy's survival depends on teamwork. Jake lays everything on the table — giving Chucky approval to kill Lexy, his murderous intentions and the trauma her negligent pranks cause. Other high school dramas might allow emotional admissions to linger, but my favorite aspect of horror storytelling is how death forces characters to engage in immediate changes. While just that’s enough to make these scenes worthwhile, the identity of the boy Charles takes under his wing will delight longtime Child’s Play fans in a way that’s unobtrusive for newcomers. But “Just Let Go” does cut corners as Devon researches Charles Lee Ray’s early life. Google as a vehicle for exposition is never a satisfying way to keep a story rolling, and basic floating text headlines around Devon’s head only get worse when images of soon-to-return Child’s Play alumna -- images that are obviously promo images from previous films -- are none-too-subtly left on-screen for longer stretches of time, each in turn captioned blandly as being a “known accomplice” and a “escaped psychiatric patient.” That urgency arises when a frustrated and seething Jake backs Lexy over a charred banister in her scorched abandoned home on accident. Chucky stands below with a kitchen blade, urging Jake to finish the deed as the outcast boy grasps Lexy’s outreached arm lest she falls, which he doesn’t allow. Chucky fails to convert Jake, and now all bets are off. It’s an important scene with stakes and agency that removes Chucky’s need to play nice.

We’re also introduced to what I’ll call “Two-Face Chucky,” since half the doll’s face is now melted and blackened, reassembling the Batman villain’s gnarly repulsiveness. Chucky’s gone from huggable and mischievous to monstrous and nightmarish but doesn’t seem all that hindered by his cindery makeover. Detective Evan’s (Rachelle Casseus) partner Detective Peyton (Travis Milne) is this episode’s unlucky victim, as Chucky jabs random syringe cocktails into the paralyzed officer right under Caroline Cross’ (Carina Battrick) hospital bed. Blood oozes from Peyton’s eyes, ears, even fingernails — I’ve got medical questions about the last part — in a mortifying display, nary hidden from public discovery. Chucky kills Peyton for nothing more than having a punchable face, with no regard for getting caught.
Even more interestingly, “Just Let Go” introduces a concept from Cult Of Chucky that I’ve previously mentioned in passing but now believe to be afoot. The last film in Mancini’s cinematic universe ends with Chucky’s revealed ability to control multiple dolls at once, which I suspect is referenced in last night’s episode. As Junior (Teo Briones) slips into an anesthesia slumber, he spies Chucky running past his room’s door twice — but this is as Detective Peyton supposedly holds the grotesque Chucky doll from the Cross’ uninhabitable wreckage. We see Petyon place Chucky on a chair next to another one of the hospital’s broken vending machines, as he then reaches into the removal hatch when his snack of choice stays stuck on its shelf. Are we to believe the lawman is so distracted trying to grab his sugary treat that Chucky scampers away, darts around, then returns to the same plastic waiting room chair that’s barely out of Peyton’s vision? Methinks we’ve just been reintroduced to the drama of numerous Chucky dolls, or at least Mancini wants us to question the return of murderer multiplication.

Chucky ends the episode by flipping Jake and Lexy off from afar, and it’s such a devious threat of “game on,” as nurses flock to Caroline and pandemonium ensues after everyone discovers Detective Peyton’s corpse. Jake and Lexy can only gaze in horror, knowing how bonkers their Good Guy conspiracy theories would sound to anyone but true-crime podcaster Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson). Chucky has snared the children in his trap, and their fear is what inspires hope for the series’ coming conflicts. I have all the inkling that the show’s Chucky doll is only the first of many and a henchman at that. Why else would flashbacks to Charles Lee Ray’s home for wayward boys expose the psychopath’s desire not only to mutilate those who disturb his peace but show others the way of a blood-slick knife?
I can honestly say this has been my favorite episode so far, it feels a lot different from the first three. There´s a bit of character development for most of the teenagers and a big fun death scene involving an awful character. If I´m not mistaken i believe some of the familiar faces will be appearing next episode and i can´t barely contain myself.
What did you guys think of the episode?
Do you think there´s hope for Lexy?
Who are you most excited to see from the Chucky universe?

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