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Chucky - Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss - Review

Chucky's latest episode, "Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss," begins to build on some of the series' largest looming tensions. As the episode preceding the season finale, "Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss" also begins to change the circumstances for Devon, Lexy, and Jake. In the series thus far, none of them have experienced stakes quite as high as these, meaning they are walking into the finale with a new outlook. Two murdered moms mark quite the place to start an episode of TV, but this is Chucky, and we deal with dead parents on a regular basis here. Last week’s frantically paced “Cape Queer” had a lot of paradigms to shift, so “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” slows things down to build some tension for the finale. But aside from pushing one character past their point of no return, “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” feels like Chucky stalling.

The episode begins with Bree's wake but the focus isn't on the loss of Bree. Instead, it focuses on Jake, Devon, and Lexy deciding not to team up to fight Chucky anymore. Still upset with Jake, Junior punches him, shocking some and serving as an obvious sign of grief to others. Junior's anger takes a turn for the worse when Tiffany arrives at the wake and interacts with Logan, going as far as to kiss him. The tension between Junior and his father has grown consistently over Chucky's previous episodes, but Bree was often the buffer between them. Now that she's gone and a mysterious new woman has entered the picture, Junior's distaste for his father comes to a serious head. With two main characters having a dead mom to cope with, Chucky devotes more time to Junior’s (Teo Briones) grieving process. That process involves sucker-punching Jake (Zackary Arthur) and suspecting his dad of having an affair with Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) after she shows up to Bree’s funeral and kisses him (classic Tiff). Junior’s descent into madness has been a long time coming, but his heel turn still feels forced. Put under immense pressure by his father, ignored by his girlfriend, convinced Jake has it out for him, Junior’s been a ticking time bomb all season.

After confronting his father about the woman, Junior returns to his room and finds Chucky, with whom he forms an unlikely bond. Much like Chucky did with Jake early in the series, the killer doll attempts to coax Junior to become a killer. He first uses Junior's growing animosity toward his father as his prevalent example, but quickly expands it to Lexy and Jake. Aware of the competition between Jake and Junior, Chucky encourages Junior by reminding him that he can be better than Jake if he finds the guts to do what Jake couldn't. By the end of "Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss," Chucky gets his wish once Junior uses the doll to beat his father to death. The alliance between Junior and Chucky poses a dangerous threat for Devon, Lexy, and Jake in the finale.

As Junior finds a guide in Chucky, Devon has a much tougher time following the loss of his mother. Once finding solace in Jake, he now struggles to look at him without reminding himself of his mother's death. Devon reveals that he has contemplated running away from Hackensack to avoid the foster care system, but before he can do anything, he is pulled back into Chucky's twisted game. Devon ventures to Charles Lee Ray's house (which was bought by Tiffany last week) and discovers Nica tied up. He frees her, only to have the unfortunate discovery that he actually freed Chucky. Devon is then tied up in the chair facing an army of Good Guys dolls. Early on, Jake was framed as an outsider that Chucky could exploit, until he connected with other people and insulated himself from the killer doll. Junior was always a foil to that and, after being cast aside like clockwork, has fallen victim to the same way of thinking. But lately, it’s felt like the show has actively worked to keep Junior totally isolated so that we’d buy it when he snapped. Chucky has had a lot of fun exploring the negativities the Good Guy doll can represent to each character; for Junior, it seems it may be something as dull and blunt as a weapon to beat his jerk dad to death with after that last straw breaks. Logan’s death scene is brutal and well-shot. And ending with Junior and Chucky singing “We Got the Beat” just felt right, as the show usually does when leaning hard into the bizarre.

Other crucial elements of "Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss" involve the Mayor's announcement of the upcoming G-rated horror charity event. In Hackensack, the chances that the horror-themed event will actually remain G-rated isn't very likely. The impending plans of Chucky, Tiffany, Junior, and the army of Good Guys dolls also don't bode well for the event or any of Hackensack's residents. However, it may lead the people of Hackensack to finally learn the truth about Chucky.Andy (who was introduced to the series last week) leaves Kyle behind at a gas station, setting off to arrive in Hackensack to take care of the Chucky problem once and for all. He is last seen arriving at Junior's house shortly after he killed his father. Now, Andy is not only facing death at the hands of Chucky and Junior, but any army of the Good Guys dolls that he and Kyle have set out to destroy. The lingering presence of Tiffany and Nica in Hackensack also means he won't have it easy, but there is a chance Kyle will catch up with him.

In the grim episode that is "Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss," it does manage to have some positive moments. After Jake arrives at Lexy's house with the Billy Good Guys doll, Lexy becomes offended that Jake contemplated skipping town. She reminds him that even though his biological family is dwindling, he has found a chosen family in her and Devon. Considering where Jake and Lexy started off at the beginning of Chucky, this is a huge development for their characters in just seven episodes. It also presents a much-needed united front prior to the huge battle they will have on their hands next week.

"Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss" is one of Chucky's least gorry episodes, but is one of its better ones narratively. It does a great job setting up the finale for next week without making it seem that there is a set way the series must conclude. The growth Jake and Lexy have experienced together along with the strain on Jake and Devon's relationship, and even Lexy and Junior, means that the finale has the potential to offer a heartwarming conclusion (or as heartwarming as an ending any characters in the Child's Play universe can get). Now that Chucky has finally gotten one of the kids under his thumb, the series is embarking on new terrain. While it may seem unwise to introduce this new element so shortly before the finale, it is the best choice for Junior's character. This development for Junior has slowly been built over Chucky and it makes sense. Should he find out that Chucky is who is actually responsible for his mother's death, he will likely find himself caught between a rock and a hard place. Like Junior, Devon struggles to deal with his mother's death and what that means for him in the present. While both become entangled with Chucky amidst their grief, only Junior is on the side of a killer. "Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss" beautifully shows two very different sides of grief in the horrid circumstances that surround Hackensack, making it one of Chucky's most poignant episodes.

The ‘80s flashbacks detailing Charles Lee Ray and Tiffany’s early days are starting to feel less exciting and more obligatory. While they’ve been smartly tied in to what’s going on in present day (Chucky’s first kill), this week’s flashback to Charles and Tiff’s first experience cohabitating felt inessential and distracting. Especially in a week where it felt like a main character was being robbed of time to process a pretty serious trauma, extraneous flashbacks felt like a bad investment of screen time. This week’s episode was a stark departure from the style the past few chapters utilized, as old characters like Andy barely played a part in the latest chapter. Hardcore fans who enjoyed the focus on the past will likely be disappointed by this shift, but it was a needed reminder about the main story. Once again, viewers can hope that the series will compromise and feature both the OGs and the new school moving forward.I do have to admit that i screamed at that Bound reference by Jennifer Tilly.


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