Harper's Island Recap: Week 7

Another week goes by and Harper’s Island staggers along, slowly gaining strength as it starts to get to a point. The stupidest storyline in the show reaches an unbelievably stupid (kind of) resolution, and then we’re left with another cliffhanger.

We begin as the sheriff arrives at the lodge looking for JD. A group in the lobby mentions how annoying it is that the boat isn’t arriving until that afternoon. Hearing that the rooms are going to be searched makes Fat Frat nervous, and he heads up to his room to hide the money somewhere better than under his bed. Fat Frat’s idea? Move it from the duffel bag it was in into a knapsack! Um… why didn’t you do this a while ago? Anyhow, he’s distracted by a knock on the door – it’s Beth wants to talk more, but he’s busy dropping the duffel bag out of the window! Fat Frat is annoyed at missing his chance to talk to a pretty girl, and heads down to the front yard to grab the bag. After a pointless scare involving an extra with a chainsaw (really? You can’t make the pruning wait until after the guests whose friend has been brutally murdered have left that afternoon?) he retrieves the bag and heads back up into his room.

Oh, and over at the breakfast table, Shea announces that she doesn’t care where Richard is, so that’s why no one notices that he’s missing yet.

Then it’s time for a little relationship stuff – Henry offers to stay behind and make body arrangements while Trish leaves the island, and she agrees a little too quickly. Jimmy drops by to see Abby, and it doesn’t really go anywhere – except for Jimmy feeling sorry for himself because every time he gets close to Abby there’s a series of brutal murders and she leaves the island. Jeez, Jimmy – would it kill you to show a little respect for the dead? Athe conversation leads to an inevitable flashback about the day of the murders, when she was planning to go camping for the weekend with Jimmy. Abby’s mother is a little nervous about letting her go camping, and the conversation alludes to her having had a ‘bad boy’ phase in her life that she’s since grown out of.

As the sheriff searches JD’s room, he an Henry come across all of JD’s pills, which he’s stopped taking. Then they make the big discovery - stuffed down in his bag is Marty’s cell phone! So JD must be the killer! Or it has to be someone with access to the hotel. Like Katherine or Maggie. Or Jimmy, who was at the hotel anyway to visit Abby.

Abby and Henry discuss the situation, and Henry worries that Trish will blame him for Thomas’ death. Then Henry and the sheriff head out into the woods to capture JD along with a group of bloodhounds. This leads to a little exposition regarding JD’s mental problems. It seems that he’d taken the death of their parents hard, and gotten into drugs. Then he and a girl had a suicide pact, but Henry managed to save JD, after which he and Marty had him thrown in an asylum. Soon after this revelation the dogs get the scent and chase JD down. He’s captured without incident, and points out the classic statement that they’ll all feel pretty stupid when there’s another murder while he’s in custody. While this is a perfectly valid thing to say, it assumes that there are going to be murders, and that the killer isn’t finished. If JD has some reason to believe this is the case, shouldn’t he say so? Also, shouldn’t he be explaining why Marty’s phone is in his bag? Even an ‘I don’t know how it got there!’ would be better than nothing at all. Yes, the key piece of evidence against JD somehow doesn’t come up.

Abby checks in with Trish, hoping to help Henry out. Trish announces that she’s breaking up with him because she’ll never be able to look at him without thinking about her father’s brutal murder. Which is true, I’m sure, but won’t that happen no matter what you look at? I mean, seriously, your dad was brutally murdered by a trap during your wedding rehearsal. No matter who you’re marrying, you’re going to be thinking about that. Abby’s got a solution for helping her let go, though… go see her dad’s body and say goodbye! So they go down to the morgue and do that. Not really important stuff. Later Abby will convince Trish to give Henry another chance by giving her one of the photos from the scrapbook. Yawn.

Back in Fat Frat’s room he finally manages to move all of the cash into his own knapsack. This little diversion doesn’t do much good, since the other Frats rifle through his bag, looking for the blow-up doll, and come across the blood-spattered money. The confrontation goes surprisingly well, with Black Frat and Douchey Frat accepting Fat Frat’s story about not intending to kill Geek Frat. Then things get intolerably stupid. In what way? Black Frat exits with the line “When you come downstairs, we’re going to the sheriff, tell him everything”. Yeah. They leave him alone. With the money.

So what does Fat Frat do? He runs down to the basement to burn the evidence by throwing it in the, um, well, I’m not sure what the big burning thing is exactly. Does this hotel have a coal furnace?

A door to hell? Anyhow, just then the killer shows up and chops Fat Frat to pieces, then presumably tosses the pieces into the fire. I assume this because he’s too heavy for the killer to cart away. Here’s the most disgusting shot of the sequence, where Fat Frat tries to pull himself up, and winds up with his hand in the worst possible place.

After showing Trish the corpse of her dad, Abby decides to head off to her dad’s house. Despite the fact that she’s on her own. And there’s a killer on the loose. And someone is stalking her. Over at the house she runs into the trapster, one ‘Cole Harkin’, the burned deputy from the docks. He lets her know that Wakefield returned to the island for ‘revenge’ for something her dad had done when he first came to the island, years earlier.

Meanwhile, seven years in the past, an explosion goes off while Abby and Jimmy are in the woods, and they rush to the dock to see what happened. Henry is there with the Sheriff, trying to help the recently-burned trapster. The sheriff sends Abby home, who finds the house empty. Despite specific directions from her father, a scream outside sends Abby out looking for her mother, which leads to some interesting footage.

After leaving the house Abby comes across Wakefield in the midst of the massacre:

Only she doesn’t get a great look at him. Likewise, the cameraman is very coy about showing us the face of the killer, even in reverse angles.

This despite the fact that we already know what Wakefield looks like. The only person who gets a good look at him is Jimmy, who drives up just in time to distract Wakefield and keep him from noticing Abby’s hiding place. Which means that we’ve only got confirmation that two separate people saw Wakefield actually committing crimes: Jimmy and the trapster. Can either of them be considered reliable witnesses?

Now it’s time for the big confrontation scene, as Abby demands to know why the deputy felt her father was a ‘liar’. Here’s the short version: Mom used to date Wakefield, who was an abusive boyfriend. Then she fled to the island and married the sheriff. A few years later Wakefield came looking for her. The sheriff had him roughed up and put in jail for assaulting a police officer – giving him a motive to come back looking for revenge.

Abby then heads over to the dock to apologize to Jimmy (who’s busy gutting fish) for leaving without saying goodbye seven years ago. They talk about him saving her life seven years ago, and then they kiss. Aw, it’s so sweet that she’s making up with the killer.

One more creepy thing occurs before the credits roll: someone swings by Shae’s cabin and slips Madison a note telling her to meet her father in the conservatory, but when she gets there, the door swings shut mysteriously! And by mysteriously, I mean someone who was standing behind the door.

Here’s this week’s alibis!

Week 7

Fat Frat (Butchered in the furnace room)

People who have alibis:

Sheriff & Abby – Having a conversation.
Madison and Shae – Also having a conversation.

Big news on the alibi front! This is the first week that Henry didn’t have an alibi for the murder! The sheriff drove him back to the hotel, and he went inside while Abby and the sheriff talked, meaning that he could, conceivably, have rushed into the furnace room and chopped Fat Frat to pieces. Not sure why, but he could have done it. Of course, since he’s got an alibi for all the other murders it’s possible to have an alibi for, he’s not the killer.

The Alibi-Free:

Now that we’re past the halfway point, I’ll be pointing out the characters in the main cast who have never had an alibi, and remain viable suspects. To date, they are-

Katherine (thanks to the CBS Forum folks for pointing her out! I’d forgotten she was a character, actually).

As for individual viability, two of them have odd caveats next to their names: Jimmy could not have been in the room with Madison at the end, since he was at the docks with Abby. Of course, we don’t know that it was the killer who left that note and met Madison, so that’s not enough evidence to clear him yet. As for Maggie, if she were the killer it would seem a little odd for her to bring the priest a bag of scones then walk into the woods and hang out for ten minutes, hoping that the priest would wander out after her so she could behead him.

The only one with no alibi and no caveats is Katherine, but that’s mostly because we know absolutely nothing about her as a character. I think she’s had ten lines total, and she was absent for like three of the seven episodes so far. If they’re going to have her be the killer, there’ll have to be one hell of a reveal and backfill of information to justify it.

You know what I find most interesting about this show? How it’s been so ruthlessly efficient about killing of characters the second their usefulness to the plot has disappeared. Hunter’s exposed? Dead. Thomas finds out about the affair? Dead. Richard’s affair revealed publicly? Dead. Fat Frat’s scheme revealed? Dead. If a secret about you is discovered, you will die. It’s as simple as that. It also makes the kills almost predictable. For example, in tonight’s episode, I’m betting it’s Katherine’s turn to get the ‘axe’, because, unless she’s the killer, there’s nowhere left for her character to go, is there?

Or it could be Beth, who never got a character at all.

Oh, and for the record, when we're down to just one Frat I will actually learn his name, and start using it.

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