If you’re lucky, one day you’ll get old. Your brain will become a cold, dark labyrinth of confusion and loneliness, and you’ll never be able to find your way out. Every first kiss, every birth, the names of everyone you’ve ever loved will evaporate from your memory. That’s if you’re lucky. Keep that in mind as “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” again probes the most fragile recesses of the human heart in 20 minutes or less. Okay, let’s do this shit.
Some fat farty kid of no consequence wants to join the Society. His name is Stig, and he has a bag over his head so he won’t know the secret location of the Midnight Society’s storytelling circle. They had to upgrade from bandana blindfolds to burlap sacks for better coverage, and if wannabe members do peek, it makes the whole rifle execution part that much easier. Gary with blood and brains splattered on his glasses is nothin’ to fuck with.
But tonight is Kiki’s night to say 10 extra lines (tell a story). Look, I know books could be written on Kiki, but here’s my theory on her persona. She’s not fucking around. She obviously has other places to be, but she has chosen be here. She’s telling this story to these jackasses for the same reason women get breast implants: for herself.
So, for “The Tale of the Jagged Sign,” the viewer has to understand a pretty complicated concept to really get what’s going on. Kiki and Girl With Bangs tag team this one, since clearly explaining it is a two-person job. Symbols—no, Tucker, not cymbals—are pictures that mean shit or whatever. Listen very closely: Kiki, who has to be at least 15 in TV years, just found out from a book that ancient Egyptians used symbols to communicate. Girl With Bangs is practically Kegeling tampons out of her snatch with excitement to add, “Yeah! They drew pictures instead of letters!” I think I’ve heard about those…whore-o-graphics. Hearts, stars, horseshoes, wieners drawn on bathroom stalls pointing at glory holes. Okay, everyone is up to speed. Let us proceed.
Claudia is the hundredth character on the show to have to stay at some boring relative’s house in the country for summer vacation because her parents are biologists or whatever. Kiki narrates, “Spending a few weeks at her Aunt Yvonne’s house in the middle of nowhere wasn’t Claudia’s idea of an exciting time.” Actually, looking at the girl, that sounds exactly like Claudia’s idea of an exciting time.
It’s an old folks’ home. Hey, Claudia, “Everyone is dying to meet you.” GET IT.
Friendship at last!
Claudia wanders into one of the old people’s rooms and sees a music box. Music boxes have no other purpose than to be really creepy to your surviving family after you’re dead; I’m going to rig mine to start playing by itself at random. This close-up of these birds gives me pause. I’m premonitioning.
Okay, so remember how your brain is going to devolve into a dank prison when you’re old? This lady is proof of tha—AHHHH what is that hand?
Okay, it’s some old lady’s hand. This lady is Marjorie. She pets Claudia’s head and says she has pretty hair. She has dementia. It’s sad. She used to look a lot like Claudia when she was younger, maybe almost to the point where someone might mistake Claudia for Marjorie. Anyway, weird. Keep your claws to yourself, lady.
Claudia, for probably the first time in her life, is too cool for her current scene and finds some neighbor girl named Kate to commiserate with about their terrible lives full of boredom and old farts and getting their first periods blah blah. Time for a hike in the woods! Look at all the majesty.
Claudia, rebel that she is, takes a path away from the main trail, which freaks out Kate. She’s afraid of heights (I can tell from her acting) but whitebitch keeps climbing up the fucking rocks—and stumbles upon a creepy symbol (remember, a symbol is a picture that means something) painted on the summit. Kind of looks like…some kind of…bird. Where have we seen such a bird-type shape before? Hmmm. Hopefully Kiki will explain it to me. I love seeing that light in her eyes when she realizes she’s made an idea click in the mind of another person. So rewarding.
What the hell is thish wordsh?
And then a hot Amish ghost dude appears. So…scared…but…suspenders…look…nice on you. Whitebitch thinks he’s probably just some high-school steampunk dude with a staring problem, but then he proves his ghostitude my invisibly drawing that same creepy symbol in the dirt at the girls’ feet (I guess with his finger or with a ghost stick—a dead branch?). OMFG.
“Get on me.”
And then he pops up behind them and does the universal gesture for, “Come join me in the afterlife,” because ghosts can draw and move their hands and maybe whisper a single phrase over and over that’s too vague to be actually communicate anything effectively, but they can’t fucking talk. Anyway, he’s bangable, right? He would hold your hand and make you a mix tape if those existed before he got dead. Despite his otherwordly glow, Claudia still isn’t convinced he’s a ghost, but she and Kate both run back to the house.
And that’s where they find old lady Marjorie giving us further proof that she’s better off dead (so you won’t have to feel bad for her when she gets reunited with the steampunk ghost ((the love of her life she accidentally stood up the night they were supposed to run away together and who fell off that rock while he was waiting because he was painting that bird thing, the symbol of their love) and goes with him to the afterlife.) Yeah, spoiler alert. That’s what happens. But you already guessed that, right? It gives me such pompous glory.
So I will just wrap up this story with screen shots!
I see you seeing me.
Amish steampunk ghost turns his body into vapor (steam?), fogs up Claudia’s window and draws the symbol in the fog. Crazy. Shit.
“Don’t go back to the cliff, crazy bitch. Ghost + cliff = dead.”
“Does this thing matter to your old brain anymore?”
Oh snap. He’s back again, and Marjorie sees him this time, too. And then promptly forgets about it I guess, ‘cause she old.
Claudia goes back to the cliff, almost dies just like Amishghost. Kate conquers her fear of heights blah blah suspenseful filler. Bad form, Kiki.
Now the dude finally speaks. Use your words. “Why didn’t you come?” he asks not-Marjorie. “Some shit came up,” Kate explains. “Oh, okay. I’ll go get actual-Marjorie then,” ghost says.
Together at last! Time for third base.
The end. Truly a supernatural version of “The Notebook.” This episode was disappointing on a few levels, but as a whole it is successful at reminding us of something important: Life is sad, love is sad, and sadness is sad especially when a person is too out of it mentally to even realize why they’re so sad.
Submitted for your approval by Sarah