Hello, Gasmi! Welcome to the debut of Harper’s Island. I’m your recap artist, Leia LaBiblia. If you ever wondered what North Shore would have been like with a serial killer around, have I got a show for you. This thirteen-week bloodbath about a super-deranged fiend stalking a fancy wedding is just the thing if you’re too timid for the Friday the 13th remake and too bloodthirsty for Make Me A Super-Model. As Kathy Griffin says, We’ve got a lot to cover. So let’s recap this bitch!
Yes, you will be quizzed on this.
Over expensive hi-def beauty shots of a lighthouse, a Native American totem pole and a sprawling Craftsman/Victorian mansion, we are told via chyron that we’re on Harper’s Island, 37 miles off the coast of Seattle. “7 years ago, 6 people were murdered by John Wakefield.” A quick TV-14-discreet flash of bodies hanging from a tree. “They were the first murders in the history of the island”. “THEY WILL NOT BE THE LAST” !!!
Cut to Seattle. A sparkling sunny day, with sparkling sunny white people at a party on a yacht. A little girl named Madison runs up to a pair of ex-sorority types and opens a ring box to reveal… a bloody severed finger! Screams! But it’s just a cheap joke-shop gag. This Madison is quite the ghoulish prankster. A beautiful 30-ish red-head, Trish’s Sister, admonishes the little scamp to behave, then turning to Trish, the hot chick next to her, commits the much bigger faux pas by speaking even cheaper expositional dialogue: “I know I’ve told you a hundred times, but I just can’t believe my little sister is getting married!”
Who doesn’t love a good fingering?
She’s marrying a tousled-hair cutie named Henry (Christopher Gorham from Popular), who’s hanging out one deck below with his bro posse, consisting of Spiky Haired Blonde Guy, Mutton-Chopped Partying Fat Guy, and Diversity In Action Dreadlocked Black Guy. In case we’re not sure which one’s Henry, the posse helpfully chants “Groom! Groom Groom!” at him before establishing Henry’s modest, middle-class, and Marrying Rich. I mean he’s marrying Trish and she happens to be rich.
A taxi pulls up to the marina. The cabbie has a huge bandage over one eye, which may become relevant to the plot later or could just be CBS trying for even richer diversity by recognizing the conjunctivitis community. He asks Abby, his pretty young fare, who’s getting married, and luckily she and the camera are staring at an engraved invitation. “Mr and Mrs Thomas Wellington Cordially Invite You To Share In the Joyous Marriage of PATRICIA WELLINGTON and HENRY W DUNN. The Candlewick Inn. Harper’s Island, Washington. Chartered Yacht Leaves Seattle Harbor at 2:00 PM” She tells him the groom is her childhood best friend . One-Eye thinks she looks familiar. A little flustered, she explains she grew up “on the island”. Now Cabbie Cyclops has it: You’re Sharon Mills’ kid. “What a shame. All those people. Terrible. I never would have believed something so awful could happen around here.”
My Bloody Valentine In 3-D? Missed that one!
Trish’s rich beefcake father tells her it’s almost time to shove off. He’s played by Richard Burgi, who most recently guest-starred as a couch-fucker on Nip/Tuck. He was also one of the sickos in my fave movie of 2007, Hostel 2, so he’s no stranger to slaughter, although it’s safe to assume this show won’t feature anyone strung up naked then bled out while a maniacal lesbian orgasmically showers in the hot spurting blood. Although sweeps is coming up, so who knows. Uptight Father of the Bride is immediately contrasted with Wacky Uncle of the Groom (Harry Hamlin), who shows up with his own mariachi band, to Henry’s, if not our, delight. Harry boards the yacht and catches the eye of Slutty Blonde Bitch. She shoots him a “let’s bang later” glance unseen by Preppy Blonde Boyfriend (hers, not Harry’s).
Abby embarks and gets a warm hug from Henry, but don’t go reading anything into it because Trish hugs her, too and everyone’s really swell friends. The bro posse suggest a glass of champagne but she shows dark personal tragedy isn’t going to get her down by grabbing a beer from Fat Guy and chugging that sucka down!
Just eight or nine more and I’ll be way fuckable!
Cut to the bathroom, where Uncle Harry pops a pill and washes it down with champagne. Dramamine? Probably not, since he then opens a bag full of bundles of cash, grabs a huge gun and shoves it in his waistband.
Now Trish is ready to set sail, probably because those goddamn mariachis haven’t stopped playing. She wonders to Henry where Cousin Ben is. It’s not like him not to answer his phone. But Cousin Ben IS there, Trish. He’s under the boat where someone has tied him to the rudder. They were considerate enough to rig him up with scuba tanks because it would spoil all the fun for him to have already drowned by the time the propeller purees his skull. Which is just what happens.
I’ve heard of tourist class, Muffy but this is RIDONKULOUS.
Henry has a moment alone with Abby. She almost didn’t come. But she realized if she didn’t come home now, she might never. And that scared her. In case she or we forgot how many years ago someone in her family was brutally slain, Henry reminds her it’s been 7 years since the murders. The island’s back to being that wonderful whimsical spot they grew up in. That’s why he wanted to get married there. The bro posse reminds each other and us that Abby is Henry’s best friend. Trish’s pink phone rings. Is it Cousin Ben, her dad asks? We see it’s someone named “Kurt Jennings”. “No, it’s… not him,” Trish enigmatically tells Pops.
Slutty Blonde Bitch is holding court. Now it’s Slutty’s turn to spit out Information We Already Know. “Come on! You don’t know about the murders?! He killed like 6 people! How could you not remember that?!” Is she talking to her champers-guzzling soror-whore pals or to the tards in the audience? And he didn’t kill LIKE 6 people. He killed exactly six people. We read the chyron ourselves. Oh, wait there’s more. No one knows what set Wakefield off. 7 years ago he just showed up on the island and started killing people. Chopped ‘em, burned ‘em, hung ‘em. You mean hanged. People are hanged, not hung. I guess they could be both. One of them was Abby’s mother. Before Slutty can dish anymore dirt, a seagull plops from the sky onto her buffet plate. Screams!
You’re not talking about this show, right?
The boat arrives. A devilishly handsome dude decapitating fish on the dock watches Abby disembark. Fish Hunk calls out to Abby and from their flirty fish-centric banter we surmise that they were an item back in the day, pre-massacre.
I don’t care if it smells like fish, I still wanna eat that.
The wedding party and guests hop onto golf carts for the ride to Candlewick inn. Abby prefers to walk. Alone. Through the woods in which her mother got chopped, burned or hanged. Or possibly all three. She leaves the path and finds the tree we saw decorated with corpses. FLASHBACK! Teen Abby discovering her mom swinging and not in the fun way, hanging from a branch, along with other victims. YIKES! Abby snaps out of her memory and is startled by Henry, who’s snuck up behind her to comfort her. It looks like these two might have been besties with bennies. Henry says he should have cut down that tree a long time ago. 7 years ago, to be precise. As they walk away toward the end, a sinister figure in black carrying an axe watches from the trees.
Henry suggests they drop in on Abby’s dad. Abby’s not down with that. A bosomy middle-aged redhead rushes down the Inn steps to meet Henry and Abby. She tells us the wedding party has the entire inn for the week. In fact, and listen closely because this may only be repeated three or four THOUSAND times, since it’s end of season, they’ll have THE WHOLE ISLAND TO THEMSELVES. Chillz.
All my backstory ended up on the cutting room floor? Bastards!
Slutty Blonde asks Preppy Snot if he put Trish’s niece Madison up to the bloody finger trick. He smugly indicates he did, thereby neatly setting himself up as Next Victim. The Blondes enter their lavish suite. There’s a model sailboat and a note from Preppy to Slutty– he wants to take her sailing. She squeals approval then pops on a captain’s hat. “How do I look?” Like a Vivid Exclusive about to star in All Hands On Dick. They topple to the bed as we cut to the dock, where Fish Hunk is having another casual expository chat with another townie. They refer to our soonly-weds as The Princess & The Pauper but say Henry’s a pretty cool guy for someone who only came here in the summer. But Henry’s psycho little brother better not be coming! Of course that means he definitely is, and since they’re calling him psycho he’ll end up being the Rebellious Maverick With His Own Quirky Indie Style who ends up saving whoever’s left when this finally concludes sometime in 2012. Townie warns Fish Hunk to keep away from Abby– “She dumped you, brah!” Uh-oh, there’s a problem under the yacht– something appears to be caught in the rudder. Fish Hunk offers to take a look and jumps in the water, reaches down and starts futzing with it. We cut underwater and Cousin Ben’s bashed-in severed head pops out at us for the nanosecond the network standards department allowed. The head apparently sinks to the ocean floor as Fish Hunk pulls out the cord used to bind Cousin Ben to the rudder. Problem fixed.
Patio, Candlewick Inn. Uncle Harry’s caught the Expositional Flu as he tells Henry “Remember when you were a starry-eyed teen fixing boats during the summer?” (NOTE: Mark my words, Gasmi, Henry’s boat-fixing skills will become WAY important later.) “Now you’re here at the posh Candlewick Inn marrying mega-rich Trish Wellington. It’s just like a fairy-tale!” No, Uncle Harry. Making Love was a fairy tale. This is a slick and vapid Agatha Christie Meets Jason Voorhees soap opera that needs to get real nasty real fast or I might go on a killing spree. Uncle Harry tells Henry to never be intimidated by Big Daddy Beef Wellington. Then he wants to know about Slutty Blonde. That dish gives him the hots.
Cut to Slutty & Preppy’s suite. Preppy is taking a bubble bath. He calls out for Slutty to join him. They exchange saucy banter about the big something he has to show her. But it’s not his penis. It’s a diamond ring. After Slutty exits to find her spermicidal bath beads, Preppy gives us a peek at it and hopes aloud to himself that it’s big enough. I’m sure it’s fine. It’s not about the ring– it’s about marrying you so she can get her manicured mitts on your bank account and then immediately start sleeping around, because let’s face it, Preppy, you look a lot like David Spade. Or the drama teacher from Summer Heights High.
“My name is Mr.G/Three talents, one two three!”
Cut to Trish’s sister and her husband, another dysfunctional WASP couple. Mr. Trish’s Sister is worried about their daughter Madison. You know, Severed Finger Girl. He promised they’d find someone for her to play with. We see Madison has already found a playmate, a snail she’s in the process of frying with a magnifying glass. Kids!
Cut to Henry knocking on a hotel room door, asking the person inside if he needs anything for tonight. It’s his psycho brother! And he definitely fits the CBS Psycho Profile what with his dyed-black hair and panoply of Goth tattoos, including an elaborate Satanic skull design all over his back. I so totally called it. Through the door, Henry reminds him that next to Uncle Harry, he’s the only family Henry has left. Goth Guy says nothing and looks vaguely disturbed.
Cut to Beef Wellington and Mrs. Beef’s suite. BW kisses Mrs Beef as she showers, then checks his laptop. He has an anonymous email that says “I will get to her tonight.” Cut to Abby’s room. In bra and panties, she answers her cell. No one’s there. She looks vaguely disturbed, but not disturbed enough to check Caller ID or *69.
Cut to Candlewick Inn Library/Cocktail Lounge. Abby appears in a slinky red dress and approaches Henry. She tells him she’s determined to have fun this week and totally has his back. He notices she’s a little tipsy.
I have THIS much respect for my agent.
Trish watches him put a friendly arm around Abby then agrees with Slutty and the Soror-Whores that Abby is super-nice. And she lives in a really good part of Encino so it’s OK. Slutty remarks that she doesn’t think men and women can just be friends. And that’s why you’re a slut. Trish gets a text from Hunter Jennings: “You look lovely in blue. Meet me in the south lobby.” Trish looks vaguely disturbed, then excuses herself and goes into the corridor where she runs into Hunter, a big sexy stud with manly dark eyebrows, a soupcon of stubble and lips you could park a Jag on. He immediately tries to kiss her and she resists, flustered. “I’m getting married!” “Are you sure?” Not so much.
I’m here for the bachelorette party. In your pants.
Candlewick Library. The guests drink, dine and dance. Trish with Henry. She looks vaguely disturbed. Uncle Harry with Slutty. Abby goes over to the Soror-Whores. One comes right out and asks her– have she and Henry ever “hooked up”? Nice manners, babe! Before Abby can answer, there’s Henry, making sure everyone’s getting along. He wants to know if any of them have seen “J.D.” Anyone who’s seen a Roger Corman movie knows this means “Juvenile Delinquent”, so it’s no surprise he’s talking about his brother Goth Guy. Abby quickly offers to go find him, thrilled to get away from the Soror-Whores before they can ask if she spits or swallows.
Cut to Trish and Trish’s Sister. TS thinks Trish should tell Daddy and he’ll make Hunter leave. No! Daddy will just make a big scene and embarrass Henry. Well then she has to tell Henry. Never! TS tells Trish couples shouldn’t have secrets. Trish doesn’t appreciate being told what to do just because TS has the perfect life. Well then why’d you come in there, for Christ’s sake? TS says if Trish has any doubts about this marriage, now’s the time to mention them. Actually, the time would have been before they rented out an entire island. Through light tears, Trish insists she loves Henry and is 100% doubt-free.
Cut to Candlewick Grounds. Uncle Harry spies on Beef Wellington clandestinely conversing with… wait for it…. Hunter Jennings! Hunter says Trish was surprised to see him and not in a good way, but she did agree to meet him tomorrow morning. BW is hopeful– Trish ain’t married yet. Harry slips away with this shocking information.
Cut to Abby walking down a dark road alone. She really seems to have conquered her fear of being on the same island her mom was sliced up on. She approaches The Cannery, a bar that from the outside bears an astounding resemblance to Merlotte’s in True Blood. How I miss that show. Abby goes in and the deja vu keeps comin’ as she trades hugs with Sookie Stackhouse, I mean, another sassy blonde waitress with kickin’ tat-ta’s. To be fair, there are differences. This waitress isn’t telepathic, has a pierced tongue, and is NOT played by an Oscar-winner. Clearly. Pierced Tongue goes off to serve the rowdy local crowd and Abby finds Goth Guy boozing it up alone in a corner. As she approaches him, Fish Hunk calls to her from the pool table. “Hey Big City Girl, get over here. That’s a pretty dress… you wearin’ it for me?” With an affordable “Back In Black” soundalike raging on the juke, Abby picks up a pool cue. She tells Fish Hunk she hopes his game is better than his banter. That’s pretty much a given.
Who do I have to blow to get a drink around here?
Make it a double!
Cut to Empty Candlewick Suite. Slow zoom into an untouched gift bag addressed to Cousin Ben, stuffed with what looks like Aveda products and a bottle of Pellegrino. Jesus Christ, wedding planner, live a little. Hands grab the gift card and start ripping it up. It’s creepy moppet Madison. As she swipes the bag, presumably to guzzle down some of that forbidden Pellegrino, her mother calls her. Time for bed.
Cut to Uncle Harry approaching Beef Wellington on the patio. Harry helps himself to a stogie and sits down. Trish and Henry are canoodling nearby, so Harry has to be subtle. “My nephew and your daughter make a stunning couple, don’t you think?” BW fails to see his point. Harry tells BW that Harry’s “calling”, his “purpose in life” is to protect young men like Henry, men who deserve true love and happiness, from rotten douchebags like BW. THAT’S Harry’s calling? Protecting men so they can find true love? OK, so Harry’s like a superhero. A superhero created by a really lame girl. I can say that because I AM a girl. Yeah, well try proving I’m not. BW doesn’t take kindly to threats. Well Harry doesn’t make trash, he burns it. Thanks for the cigar!
Cut to The Cannery, mid-pool game. Abby and Fish Hunk engage in excruciatingly generic repartee and make some cute little bet about someone making the corner pocket blah blah. Unless the upshot is Fish Hunk dropping trou or at least raising tee, I don’t care. Goth Guy gets caught leering at a Goth Girl and she’s plenty peeved until they bond over their gnarly body ink. Suddenly, the big galoot Townie from 175 minutes ago butts in, wanting to know if this creep is botherin’ her. No. Townie responds with angry exposition– This is JD. His family used to summer on the island. Townie heard JD tried to “whack himself” again, which the writers probably thought sounded all tough n’shit but sounds more like self-stimulation than suicide.
Thanks, it’s henna.
Goth Boy has heard enough and attacks Townie, who proceeds to kick his pale tattooed (I’m guessing) ass.
Abby busts up the brawl with her pool cue. A Grizzled Local Cop walks up and Abby says Hi, Dad. Zoinks!
GLC is the sheriff of Harper’s Island. It says so on the side of his SUV, which he uses to drop Goth Guy and Abby back at the Candlewick. Henry meets them at the entrance, all worried about Goth Guy, who blows him off with a sneer. Abby remains in the front seat for an awkward chat with Dad. “You’re probably wondering about the truck,” he says, which is at the very least not predictable. The heater still works. Sheriff Grizzle asks if Abby got his Christmas cards, so obviously they haven’t spoken since she high-tailed it to L.A. post-massacre. He’d like to spend time with her now that she’s back– thanks for the ride, Dad. Now eff off. Abby exits the vehicle and heads into the hotel. Sheriff Grizzle looks vaguely disturbed.
Abby broods by a roaring fireplace. Henry approaches and apologizes for sending her out to look for Goth Guy which caused her to run into Sheriff Grizzle. Abby says if she hadn’t gone to the bar maybe there wouldn’t have been a bar fight, which makes no sense, but whatever, her mom was horribly murdered. I’ll let it slide. Henry says he’s worried Goth Guy may do something worse than pick a fight. Like try to “whack himself”, maybe? Whatever, Henry’s fiancee is keeping secrets from him. I’ll let it slide. Who was Abby playing pool with?
Cut to dark beach. Slutty jiggles toward the water, Preppy trailing after her. When he suggested swimming, he meant in the pool. Slutty strips down to the network censor equivalent of naked, bra and panties. Preppy clumsily starts to lower his pants, fumbling for the ring. He wants to show her something. First you’ve got to catch me, Slutty says, flouncing into the frigid ocean. Preppy pauses to shove the ring box back in his pocket. Slutty screams.
Cut to Trish’s Sister’s suite. Madison goes to her sleeping parents’ bed and stares down at them like the sick little puppy she is. Trish’s Sis wakes up, startled to see her demon seed. “Did you know people died here?” Madison asks. Who told you that, TS demands, as if Madison has no Google access. My new friend told me, Madison replies with a creepy grin. Let’s hope her new friend is a pig named Jodie with glowing red eyes.
Cut to beach. Preppy flails about in the water trying to find Slutty. He hears a voice, then someone yanks him underwater. AIIIEEE! Oh, it’s just Slutty being wicked. Preppy is furious and grabs Slutty’s head, shoving it under. Now Slutty is furious. She paddles back to shore, seizes Preppy’s pants and tosses them in, to his extreme horror. He finds the wet pants but no ring. He screams and screams and screams. I’m telling you, Preppy, you’re getting off cheap.
Slutty stomps back through the woods over a wooden footbridge toward the hotel. We hear a scream.
Cut to Trish and Henry, seconds after premarital sex. Trish is afraid she was too loud. Was the scream we just heard Slutty getting killed or just Trish having a helluvan orgasm? Trish excuses herself to the bathroom, covering her private areas with pillows because that’s what you do in front of someone who just banged you silly. A cell phone rings. A pink cell phone. Henry picks it up and sees “Hunter Jennings Calling”. From the bathroom, Trish says they should get separate rooms so their wedding night will be more special. “Whatever you say, sweetheart,” Henry answers, looking more than vaguely disturbed.
WHOSE name did I just call out? OK, just checking.
Cut to woodland foot bridge. Uncle Harry crosses the bridge toward the beach. Suddenly he falls through up to his nipples. His gun bounces out of his blazer and lands a few inches away. He calls out to someone we can’t see– can you give me a hand? Whoever’s down there starts doing something really painful to the rest of Uncle Harry. Harry grabs his gun and starts firing down through the bridge, which seems like a really good way to blow one’s own junk off. Turns out it doesn’t matter because who-or-whatever was down there has severed Uncle Harry at the waist! We don’t get to see it in gory close-up, but we do see it, and this is promising, even if it means the end of Uncle Harry, one of the only people in this with a shred of charisma.
Gimme some tongue!
Cut to Abby’s room. She enters and discovers a newspaper clipping stuck to her mirror: “Sheriff’s Wife Murdered In Violent Rampage”. Abby claws the clipping off, upset. They really thought this was a stronger ending than bisected Harry Hamlin?!
CBS really, REALLY wants us to speculate about who the killer might be, and since they do bring us Amazing Race and 48 Hours Mystery, I will indulge them. Here’s three theories:
1) It’s Slutty, pulling a Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct kinda thing, but much less entertaining.
2) It’s Beef Wellington, who will do ANYTHING to prevent his little princess from marrying Henry.
3) It’s Abby, who has been in an L.A. mental hospital all this time after suffering a nervous breakdown brought on by witnessing the death of her mom. She killed Cousin Ben the night before the show begins by luring him to the dock with a fiendishly cleverish ruse!
Please feel free to share your own ideas, but do it here and not on the CBS website. You know they’ll just delete it if you happen to get it right.