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Dead Still

Dead Still Episode 5 Snuff Review And Recap- Black Roses and Black Hearts

Everyone’s secrets are coming out in a hilarious Dead Still Episode 5 that proves almost everyone still has something to hide.

Dead Still Episode 5 is well crafted. The entirety of the first season has been. After the last episode’s absurd seance, it would be easy to continue in that same thread. Instead, it zigs instead of zags and offers a taut episode with as many clever laughs and truly chilling moments. Mixed with as much fear and laughter, Snuff was jam-packed.

Finally, Regan has proof that the suicides are murder. He is smart and curious. Knowing the death photographs have something to do with the crimes and being able to prove it are two different things. To make matters worse, he suspects Brock, Nancy, and Connall. Nancy may have been irritated Regan came to question her, but his timing was perfect. She doesn’t realize how much danger she is in. With Connall accidentally taking the album the night before, everyone is in the killer’s crosshairs. With yet another murder on Regan’s hands, he is getting close to figuring it out.

He is doing that with both his partner Officer Roper and his very intelligent wife. The women of Dead Still have real agency. These women are smart, appreciated by those they love, and written as engaging, independent beings. They also happen to have some of the best dialogue. Whether that be Nancy and Henry’s wife or Betty Regan(Aoife Duffin) detecting right alongside her husband and his partner Roper, they are well written. Detective Regan, Officer Roper, Molloy, and Brock all respect the women in their lives. It is refreshing for a period piece to paint women as fully capable while also capturing the misogyny of the day.

The Ghost Queen sisters continue to be a source of humor. They are crass and loud, but very entertaining. Regan questions them, and they say insist it must be all the criminals that are drawn to their line of work. Their admission is both truthful and comical. Somehow they are able to isolate themselves from the people they came to attract. Regarding the crime, they do everything in their power to point Regan to Bushwacker.

Poor Nancy, vultures are circling from all corners. Percy’s mask is slipping and his previous “nice guy” act is no longer holding up. He belittles Nancy all while searching through Brock’s personal belongings. If you haven’t guessed by now, my money is on Percy as the killer. He has too much access, is definitely a shady character, and is the only one remaining not needed for a season two. Nancy’s brother Henry could have offered a fair bit of plot opportunity next season and Peter Campion(Henry) is exasperatedly funny. Alas, that isn’t to be.

Dead Still, with just a look, can succeed where other shows need tons of exposition and laugh tracks to accomplish. Aiden O’Hare’s(Frederick Regan) double-takes, Jimmy Smallhorne’s(Cecil Carruthers) arched eyebrows, or Michael Smiley(Brock Blennerhasset’s) deadpan asides all create an atmosphere of thinking man’s comedy. Gallows humor which Dead Still does so well is best when it doesn’t wholly descend into sophomoric jokes. Writers Imogen Murphy and Craig David Wallace strike that perfect balance. Utilizing the situational complexity of macabre memorial photos of those who sometimes aren’t even dead was a highlight this week.

On a less funny note, Brock’s past is coming back to haunt him. Unfortunately, Brock’s prior assistant introduced the black rose into his work years ago. That man died by suicide, and the police questioned Brock mercilessly. Since then, he has been wary of them. Now, with black roses being used again, he is terrified they will all be suspects, and the real killer may be after them. Why Brock is a focus, we don’t know. With the album in their possession and the secret society desperate to get it back, time is running out. When the killer goes to Connall’s apartment, Lilly narrowly escapes. Now that everyone is under one roof and aware of the killer’s motivation, it is only a matter of time.

Henry is caught up in something dangerous. His stress is making him fixate a fair amount on sausages when Nancy comes calling. Henry is an idiot, but not a killer. He stole the photo from a secret society that kept an album of people being tortured that set this whole thing in motion. Finally, he realizes those photos were snuff pictures, and the men who took them are deadly and very powerful. The siblings are genuinely fond of one another when push comes to shove. It’s too bad their dynamic couldn’t be explored further. He realized too late his wealth doesn’t protect him from his stupidity.

The duality of social station and safety is interesting in Dead Still. Molloy thought he was making opportunities for his family. He thought moving from gravedigger to assistant would improve their situation and be less dangerous. It did not. Luckily for him, Brock has a soft spot for the eager assistant and will work to keep him and his family safe. Lily(Jordanne Jones) could be an excellent addition to the cast next season. Another funny, bright female mind.

They managed to survive the night, but with a killer obsessing on the lost album and a secret society after them, they need to remain vigilant. Next week Percy will no doubt drop the mask entirely and reveal himself to be the monster he really is. Until then, bills still have to be paid, though, so more memorial photos will be taken. No matter how tired they all are, they have work to do. Dead Stills Episode 5 set up nicely a showdown between the killer and our beloved crew. It also leaves plenty of room for season two expansion. Catch up on all our Dead Still coverage before the season finale next week.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Black Roses are symbols of death and lost loves. Which is important to the killer?
  • Some believe photos can capture the soul of the focus.
  • What other secrets does Brock’s wall of photos reveal?

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