Are You Afraid of the Dark? S1E7 “The Tale of the Captured Souls”

I’m just going to get this out of the way: Kiki is hands-down my least favourite kid in the Midnight Society. She’s really mean (actually, most of the kids are but with Kiki is just feels unnecessary), she thinks people (Kristen) are silly just because they have fears.

But I have to admit, the girl tells a good story.

“The Tale of the Captured Souls” is like a science fiction Picture of Dorian Gray, a play on the camera-stealing-your-soul myth. Kiki references Native American tribes that hated having their pictures taken because they thought the cameras stole their souls.

In the tale, Danny and her parents take a summer vacation trip to a large home near a lake. When they arrive, they’re greeted by a young boy who looks like he’s just stepped out of a photograph from the Dust Bowl.

The creep introduces himself as Peter. He tells Danny’s parents that his own family are away and he’s in charge of the inn. But how they’ve not run away after that bit of news is beyond me. And even worse, when they see their rooms, they find that they’re covered in mirrors. Lots of fucking mirrors. But they mostly seem to find this quirky instead of deeply unsettling.

Despite the blaring sirens, the family takes Peter under their wing. Danny’s dad makes her invite him in on their game of catch, even if Peter is pretty crap. But when Danny’s mom asks to take a photo of them, Peter begins to panic and instead asks if he can take theirs.

Danny, being a bit more clever than her parents, knows something is up and goes to explore Peter’s room. Peter catches her, but is pretty calm about it. She finds an old photograph of a boy who looks identical to Peter, but the boy claims it’s his great-grandfather or whatever.

What Danny also notices is the experiment that Peter is running in his room. He explains to her that it as a long-running experiment set up by his grandfather of “transference of energy fields” or something. The roses sit withering as the geraniums thrive – apparently living off the roses’ energy.

Then, like the gentleman he is, Peter points out that Danny has a MASSIVE ZIT on her face. Poor girl. She runs off to check herself out in the mirror in her room.

After she leaves, Peter presses a button that turns his bedroom into an evil scientist’s lab. A panel in his wall opens to expose a series of security camera footage. In the images are Danny and her parents – looking at themselves in the mirrors (or rather just in the mirrors’ vision). Peter then steps into a large machine where he seemingly gets the energy that is being sucked out of his guests.

Over the next few days, Danny’s skin gets worse and her parents begin to grey and take a lot of naps. And suddenly, Peter’s baseball game is strong.

Still distressed over her bad skin, Danny goes to check herself out in the bathroom mirror when she gets an accidental shock when she touches the mirror. When she slams the medicine cabinet’s doors, the mirror shatters and reveals a hidden camera. Her dad comes to see what’s upset her, but is too tired to give a damn and goes to nap.

Danny continues her investigation by going to the plot of land Peter hadn’t allowed her into before. She sees a number of headstones, including one that reads “Peter Kirlan III 1917 -” but doesn’t have a date of death. She then notices a set of stranger markers: those in the shape of a man, a woman, a child and a dog (?).

She returns to the house, now highly suspicious of Peter. She begins to remove mirrors from around the house, and her parents scold her for it (apparently they think it’s normal to feel as poorly as they do). Taking it a step farther, Danny goes back to Peter’s room where she accidentally discovers his lab. When she looks at the monitors, she sees that her parents are sitting down, having tea with an elderly man she’s never seen before.

When she races downstairs, she finds that it’s Peter in the chair where the old man had been. She finally confronts the boy, who tells Danny that her parents are bout to be “checking out”. She takes a photo of him, but tells her she’s too late to save her parents.

Peter then extends his own twisted version of an olive branch, by offering Danny a stay at his place where she too can be eternally youthful. She solidly turns him down in favour of her parents’ lives. Peter goes to his lab once more to finish off his work on Danny’s parents.

Danny goes to check up on her parents and finds them near death. She runs up to Peter’s lab/bedroom where he is continuing his work. She grabs a switch a pulls it down to zero – reversing the aging process. When she finds her parents afterwards, they’re both back to normal and Danny’s skin has returned to normal.

The family then decide to check out (because it has seriously taken this long). Before the family head off, Danny’s mom shows her a Polaroid of an old man, asking her daughter if she knows who it is. Danny shrugs and says it is just a sad, lonely old man.

Just before Danny leaves, she sees a now-elderly Peter in the door speaking to her. He tells her that it’s finally time to join his family, whom he has left for so long. So, bye, Peter. You git.

And that’s the season’s first story from Kiki. A solid entry, girl. The best part of the episode is Danny’s parents. They’re me. Complain and take long naps. That’s what’s up. But seriously, someone better give this inn some low ratings on Yelp. Peter seems like a bit of a creep.

Highlight quotes of the episode:

“I always admired a girl with great physical strength.” – Peter the pervy creep

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