Slasher: Ripper “Backbone” Review

Following another gruesome murder, the Widow continues to terrorize the citizens of Toronto.  More clues are unraveled, and a confrontation turns deadly.  All this and more on the latest episode of Slasher: Ripper!

Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned

Death of the Press
The episode begins with the gruesome discovery of Enid Jenkins’ body.  We saw last episode how brutally and ironically she was killed with her own printing press.  But here we get a further look to how symbolically grotesque the Widow truly is.  Enid’s skin is ripped off and used as a tablet for another warning about those involved with Margaret’s death.

Slasher 2
A truly organic newspaper

Everyone is on edge, especially those who know about what really happened to Margaret.  Via several flashbacks, we the audience get more of a glimpse, although there are still details being kept from us as well as Detective Rijkers.  He suffers the vast back and forth of his chief breathing down his neck for getting too close to the truth, but then oddly supporting him when he thinks he has a suspect so they can make a quick arrest.

Meanwhile the Boticelli sisters continue to be the worst people on the planet as they claim to Dr. Israel that Verdi’s wounds on her back are self-inflicted.  They also relish their scheme to “sell” their sister’s virginity to the highest bidder without her consent, for the sole purpose of sullying her reputation so that no one will want to marry her.  In a series filled with gangsters and serial killers, Venetia and Viviana remain by far the most sadistic and cruel.

Fear vs. Loyalty
All the while, Eddie is trying to escape from town, much to the dismay of Basil Garvey.  Clearly he knows that he’s on the Widow’s list and has no intention of being around when the killer strikes.  Garvey uses his authority to try and reel his henchman in, and even slices off his ear in order to teach him a lesson.

It’s easy to wonder why Eddie doesn’t just outright kill Garvey.  Clearly he’s a much larger physical presence and could likely beat him in a battle of strength.  But there’s something more to it, and more to Eddie.  Because he’s this episode’s Widow victim, we learn a lot more about him.  Granted, he’s the muscle behind Garvey’s empire, but he’s nowhere near as evil as his boss is.

Killing Daisy truly was an accident, and Eddie seems to have largely justified all of his wicked acts to himself as he’s just following orders, and he’d rather not be doing them.  As we learn in the flashbacks to 12 years prior, he seemed to take pity on Margaret and the horrific fate that befell her, even pleading with her, “why did you have to go and threaten him [Garvey]?”

Out of all the people we’ve seen the Widow kill, Eddie is the one who seems the most remorseful for his role.  To be fair, this could also be because he’s watching more and more people die, realizing that he will likely be next.  But it still caused him a great deal of self-reflection, until of course the Widow disposed of him Misery-style with a sledgehammer.

The Truth Comes Out
Thus far, Detective Rijkers remains the most interesting character, largely because he’s our audience surrogate.  Sure, he’s the one who discovered Margaret’s mangled corpse 12 years ago, but he seemingly wasn’t involved like his boss so clearly was.  Plus, he’s using actual forensic and profiling techniques that were definitely ahead of his time.  So it isn’t farfetched or historically inaccurate that other police officers would look on this with scorn.

Slasher 1
Definitely a toxic work environment.

His confrontation with the Widow makes for an excellent chase and fight scene.  That said, its final result made the whole episode and character reek of plot armor.  When the Widow first popped out of the curtain (which I know George is their prime suspect, but that’s way too obvious at this point), it would have been really interesting to see the Widow just run and not even engage Rijkers because he’s not on the hit list.

But then if the Widow was going to attack (which they did), why not just killed Rijkers then and there?  Clearly the Widow has the strength and agility to be nearly superhuman, and the only explanation is that the series wanted to have this cool chase/fight scene, but keep Rijkers alive because he’s too valuable a character.  It’s not a terribly frustrating creative decision, but it is noticeable and drops the stakes a little bit.

Three episodes in, and the series is leaning heavily into themes of the unnoticed and the unheard.  Everyone from Rijkers facing ridicule to Verdi being treated terribly by her sisters, to Margaret’s death not getting the true justice she deserved.  The series doesn’t quite have us rooting for the Widow yet, but there’s still time!

Slasher: Ripper is streaming exclusively on Shudder!

What did you think of the latest episode of Slasher: Ripper?  What did you think will happen next week?  Let us know in the comments!

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