Heathers Season 1 Episode 4 – TV Review
If you were wondering whether or not Veronica’s personality would become clear this episode, then get ready to keep wondering.
But hey, that Croquet Killer stuff is back. And Asian stereotyping.
You guys wanted that, right?
TL;DR Veronica and JD are super dooper in love; Betty sniffs out the trail of death around Veronica and foolishly goes to JD to warn him, but she makes it out okay; an unpopular girl attempts suicide, which pisses off Heather Chandler; Heather Duke is unable to hang onto Kurt, and also fails in taking down Replacement Black, angering Chandler.
Is there anything that doesn’t anger Heather Chandler? The girl doesn’t have a lot of emotional range.
So as the title of the episode, Our Love Is God, suggests, this episode puts some focus and Veronica and JD’s budding psychopathic romance. After dissing him out real good and being aggressively anti-JD last episode, Veronica has now decided their relationship is the most important thing in the world. Much consistency. Things get sticky when Betty decides to look into this whole “people around Veronica die mysteriously” thing, and concludes that Veronica is some kind of harbinger of suicidal doom, and tries to warn JD. JD attempts to murder Betty in response, leading to a genuinely fun fight sequence that devolves into a croquet mallet duel. Betty wins and JD slinks away, and their episode ends with Veronica crashing her car to provide him with an alibi, but also the fact that Veronica saw JD kissing Betty (it was to look unassuming to a random jogger, but Veronica doesn’t know that) hanging over them. Meanwhile, Heather Chandler is ramping up her face of suicide campaign with some hawt merch, but tragedy befalls her when an uncool student (the show’s version of Martha Dumptruck from the movie) attempts suicide. She survives, but Chandler is aghast that now nobody will think suicide is cool. She’s also mad about Replacement Black breaking rank, so Heather Duke steps up to the plate to destroy her. The plan doesn’t work, leading to scorn from both Chandler, and an upset Kurt, who officially dumps Duke after they had been continuing their relationship in secret. Oh, and we get a callback to the whole Croquet Killer thing, but it doesn’t go anywhere.
Heathers: It Doesn’t Go Anywhere.
I’d be tempted to say that I’m maybe being too harsh on Heathers only four episodes in. But baby, that’s four episodes out of ten. We haven’t got time to waste.
And we certainly haven’t got time to waste on inconsistent characterisation.
Who is Betty?
Why I hate this episode:
Betty was a straight up jerk in the pilot. Her character archetype would have suggested her to be the mousy, former best friend, and maybe with a late-in-the-game sinister twist. But then she swooped in and tried her hand at being Alpha Bitch. But now she’s supposed to be a heroic figure to root for in her battle against JD? Their subplot maybe could have made sense as a Villain Civil War type deal, but that’s not how it’s presented. Betty is a smart, sensible character who is trying to protect JD from the perceived threat of Veronica, and then she has to fight for her life when JD’s dark intentions are revealed. Why build her up as a bitch to then use her like this?
Veronica’s swing from girl next door with a twisted streak to straight up murder-lover, and now to murder-lover in crazy teen love, is too much. Unless this Heathers is trying to switch the JD and Veronica roles to have her be the big bad and him the hero? But we’ve already seen JD literally murder Ram, and just this episode try to knife Betty. So, like I complained about last episode, we’re still left with an AHS-style situation with nobody to care about.
Ram’s death is handled weirdly. There’s no announcement of it. For a while I thought maybe the news hadn’t come out, yet, but then the football players dedicate their game to him, so everyone evidently knows. It was bizarre.
Heather Chandler remembers that she should be blackmailing Veronica for trying to kill her, so she attempts to hold this over her to take down Replacement Black. But then Veronica, kind of just, like, doesn’t do anything? Heather Duke slips in to get on the case, but I would expect someone as reprehensible as Heather Chandler to be more proactive with her blackmail.
Oh, and the Asian stereotyping of Betty isn’t much of a surprise for this show, but when paired with how Heather McNamara is treated, the picture we’re getting isn’t pretty. Betty’s parents do the typical Asian parent thing of being disappointed in her for getting an A-. Is that the best you can do, show?
But it’s not all bad:
I’d be worried that I’m giving Heathers some undue credit, but I think there was a subtle inversion of expectations during Betty’s beatdown of JD. Whereas a truly lazy and racist show would have just put it down to “she’s Asian so she fights good,” Heathers instead has Betty list off her slew of overachieving extra-curricular activities (of which one is martial arts, but shh) that make her a fearsome physical specimen. Yeah, overachieving is still part of the Asian student stereotype, but I appreciated that we got a bit more context.
Betty also totally takes the dude out, too. It’s a shame she didn’t finish him, but I will cherish their croquet mallet duel. If we’re going to do Heathers On Crack, which seems to be what this show is aiming for, then it fits perfectly.
Heather Duke continues to quietly simmer in the background as our last remaining sympathetic character, and possible hero. His time this episode sees him again emotionally brutalised by Heather Chandler. And although it was his choice to use Ram’s death as part of a scheme, when Kurt calls him out on it, I think he’s realised what a shit move that was.
Duke’s plan, by the way, to ruin Replacement Black is to write a fake note from Ram that was an ultimatum for Replacement Black to reciprocate his love, or he’d kill himself. This is supposed to make Replacement Black look like an arsehole, but instead she comes off looking like a hot ass bitch who was so fabulous that a guy killed himself over her. Whoops.
Duke’s DL relationship with Kurt comes undone because of this. Their breakup scene contains a pointed teardown from Kurt to Duke, where Kurt calls him not as smart, hot, or interesting as the other, better people he will soon be meeting at college. It quickly comes out that Heather Chandler fed Kurt the insults, but the message is still true.
And then Heathers slides in a rare sliver of actual emotion when Kurt says the real reason he’s mad at Duke is because he trivialised Ram’s, his best friend’s, death as a part of a scheme. Feels bad, man.
Duke also gets a cute scene when Replacement Black rebels against Heather Chandler, and Duke quietly lives for the drama. As do I.
The commentary about uncool girl Trailer Parker ruining suicide is crude, but yummy nonetheless. Drew Droege hams it up in the faculty meeting saying that it’s probably for the best, because suicide won’t be popular, anymore.
Oh, and I admire Veronica’s commitment to JD that she would crash a car they’re both in just to provide him with an alibi. Veronica’s really not okay in the head, is she?