Heathers Season 1 Episode 8 – TV Review

Heathers Call Us When the Shuttle Lands Chandler Duke journal

I just wish Heather Duke had better hair, though.

So you know how I was talking a lot about indecision last episode?

Yeah, that’s not getting any better.

TL;DR The Heathers find out Veronica is a murderer, but are fine with it; they only find out about the Croquet Killer one, though (you should have kept reading!); a school shooter drill gives JD some ideas on how he’s going to carry out his plans; JD and Veronica drift apart again.

Mighty arbitrarily, too, I’ll add. Which shouldn’t shock you at this point.

So we’ll start with JD this episode, because he doesn’t get up to much. Following a mandate from the school board to arm all the teachers with guns in response to the wave of death and violence (oh so close to being topical, show. If you’d premiered in March like you were supposed to…), the school also plays out a school shooter lockdown scenario. The students who are shot and “killed” get to party in the cafeteria, while the coach takes JD’s class on a journey to spell out all the things school shooters do to inflict maximum damage. JD takes some keen ideas from this, including getting access to the boiler room. Meanwhile, Heather Chandler accosts Duke and Veronica about the gay conversion video, and they end up locked in a classroom by themselves. This begins a lot of back-and-forth about who’s mad at who blah blah blah, but things pick up when the Heathers turn on Veronica and read her journal, discovering she’s the Croquet Killer. Duke is excited and impressed that Veronica managed to get away with murder, while Chandler is initially aghast and wants to turn her in. But then Veronica goes on a monologue about how everyone’s killing everyone with selfishness and consumerism (Heather McNamara’s suicide is brought up, having been partly precipitated by Chandler’s cruelty. So the point isn’t entirely inane), and the Heathers realise JD not wanting to take Veronica to prom is the real struggle. So they all unite and decide to go to prom together, leading to Veronica ignoring JD later on.

So, their love is God until it isn’t because of prom? Well, I suppose Veronica hasn’t been established to be very mentally stable, huh?

This episode has the benefit of actually pitting the Heathers and Veronica against each other in a closed space, which is something it shouldn’t have taken this long (Episode 8!) to get to. I can’t vouch for their priorities, but I’ll happily take the quips and bitchiness.

Unfortunately, this episode stamps out any progress Heather Chandler made last episode.

The unfocused bitch is back.

 

Why I hate this episode:

Things also seems to be getting blandly conventional with JD, as he’s totally gearing up to follow his movie incarnation’s footsteps. Veronica’s still hovering as a proud murderer in the wings, but given how much Heathers the TV Show has done differently from the movie (Heather Chandler is still alive, people), it’s disappointing to have the ending seem so signposted.

Speaking of Heather Chandler, the worst moment in the episode is because of her. She and Duke have just found out Veronica is the Croquet Killer from reading the journal, and Veronica defiantly confirms it. Duke is oddly happy about this and loves it, while Chandler is appropriately appalled and freaked out. But then the scene feels like it got dropped on its head, as Veronica’s consumerism monologue shifts the conversation to prom and JD, and then the trio become besties again and go make prom demands to Guidance Counselor. It’s fucking weird, even for this show.

Heather Duke has also now lost what I thought was a slow build to him being our lone hero. Chandler’s still in with a shot, but do you really have faith that it’ll happen?

The Heathers also foolishly stop reading the journal at the Croquet Killer part. I’d like to imagine their reactions would have been different if they knew about Ram and Betty.

The boiler room thing didn’t make any sense. The coach explains that the two gathering places in the event of a school shooter are the cafeteria, and the boiler room (which is below the cafeteria). But then the very next scene shows that you need a faculty keypad code to get into the boiler room. Huh?

Oh, and more fool me for questioning logic in this show, but if the students who are “killed” in the drill just go party in the cafeteria, does that mean they don’t get the safety lesson? Because shouldn’t the students who got “killed” be in greater need of it?

 

But it’s not all bad:

The cafeteria is branded “Heaven” as part of the drill, and JD makes a super on-the-nose point of filming a bunch of his fellow not-killed students moaning about how bad they want to die and go to Heaven. Because he’s obviously going to use this footage out of context later as part of his mass murder plans. It’s dumb, but it’s fun.

Sticking with JD’s subplot for the moment, the episode does feature a brief but impactful commentary on the phenomenon of school shooter fandoms. In the boiler room, the coach takes a boy who nobody seems to even know the name of and puts a trench coat, glasses, and gun on him. Suddenly everyone thinks he looks super cool and the girls start fawning over him. It’s very Columbine online fandom, and I appreciated the realness.

But over with the girls is where the important stuff happens. And I’ll give my highest praise to the brief team-up of the Heathers against Veronica. See, you guys? When you work together, you can expose a murderer in a matter of minutes. The journal-snatching is both effective, and requisitely rude.

Veronica begins the scene fearful that Chandler’s accosting of them is to say she knows what happened to Teacher. When she learns it’s actually about Duke’s stupid gay conversion ad, she’s both relieved, but also insulted at their shallowness. Which is what brings the Heathers together to turn on Veronica.

Once the murderous truth is out, I must praise Heather Chandler for her proper reaction. It is quickly washed away by some baffling writing, but with Duke instantly on the murderer fangirl train, Heather Chandler may now be our only hope for a hero at the end of the day.

The subplot with our three ladies unsurprisingly leads to some excellent lines. The best line of the episode goes to Duke when they’re cussing out JD for not wanting to take Veronica to prom: “He is such a clove cigarette.” I genuinely laughed out loud.

Duke follows up soon after with this decree once they’re reunited: “The real enemy is ugly people.” I knew he reminded me of someone.

And it’s Duke again with what could be the most absurd thing to be uttered in Heathers yet, which is a high honour. It comes when he and Chandler are tearing down Veronica for her relationship with JD: “She’s the reason we keep failing the Bechdel Test!” I know I’ve been using male pronouns for Duke, but I’d just like you to know that I’m not being a shitlord (Duke was described as genderqueer, so if anything they/them would be more appropriate than female pronouns).

The episode begins with a woman from the school board mandating that the teachers all have guns. Guidance Counselor and Drew Droege object, but when she takes them to a shooting range, Drew Droege realises he’s having a great time. And then he accidentally shoots her in the head.

Guidance Counselor is also revealed to be an ace shot.

Heather Chandler has these fucking brilliant exclamation point earrings on all episode.

Oh, and despite being a prom-happy girly girl again, and despite JD’s plans to bomb/shoot up the school, I’m gonna hold out hope that all the time spent building Veronica up to be the crazier of the two won’t be for nothing, and something even wackier is on the horizon for the finale.

Heathers Call Us When the Shuttle Lands Veronica

Just ask the Riverdale kids.

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About ijusthateeverything

Sincerity is death.

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