Just as Audrey and Charlotte begin to enact their plan to collect the aether to build a new barn, a new trouble starts to wreak havoc. Some random citizens fall victim, but it isn’t long before the group finds themselves all suffering from the effects. Unlike other instances, it becomes clear that they are being specifically targeted to hinder their efforts.
The one doing the targeting is revealed to be Croatoan, a being that Charlotte describes as a monster from the void. It’s been built up for a couple of seasons now, so it’s nice to see the plot point finally come to fruition. It also gives us a “big bad” for the heroes to battle as the show moves closer to its conclusion.
The list that Nathan comes across on one of the victims was a bit too convenient, but the script needed to give them something to go on. It leads him to a tarot card reader, who unknowingly had her abilities manipulated by the aforementioned monster as a way to attack the main characters from afar.
It works well as the characters have no real way of combating this trouble. It’s made worse when Nathan realizes that there is no emotional trauma to use; this trouble is always active. The best Nathan can do is have new cards drawn when it looks like things are looking grim.
His final solution is a mixed bag. It was a good “I don’t believe in a no win scenario” but why is the guy who was cursed with bad luck the one who expects to draw a good card for his question? It’s possible that he had a new card drawn in the meantime, but it was never shown and it is a pretty important thing to hand wave.
Meanwhile Duke tries to find the person who is touted to be able to cure people of the curse of the black oil. The results are mixed. The first guy he asks rebuffs him, but the mechanic implies that he is the one that Duke is looking for. It seems to pan out as he performs a rather intense ritual, but Duke quickly picks up on the fact that it was a ruse. The guy does, however, give Duke a name. It’s the name of a dead man, but that doesn’t seem to stop Duke from having a conversation with the guy, who says that he plans to tell Duke everything about who and what he is.
If the episode has a weak element, it’s the Teagues’ sub-plot. They save a girl after Dave has a vision. It’s revealed that she is suffering from lost time, suggesting an encounter with Croatoan. They attempt to recover her memories, but make no progress.
The real strength comes from the main plot. It was gripping, moved nicely, and advanced the story the most. It was good to see the monster come to the forefront, though the reveal that Croatoan is Mara/Audrey’s father will likely raise some eyebrows. You kind of figure it was going to be the case as Charlotte makes a point to bring him up out of the blue, but you can’t help but wonder if it was necessary.
Aforementioned reveal notwithstanding, Croatoan does make a good showing as a villain here. He largely remains off screen, shows cunning through his manipulation of troubles, and even comes complete with a chillingly deep voice to really add to the sense of evil. His murder of Charlotte would be ruthless, and her death somewhat poignant if the teaser for the next episode didn’t make it clear that they were going to bring her back. Given how well that worked in ‘Pet Sematary’ or the current season of ‘Arrow’, it’s safe to say that things are likely to go horribly awry.
This was a really strong episode. The characters were placed in real danger, the plot moved forward, and we got a good taste of what the final villain will be like. It’s safe to say that this is the strongest episode of this half of the season. Here’s hoping the show will use this momentum and keep things going because this worked rather well.