What to Watch Verdict
"Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss" is a wobbly penultimate that wins us over with one unexpected death and a reveal to trump all 'Child's Play' reveals.
🔪 Fiona Dourif continues to be the MVP
🔪 That "Bound" joke rules
🔪 What it teases is so exciting
🔪 Flashbacks are still a distraction
🔪 Heartfelt moments don't always land
🔪 Development lacks
This post contains spoilers for Chucky. Check out our last review here.
Two constants define my Chucky viewing experience through “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” — frustration and giddiness, in generous heaps. Don Mancini, alongside a team of writers and co-creators, continues to develop his Child’s Play franchise with purpose, yet Chucky's first season is a bounce-about mess in terms of narrative architecture. There are worthwhile beats aimed toward a wild finish (that's coming from an outspoken Child's Play appreciator), but as another episode passes, I’m left in disarray. We’ve already reached the penultimate episode, yet some arcs feel like they’re just beginning.
As most of my Chucky reviews have noted, the flashbacks are a natural momentum killer. “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” dresses Fiona Dourif as 1988’s Charles Lee Ray, who belittles his psychotic lovebug Tiff (Blaise Crocker) and “cheats” by killing in Chicago without his partner. These flashbacks all tread backstory that’s only been implied to this point, but add very little as interludes that distract from the already overstuffed assault on Hackensack. It’s a joy to see Dourif represent her father’s iconic serial killer in the flesh, yet the scattershot dragging of flashbacks has improved no episode as a means of conveying what we certainly could already infer about Charles Lee Ray and Tiff in their earlier courtship.
The limitations created by too many subplots shine brightest in Lexy’s (Alyvia Alyn Lind) evolution, or lack thereof. This episode has Devon Evans (Bjorgvin Arnarson) push Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur) away and disrupt their Chucky hunting squad with Lexy. As a reaction, Jake slinks to a bus station in hopes of escaping Hackensack but intercepts a Good Guy doll delivery that brings him right back to Lexy. She quips a line about how Jake could dare abandon his chosen family — implying that Jake, Devon and Lexy are some bonded friendship squad now — which lands with a thud. It’s the sweetest sentiment with no real scripted backing given the tight timeframe in which Lexy goes from Jake’s ruthless tormentor to caring sidekick, highlighting the show’s storytelling shortcomings.
Although, “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” understands forward movement and teasing momentous cliffhangers, which is a step above last week’s hiccup “Cape Queer.” Fiona Dourif steals her scenes as Nica, who is possessed by a sliver of Chucky’s soul, allowing Dourif to showcase her best impression of papa Brad Dourif. Chucky’s cackle will forever echo through the halls of horror infamy, whether Brad’s or Fiona’s, and Fiona once again remains a crowd-pleaser bringing life to the Child’s Play mythos. A real beacon for the series, whether she’s stubbled and greasy-haired as Charles Lee Ray or brandishing a taser in front of a cowering Devon, as Nica-Chucky.
Chucky’s puppet plaything form is still in the mix as well, and this is where “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” gets interesting because Chucky still wants to be a mentor after his failure with Jake. And his next target is Junior (Teo Briones)
Junior has just lost his mother Bree (Lexa Doig) to what’s presumed a suicidal leap, broke up with Lexy because she’s distant and now thinks his father Logan (Devon Sawa) was cheating thanks to Tiff’s (Jennifer Tilly) lip-lock smooch with Logan at Bree’s funeral. Junior murders Logan with Chucky, bashing his drunken father with Chucky’s noggin as red juices pool. Chucky now has an accomplice. It’s another sharp turn for the series that could have used far more massaging but stays engaging nonetheless because Chucky is no longer solely about a supernatural evil — Junior brutally kills in cold blood and now threatens Chucky’s enemies.
We also can’t ignore the bombshell climax that was my prediction from the start — an army of Chucky dolls! It’s revealed that Tiff’s purchasing of Charles Lee Ray’s childhood home serves more than nostalgic memories. As the realtor notes, Tiff’s been receiving packages before she moves in and now we know why. As Devon finds out after sneaking into Tiff and Chucky’s new Hackensack residence — then restrained by a conscious Chucky, no Nica — Tiff’s been amassing a platoon of Good Guy dolls presumably for Chucky to infect with his murderous soul fragments. As it stands, we’re staring down the barrel of a shotgun loaded with possessed Chucky dolls pointed directly at Hackensack, and I’m elated.
It’s fair to say “Twice the Grieving, Double the Loss” gets Chucky back on track, even though I don’t think Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent) and Kyle (Christine Elise) have been given enough attention and I’m now left wondering why they bothered with Miss Fairchild's (Annie Briggs) false arrest.
I like this campy, messy, queer-forward continuation for Chucky, but I can’t ignore the messiness mentioned. I wish I felt more connected to characters that continually wrestle for the spotlight, yet in a show called Chucky, we’re here for the red-haired devil doll. In that regard, bring on the Chucky ranks and let me witness the aftermath that a follow-up to Cult Of Chucky deserves.
Matt Donato is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic who stays up too late typing words for What To Watch, IGN, Paste, Bloody Disgusting, Fangoria and countless other publications. He is a member of Critics Choice and co-hosts a weekly livestream with Perri Nemiroff called the Merri Hour. You probably shouldn't feed him after midnight, just to be safe.