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'Chucky' season 1 episode 8 Review: An Affair to Dismember

Chucky raises an army, Jake fights for Hackensack, and there are still a few surprises left before the first season wraps.

Say hello to the gang in "Chucky."
(Image: © SYFY)

Our Verdict

An Affair to Dismember does a proper job sticking the season's landing with so many subplots to finish and delivers our scariest Chucky encounters yet.

For

  • 🔪 Gets bloody and wild.
  • 🔪 Fun juxtaposition against "Frankenstein"
  • 🔪 The army rises.
  • 🔪 The show's path forward is brightly lit.

Against

  • 🔪 A few subplots fall flat.
  • 🔪 Lots to connect, can be overwhelming.
  • 🔪 The flashbacks wrap with a shrug.

In “An Affair to Dismember,” the ambition of Don Mancini’s Chucky attempts to tie up all the fraying loose ends we’ve covered week after week. It’s a finale tasked with addressing countless subplot climaxes — some ignored for a few episodes — that all collide in an elongated (yet still arguably rushed) end to Jake Wheeler’s (Zackary Arthur) first season battling Charles Lee Ray. SYFY and USA recently announced Chucky will return with more episodes, which has us all giddy. The finale is arguably one of the strongest episodes so far.

As the resident Chucky obsessor, around these parts — or anywhere, really — the excitement for “An Affair to Dismember” stems from Chucky's army which was teased in the last episode. Andy (Alex Vincent) thinks he and Kyle (Christine Elise) have eliminated all, except one, possessed Chucky doll in Hackensack, but Chucky (Brad Dourif) and Tiff (Jennifer Tilly) prove otherwise. 

Chucky’s mentorship coaxes Junior (Teo Briones) into murdering his father Logan (Devon Sawa) — as previously seen. We learn this corruption of innocence gives Chucky the power to control an entire platoon of seventy(ish) Good Guy dolls. Exposition flies by — Chucky’s soul can only split into identical Good Guy vessels (aside from Nica, just roll with it) — but cements the bombshell events, about multiple bodily transferences dropped in Cult Of Chucky, as mythology canon.

It’s the plaything Armada that fans have dreamed of since Cult Of Chucky. Where better to unleash Chucky’s ranks than at a repertoire screening of Universal classic Frankenstein — hosted by Mayor Michelle Cross (Barbara Alyn Woods)? Here’s where the confirmation of a second season helps calm the nerves because the finale isn’t about a theater filled with Chucky murderers. They’re locked in a delivery truck, headed to the Teterboro airport — gifts for children nationwide, donated by screening special guest, Jennifer Tilly. “An Affair to Dismember” — and by extension, this entire first season — is a lead-in to what’s teased as an even wilder second season. The final episode ultimately does its job — offering suitable closure and exciting cliffhangers.

The challenge, for “An Affair to Dismember", is for Mancini and writers to straighten out the huge number of subplots that are stuffed into the series.  Miss Fairchild’s (Annie Briggs) wrongful arrest never comes to much, Mayor Cross’ family dysfunction leads to nothing but a cheap Nathan (Michael Therriault) sacrifice, Kyle appears in Hackensack lacking explanation after being ditched by Andy, miles away. Chucky has a subplot problem. Unfortunately, “An Affair to Dismember” can't overcome this issue and wipe the season’s slate clean of all the loose ends. Still, there is an unexpectedly satisfying attempt at doing just that.

Mancini handles the nefariousness and malice of “An Affair to Dismember” better, as the slasher methodologies produce what’s the scariest we’ve seen Chucky to date. There have been gory deaths, of course, but we're talking about Chucky’s physicality. Fiona Dourif does tremendous heavy-lifting when she’s playing Nica-Chucky, both threatening and unhinged with that perfected replication of her father Brad’s iconic Chucky cackle — just one of Chucky’s vessels. Puppetry and special effects work their magic as Chucky stabs theater attendees through their seat cushions — the camera capturing the wicked enjoyment that’s plastered on Chucky’s face. Mancini neatly balances this with the franchise's signature campiness, at times — such as when all the Chuckys debate whether killing babies is appropriate or during the hilarious fireside season recap — but for a majority of “An Affair to Dismember,” we’re shown the versions of Chucky that stalked nightmares for decades.

It’s a bloody, violent affair, at that, as Jennifer Tilly (possessed by Tiff's soul) gets her hands dirty or Chucky carves through rumps of seated patrons. Chucky flaunts its resources as Tilly sends a message by beheading a particularly mouthy Chucky doll who doesn’t treat her right, which squirts blood and reveals the Good Guy’s gunky insides. Another Chucky clone gets blasted in the face by Kyle’s firearm, cracking jawlines and rocketing body chunks. The fight sequences are more intense, and not even at a detriment to emotional resonance as Jake and Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) passionately lock lips after being reunited, or Junior atones for his unthinkable sin. We’re reminded of the darkly memorable creativity of the Child’s Play franchise as Andy drives away with a shipment of Chucky units hellbent on causing mayhem, then capped by the grandest reveal — Tiffany's (Jennifer Tilly) doll form introduced in Bride of Chucky breaks the truck’s window and starts giving orders at gunpoint.

There's so much to write about for this episode but, here’s the gist — I’m happy. Chucky isn’t a flawless television show, nor is the finale immaculate. But in the end, it’s a Frankenstein's monster of a series that is unique to Mancini’s insane killer dolly universe and yet it still passionately marches forward with so much reason. Mancini’s expressions through queer storytelling lay the groundwork that makes Chucky’s original timeline more relevant than ever — campiness and callbacks included. We’ve reached a point where Chucky can stop rehashing the past for new fans and focus on a future in the now, which makes me smile. The show itself makes me smile. The world is better with more Chucky in it, and I’m ready for — no, anticipating — next season. That’s the highest acknowledgment Chucky can ask for, right?