Did you really think it was over? The 8th episode of the new Goosebumps series may have felt like a finale (with a distinctly R.L. Stine twist at the end), but there were a few hanging threads. They begin to weave together in “Night of the Living Dummy: Part 2,” the show’s penultimate episode. Of the original 64 books published, there were 9 sequels, 2 of which were additional tales about Slappy, who is now the star of his own book series, Goosebumps SlappyWorld. I mention this because Slappy is also the star of this episode.
Episode 9 – Night of the Living Dummy: Part 2 – Written by Mariko Tamaki
Mr. Bratt (Justin Long) was a substitute teacher in Portland, OR, with big dreams of writing a book that could have a big impact on the world. With his head in the clouds, he found himself fired from his job and unable to pay his rent. Worst of all, his pet poodle Fifi ran off and got hit by a car. But through his grief, he discovered that he was the sole living heir of a man named Ephram Biddle. It took lawyers a while to find him, but he was now the proud owner of a vacant mansion in Port Lawrence. And so he moved there, only to find his body possessed by the ghost of Harold Biddle. Now back in control of his body and life, he uses recent events as the source of inspiration for his great novel.
Through the epilogue of Mr. Bratt’s novel, we get to catch up with the residents of Port Lawrence, although names have been changed. Isaiah’s (Zack Morris) arm is healing faster than expected, and his father, Ben (Leonard Roberts), hopes his son’s football future is back on track, although Isaiah isn’t sure he wants that life anymore. James (Miles McKenna) and Isabella (Ana Yi Puig) have become close friends, helping each other with their lack of a love life. Margot (Isa Briones) and Lucas (Will Price) are officially a couple. Margot’s mom, Sarah (Lexa Doig), is moving back to Seattle while her father, Colin (Rob Huebel), has proposed to Lucas’ mother, Nora (Rachael Harris), who said yes. Mr. Bratt sends his manuscript to a publisher.
Mr. Bratt hires Ben to help hang his own taxidermied animal in the living room of the Biddle Mansion – his dead dog, Fifi, who he reveals belonged to his grandmother. He tells Ben about the book, and Ben is unnerved to hear that Nathan has written about Slappy, whom he renamed “Snappy” in the novel. When Nathan heads to the Harbor Stop for breakfast, he passes the teens as they get in James’ Jeep for a road trip to Seattle. Before Nathan can place an order, he gets a call from Ann Macy (Genevieve Kang), who works for a publishing company interested in his book. However, they don’t like the ending. “This book wants a satisfying finale that’s unexpected but also digs deeper and explains the backstory of Snappy,” she tells him. Mr. Bratt asks about finances, and she tells him they can discuss it when they get the amended ending.
Pushing through the writer's block, Nathan writes a new ending in which all of the characters turn out to be ghosts. He shares the good news with Anne over the phone, who says that the ending has been done too many times. She inflates his ego by saying he could be the next Stephen King. “You need to get me those pages as soon as humanly possible,” she says. Nathan goes to a restaurant to pick up a to-go order and sees Nora and Colin having dinner with Ben, Victoria (Francoise Yip), and Eliza (Laura Mennell), trying to mend old wounds after the resolution of Harold Biddle’s story. Mr. Bratt takes his food as nourishment for a drive to clear his writer's block.
In Seattle, things are awkward between Margot, Lucas, and Isaiah. When the rest of the group goes out for gelato, Margot and Isaiah get a moment together, and she asks for his advice on whether she should move there with her mom or stay in Port Lawrence. He acknowledges that Seattle seems like the perfect place for bookish Margot. She and Lucas go to a fancy doughnut shop with a long line out the door, and she learns that he plans to run the Harbor Stop someday. Margot seems surprised by how limited Lucas’ vision for his future is, and the chemistry between them seems to have gone stale. “If you move to Seattle, you can have your fancy doughnuts anytime you want,” Lucas tells Margot.
Mr. Bratt listens to a podcast called “Let the Write One In” while he drives (hosted by the real R.L. Stine), taking the narrator’s advice that “True creation comes from darkness.” Nathan’s drive has taken him past an exit for Mount Seymour, the place where Slappy fell. It coincides with another piece of advice from the host: “Every great story has a beginning, a middle, and a twist.” Nathan nods to himself, saying, “That would be a twist.” He goes to the ravine with a flashlight and finds Slappy’s parts. We see him return home, dumping the dummy parts on the living room carpet. He pulls the spell out of the dummy’s breast pocket and reads it. Nothing happens right away, but as Mr. Bratt turns his back, the pieces roll together, and Slappy stands up. “What took you so long?”, Slappy (Chris Geere) asks, promising to give Nathan the greatest ending of all time. Just then, the mounted Fifi comes to life and barks.
The teens have gone to a party hosted by Margot’s cousin, and they all seem a little out of place there, except for Margot. Lucas gets upset and tells Margot to move to Seattle. “Maybe we’re just not meant to be together,” Margot tells Lucas as he leaves the party. When the teens get back to her mom’s house, Lucas has packed up and left, leaving a goodbye note. We see him board a bus back to Port Lawrence.
Nathan follows Fifi into the woods, holding a shovel. The dog stops at a spot where he should dig, and something strange changes in her. Her eyes now glow red, her fangs are unusually sharp, and she growls at her former owner until he starts to dig. Cut to Mr. Bratt in his living room, covered in dirt with a coffin on the floor. “You need this,” Slappy reminds Nathan as he paces anxiously. He breaks open the lid and reaches inside, feeling around for the jacket pocket and pulling out a piece of paper: the spell Ephram Biddle was too scared to complete for Slappy. He starts to recite it and has the same vision that terrified his grandfather: people screaming on a flaming spiral tower. He stops reading. “Was that the ending?”, he asks Slappy. “Is that real? That didn’t seem good.” Slappy demands that Nathan finish the spell, and he does. As the last word of the incantation is recited, Slappy goes limp. Black smoke emerges from his body…
… The black smoke floats into Ephram’s coffin. The rest of the lid rises off. “Oh my God,” Nathan mutters as the corps inside stands up. New flesh wraps around the old bones. The tattered tuxedo repairs itself. Standing before Nathan is a man who steps out and begins to move toward the front door. Just then, Ben enters. “Who are you?”, he asks, seeing the stranger before him. The man (Chris Geere, who also voices Slappy) recites an incantation. Ben turns into a dummy as Mr. Bratt is left speechless.
That’s it for this week! Everything will presumably wrap up next week, but as R.L. Stine is famous for, there’s sure to be another twist. I’ll be back on Friday, November 17th, with the final Goosebumps recap.
Episode 10: Welcome to Horrorland
As the teens get back from their Seattle trip, they quickly realize their loved ones and all of Port Lawrence are in grave danger. A new evil has taken over the town and they need to band together to save it.
Songs Featured in This Episode:
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