Sunday, October 4, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 04 - Friday the 13th the Series - Faith Healer

I was told I might go blind but I was not warned about this...

Friday the 13th the Series
S01E12 Faith Healer

Faith Healer is perhaps the most infamous episode of the whole series, largely because it is directed by horror legend, David Cronenberg. The cursed object this week is a glove that can take an affliction from one person and then give it to someone else only worse. It is a simple white glove which rests starkly against the numerous broken pustules and gaping wounds that it heals and eventually deploys.

Even on the small screen and with a limited budget Faith Healer has many Cronenbergian touches; there is a cult, there are moments of stark clinical spaces overtaken by disease, and there is the continual battle of science vs. the abuse of religion. There is an attention to body horror that the show normally doesn’t dwell on and it is still shocking to this day.

What really sets up Faith Healer as one of the great episodes of this series is in the complexity of its antagonists and their relationship with each other. We have Stewart Fishoff (Miguel Fernandes) a con-artist & faith healer who is busted by a skeptic (and Cronenberg regular Robert A. Silverman), Jerry Scott. What seems like an obvious set-up has Stewart find the glove and start healing for real. When Jerry moves in to confront him we discover that he is suffering from some unknown (and very gross) terminal disease. Jerry acquires the glove, he’s looking to heal himself and kill his friend Jack Marshak to pay for it. Jack’s friendship with Jerry is only touched on very briefly but it adds pathos to the finale making it more than watching our heroes triumph, we have to watch them pay for that victory.

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