Chucky is finally here! Tonight Chucky Episode 1 aired on SYFY. Titled “Death by Misadventure,” the first episode introduces us to 14-year-old budding artist Jake Wheeler (Zackary Arthur), the latest owner of a haunted Good Guy doll. Unbeknownst to Jake, all of the urban legends regarding Charles Lee Ray inhabiting a Good Guy doll who goes by the name Chucky are real, and he finds that out quickly after purchasing one at a yard sale for a mere $20.
Jake’s artistry involves tearing dolls limb from limb and using their assorted parts to create terrifying sculptures. He’d probably get along with Toy Story‘s Sid. He intends to cut Chucky up too, not that he could, which he realizes when attempting to remove the doll’s head. Luckily for Jake, Chucky doesn’t get a chance to react (violently) because his father arrives home from work in time to see that his son has purchased another doll.
His dad Luke Wheeler (Devon Sawa), is a blue-collar employee who doesn’t particularly like that his son is something of an oddity with his doll obsession. He especially doesn’t like that Jake is gay, although he’s not even willing to admit that. This introductory scene not only implies an abusive relationship between father and son, but we also learn that the Wheelers are flat broke.
Chucky doesn’t waste time setting up the stakes of this universe and establishing the lore that will continue from the film franchise, specifically Cult of Chucky. In this story, Jake is our main character, and he lives in the town of Hackenslash, I mean Hackensack! But his crush, a schoolmate named Devon Evans (Bjorgvin Arnarson), hosts a podcast called Hackenslash, where he digs into true crime, specifically the story of Charles Lee Ray, who was born and raised in Hackensack just like them.
Chucky Episode 1 recap: The Wheeler family sucks
Jake’s day only gets worse as he’s forced to participate in an uncomfortable family dinner with his Uncle Logan (Sawa pulls double duty here as twin brothers Logan and Luke), his aunt Bree (Lexa Doig) and his cousin Junior (Teo Briones). Junior happens to be one of Jake’s biggest bullies at school and doesn’t even try to hide it at the dinner table. You get the sense that Junior picks up his bad habits from his father and his brother.
Yet somehow, even worse than Junior is his girlfriend Lexy Cross, a real nasty piece of work as far as television mean girls go (Alvyia Alyn Lind, whose mother Barbara Alyn Lind also has a role on the show!). But more on that soon.
Junior winds Jake and Luke up during dinner with a bunch of gay jokes that push Luke toward the brink. He refuses to face that his son is gay and certainly doesn’t want other people to know it. When their family leaves, Luke goes completely over the edge and takes a baseball bat to all of Jake’s artwork, banning him from having any dolls in the house.
On the plus side, Jake was already considering selling Chucky after finding out how little money they have (his dad informs him they don’t have enough cash to send him to an art camp he wanted to go to earlier in the episode). He lists the doll on eBay in the hopes his retro status can net him a pretty penny.
Chucky Episode 1 recap: Lexy’s cruel prank
The next day at school, we see just how horrible the other students treat Jake, and he doesn’t make it any easier on himself by lugging Chucky to school with him. Upon seeing his new friend, Lexy leaps at the opportunity to do something cruel. Jake tells her he’s selling Chucky, and she makes a big spiel about his financially disadvantaged status, even going so far as to make GoFundMe help him and his dad get out of poverty. It’s humiliating, and even Junior thinks Lexy is doing too much, not that he lifts a finger to stop her.
Lexy’s page prank goes live during biology lab, where Jake is having a hard enough time, as is with dissecting a frog. Apparently, he hates the sight of blood, which he’ll have to get over quickly if he’s going to be hanging out with Chucky. The page does embarrass Jake enough that he asks their teacher, Miss Fairchild (Annie Briggs), to keep Chucky until he can sell him.
For Lexy’s punishment, Miss Fairchild demands she stay after class. She gives her destination and asks Lexy to remove the page. Lexy refuses and is arrogant enough to think the principal will be on her side since Principal McVey (Jana Peck) knows her mom. Miss Fairchild decides to put that to the test, leaving Lexy alone in the room with Chucky. But he doesn’t kill her, yet. Instead, Chucky just gives Lexy a good scare, enough that when Miss Fairchild returns with the principal, she changes her mind about the page and promises to take it down. Afterward, Miss Fairchild locks Chucky in her cabinet.
At home, Jake answers a call from a mysterious person who has some questions regarding his Good Guy doll. Is that Andy Barclay on the other end? He advises Jake to be careful and check and see if Chucky has his batteries in. As we know, that’s a staple of the franchise. Jake immediately googles any connections between Good Guy dolls and violence, pulling up a photo of young Andy and Chucky from Child’s Play (1988) and many “urban legends” regarding these dolls and Charles Lee Ray.
Well, the following day, Chucky has somehow returned home. Luke finds him in the bathroom and presents him to Jake at the kitchen table. He was supposed to get rid of his dolls. Jake promises that he intends to and checks Chucky for batteries and, just like the caller said, there aren’t any, but Chucky’s been talking! Jake shoves him in the trash.
Chucky Episode 1 recap: Jake the ventriloquist
It doesn’t take long for the doll to escape again, and he makes a big entrance this time. At the school talent show, Lexy tries to humiliate Jake yet again. This time, Chucky speaks up from the crowd (Brad Dourif is officially back!) and convinces Jake to go along with his scheme. Together, Jake and Chucky go on stage. Jake pretends he’s doing a ventriloquist act as Chucky roasts the audience with a particular focus on Lexy, who is apparently cheating on Junior with one of their classmates Oliver (Avery Esteves).
Since Chucky is as foul-mouthed and crude as ever and everyone thinks Jake is doing the talking for his doll, Jake is suspended for the talent show mishap. Luke is pissed and drunk when he finds out. As soon as Jake gets home, his dad loses it and violently assaults his son, especially when Jake calls him out for being a homophobe.
Jake tearfully says he wishes his father was the one to die in the car crash that killed his mom and storms out of the room. Luke rips Chucky out of his hands before he leaves, and even while he’s angry, Jake warns him that it’s not a good idea to be alone with the doll. Moments later, Luke finds out why from first-hand experience.
Chucky Episode 1 recap: Death by misadventure
Chucky downs the rest of Luke’s whiskey and lures him into the basement by pulling the electrical wires. Once Jake’s dad is standing close to the frayed wiring, Chucky vomits alcohol all over his feet, causing Luke to electrocute to death.
Honestly, no one seems all that upset about Luke’s death, not even his brother. Everyone appears to believe that Luke had it coming due to being a hard drinker and that it was just a tragic accident. For now, Jake is moving in with Logan, Junior and Bree. As for the cops, which includes Devon’s mom Detective Evans, they’re ruling it as “death by misadventure.”
Once alone with Chucky, the doll finally comes to life in the way we all know and love. “Hi, I’m Chucky and I’m your friend ’til the end. Hidey f**king ho!” He admits to killing Jake’s cat, too, for good measure and then tells Jake they should “talk about that b*tch Lexy.”
In the final seconds of Chucky Episode 1, we return to the brief intro where we saw a creepy child or doll sneak up on a woman. We find out that “child” is a young Charles Lee Ray (David Kohlsmith) visiting his mom (Marisa McIntyre) back in 1965 Hackensack! It looks like we’ll be getting the famed serial killer’s origin story this season.
Odds & Ends from Chucky Episode 1
- During the family dinner, Bree excuses herself to make a call. Later, during Chucky’s impromptu stand-up, he calls Bree out for having a secret. It sounds like she might be having an affair.
- Devon is planning a segment on bullying and asks Jake to be a guest on his podcast. Being bullied is not the type of thing you want your crush to recognize about you. “Do I look like the poster boy of losers to you?”
What did you think of Chucky Episode 1? Are you planning to watch the rest of the season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
New episodes of Chucky Season 1 air Tuesday nights on SYFY.