The one thing the trailer for Slasher season 5, Ripper, promised was that it would be “the most gruesome season of horror yet.” The first two episodes premiered on Shudder and AMC+ on Thursday, April 6, and so far that promise has been kept. Right from the beginning, there’s blood.
Granted, it’s from someone tossing a bucket of animal blood into the street. Still, it splashes directly in the path of a gentleman who spryly dodges it by skipping up onto the sidewalk and skirting around it. The Jack the Ripper imitator is undeterred in his own quest for blood.
But this is Slasher we’re talking about, so you know there will be a twist. It comes in the form of this season’s villain, The Widow. She’s not the first one to foil the plans of Ripper wannabe Alistair Simcoe (Shaun Benson), though. That honor goes to Horatio Dixon (Jefferson Brown).
Horatio knows Alistair’s sick proclivities and steps in to protect Daisy (Nataliya Rodina), one of his girls, when Alistair tries to solicit her services. With his feathers slightly ruffled, Alistair eventually acquiesces and heads off into the night. But on his way home, while preening in a window, he spots a tempting vision behind him: a woman, all alone, clad entirely in black, from the veil covering her head to her heavy dress.
Intrigued —and recognizing an opportunity when he spots one— he follows her and attempts to discern what the face under the veil looks like. Not that he really cares since he has other plans for it. As he states when he uses the blade hidden in his walking stick to try and lift the veil, her face won’t remain intact for long.
Wrong. He’s the one who doesn’t stay intact for long.
The Widow overpowers him, forces his hand into some rope constraints she’s rigged on a wall, and then produces a pair of double-sided shears that she uses to literally cut him in half. But that’s not how his body is found. It gets worse. She sticks a horse post up his backside and props him up in the street that way.
Gruesome indeed. Welcome to Slasher: Ripper.
Who is The Widow in Ripper, and what revenge is she seeking?
If this season stays true to past ones, The Widow’s identity won’t be revealed until the last episode. However, the first two episodes have provided clues about who she might be, as well as the requisite red herrings.
One thing we’re not sure of is whether or not she’s even a female. After all, the killer is strong, as Dr. Melanda Israel (Lisa Berry) says when she examines Alistair’s body.
She’s also right when she makes the assessment that the kill isn’t random, and the killer is sending a message. But that doesn’t become clear until later when Detective Kenneth Rijkers (Gabriel Darku) breaks into her office after hours to investigate the body on his own. That’s when they discover the first real clue, in the form of a poem lodged within Alistair’s skin. It reads:
Alistair was first
One of many
The other gents
From wounds aplenty
Friends of Margaret
Who’s Margaret? It doesn’t take long for Detective Rijkers to figure out it’s Margaret Mehar, a lady of the night who was brutally disemboweled in a Jack the Ripper-style copycat murder 12 years earlier. Andrew May, or the Toronto Ripper as he became known, was convicted and put to death for the murder. But he swore up until he was hung that he was innocent. It appears he was right.
Something those involved in Margaret’s death already knew, which includes Superintendent Isaac Kashtinsky (Daniel Kash) and Toronto tycoon Basil Garvey (Eric McCormack). And thanks to the poem Detective Rijkers discovers, they also know someone else now knows —and is targeting them.
But when The Widow strikes next, it’s not one of the upper class whose life she claims. It’s Horatio, Daisy’s pimp.
Sadly, Daisy was an unintended victim in a dispute between Horatio and one of Basil Garvey’s goons. She dies of a head injury when the goon tosses her headfirst into a pole.
The Widow appears as a crying Horatio, cradling his beloved Daisy’s head in his lap, pleads with her to make the rich pay. She tenderly closes Daisy’s eyes, calmly walks behind Horatio, then suddenly slices his throat and saws off his head.
And that’s just the first episode, aptly titled “The Slaughterhouse.”
Plenty of Ripper suspects to choose from
We know Basil Garvey, Superintendent Kashtinsky, and Alistair Simcoe were involved in Margaret Mehar’s murder. But who else is on The Widow’s hit list? In another clue she leaves behind, she mentions six more will fall. Will Garvey and Kashtinsky be among the victims?
Horatio kind of seemed like a surprise kill, but was there more to it than The Widow’s bloodlust? Did he have something to do with Margaret’s murder too?
And what about the two Botticelli sisters, the vivacious but also vicious Viviana (Paula Brancati) and the equally viperous masquerading as virtuous Venetia (Sabrina Grdevich)? Do they know anything about Margaret’s murder? Or could one of them be The Widow?
I don’t know. All I know is what a whammy it was to learn their true characters when their half-sister Verdi (Sadie Laflamme-Snow) shows up thinking she’s about to be reunited in a happy family reunion. Nope.
And then there’s the newspaper reporter Enid Jenkins (Joanne Vannicola). My money was on her to be this season’s villain…until The Widow took her out in episode 2, “The Painful Truth.”
Now I’m leaning toward Salome (Salvatore Antonio), a transgender courtesan who works at the Queen’s Chamber. I’m thinking she may know a secret or two about who killed Margaret and why. Also, she could easily don The Widow’s attire while mustering the strength necessary to carry out the gruesome kills.
But we shall see if her character is a red herring or not.
Slasher: Ripper isn’t perfect, though
It’s fair to say liberties have been taken with historical details and dialogue, and a lot of cliches are employed. Some of the situations in Ripper also feel very modern, using current wording and sentiments.
For instance, would there really have been a woman doing Dr. Israel’s job? And both she and Detective Rijkers use a lot of forensic techniques we’re used to seeing on crime shows these days, but weren’t widely employed —or even known— back at the turn of the Twentieth Century.
Like when Detective Rijkers identifies the marks on Alistair’s wrists as being from a certain type of knot used in Japan. When Dr. Israel questions how he knows that, he says it’s because he’s curious about detective work everywhere and studies it. I’m not sure knowledge in that regard would be easily obtained back then.
However, as far as setting up the whodunnit part, this season of Slasher is dead on. So far. I think Nightmarish Conjurings summed it up best when they said, “The first two episodes immediately intrigue.”
Agreed. We’ll see if continues, but overall, as in seasons past, everyone in Ripper is once again a suspect…until they’re not because The Widow kills them.
Are you good at figuring out who the Slasher villains will be before they’re revealed? Do you have any ideas who The Widow might be in Slasher: Ripper? We’d love to hear your thoughts on that, as well as what you think of this season so far. Leave a comment sharing them!