Black Summer – Alone Quietly Stands Out

As Black Summer hits the season’s halfway point, Alone delivers what may be the best episode to date. If you were wondering what happened to Lance following Summer School, Alone picks up following his separation. It’s a largely dialogue-free episode focused solely on one character.

Lance Goes Shopping … Alone

At the start of Alone, Lance wakes up ‘alone’ in hallway, separated from Spears et al. Though he gets out of the school unscathed, he witnesses the children execute a man on the rooftop. Upon hitting the ground, the deceased man instantly re-animates and chases poor Lance through the streets. After escaping the zombie, Lance finds a grocery store and does some impromptu shopping. But another feral zombie interrupts his leisurely afternoon. For the remainder of the episode, Lance plays ‘hide and seek’ in a fire station and then a library. Finally, a stranger rescues him, but Lance reluctantly bludgeons his helper when the man remarks he’s been bitten.

Black Summer Sustains Tension Over The Episode

This isn’t a masterpiece of television, but it’s Black Summer’s best episode to this point. With little to no dialogue, Alone is a lean episode that leaves little time to consider the series’ increasing problems. Essentially, it’s an extended chase scene that boasts some effective tension. Given Black Summer’s propensity for killing its characters, Alone convinces us that Lance may not survive. As a result, the episode has a sense of urgency. Perhaps you could get picky and point out that Black Summer doesn’t really do much to wring out this suspense. And yes, that would be a valid argument. There’s no particular craftsmanship behind the episode. But for 30 minutes of ‘cat and mouse’ chases, Alone is suspenseful and feels like it has stakes.

Alone Doesn’t Address Black Summer’s Issues

By and large, Alone is a good episode because it serves as a diversion from Black Summer’s bigger problems. As stated above, the episode is basically one long chase scene with almost no dialogue. By the episode’s conclusion, we still don’t know anything about Lance. Moreover, the episode doesn’t even really flesh him out as a character. There’s still only the barest sense of an overarching plot driving the action. And while this episode’s zombie felt threatening, Black Summer is still under-utilizing the concept. Overall, Alone is a good episode that still feels more like a temporary reprieve than course correction for the series.

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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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