Hop on board for Bloodride’s third episode, Bad Writer. If the last episode, Three Sick Brothers, felt derivative, Bad Writer promises some more of the twisty, dark humour that previously worked for it. As the opening credits and ominous music kicks things off, we pan across the rows of lost passengers again. This time the camera stops on a smiling, blonde-haired girl, leaning over a blood-covered laptop.
Bad Writer Introduces Us to the ‘Loveliest Girl in the World’
On a sunny morning, the demure Olivia wakes to her perfect life. Tucked in bed with her boyfriend, Marcus, Olivia is beautiful, rich, and spoiled. When Marcus’ mother texts him to invite the two to dinner, Olivia worries aloud that his mother doesn’t like her. Of course, Marcus assures her that’s not true, telling Olivia she’s ‘the loveliest girl in the world’. On the way out the door to her new writing class, Bad Writer introduces us to Olivia’s overly kind and generous roommates – just another part of Olivia’s perfect life.
…Olivia is beautiful, rich, and spoiled.
At her writing class, Olivia almost immediately attracts the attention and praise of her instructor. She also meets a shy, middle-aged man, Alex, who seems quite taken by Olivia. And he’s also just a little protective of his own amateur writing. But then things take a turn. When Olivia returns home, she stumbles upon her roommates gossiping about her, which strangely detours into a plot to lure her to the woods and murder her. After a tense exchange, Olivia escapes outside by throwing boiling water on the girls. But even dimwitted Marcus is on the plot, and Olivia stabs him in the face with car keys. She’s rescued by a passing car driven by … Alex from writing class.
‘Sometimes You Have to Throw Dirt on Your Characters’
Though Alex takes Olivia to the police station, her roommates track her down, forcing her to dart out the back. As she stumbles in a panic, Olivia discovers that she mistakenly grabbed writing sheets from Alex’s car. What Olivia reads shocks her – she’s just a character in Alex’s story. Everything bad that has happened to her is part of his story. He’s taken their writer instructor’s advice – who also happens to be Alex’s wife – literally. Alex is ‘throwing dirt’ on his character. Out of desperation, Olivia writes her own fate for Alex, turning his MacBook into a monster that severed his fingers.
…she’s just an amateur writer who really hate her daughter-in-law.
Eventually, the aspiring writers call a truce. They meet at a restaurant and plan to write happy endings for one another. And that’s when Bad Writer throws its twist at us. Neither Olivia nor Alex are writing their fates. Olivia’s boyfriend, Marcus, shows up, impaling her with a sword. So who has been writing this story? Why it’s none other than Alex’s wife, the writing instructor, who’s also Marcus’ mother. But there’s still one more twist. The scene cuts to a backyard barbecue with a more frumpy Marcus’ mother hunched over a typewriter. She’s not a famous writer after all. No, she’s just an amateur writer who really hates her daughter-in-law, Olivia. When Marcus and Olivia arrive for dinner, she stabs Olivia believing she can just ‘delete’ it from her story. As the episode fades to black, she desperate clicks at the keyboard while crying, ‘it won’t delete’.
Bad Writer Puts Bloodride Back on Course
Following a lukewarm episode, Bloodride gets back to business with Bad Writer. The episode is brimming the dark, morbid sense of humour that made the first episode work so well. There’s both a genuine sense of surprise when things take a turn as well as some suspense about where things are going. Neither twist feels forced. Dagny Baxter Johnson is perfect as the annoyingly privileged, ‘Olivia’. And the episode’s story doesn’t overstay its runtime.