Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Part 3 – Destroy All Tophats
Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? reboot has been quite surprising with the great amount of horror it has brought to a new generation of viewers and that doesn’t stop with its finale – for the most part.
After realizing that Gavin (Sam Ashe Arnold) has been taken by the nefarious Mr. Tophat (Rafael Casal) and that no one remembers going to the Carnival of Doom expect for her, Rachel (Lyliana Way) is ready to face her fears. The way she gets the rest of the group together and make them believe her is actually pretty smart and makes a lot of sense. Knowing what they would say in this situation and offering the idea that they let her into the group for telling a good story that they seemingly can’t remember are logical and fun ways for her to get the group on their side. Not to mention, the creepy video of Adam (Forrest Rozitis) standing like a zombie in the background of Akiko’s (Miya Cech) video is proof enough for even Hideo (Cardi Wong) to come help them – even if it doesn’t last for long.
The entire scene of Mr. Tophat horrifying Hideo with a horde of scorpions is perfectly creepy as they eventually encompass the entire floor. It nicely continues with Akiko getting some horrors of her own with Mr. Tophat and it’s nice to see him actually haunting some of the other members of the group outside of Rachel. Not only does Hideo getting taken raise the stakes for the group to stop taking Mr. Tophat, but it also leads to a funny scene of the group having to take his cop car in order to get to the carnival’s next location. Honestly, the car ride scenes are great in this episode as it allows the group dynamic and chemistry to shine. From the group debating about the rules of horror to poking fun at Graham (Jeremy Ray Taylor) as he nervously drives Hideo’s car to the carnival. It’s moments like these that will definitely make me miss this cast if the show never returns.
Once they reach the carnival, the rest of the episode is just okay. While I did find it funny when the group immediately guesses that Mr. Tophat sold his to devil because they’re “experts in the field” and the backstory of Mr. Tophat is solid, the rest of it is just alright. The episode stopped being scary as it focused more on the magical elements of Mr. Tophat and his connection to Rachel. Personally, I think the whole connection Rachel has to Mr. Tophat through an ancestor she has is kind of dumb and forced. It does makes sense why Rachel and Mr. Tophat are so interconnected with one another and why he’s so obsessed with her, but it ends in such a bland way. Frankly, the magical elements of Mr. Tophat’s cane felt a little pointless to me and mostly serviced as a way for Rachel to spout some generic and overused lines about her friends being her power. I actually recently joked about the whole friends being someone’s power thing being cliché with a friend and it was disappointing to see this show fall into the same trap.
Not to mention, the whole arc with Graham and Louise (Tamara Smart) is really weak and Louise, in general, really doesn’t have much to her. Things pick back up a little bit, though, as the fallout of the Carnival of Doom is definitely interesting. It’s cool to see the group help Akiko finish her werewolf film and return back to the campfire to tell more scary stories. With Adam possibly the next to join The Midnight Society and Gavin telling a story that could easily be a future threat in another season, there’s a lot that could still be explored for Are You Afraid of the Dark?
The possibilities are endless for what the future holds for Are You Afraid of the Dark? If the series is ever able to make it passed being just a limited series, there’re plenty more horrors that it could offer to young viewers. If it can’t, then at least it offered fans, new and old, a fun sense of fear that’s perfect for this Halloween.