Syfy’s Chucky: I Like to Be Hugged (Episode 3) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
The Child’s Play franchise has mostly seen Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) act as its main killer, but this episode treads interesting new ground as he tries to tap into Jake’s (Zackary Arthur) killer instincts before taking things into his own hands.
We’ve seen Chucky coax his child owners to do his bidding and talk for him, but we’ve never really seen him legitimately train them to be killers – well, outside of Glenn/Glenda. With Jake being so defeated and angry towards Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind) after her horrible Halloween prank, he so emotionally vulnerable that he actively thinks about taking Chucky’s advice. It would’ve been more terrifying to see a younger protagonist explore violent thoughts like Jake does, but it’s still pretty scary to watch Jake test out his killer fantasies. The way he stalks Lexy to find the opportune moment to kill her and tries his hand at a bunch of possible murder weapons feels unsettling and legitimately makes you wonder if he’s really going to go through with it. Jake’s intense stabbing of a sculpture only makes you wonder even more if he’s going to turn and there’s some nice framing with glimpses of Charles Lee Ray’s past.
Personally, I’m a little mixed that this series is delving into Charles’ serial killer origins simply because this franchise is already jam-packed with lore and adding this only adds to the confusion. It also just feels a little unnecessary overall but works well in this episode aligning Chucky and Jake’s serial killing stories. The glimpses into the past are a perfectly dark reminder of Charles Lee Ray’s cold-bloodedness and aligns with Chucky’s advice to Jake that there’s a killer in all of us. It’s kind of nice that it subverts expectations as well since most stories would have Charles’ family being killed by a serial killer or killing the killer to protect them be the reason that he turned into a killer himself. Instead, we get a not so surprising, but still impactful moment of him killing his mother and oddly connecting with the killer that emphasize that Charles was born evil to where Jake isn’t.
Even though there was a lot of good “will he, won’t he” build up of Jake possibly killing Lexy, you kind of knew it wasn’t going to happen. Credits to Arthur selling it with his performance and some good writing and direction, but it was tough to believe that Jake was really going to do the deed. He just isn’t naturally evil like Chucky and it’s great that we get some nicely emotional moments of him talking to his parents at their graves. Also, you can’t help but root for Jake to kill Lexy just because she is so unlikable.
There really needs to be something more likeable or remotely enjoyable about Lexy to make you care about her because her small moments of being nice aren’t enough. Her snide attitude towards Jake and false apologies just make you want Chucky to jump out and slice her up and it just kind of taints the exploration of Jake becoming like Chucky. If she was more likeable, you’d have more mixed feelings or would feel more uneasy about Jake wanting to kill her, but with her unapologetic bitchy behavior, you just want her dead. Even Junior (Teo Briones) becomes a little more human here with him berating Lexy for her “prank” on Jake and it’s a shame that Lexy couldn’t follow suit. Also, it seems like Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) is planning some sort of revenge against Levy, but it’s unclear what it is – something audio related.
Regardless, Chucky ultimately takes matters into his own hands for one of the best sequences of the series so far. As predicted, Chucky is able to worm his way into Lexy’s house through her sister Caroline (Carina Battrick) and take action against Lexy during a silent disco party she has. I really love the silent disco setting as it’s such a perfect modern horror setting because of how eerie and odd it looks to see people dancing to music that isn’t filling the room. I do wish there was more music-less moments to make certain scenes have a little more suspense and tension to them – like Lexy walking around the house by herself with the headphones on. The music is really great though and adds some great energy to the horrors of Chucky killing Oliver (Avery Esteves), Lexy’s “friend with benefits,” and it’s shot excellently with the rest of the kids dancing below unaware of what’s happening.
That same shot is done greatly again at the end as well with how Chucky and Lexy’s confrontation leads to an explosive fire spreading throughout the house. The big bout between Lexy and Chucky is a blast with them fighting throughout the room and Lexy discovering that Chucky is alive, but it ends on an anticlimactic cliffhanger. Although the shots of Chucky laughing maniacally in a burning room and the kids dancing at the upstairs gets engulfed in flames are undeniably epic, it just kind of ends so suddenly with not many big takeaways. The only one that really stands out is that Chucky says that killing Lexy is “for Jake” which makes you wonder if this was all a part of a big plan and/or shows that Chucky really cares about Jake since he’s killed so many people that he generally wouldn’t say something like that.
Chucky continues to let its titular killer doll run amuck as new parts of Charles Lee Ray’s backstory unfold, Jake questions if he can really be a killer, and Chucky gets his hands dirty while creating chaos.