Are You Afraid of the Dark? Ep #10 - The Tale of Jake and the Leprachaun

I remember being very excited when this episode was first going to air because the commercial revealed that one of the main characters was going to be named Shawn and I was eerily psyched about that. Unfortunately the dude spells it “Sean” which is unfortunately the way my name is usually represented so all of that excitement was for naught.

Also this episode isn’t very good, so there’s that working against it as well.

Frank was supposed to tell this week’s story but because of the passing of Eric’s grandfather (of which nobody else in the group offers any sympathy) he gets to tell the tale instead. His grandfather was from Ireland and so Eric wants to tell one of the stories that his grandfather used to tell him. He hints at another awesome story about this waterhorse who would fool kids into hopping on his back so he could then lead them out to sea and eat them, but instead we’re going to get one about a fucking leprechaun because those guys always make for terrific storytelling. I mean there are six movies in the Leprechaun series because they’re so damn awesome right? Also Kiki doesn’t know what a leprechaun is which I know is only there in case the audience needs an explanation, but it also reveals Kiki as kind of a dummy. Couldn’t Eric have just explained it without provocation?

Good lord this tale requires a lot of set-up. So Eric has this hat and he says his grandfather got it through a trade as if you offer a pixie a trade, they can’t refuse it even if the deal is completely shitty. All you have to do is say “yours be mine and mine be yours”. What a raw deal for pixies. “Hey pixie I’ll trade you my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your brand new Porsche.” “Get the hell out of here with that non….””Yours be mine and mine be yours.” “FUCK! Here are the keys…”

After all that, the story finally starts.

Our hero is wandering through the fakest forest set you’ll ever see in your life where he encounters…maybe a troll? Or just a villager with really bad teeth maybe? Something not very scary anyway. So this guy is all “time to eat some liver” but then an old dude shows up in a tree and has a really terrible sword fight with him. Jake goes to leave and has one of the worst fake trips an actor has ever done, and then we find out that this whole time we’ve actually just been watching a shitty play! Thank god, I was not ready to accept that the budget on this show had gotten so low that they could stand back and say “Yep, two plastic trees and a fake rock, we got ourselves a forest set!”

So Jake has always wanted to be an actor and starring in this play is his first major break. We also find out that the guy who was playing the dude in the tree is named Aaron and drinks a ridiculous amount of herbal tea (his own recipe). Hmmm, having seen a TV show before, I’m guessing that information is going to come back in a relevant fashion before we’re done here. The production assistant gives Jake the tea recipe as he hopes it can help with his own acting though it seems like not tripping over absolutely nothing should be his first new strategy.

In order to get some of the ingredients that he needs for the tea, he goes to see Sean O’Shaney (Christ is that ever an Irish ass Irish name) who I guess runs a garden or something? They don’t really say. Also this is probably a good time to mention that the Irish accents on display in this episode range from quite bad to absolutely terrible. When Sean sees the ingredient list he loses his fucking mind and demands that Jake leave.

We then see a mysterious figure lighting some candles and speaking some sort of spell or chant. He also has a bunch of bottles and potions and a frog. They clearly don’t want to reveal who this is supposed to be but I guess they forgot we already heard Aaron say words out loud like 3 minutes ago so it’s pretty easy to recognize his voice here. A little too obvious there show.

The next day we see another scene being acted out from the play and further confirmation this is not a play that anyone would ever pay money to watch. In this scene, Jake (don’t know his character name within the actual play) is asking Aaron (also don’t know his character’s name) to turn him into a leprechaun to protect him from the goblin. No they don’t bother to explain why that’s a thing. Aaron has Jake repeat several passages after him (when moving around the set, a branch on the fake tree wobbles, seriously what is the budget on this play?) and also drink from some mysterious canister. After taking the drink, Jake immediately hits puberty as his voice drops down several octaves. Aaron pushes him to keep going but Jake wants to stop. Oh and despite the fact that a bunch of people were watching, none of them registered that something kinda fucked up just happened. After Aaron says that Jake has “the glamour”, something Sean also said earlier, Jake goes back to talk to Sean.

Sean listens to his plight and also teaches him about the whole “yours be mine and mine be yours” business. After hearing Jake’s story, Sean clearly knows something isn’t fucking right and yet doesn’t actually tell him or fill him in on anything which seems kind of mean. Also he makes a reference to Dublin, just in case the name and accent didn’t beat you over the head enough with “this dude is Irish as fuck everybody!”

The following afternoon Jake is going through the final play rehearsal before it opens that same night. Sean watches from the sidelines and in order to prevent the scene from finishing up, he pulls a rope backstage that causes one of the fake trees to very slowly fall down. This doesn’t stop everyone from scattering and jumping out of the way like the roof was collapsing though. Seriously if that tree had hit Jake, it would have lost all forward momentum and Jake wouldn’t have budged an inch. It’s a fucking flat plastic tree background people, relax!

When fleeing the set, Jake finds Sean hiding under a desk beside a bright light (master hider!) and yells that “you nearly killed me!” Jake at worst he almost gave you a bruise, and even then only if you’re really partial to bruising. Sean quickly shuts that shit down when he tells Jake to look in the mirror and he sees that he now has pointy leprechaun ears. He screams like a motherfucker and presumably nobody bothers to come and make sure he’s ok, proving even further nobody on this production gives a shit.

Quick cut back to the campfire to reiterate how fucking terrible Eric’s Irish accent is.

Sean explains to Jake that every time he takes the oath he is a step closer to becoming a “changeling” and once he takes the oath during the final performance, he’s completely boned. The two of them head off to Aaron’s room to break in and find proof that he is indeed who Sean thinks he is.

Once again the episode isn’t confident in our abilities to realize that Sean is in fact Irish so they have him make references to both four leaf clovers and…I can’t even fucking believe it…lucky charms. It’s as though the writers just had a list of Irish clichés and were determined to cram each one of them into this episode. Anyway he’s psyched because he sees a smoke alarm which he activates, causing Aaron to flee from his room.

Inside the room they find the stuff we saw earlier (potion bottles and such) and Jake proves that nothing gets past him as he points to his picture on the wall and states “That’s my picture”. He doesn’t even seem scared or off put, just stating that this is in fact his picture. I like that Jake reaches for the picture but Sean tells him to keep his hands off as then Aaron will know they’ve been there and yet immediately the two of them start pawing at everything else in sight. Sean starts going through the various potions, taking the time to name each one aloud and then smell the one he’s looking for despite how big a hurry they are in. Because they fucked around too long, Aaron returns to the room and they are forced to hide under the bed.

Then as though Aaron is aware they are there and wants to prove to them that something is up, he proceeds to remove his human ears (revealing messed up pointy ones), do an evil cackle into the mirror, kick off his slippers to show his hairy goblin feet, take off his robe to show a huge patch of hair on his back, and then start chanting. So yeah I guess there are no doubts now! Thanks for clearing that all up!

So Aaron is actually a banshee who feeds on human souls every 7 years. The toad we saw earlier is actually the result of one of the soul eatings from the past. It’s a changeling, which I guess ties into the glamour? I don’t know they’re throwing around a lot of terms. So much of this episode is just spent explaining shit that it’s really not very engaging. Jake can’t simply bail as the process has already started so something must be done and a plan is hatched off-screen.

It’s now opening night of the terrible looking play and somehow they managed to wrangle in a sold out crowd to come and watch this thing. They even seem into it as the first thing we see is them wildly applaud during a scene change. I…I don’t get it. Perhaps I just don’t have a proper appreciation of the theatre but this looks like something you would watch in high school drama, not a professional piece you would pay money to see and spend an evening at. Backstage, Sean gives us even more backstory on banshees which involves Jake needing to swallow some spiders and get some sparkles thrown on him and a bunch of stuff I don’t really feel like breaking down anymore. The fucking Matrix sequels had less exposition than this!

We then get to the big scene where things are going smoothly in Jake’s plan until Aaron goes off script and turns into the banshee, which is really just some bad teeth prosthetics and a little make-up. Banshees are apparently very lame. He cackles and makes some idle threats while the producers stand by confused, refusing to intervene. Jake even starts screaming that this is really happening but nobody seems too pressed to act.

Sean appears in the fake tree and reveals that he knows the banshee and the banshee’s name is actually Gort, like the robot from the Day the Earth Stood Still. Odd. Anyway, Gort turns Jake into a frog even though I thought he didn’t complete the process but with all the shit going on I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed something in there somewhere. Sean reveals he has Gort’s tail and has had it for years. He trades the tail (the whole yours be mine and mine be yours thing), Gort disappears, Jake is no longer a frog and I have no fucking idea anymore. Jake wins though! Yay? Oh and Sean is a leprechaun. Naturally.

The end!

Yep, just as I remembered, this is not a very good one. It’s all just exposition, laying out all the different creatures and rules and terms and even then it seems like a complete mess. It’s not scary in the slightest and is full to the brim with terrible Irish accents and blunt remembers that hey this is all way Irish! Not a very good way to honour your grandfather Eric, I’m sorry.

Thankfully I have pretty fond memories of the next episode so hopefully the streak of mediocrity is about to come to a close!