05/18/2024

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Typewriter Season 1 Recap

Recap: What Happened in ‘Typewriter’ Season 1?

The post Recap: What Happened in ‘Typewriter’ Season 1? appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

Typewriter is a unique ghost story following three young friends who venture out to Goa to track down ghosts in an old villa. However, when a new family moves into the villa, the past unfolds, bringing chilling events. I quite enjoyed this series, and I’ve put together a recap of every episode so you can read it as you watch.

Typewriter Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-5)

  • Episode 1 – “Four Kids and a Dog”
  • Episode 2 – “Operation School Bell”
  • Episode 3 – “The Ghost of Sultanpore”
  • Episode 4 – “The Rise of the Fakeer”
  • Episode 5 – “The Night of the Blood Moon”

Episode 1 – “Four Kids and a Dog”

In a creepily effective 1983-set opening, episode 1 sets the tone for what’s to come. In his sprawling, rackety mansion, novelist Madhav puts his granddaughter to bed despite protestations that she hears crying in her room. She does, of course — this is a horror show, after all — but their source isn’t what you might expect. Under her bed, her eerie doppelganger huddles, terrified.

It’s a good start. In the present day, we briefly meet the Ghost Club — Sameera, Gablu, Bunty, and their dog, Buddy — and their boathouse hideout with its cranky caretaker. Living up to their title, the Ghost Club is looking for a ghost, and the Bardez Villa seems a good place to find one. But the plan is complicated by a family moving in: Jenny Fernandes is the granddaughter of the novelist we met in the prologue and is returning to her childhood home with her architect husband Peter, their teenage daughter Anya (Sara Gesawat), and their younger son, Nick (Aaryansh Malviya).

The legacy of whatever mysterious tragedy occurred there years ago still looms large; in the house itself, in The Ghost of Sultanpore, the Madhav novel that Nick reads, and in the Remington typewriter left behind in the house.

An unassuming, bespectacled man is looking for that typewriter in “Four Kids and a Dog”, having promised to pay a slow-witted man to steal it. Their tense bathroom exchange is ill-fitting, tone-wise, full of adult language and culminating in violence that is a bit at odds with the Scooby Gang shenanigans and the played-out haunted-house tropes.

Typewriter (Credit – Netflix)

Also of note is the sweet relationship between Sameera and her police officer father Ravi Anand. Deviations like a random nighttime jump-scare with Nick standing at his parents’ bedside make “Four Kids and a Dog” feel a bit thinly spread, but these core relationships are much better; central to what worked about Stranger Things, clearly a big influence, and also key in making the show’s horror elements actually matter.

Jenny goes to see Ravi in the hopes of tracking down her old nanny, Nanny, but with details that vague, it’s a lost cause. But it helps to bring Ravi into the plot as more than just Sameera’s father, as does him heading out to investigate the drunk who died, apparently quite accidentally, in the local bar.

Fortunately, for suspense purposes, the perpetrator is already known to the audience — and he becomes known to the Ghost Club in “Four Kids and a Dog”, too, when he introduces himself as Amit Roy, their new teacher.

While investigating the death, Ravi asks an older local about Jenny’s old nanny, whose name is revealed to be Sara. A big exposition dump follows, but it’s an interesting one. Sara stayed behind in the house after the suspicious death of Jenny’s mother, Carol, in order to care for the girl; her husband allegedly supplied Madhav, who was at the time very powerful, with dead bodies from the hospital for the purposes of occult research.

The author — apparently not the kindly grandfather introduced at the beginning of episode 1 — was obsessed with the subject, and potentially quite mad. Sara is now missing, and so is her estranged husband, but there’s a strong suggestion in “Four Kids and a Dog” that he’s the boathouse keeper whose facilities the Ghost Club frequently abuse.

Episode 1 ends ominously, with Madhav’s old typewriter clacking away by itself — “Ghosts do exist”, it types, in response to Jenny’s insistence that they don’t — and Jenny’s doppelganger looming over her bed as she sleeps.

Episode 2 – “Operation School Bell”

Typewriter (Credit – Netflix)

There’s a bit of a language barrier in episode 2, as Jenny struggles to communicate with her new maid, Maria. But it’s a temporary problem. After realizing that there are two Jennys knocking around in Bardez Villa, the pious maid attempts to flee.

But the Jenny she runs into outside turns out to be the evil doppelganger, and she’s quite willing to telepathically squeeze Maria’s heart until she collapses to the ground, blood pouring from her eyes and mouth, and dies in full view of the church she holds so dear. There are openings, and then there’s the opening to “Operation School Bell,” the second effectively creepy intro in a row for Typewriter.

The Ghost Club is excited by a couple of things in episode 2. The first is that Doctor Spirit, a famous paranormal personality, is due to visit Bardez; the second is that Maria’s untimely demise might provide them with the opportunity they need to see a ghost. Thanks to some helpful and, I’m sure, not at all foreshadowing exposition, we learn a bit more about how ghosts work, how they can become all-powerful, and the nature of souls. The lore here is a bit thin, but at least it’s easy to keep track of, which is probably for the best in this kind of show.

Ravi goes to visit Maria’s corpse at the morgue in “Operation School Bell”, where we learn, thanks to a comically hard-of-hearing doctor, that Maria’s heart was squeezed dry as if by hand. Ravi also learns from her widow that she was working at the villa; he, like everyone else in town, believes the villa is evil. Even skeptical Ravi seems to be quickly coming around to the idea.

Peter is ambushed at work by a good-looking old associate in episode 2, and we get a little backstory about why the family moved to Bardez in the first place. In brief, Peter, as an architect, was involved in a questionable business deal bankrolled by this woman’s husband; in the process, he lost the initial investment and slept with the man’s wife, subsequently fleeing Mumbai and starting afresh in Bardez. Now, it’s going to be in his best interests to recoup those losses before evidence of his transgressions and his infidelity are brought to light.

Ravi goes to see Jenny to ask her some questions about Maria (he recalls that the man who died in the bar was employed by the company that helped Jenny and her family move in.) He shares with her — although the implication is that he’s talking to the doppelganger — the information he learned about her nanny, Sara, from James, the elderly proprietor of the local bar.

He mentions Moses, Sara’s estranged husband, and when we visit him in “Operation School Bell”, it’s revealed that he’s working with Amit Roy, in service of “the Fakeer”. He’s tired of losing everything in that service, but the only way he can leave it is his own death. He also mentions James; the old man’s death is looking very likely. His task now is to wait for the “blood moon night”, which I’m sure will be just as fun as it sounds.

As Ravi directs the focus of the police department on Bardez Villa, the Ghost Club — now including Nick — enact the titular Operation School Bell, which is to push the clock forward so that school gets out early and they can attend Maria’s funeral. It’s a fun, extended sequence, but serves to highlight some of the show’s tonal inconsistency. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how well it fits alongside the more overt horror elements.

After another slapstick interlude at Maria’s funeral, James catches up with Jenny there. He has been intimidated into silence by Amit Roy, but he disobeys the instruction to warn her that the Fakeer’s soul is trapped inside an object in her house and that it has to be destroyed with fire before the blood moon night. However, he’s talking to the doppelganger — Typewriter Episode 2 is very good at making you forget there are two Jennys — and gets his heart crushed for his honesty. To complicate matters, Sameera witnesses the murder. She flees into the memorial service, where she runs into the real Jenny, much to her horror.

Episode 3 – “The Ghost of Sultanpore”

Typewriter Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-5)

Typewriter (Credit – Netflix)

In a change of pace, episode 3 doesn’t open with shocks and scares. Instead, we visit Sultanpore in a flashback to the 50s, in which a sickly old man requests the help of a local woman to euthanize him before his scavenging sons can change his will.

The woman has powers; she stops his heart just by brushing his chest, similar to what we have seen Dark Jenny do to both Maria and James in the previous episode. She also travels with her young son, who wants to learn these powers for himself. As she explains to him, they can be used for good or ill, and she’ll only teach him when he’s old enough to know the difference.

As yet, it’s unclear exactly what relation these events in “The Ghost of Sultanpore” have to what else is going on in episode 3.

But the shocks aren’t far behind. In a follow-up dream sequence in the present day, Sameera imagines Jenny pinning her against the wall and pulling out her still-beating heart. At the Bardez Villa, Jenny reads about James’s death, just as Ravi is seeing his body at the morgue.

The events of the previous episode reverberate throughout episode 3; witnesses at Maria’s funeral service suggest that Jenny was the last person James spoke to, giving the police a new lead.

Back in the past, the healing woman is accosted by the greedy sons of the man she helped die. Apparently, his will now states that everything he has must go to her. The sons demand she is arrested and executed, but the will was changed prior to the man’s death and officially notarized. There’s no legal case here, but something tells me the matter won’t be left alone.

Meanwhile, in “The Ghost of Sultanpore”, Amit Roy is teaching the Ghost Club about infinity — naturally, the topic of ghosts comes up, but he’s able to keep a straight face. Sameera presents him with a forged doctor’s letter in order to get time off, and she uses it to visit Jenny at the Bardez Villa.

In a bizarre development, Sam tells her that she witnessed James’s murder. She also explains how it correlates with what happens in “The Ghost of Sultanpore,” right down to the idea of doppelgangers and such. Naturally, Jenny doesn’t believe it. Sam insists she’ll keep it quiet just so long as Jenny uses her status as a ghost to help her contact her dead mother. There is, to put things mildly, something of a disagreement about this.

Jenny visits Ravi at the station — right in the middle of him explaining how she’s the prime suspect in the killings and admonishing his men for suggesting he fancies her — to inform him of Sam’s visit.

There’s some more tonal whiplash here; episode 3, like the installments before it, enjoys the idea propagated by a lot of Indian media that the local police are pretty cartoonishly inept. But Ravi is somewhat apart from that, which is what makes him something of a compelling figure, even if he’s the only one at the department who seems capable.

“The Ghost of Sultanpore” returns to the past, where the healer woman’s son is accosted by the aggrieved locals and tortured by them — they carve “Fakeer” into his arm, and with that, the relevance of these flashback sequences is starting to come together.

Back in the present, Sam goes to the boathouse but is ambushed by Moses. Ravi intervenes, but she claims that he’s a friend and she was just dropping off a book for him. You can guess which book. In a nice bonding moment, Sam explains what she believes to be the truth to him about Jenny and the ghost and James’s death. He doesn’t believe her — how can he? — but he takes the information in; another reason why Ravi works as a character.

Peter’s deviousness catches up with him. While he can gather most of the money, his hot-stuff blackmailer wants the full amount and an “apology” on top. Since he has been blowing off Jenny’s calls, she turns up at his work to speak with him instead and catches him negotiating this in the car.

Back in the past, the men attack the young boy, Bali, and his mother again when she challenges them about carving Fakeer into his arm. Rightly fed up with it, she uses her powers to squeeze one of the men’s hearts, just like how Dark Jenny handles business.

In fear of reprisal, Bali and his mother prepare to leave, but reprisal arrives too quickly. The villagers set their house alight. Realizing she cannot survive, Bali’s mother tells him that she tried to do good, but that evil always triumphs; she tells him to build an army and wreak havoc on the Earth, wrapping him in a blanket and allowing him to escape through a window. After, she steps outside and is shot dead, and “The Ghost of Sultanpore” ends.

Episode 4 – “The Rise of the Fakeer”

Typewriter (Credit – Netflix)

Like the previous episode, episode 4 begins with a flashback, but this time to the 80s, at which time a grown-up Bali, aka the Fakeer, is a mass murderer wanted by the police. He has a wife and child but isn’t with them; he’s instead hiding out in a house with a Manson-style cult, including a young child. After a chance encounter with a police officer, “The Rise of the Fakeer” pulls a bait-and-switch, revealing that Fakeer’s “family” are invisible to all but him.

Whether they’re ghosts or figments of his imagination isn’t clear, though his powers are very real so you have to suspect the former. Either way, when the police arrive to arrest him, he unleashes the full extent of his power, killing many of them before he’s finally subdued. His wife reveals the key to dulling his power: Obscuring his eyes, his “windows to the soul”.

After his arrest, the local police find the bodies of his cult in the basement. And props should be given to episode 4 for its economy of storytelling in this opening sequence.

There’s discontent among the Ghost Club in “The Rise of the Fakeer.” Nick is annoyed that Sam made accusations against his mother, which is fair enough, but he also says something hurtful about Sam’s parentage, which isn’t.

Short of mates, Nick goes to sit in Amit Roy’s classroom, revealing altogether too much about his family history. The rift between the kids is partially healed, though, once Anya asks Gablu if he’d like to join her band.

Sam, meanwhile, goes to see Moses in episode 4, ostensibly to retrieve her book. Moses isn’t interested in being her friend, but in his dismissal of the book, he accidentally gives away a little too much. He’s also having flashbacks of someone, presumably the Fakeer, being hung. At the same time, Jenny manages to track down her old nanny, Sara, and Sara and Moses begin telling the same story in interlaced scenes.

Here’s the story as relayed in episode 4. Madhav was a great writer of ghost stories, but he was struggling with writer’s block and couldn’t come up with any of his own. As a result, he found himself drawn to the story of Fakeer reported in the papers. As he began to tell that story, he also began to visit the Fakeer, blindfolded and already sentenced to death, in prison. And the Fakeer began making requests in exchange for more of the story to tell.

The first request was for a small piece of wood; as he shares the story of his life he carves the wood with his thumbnails. The next request is a child. Madhav attempts to take Jenny, but her mother, Carol, forbids it, threatening to kill herself if he does so. The Fakeer reiterates some of the lore we have already heard; that if a person dies an unnatural death, their soul is stuck in an object or tries to return to its own body on the third day after its death. On a blood moon night, if you sacrifice an innocent you’ll become immortal, and so on.

“The Rise of the Fakeer” highlights how Madhav, in his dismissal of Fakeer, played right into his hands. The Fakeer’s body ends up at Bardez Villa. His carved wooden figurine ends up in the possession of Moses. After being executed, the Fakeer briefly revives for long enough to kill one of the guards, resulting in Moses being shot in the leg (that explains the limp.) The scandal — including the Fakeer’s wife and child requesting his body be returned — was enough to ruin Madhav’s reputation and personal life. Carol apparently committed suicide, throwing herself from the attic window, but Ravi receives evidence in the present day that she must have been pushed.

Now Sameera has been armed with the full story, the Ghost Club decide it’s their responsibility to thwart whatever is planned for the blood moon. They also manage to finally meet Doctor Spirit, but he’s a bit underwhelming. Could the celebrity expert in paranormal phenomena be a charlatan? Never!

In the final sequence, Jenny is confronted by her own doppelganger in the middle of the night. She believes the encounter to be a dream, but her other self, who claims to be the version of her she has always wanted to be, and that they have been together since childhood, leaves Jenny “something to remember her by”  by biting her lip. When Jenny wakes, she tastes the blood in her mouth.

Episode 5 – “The Night of the Blood Moon”

Typewriter Season 1 Recap (Episodes 1-5)

Typewriter (Credit – Netflix)

Some things, when written down or spoken aloud, sound absolutely ridiculous, and that’s the problem with the opening scenes of episode 5, the first season finale. In them, Jenny, still shaken from her experiences with her doppelganger the night before, goes to see Sam and explains to her how the theory of her killing James isn’t actually that farfetched at all. It certainly makes sense to Sam, who excitedly tells her that there’s a ghost living in her typewriter that can take her shape.

All of this works as the barebones plot of a horror show, but blimey it sounds preposterous in this context — and that isn’t even taking into account the fact that the typewriter has vanished during the night.

Sam takes Jenny to see Doctor Spirit in “The Night of the Blood Moon”, for help locating the typewriter, but he’s as useless as ever. What’s important in this scene, though, is the burgeoning relationship between Sam and Jenny; impersonating her mother, you see a brief flash in Sam’s eyes of her need for a female role model, the pain over the absence of her own mother. When they hold hands after exiting Doctor Spirit’s tent, it’s so genuine that you hope for a while they don’t notice they’re doing it.

Episode 5 reveals that Doctor Spirit has the typewriter. Doctor Spirit takes the typewriter to Amit Roy, but doesn’t like the idea of sharing the rewards for it; in an attempt to take all the credit, he attacks Amit Roy with a sword hidden in his cane, which goes… badly, to say the least. I can’t say I’m particularly upset, though — he was a ridiculous character whose overblown cheese didn’t gel particularly well with the rest of the show.

After accidentally revealing where she learned the information about the Fakeer and the typewriter, Sam takes Jenny to see Moses. At first, he wants no part in any of, but by tugging on his heartstrings Sam convinces him to go to the police — along with the carved figurine he has been hiding since the night of the Fakeer’s execution. Moses provides the police with an absurdly accurate description of Amit Roy, and Sam is able to identify him.

“The Night of the Blood Moon” provides the first out-and-out action sequence of Typewriter when Ravi confronts Amit at home. After some false pleasantries, Ravi lets on that he knows the real Amit Roy has been missing since he left his home for his new appointment as a school maths teacher; recognizing that he’s rumbled, Amit socks Ravi and tries to flee with the Remington in a VW camper van. Ravi is somehow able to keep pace (on foot!) and retrieve the typewriter, though Amit is able to escape.

The Ghost Club, annoyingly, decides to steal the typewriter back from the police station so that they can get to see one ghost before their little unit disbands. Sam forges a letter for this purpose. Jenny, meanwhile, goes to see Moses again, but they’re interrupted by Amit, who is looking for the figurine. When he’s unable to find it, he threatens Moses with Doctor Spirit’s cane sword, so Jenny says she has the figurine back at the Bardez Villa. Amit skewers Moses all the same.

As luck would have it, the villa is exactly where the Ghost Club is returning the typewriter. They’re greeted by Dark Jenny, but Sam sees straight through it; just as she’s about to have her heart squeezed, the real Jenny interrupts, along with Amit.

Now that he has everything he needs, he’s able to begin the summoning ritual while Dark Jenny explains another last-minute twist. Madhav didn’t write The Ghost of Sultanpore — he was already dead when the book was written.

As a young girl, when Jenny cut herself on the typewriter, she invoked the Fakeer’s spirit and her dark doppelganger. Through her, he wrote the story himself, in the hope that one day it would lead a “true believer” to free him. It was Dark Jenny who killed Carol when she tried to take the girl from Bardez Villa.

The Ghost Club really come into their own in “The Night of the Blood Moon,” working together to snatch the typewriter while Jenny keeps herself at bay. Ravi, having found Moses’s body at the boathouse, arrives just in time to get into a fistfight with Amit.

With some clever editing, the various threads play out together, eventually meeting up again as Ravi helps the Ghost Club destroy the typewriter with fire. They’re able to manage it by setting the VW alight and sending it off a cliff; a desperate Amit follows it, and Dark Jenny dematerializes.

In a ridiculous follow-up scene, Jenny burns the wooden figurine, and the Fakeer’s skeleton runs out of the fire; she stamps it out. Thank goodness Typewriter didn’t rely heavily on CGI because it’s quite abysmal.

There are some final developments in season 1 to close the show. Moses survived; in a touching scene, the Ghost Club delivers him a letter telling him they love him.

Peter returns home none the wiser, but his duffel bag is full of bloodstained clothes. And Amit somehow managed to survive the fall off a cliff and an explosion for long enough to offer his own soul to the Remington. The show ends as the machine repairs itself.

And that completes my recap of Typewriter season 1. Let me know your favorite moments in the comments below!

The post Recap: What Happened in ‘Typewriter’ Season 1? appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.