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Chucky returns with a confident, nasty season 2

The killer doll is up to his old tricks, but even after five decades the franchise still feels fresh

Spoiler alert: Chucky is still alive. Yes, a killer doll with more resurrections than Sauron is killed at the end of Chucky’s first season, but he evolves through obstacles as small as death. Now in its fifth decade, the Child’s Play franchise is as chaotic as ever, but for all the hurdles it goes through to keep killer dolls and their opponents on a collision course, Chucky’s philosophy is as simple as ever: keep the kills coming.

Let’s continue where we left off in Season 1: Teenagers Jake (Zachary Arthur), Devon (Björgvin Arnarsson), and Lexi (Alivia Alyn Lind) kill the Chucky doll terrorizing the town and their family, only to find out that it’s a truckload of dozens of new Chucky’s are on their way to needy and cursed children across America. Yes, if you come straight to us: Chucky can share his soul now, and he’s big on it. After a fast-paced, suspenseful prologue in which Andy Barkley (Alex Vincent, still in the role he created in 1988) tries to stop the Chucky Truck™, we’re moving forward a year. Jake lives with a new foster family (including an adorable little brother), Devon is still dealing with the loss of his mother, and Lexi is stuck in the boring suburb of Hackensack where her disgraced mother (Barbara Allyn Woods) has been recalled. The mayor and sister Caroline (Carina London Buttrick) have a troubled bond with dolls. (“Tell me: All dolls suck,” Lexi says to her sister as she tucks them in at night.)

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Season 2 of Chucky got down to the good stuff fast. We’re not going to spoil the how and why, but it’s safe to say our trio of teens won’t be apart for long and the new Chucky isn’t far behind. (Additional note: It’s incredible how all of the masterminds behind Chucky earn “leader too” credit on the show.) The season’s first kill is brutal and shocking in its brutality. For all the silliness that accompanies a story centered on a red-haired killer doll, Chucky isn’t swayed by sheer sadism. Brad Dourif continues to infuse Chucky with playful threats, and he’s as good as he’s ever been. “Uber has made it so much easier to be a killer puppet,” Chucky half brags, half wonders in the first episode. “I used to have to take hostages to take me anywhere,” he said, as if remembering the last time he had a clamshell phone in his hand.

Elsewhere, Nika Pierce (Fiona Dourif, Brad’s daughter) is going through a rough patch. Still possessed by the spirit of Chucky Prime, Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilley pretends to be Jennifer Tilly—all of them) cuts off her arms and legs to prevent her from launching an attack. This is a tough break for Nika, who mostly lives in the body. It’s a tragic and ominous fate for the franchise’s most recognizable “hero” since Andy, but the younger Dourif eats up the scene as his Chucky side comes out.

The split between Chucky’s new school and old school is handled more smoothly in the second season simply because of the splitting of the story. Also, the scene with Tiffany could be a completely different show than the scene with Jake, Devon and Lexi, expanding on the canon of the original film. Tuners will no doubt find the Nika/Tiffany scenes confusing, but they’re short and sharp, and enough explanation is given to get the point across. Wikipedia also exists for a reason.

After a tragedy in which the three blame Chucky, the three children are sent to a Catholic reform school, which happens to be the same building where Chucky, formerly Charles Lee Ray, grew up. Yeah, we’re gonna have Chucky terrorizing some nuns this season. “And I bounced back,” he enthusiastically revealed himself to a sister, “and it didn’t take three days.” The stories are bound to intertwine, but isolating the newer protagonists in one scary place, is the real thing. Chucky does his best (see: The Curse of Chucky and the Cult of Chucky, set in a spooky house and a mental hospital, respectively).

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