There are, I’m sure, many ways to proposition your step-sister into living a romantic life on a remote island. But as the series finale to Harper’s Island proves, getting engaged to another girl, having the wedding on the island you visited each summer as a child and murdering the entire wedding party is probably not the most persuasive method. You know, when you actually sit down for a minute and think about it.
I’ve always felt that Harper’s Island borrowed heavily from I Know What You Did Last Summer – that fishing village, the massacres that our heroine Abby leaves the island to get away from, and obviously the sinister mass murderer John Wakefield – infinitely resourceful and bloody tricky to kill.
The final two episodes of the series start to borrow from the IKWYDLS sequel and introduce an accomplice to John Wakefield – his son. Of course, the identity of Wakefield’s son remains a secret until the end of the penultimate episode, and we are all aghast – big-eared prospective groom Henry Dunn has been happily knocking off his friends and future in-laws this whole time!
This revelation sends the viewer into a tizzy of reviewing past episodes, trying to work out where Henry was when the various murders were going on.
But even though the tension remained high throughout the final two episodes, the shine went off the programme. This was mostly due to some very improbably events taking place. I think the worst for me was bride-to-never-be Trish changing into her wedding dress for a quick shag with Henry. Any numpty knew she’d end up racing for dear life through the forest with a killer on her trail, and the heavy dress would just slow her down. Though even for the ridiculousness of that scene, the moment where Henry plunges a knife into her is awful. That look of betrayal on her poor, glazed eyes said it all.
There’s a great critique of the plotholes in the Harper’s Island finale over on EW which you should read. Here’s an excerpt:
Why didn’t everyone with a gun open fire when Wakefield was on the ground? Why did they keep Wakefield tied up with belts back at a police station that had to contain at least one pair of handcuffs? How come Shea took a cat nap before telling the group about Jimmy’s arrest record? And what kind of a mother wouldn’t have noticed her pre-teen daughter had wandered off to chat with a mass murderer in his jail cell? Why is it that Sully didn’t shoot definitely guilty Wakefield, yet seemed eager to blow away possibly guilty Jimmy?
The thing that really destroys all the tension built up over the previous 12 episodes is the reason for Henry turning psycho. His real-life father showed up, told him the truth about his parents, necessitating the deaths of everyone in his entire social circle. Come on! It’s totally unfeasible!
But even after all that, Henry has a boner for his childhood friend (and half-sister) Abby, meaning that he happily sacrifices his biological psychodad to save Abby. And then propose that they live happily ever after on their reeking-of-corpses deserted island and raise their lovely inbred bigeared babies? Puh-lease!
It would have been more believable to say that Henry got cold feet about the wedding and massacred the entire guest list. Perhaps triggered by the sight of Trish in that wedding dress?
For me, though the ending ruined it slightly, Harpers was still a great series to watch. Definitely an extension of the 90’s horror movies like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but with the added advantage of a beautiful cast of strong actors and plenty of time to let the plot simmer. We overlooked major plot holes in those movies, so it’s possible to do it again for Harper’s.
And even though the ending was a little bit deflating, Harper’s Island gave us a few weeks of edge of your seat thrills and buckets of gore. Did anybody else catch the show – leave your thoughts in the comments box!