Wednesday, June 26, 2013

TV Review: Whodunnit? 101: "High Voltage"

DA - There’s been a murder I do declare! Well okay, not really, but tell that to the people who watched ABC’s premiere of their new murder mystery reality show, Whodunnit? Because there were some people out there thinking that the Mickey Mouse network was offing contestants left and right in their series premiere Sunday night.

Thirteen contestants entered the Bachelor’s the Whodunnit? house all knowing that they were there to compete in a reality game show. However, they should have known that when Sheri Marsh, ex-NFL cheerleader (and probably aspiring actress) was killed for dropping a champagne glass, that this was not going to be Minute to Win It.

Out of the thirteen, one contestant is a “killer.” Really Whodunnit? is The Mole mixed with the board game Clue (or a direct rip-off of the ICTV show Suspicion, created by Dual Redundancy’s own Mike Ladue). Every week a character will be murdered and it is up to fame-seeking contestants to figure out how each one of them died and who the killer actually is.

While the show has its moments full of cheese and eye-rolls, there are many interesting ideas the show uses. After Sheri is murdered in front of the fish tank, contestants have to choose between three locations to explore: the crime scene, her last known whereabouts, or the morgue (which is conveniently located in the basement of the mansion). This automatically leads Kam, a homeland security attorney, to align with two others to get the full story. However, he does not know if one of his allies is lying or even worse the actual killer!

They are also given clues by a mysterious butler named cliché butler name Giles, who supposedly receives notes from the killer under his door. One clue was a key with the numbers “13:17” on it. Even though Kam was an early favorite of mine after he thought the numbers were military time and decided to disregard the key and start spinning the hands of clocks for a secret passage opening, I started looking for other strong players. 

After they figured it out was a Bible verse, it was Ronnie who realized there were two sides to the key (really? Nobody else saw this?!) and figured out the two crowns engraved on the key were referencing the book of Kings 2 in the Bible. Next he realized it was in reference to a nearby missing window, saw a number carved into the wood, and realized it was for a crate directly straight ahead from the window. Where Ronnie, the bounty hunter, failed was not only speaking out loud for the other contestants to hear but also sprinting throughout the house to the crate, thus bringing everyone with him to the clue!
Inside the crate we find a slingshot and a crowbar, which adds with the pebble found in the back of her head to point to a Dennis the Menace copycat killer. After all the clues they are off to the library where they get to pace around and talk out loud to the “killer” of how they committed the crime. This was easily the funniest moment of the show. Every single contestant thought they were the greatest lawyers ever to walk across the face of the Earth yet as a viewer we knew who was completely out of left field. Yes, I am talking to you Dontae and your idea that she drowned from the fish tank instead of the head shot wound you found.

In the end it was the journalist Sasha who correctly figured out that the killer broke into her room and used a fogged up mirror to lure her down to the fish tank. The killer ran back down, cut the wire of the nearby lamp, and aimed a slingshot outside waiting for Sheri. Somehow this killer made a completely remarkable shot from outside, through a missing glass pane, and right into Sheri’s neck severing major arteries. Next it was an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine only seen on TV or in an OK Go music video. This hit forced her to fall into the fish tank, cracking it, and the built up pressure made it break which caused the frayed wire to further shock an already dead Sheri. Moral of the story? Don’t drop a champagne glass in this psycho’s house!

Don and of course Dontae were the two that were “scared” after their accusations during a dinner that night. (It should be noted that despite a killer on the loose inside the house, Giles is always there with the best hospitality and food service you could ask for). That night at 4:38 AM the contestants are awaken to a fire alarm. Now in some insane special effects (especially for a summer network reality show) “Dontae” comes running out engulfed in flames. In the end, he jumps into the pool but it is too late. Now while it was more than likely not Dontae running around (doesn’t he know to stop, drop, and roll?) this sequence was still amazing. Between this effect and the makeup they used on an insert shot of Dontae in the pool, Whodunnit? may be after some Creative Arts Emmy nominations.

Next week assuming the killer does not also murder this show from ABC’s schedule, we will most likely piece together Dontae’s murder and possibly receive more clues on who actually “dun it.”

In and Out Points:

- Hopefully we receive more clues on who the killer is instead of just how he/she committed the crime. There is already speculation online that the killer is right handed based on the dramatizations but this may just be reading too much into it.

- I know it is a game show but it seems as though the killer wants to get caught. He/she leaves clues behind and picks his/her next victim on who was the worst detective. Shouldn’t he/she have kept Dontae around and killed Sasha instead? Sasha was the one who figured out exactly how he/she did it!!

- I find it ironic that Dontae finds his end in the pool since the whole time he thought Sheri drowned. Now I may be over doing it here but did production choose his death based on Dante’s first part of the Divine Comedy, which is “Inferno?” Despite the spelling both names are pronounced the same way. If so, anybody have any ideas for how others may die?

That is it for this week. Let me hear what you thought about the premiere and who the killer may be either below or on Twitter @eastwoodmcfly.

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