Into the Dark episode 7 recap and review: I’m Just F*cking with You


Hulu’s Into the Dark horror anthology series returns with another dull addition, this time themed along the most obnoxious elements of the April Fool’s holiday.

Meet Larry (Keir O’Donnell), an awkward, mild-mannered guy who doubles online as the vilest and most cowardly of creatures, an internet troll who calls himself ProgrammingFlaw on Into the Dark. He spends his time anonymously insulting people for no reason other than to make him feel better about himself. I hate him already and he hasn’t even said anything yet. And he’s no better in real life.

He’s whiny, judgmental, and has zero sense of humor. He’s in town for his ex’s wedding (who is marrying his cousin) and refuses to see anyone but his sister Rachel (Jessica McNamee). She agrees to meet him at the trashy motel he’s chosen to stay at, the Pink Motel and Lounge.

There he meets the caretaker Chester (Hayes MacArthur), who is pulling double duty as bartender and front desk manager for the offseason. He seems like a funny guy, playfully pulling mild pranks on Larry, which he takes with about as much grace as you’d expect. Needless to say, he doesn’t much appreciate Chester’s teasing.

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Larry finally gets into his room and turns out to be one of those guys who brings his own sheets and cleaning supplies to sanitize the room. Before masturbating to a picture of his ex, he goes out of his way to leave a negative one-star review of the motel on Yelp. Of course, a creepy place like this has a hidden camera in the ceiling capturing the whole thing.

Larry learns of a big accident on the highway and worries that Rachel might have been hurt on Into the Dark. She’s not answering her phone, so he calls the front desk to ask Chester if Rachel happened to call the office. Chester checks his messages and tells Larry that he has some bad news, that Rachel isn’t coming. He lets Larry sweat a little and then admits that he’s just joking. Why would anyone call him if something happened to Rachel? The jokes are getting a little mean spirited now, but Larry’s too timid to complain. He’s starting to freak out, getting paranoid about being there alone in a sketchy motel.

When Chester goes too far, making Larry believe that the bathroom door is stuck and then opening it just as Larry tries to ram it open, Larry loses it. He says no one likes people like Chester, he never knows when to stop and no one thinks he’s funny. So Chester asks Larry to tell him a joke, something he thinks is funny. What do you call a man with no body and no nose? Nobody knows. Chester laughs good-naturedly and leaves Larry’s room, telling him to have a good night.

Larry freaks out, packs his bags and starts to leave the motel. Larry stops him on his way out, admitting that he took his pranks too far, asking Larry to accept his apology and part as friends. Larry simply gives Chester his key, so Chester shrugs and says that if Rachel comes by he’ll tell her Larry had to leave. But Chester uses Rachel’s name, which Larry never told him. Larry starts to think that Chester is some kind of psychopath, so he calls the police to come to check it out.

While Chester charms the sheriff, Larry finds a document in the office with Rachel’s information on it. While the sheriff’s back is turned, Chester punches himself in the face and says Larry hit him. The sheriff is just about ready to arrest Larry when Rachel arrives, unharmed and none-the-wiser, and Chester admits to having antagonized Larry all night. If anyone is guilty of anything, he says, it’s him of bad taste and shenanigans. The sheriff leaves and Chester gives Larry and Rachel their rooms for free to make up for the trouble.

Later, Chester comes knocking with two drinks, on the house as peace offerings. So Larry and Rachel ask him to join them for a drink and they all end up hanging out by the pool and bonding over drinks. Larry admits to Chester that he’s bitter about his ex’s wedding – it’s interesting that Larry and Rachel are mad at the ex about marrying their cousin, but not also angry at their cousin? – and that he wrote her a passionate letter to give to her as a gift just to mess with her and ruin her wedding. What a dick. He’s honestly worse than Chester, and Chester is a serial killer.

That’s right, the obvious thing about Chester that everyone guessed from the beginning turns out to be true! Chester pranks big scary biker Gerry, causing him to attack Chester with Larry and Rachel as witnesses. Chester ends up beating the crap out of Gerry and sneakily stabs him in the head with a switchblade, pretending to act shocked at his death. Chester calls the police himself, asking Larry to get him some vodka from the bar. Rachel calls the police too, not believing that Chester actually called them, but it turns out he really did. The police are on their way. But as they get the vodka, they discover the dead bodies of the hotel owners. Chester has some lame story about how he didn’t kill them, so Rachel distracts him and then hits him over the head with the vodka bottle.

They escape to their room, looking for their car keys. Chester recovers too fast and taunts them awkwardly outside their room window with both sets of car keys. The sheriff arrives but doesn’t really listen as they tell him about the dead bodies. Chester, bloodied from his head wound, tells the sheriff that Rachel hit him with a bottle and she can’t deny it.

As the sheriff proceeds to arrest Larry and Rachel, Chester winks at Larry which throws him into a rage. As he charges Larry, the sheriff tases him. Chester kills the sheriff by strangling him with a zip tie and them continues to tase Larry and he and Rachel try to escape to their car. Chester pretends to let them go, but the car has been sabotaged by party favors stuffed into the tailpipe. They’re still stuck with Chester. He chases them down and knocks them out with laughing gas.

When Larry wakes up, he’s floating on a pool chair in the pool, the bodies of Chester’s victims positioned around the poolside in Hawaiian shirts and leis as Chester dances around with a tropical cocktail to “Dancing in the Moonlight” by The Harvest Kings. Larry has been given a rather large dose of Ayahuasca, so everything is looking pretty psychedelic right now. Chester intends Larry to have some sort of awakening, to tell him who he really is behind the personas and facades.

While Chester is recording, Larry confesses that what he really is is a troll. On the outside, he says he’s nice, he’s meek, he’s affable (all of which I say is up to debate). His true identity is ProgrammingFlaw; he’s full of bitterness because he could never figure out how to fit in and talk to people. He hates people because of his own weaknesses and ProgrammingFlaw gives him perceived power. Of course, we all know that internet trolls have no power at all, but that doesn’t keep them from the delusion of power.

Chester posts Larry’s confession online, which receives justified backlash. Rachel is dead and Larry knows that he’s next on Into the Dark. He convinces Chester to kill him at his ex’s wedding, but along the way crashes the car into a wall, killing Chester but escaping himself to take on the identity of ProgrammingFlaw. The news reports that he’s wanted for the murder of his sister and all the others at the motel.

Rachel’s is the only body reported from the car crash with no mention of Chester’s involvement or existence. Did he ever exist? Was it always just Larry? This scenario doesn’t make any sense, but the fact that Larry’s Facebook profile (as ProgrammingFlaw) now matches Chester’s is somewhat suggestive. ProgrammingFlaw, while on the run, still continues to taunt his online detractors. What a pathetic waste of space.

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I found everything about this episode of Into the Dark to be either dull or obnoxious. I don’t suppose the characters are meant to be likable anyway, but I generally felt either ambivalent about them or downright contemptuous. Larry is a terrible person, Rachel is okay, and Chester – aside from being a serial killer – is at best forgettable and at worst obnoxious. Am I supposed to care about whether these people live or die? The most amusing stylistic touch was the intermittent use of the eagle call sound effect. This I thought was rather hilarious, though used without much restraint or purpose. Otherwise, Into the Dark has produced yet another episode that failed to be either scary or amusing.

What did you think of this episode of Into the Dark? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!