Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fire Starter: Another Complex Murder on Whodunnit?

Whodunnit?, ABC's new take on reality competitions, gave us another great episode to exercise our inner sleuths; "Fire Starter" an investigation into Dontae's death.  While the premise of the show is for the contestants to figure out how a murder was committed, with their limited knowledge it is almost impossible without networking and forming alliances.  That doesn't stop the viewer though, as I was able to solve the crime, with pretty good accuracy, but then again I had all the clues.  This week the group's learning curve spiked as secrets were held closely and enemies were made.  The idea for the cast to have only partial information was a good one.  Just like the game of Clue you have your cards and you have to choose which to reveal to other players and which to keep to yourself.  The same holds true on Whodunnit?, which means cast mates must trust others for vital clues, which brings out the fun idea of friend or foe that we love so much about these shows! 
This week the mystery was to how Dontae's murder was committed, a literal twist on "Dontae's Inferno".  As we saw in the end of the premiere episode, Dontae went out in a ball of flames.  The group followed the clues and learned that it was a special pair of pajamas laced with Benzene (an accelerant), a different rug and pair of socks that created static electricity, and a door wired with a spark of current that set him aflame.  We also learned in this episode that Giles, the faithful servant of the mischievous mastermind, is not there by choice but is part of the host's twisted game and outfitted with an ankle tracking device. 

While the obvious design of the show is for contestants to use their smarts to solve the crimes, the game is not based on wits alone.  During the first portion of the show the crew has time to inspect their area of choice (the morgue, the crime scene, or the last known whereabouts), in the second portion they must decipher a cryptic clue from the unknown host among them and it becomes a rat race.  We saw this in both episodes so far as "groupies" follow others when they see they're onto something and often the one with the most smarts doesn't get the information they deserve.  For instance, in this episode it was Melina who thought the "cycle" clue referenced the washer and dryer, but after they found part two of the clue (the Benzene to spray on their flags and the note about "dragging your feet"), Kam and Cris ran off to discover the shock from the door and Ulysses followed behind.  While Kam would never have found the critical door clue without Melina, he still info-blocked her and rudely wouldn't let anyone even come up to their table.  This exclusive table alliance included Kam, Ulysses, Cris and LindseyDana made the mistake of believing that the team she built with Ulysses would help her, when in fact he betrayed her and won this round.  While she was safe this week, I am sure that we will see her acting with much more caution in the coming episodes.  Melina ended up in tears, worried about her fate and Kam caused a lot of friction with his inclusion strategy.  When both Dana, Sasha and Adrianna approached Kam's group to talk with other members at the table, he told them off and made them leave drastically increasing the tension in the house.  I think we will see a big shift at Rue Manor, as Kam's strategy may have helped him in this round he upset a large part of the group who won't be eager to share with him in the mysteries that lay ahead.  Comradery against a common foe had once bonded them, but now the desire to stay alive and win the $250,000 prize has spawned a cut throat game to the death.   

Members also tried to throw off the others by changing the name of the saint in the note found in the bedroom from St. Agnus to St. Augustine.  This just fired back at them as the crime scene group found the medal that accompanied the note and knew the group was lying.  In addition to that, the medal and the note really had nothing to do with the murder, so it just escalated the already existing feelings of distrust.    

While most of the group thought that Adrianna is the killer, she was the one to die in the conclusion of this episode.  The scene portrayed a thrilling chase from an unknown cause as she frantically ran and fled on a golf cart that ended up exploding at the mansion gate, throwing her body into a nearby tree.  The reenactments were again well produced, however Adrianna's death was not nearly as exciting or believable as the previous two. 

We also got a fun farewell from Dontae at the end of the show, still in his morgue make-up, flammable pajamas and all.  I still believe that Lindsey is their insidious host, as she seems to be the least determined to find clues, share information and contribute.  It appears like she is just sitting back and watching her work unfold.  Throughout the series, I will keep you updated on the latest cases, winners, deaths and thoughts about Whodunnit?.  Watch, participate and enjoy at your own risk!

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