“Itchy” is the stuff of childhood fears, made palatable and exciting for a TV audience… this is more like it!
This Creeped Out Season 2 Episode 2 recap for the episode titled “Itchy” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Episode two of Creeped Out season two is bang on. You want a creepy show for kids? You start with something unpleasant but familiar and then extrapolate it into something bigger, a what-if nightmare. Written by Rob Butler (one of the show’s creators) and directed by Gareth Tunley (The Ghoul), “Itchy” is an episode with the tension and pace I’ve come to expect.
“Itchy” is set in an anonymous British island town, where the main school educates kids as military-style cadets. Gabe (Oliver Finnegan) is the nerdiest teenager, from a nerdy family; and although he gets mildly picked on, he doesn’t withdraw completely, but stays as assertive as he can. A bit like “Bravery Badge” from the last season, the episode follows this one kid and those closest to him, but what happens here is happening to everyone around them. (Actually, the structure of the story into its ending is similar to “Bravery Badge” too; but that’s OK: it worked.) What happens seems pretty mundane at first: a head lice outbreak in the town. However it doesn’t stay mundane for long: not only does it reach virtually everyone, but it is truly unbearable, and there is hardly any special shampoo left on the island…
Yes, I know that sounds daft, but trust me: the atmosphere in this episode is such that these bugs might as well be the ones from Starship Troopers, even though they are so small the viewer never actually sees them! The use of music and some insect-related sound effects really add to the tension; or in the case of my son, they added to the audience’s discomfort. The anxiety in Gabe and some of the other characters is palpable; even though not all the teenage cast are great actors, this aspect really does make their characters sympathetic.
“Itchy” does have a few formulaic elements, but they are utterly forgivable because the whole episode is done so well. It doesn’t matter that a handy bit of tech just happens to be in someone’s bag at the right time, if it’s introduced in a believable way; and it doesn’t matter that the story has a punchline that knocks the relief out of you, if it really is cold (and features a nice, homey looking cat!)… The formula works for Creeped Out.
And I can’t stop scratching now.