“No Light, No Spark” forces Lisey to confront both her mortality and her worst enemy in a chapter hampered by a fluctuating tone.
This recap of Lisey’s Story season 1, episode 7, “No Light, No Spark”, contains spoilers.
“No Light, No Spark” isn’t a complicated episode of television, but it almost becomes one thanks to how determinedly it contorts a simple setup with deliberate obfuscation and a bizarrely fluctuating tone. It’s a tale of two halves, essentially; in one, we revisit Scott Landon’s death, and in the other, Lisey, Darla, and Amanda prepare to take on a murderous Jim Dooley. But, one episode removed from the finale, it feels like Lisey’s Story is biding its time by wasting ours.
The stuff involving Scott is clearly intended to upend what we thought about his death. In Lisey’s Story episode 7, we see him attend a publishing event and be greeted in the crowd by an obviously crazed fan who hands him a homemade magic wand. After that he becomes violently ill, coughing his lungs up in the bathroom, bleeding from his hand and chest where what looks like a bullet wound is opening up. After what is presumably a brief trip to Booya Moon, he is able to take the stage, rejuvenated, but eventually vomits up a huge torrent of water, collapses, and later dies after telling Lisey he has been “infected” ever since Paul bit him in childhood.
So, what’s all this about? Did Scott not actually die after being shot? Did the waters of Booya Moon preserve him until his body just couldn’t take it anymore? Is his vomiting the water on-stage him throwing up his connection to this mythical place, no longer able to stomach its sustenance? Did Lisey misremember his death, or mold it in her own imagination? Does the hooded version of Scoot who sits poolside at Booya Moon have any authorial control over Lisey’s story, which the climax of Lisey’s Story season 1, episode 7 implies? The answers could be any or indeed all the above and will presumably be saved in large part for next week’s finale. These are interesting questions, but they gel awkwardly with Lisey’s plot to kill Dooley, a more immediate, less ethereal scheme grounded in real-life danger – but undermined by a weird penchant for gags.
So, yeah, “No Light, No Spark” just got far too jokey for me here. Lisey’s plan is to take Dooley to Booya Moon and deal with him there, but she has Amanda and Darla, armed with a hockey stick and a gun, on standby, ready to intervene when she gives the safe word. It’s well-shot, this; Dooley arrives to find the house in pitch darkness but climbs the stairs in night-vision goggles, and Pablo Larrain is smart to show the scene from his perspective now and again, giving it a creepy home-video vibe. The slashing beam of a rotating lighthouse is the only illumination. Dooley has murder on his mind. It’s a ripe setup for a tense encounter, but Amanda and Darla can’t stop cracking jokes, and when Lisey eventually summons them there’s a tumbling slapstick quality to the whole thing that really sapped the tension.
Eventually, Dooley is able to overpower everyone, but as he’s strangling the life out of Lisey she calls to Scott, and it begins to rain. Suddenly, both she and Dooley are in Booya Moon, and she calls to the Long Boy.