Into the Dark - Season 2, Episode 8: “Delivered” TV Episode Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Premiered on Hulu

into the dark s02 e08 delivered poster large

Directed by Emma Tammi
Written by Dirk Blackman
2020, 80 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on Hulu on May 8th, 2020

Natalie Paul as Valerie
Tina Majorino as Jenny
Michael Cassidy as Tom
Micah Joe Parker as Riley

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One of the strengths of Into the Dark is the concept – a series of monthly films inspired by a holiday. The film series always comes up strongest when tied to a major holiday like the Fourth of July (Gigi Saul Guerrero’s brilliant Culture Shock) or Thanksgiving (the surprisingly nasty Pilgrim). Not every month has a major holiday, though. May’s episode centers on Mother’s Day, and we can all relate to that one, right? I mean, everyone has a mother.

Every so often, though, they’re bound to miss the mark a bit (even when it should be an easy shot). It’s not a completely wild miss (and there are some bright spots to be found), but Delivered ultimately fails to produce the kind of offspring that you’ll ooh and ah over. Allow me to explain.

Valerie (Natalie Paul; The Sinner) is extremely pregnant and ready to get the show on the road. Her husband, Tom (Michael Cassidy; Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), is the definition of the doting father-to-be. All is not as it appears to be, though – there’s another man in the form of Riley (Micah Joe Parker; The Vampire Diaries). When Val makes a new friend at her yoga class for expectant mommies (cheekily named “Mamaste”), it seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Jenny (Tina Majorino; Napoleon Dynamite) is a total sweetheart with a lovely farmhouse in the country on twenty acres of peaceful property. It’s almost too convenient…because it is. Jenny isn’t at all what she appears to be, and the truth is deadlier than Val or Tom could possibly imagine.

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Delivered starts slow and stays that way for too long. The first half plays exactly like every Lifetime Movie you’ve ever seen. You know she wants to steal Val’s baby; it’s not even all that subtle. Tina Majorino, for her part, is entirely excellent in her performance. She’s attentive and gentle one minute and full-on dead-eyed the next. She’s been acting in major roles since childhood (going all the way back to the cutesie kid’s movie Andre from 1994), so that’s not a surprise. The whole cast, for what it’s worth, do their jobs with aplomb. The issue is the material. We’ve seen this one before, and there are no real twists or turns that make Delivered unique in any way.

There is a clear inspiration at work, though, and it’s Stephen King’s ludicrously classic tale of the “number one fan”, Misery. Tina Majorino does a rather fine job of channeling Kathy Bates Oscar-winning performance, and she deserves credit for carrying Delivered on her back. It’s more than just that character, though – the aesthetic of the farmhouse is a bit brighter but still reminiscent, the layout of certain scenes is a mimic, and there’s even a (pseudo) hobbling! It’s understandable and even commendable, but when the writing is pedestrian, the “homage” will almost annoy you.

Still, the reveal of Jenny’s backstory is a nice touch. There’s a clever ruse involving the cat (who frankly steals scenes), and the final showdown has a respectable level of violence and ugliness. It’s kind of a shame; at times you can almost see what could have been. You’ll be more than a touch uncomfortable watching Jenny’s “labor” scene. Chick is out of her damn mind!

Delivered may not be near as bad as it could have been, but it still manages to be one of the weaker entries in the reliably solid Into the Dark catalogue. In trying to tell a story that’s archetypal, Delivered manages to make some dubious choices and ultimately throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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Episode: 2.5 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US

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Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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