Episode 10 of Goosebumps wraps up the show’s first season with a whimsical sense of adventure that will leave fans feeling satisfied.
And with that, the first season of Goosebumps has come to a close. The end of a television season is the perfect time for a post-mortem, allowing a chance to look at the show with the entire picture in front of you. This perspective is particularly helpful for a show such as Goosebumps, which I found often got distracted from its central focus, and so suffered from an uneven quality from episode to episode. As is perhaps appropriate for a season finale, Episode 10 of Goosebumps demonstrates the particular strengths and weaknesses of the television show, and luckily, shines more of a light on the strengths of the show than the weaknesses.
Loose ends dangled throughout the season must now be wrapped up, and boy does Episode 10 of Goosebumps do that. The plot moves along with such rigorous efficiency that it feels as though a manager was seated behind the camera making sure tasks were getting crossed off a list. Episode 10 begins as the teenagers return to Port Lawrence from an excursion to Seattle, only to find their little hometown in grave danger. Nathan Bratt’s (Justin Long) choices from the previous week have led to dire consequences, perhaps putting the entire world in jeopardy.
The stakes of Episode 10 of Goosebumps are high, but never treated with any sense of gravity, and done away with through deus ex machinas and especially introduced characters, all appropriate storytelling for a television show ostensibly aimed at kids and tweens like Goosebumps. There’s an anti-logic to the storytelling that ends up feeling endearingly goofy and singular, like that found in a vintage comic book.
Goosebumps was a show that struggled with its tone, so beholden to the voice of previous media that it struggled to find its own. In my opinion, Goosebumps was the most effective when it functioned within the adventure genre, rather than that of a teen soap opera or light horror. The season finale leans into that adventure mode, moving at a brisk pace, with a whimsical feeling to its danger similar to the previously mentioned comic books and kid’s entertainment from the 80s, such as The Goonies, The Never-Ending Story or Hocus Pocus.
Working in that mode, Goosebumps felt like its own show, rather than Frankensteined together from other better shows and studio notes, and became an amiable, charming show with thrills and chills for kids. By the final scene of the finale (paying lip service to Twin Peaks and Stranger Things), Goosebumps has built up enough earnest good will to make the idea of a season two not an altogether unpleasant idea.
Episode 10 of Goosebumps will be available to watch on Disney Plus from November 17, 2023.