‘Slasher: Solstice’ is another in line of the horror series that Netflix has brought for its audience. Living up to its name, the series displays no shortage of brutality, delivering blood and gore in just the right amount, careful not to drive you away in disgust. If you are someone who is the fan of the slasher genre, especially the movies like ‘Saw’, then I don’t think any disclaimer is necessary for you. The ones who like murder mysteries will also gravitate towards this show. The show betters itself by weaving in various social issues in its storyline. Islamophobia, homophobia, racism, hate crime and the adverse effects of social media culture find their place in this story. If you haven’t yet seen it, head over to Netflix and then come back to read the rest of this article.
Summary of the Plot
One night, a man returns home drunk and high from a solstice party. He is followed by a mysterious figure who stabs him to death right in front of other residents of the building. The man dies and the murderer isn’t caught. The dust settles and the case goes cold. And then on the anniversary of the murder, the Druid returns to finish off other residents. This time, he seems more focused and prepared, which means a lot of people are going to die by the time the sun shines on another day.
The Red Herring
Every good mystery requires a strong red herring. Dan, Xander, Connor, Amber, Violet, even the homeless guy who steals sandwiches from Xander’s shop is a suspect. The only way to rule out the possibility is to wait for one of them to die next! Because after watching all those films about scream queens and murders by masked men, we know that ruling anyone out of your radar can prove fatal to you. Another thing that we have learnt from binging detective shows is that you might not even meet the killer until the second half of the season (a trope regularly used by ‘True Detective’). More elements might be involved than what is visible to you, and ‘Slasher: Solstice’ uses this trick very well.
By going back and forth in the past and present, in every episode, it gives us a glimpse of the messed-up lives of its characters. Also, it introduces a completely new character, Wyatt, by the time half of the people have died. We get the first impression of Wyatt through the description given by Noelle. Apparently, they had a relationship for two years. After she broke up with him, he continued to stalk her online and kept trying to push himself back in her life by constantly calling, texting and even actively stalking her. At Kit’s memorial, he turns up uninvited and even then, she lashes out at him, calling him a “psycho stalker”. With the bloodbath going on, our ears take notice as soon as the word “psycho” is uttered. We become instantly suspicious of him. To provide further grounds to our theory, Noelle is brutally murdered in the next five minutes!
Soon enough, her body is discovered and the police catch up with Wyatt. They find the hood and the knife, that had been used to kill Noelle as well as Kit, under his couch. Furthermore, Wyatt smilingly confesses to being the Druid. With enough evidence at hand, they arrest him, and for the time being, the case seems closed. But we know that when the police are focusing on Wyatt, another murder is taking place at the building.
Noelle knew Kit even before she had broken up with Wyatt. From their conversation, it appears that she and Kit had been friends on social media and Wyatt clearly disliked Kit. When Noelle broke up with him, she must have been drawn towards Kit and they hooked up at the solstice party. Seeing their pictures together, Wyatt was infuriated, and since he was a psycho, he decided to make Kit pay for it. He dressed up as the Druid and followed him home to brutally stab him to death while the rest of people watched him. Having no direct connection with the victim, Wyatt walked clean out of the police investigation and the case went cold. A year later, Wyatt found Noelle organising a memorial for Kit, which further infuriated him. She didn’t want Wyatt even when he was alive and had been with her for two years, but she was crying for Kit who she had been with for just one night and didn’t even know so well. When he confronts her about it, she rebukes him and tells him to stay away from her. This makes him angry and he kills her then and there.
Who is the Killer?
Wyatt doesn’t come across as a likeable character and it is easy to believe that he could have killed Kit and Noelle. Both the murders were crimes of passion and we could imagine a psycho like Wyatt doing something like that. But, if he is the Druid, the rest of the deaths don’t make sense. Why would he kill other residents? If he wanted to silence them, he would have killed them a year ago. Why was he rampaging around now? It didn’t make sense. Also, we knew that during his arrest, Joe and Violet were being murdered, so this means, that someone else is the real killer. Does that mean that Wyatt was lying about being the Druid? Did he confess just because he wanted the glory that came with it? For the reputation that he would have in prison? Maybe he was not so much a psychopath as he was a liar? But then, there was the evidence against him.
After his interrogation, one thing becomes clear to the viewers as well as the police. He did kill Kit and Noelle. The rest, however, is another story. If you had figured out the identity of the killer in the first half of the season, then I must ask you- how many reruns of ‘Sherlock’ have you watched? It takes a pro to pick up on the details that were given out in the first three episodes of the show, no matter how subtle they were. If you picked it up, the case was actually solved by the end of the third episode, the one where the biology teacher was dissected! Further hints were slipped in through the dialogues like “all serial killers are white”. It was only the motive that needed to be revealed.
If you were moving along with the story and couldn’t pinpoint the killer until the moment the identity was revealed, that’s okay too. It was probably because you had been focusing on a single killer, while there were actually two, which makes a lot of sense because with so many people dying, you wonder how the Druid is travelling back and forth so quickly!
Who is the Real Druid?
In the penultimate episode, it is revealed that the Druid is actually Connor. By the next episode, we realise that Jen had been in on it too, and it was she who had planned out the whole itinerary. Suddenly, all the pieces fall right into their place and all the murders made perfect sense. The question was: what drove two model teenagers to go on a killing spree? The answer had been given to us in the previous episodes, though in fragments. One of the most important things, while trying to identify a murderer, is to figure out the motive. As soon as you put a finger on it, it becomes so much easier to find out the killer. ‘Slasher: Solstice’ gave us a red herring not only for the killer but also for the motive. We were led to believe that all the people were dying because they hadn’t helped Kit when he was being murdered. Kit’s murder was the pivotal event here and we were trying to analyse the situation from that perspective.
The true motivation was the thing that happened two months after Kit’s death. Jen and Connor’s mother, Justine, didn’t like Kit. In her defence, he really was a nuisance. However, he wasn’t so bad as to deserve death for it. When he is murdered, Justine posts his picture on social media with a caption “reap what you sow”. Her post shows her insensitivity and her cruel attitude towards someone’s tragedy. When Saadia sees it, she reposts it with condemning comments. This soon catches fire and the whole thing goes viral.
People post hateful comments on Justine’s page and she even receives death threats. The life of Rijkers becomes hellish and they don’t find support from anywhere. The story is even featured on the news and after that, things only get worse. Mistreatment from everywhere leads Justine to have a mental breakdown and eventually, she kills herself. This is the second incident where someone dies and no one in the whole building tries to help or intervene in any way.
Her death hits the family hard, especially Amber, who loses control of her senses and becomes mentally unstable. It is worse for the children because not only did they lose their mother, they also have to take care of their other parent while fending for themselves. Connor blames himself for Justine’s death and even attempts to kill himself, stopping only after Jen convinces him not to. They grow to hate everyone in the building because each of them had played a part in their mother’s death. Even the detective is held accountable on the grounds of being incompetent. According to them, everyone deserves to die for their crimes, and they hatch a plan to exact justice.
Who Killed Whom?
Now that we know who the killer was, the only questionable thing is the time window. This can be resolved by focusing on the fact that Connor and Jen hadn’t exclusively compartmentalised their tasks. They had been mixing things up and that’s how every murder became so doable. Let’s begin with the first murder.
The first person to be axed was Dan. Honestly, I am glad they got him out of the way first. He was a shitty person and probably deserved it the most. He was definitely killed by Connor. The coroner’s report suggests that the perpetrator was someone strong but not experienced with hacking off people’s heads. Connor fits the bill pretty well. The motive for his murder was to rid his family of his poisonous presence. Connor knew he was abusive to his wife, and he had also said bad things about Justine after her death. This also explains why Erica and her mother were not targeted. They were the only ones who walked out of this whole ordeal without as much a scratch.
The next death was Cassidy’s. I don’t think she had any role in provocating Justine to die. The only reason she died was because of the way she treated Saadia, who was not targeted by the Druid. It’s because she had been friends with them! Because Cassidy was killed in women’s restroom, I am going to bet that Jen was the one who killed her.
The next in line was Kaili, the biology teacher. She was definitely killed by Jen and it is the way she is killed that becomes pivotal in determining the identity of the killer. Earlier in the day, the students had dissected frogs and labelled its body parts on their sheets. Jen was the first to turn in her paper and Kaili was actually impressed by her precision. Had she known that her student would show the same precision in killing her, she wouldn’t have been so appreciative after all! The only other person that Jen kills is Charlie, the boy who repeatedly teases her and Saadia. At the party, he comes dangerously close to molesting both of them. In the girls’ restroom, Jen decides to get rid of him.
Xander was most probably killed at the hands of Connor because it needed strength to tackle him. He paid the price for starting a petition against the Rijkers, asking everyone to support their eviction from the building. His partner, Amy, was most probably killed by Connor because he had the keys to everyone’s apartment. Also, Jen spent most of her time with Saadia, which allowed Connor to be free to kill everyone else. He is also the one who killed Violet and Joe. While the reason to kill Violet is more justifiable, I think Joe was just collateral damage. He was actually an empathic person and asked his wife, time and again, not to post all the bad stuff. But she didn’t listen, and both of them had to pay the price for that.
It was most probably Jen who lured Dan and Angel to the basement in the building and locked them up. I can say this because she had been the master planner here, and I think that she and Connor knew that it wouldn’t be easy for any of them to take down Angel or Dan. So, they decided to pit them against each other, hoping that they would kill one another, driven by their hatred towards each other. If there is one sibling pair that teaches us the value of coordination, it is the Rijkers!