Welcome back to my “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” marathon! Serial killers are a popular staple in mysteries and thrillers. Some have a method to who they choose to kill, while others can kill at random. Today’s episode plays on the fear of having a loved one in risk of being caught up in a person’s killing spree. This is “Victim Four.”
Joe Drake and his wife Madeline have had a hard time ever since an accidental fall shattered his leg and gave her a concussion, causing brain damage. One night, while waiting for Madeline to come home from work, he gets worried when she doesn’t arrive on time. He’s forced to set out to find her, as a serial killer known as The Butcher has been killing people around town and could attack her. Will Joe find Madeline before The Butcher does, or is there more to this killer than meets the eye?
This was another story where I felt the ending was the best part, mostly due to the twist it presents. The episode starts off slow and the actual search for Madeline doesn’t start until over 10 minutes in. The search also takes up most of the rest, though I found it wasn’t as tense as I expected it to be.
I found the characters of Joe and Madeline to be decent, though a lot of their troubles and interesting traits come from the accident. We do get a flashback to their honeymoon to show it and how carefree they are before Joe is forced to get leg surgery. There’s also a character named Ralph Morrow who’s introduced from the start and basically kicks off a few things in the plot. He’s an ex-boyfriend of Madeline’s and a complete tool, as it’s implied their break-up was messy and that he wasn’t a great boyfriend despite being well off financially. He visits Joe to try to get back into Madeline’s good graces (aka pants) and that sparks the flashback to the honeymoon and accident. Ralph also offers his help in finding Madeline, but there are hints implied (possibly not on purpose) that he could be The Butcher. It’s mentioned early that he picked up weapons during a European trip and he comes off suspicious at times in the episode.
But on that note, the same can be said for a few supporting characters they encounter during their search. Again, I wasn’t sure if it was intentional, but a couple people felt like red herrings and seem to act overly suspicious. There were even some who were just plain jerks. They only served to force the search to continue by not knowing where Madeline is and that’s all. The idea of a serial killer being loose doesn’t seem to affect many of them either. The ending, as I said, was the best part for me as it was both unexpected and had good reasoning behind.
Overall, “Victim Four” was okay if a bit disappointing. I think I really was expecting more tension, but that was dampened by many of the minor characters not being concerned about the killer. I would recommend it just for the ending, but if you want a stronger narrative to precede it, you could probably skip this one entirely.