Crazyhead episode 4 review: Penguin Or Cow

Crazyhead reaches the halfway mark with an episode that reveals Raquel's significance to the demon world...

This review contains spoilers.

1.4 Penguin Or Cow

That was more like it. Penguin Or Cow saw the return of Raquel and Amy’s developing friendship as the demon-seers had a sleepover, complete with animal onesies.

That sort of quirky combination—occult mythology meets novelty sleepwear—is this show’s preferred kind of gag. Mixing low-key British absurdities with high-concept fantasy worked for Misfits, and it works here. We saw it in the muffin talk before Raquel and Amy took on Mercy, in the inventive child’s bedroom fight employing a plush snake as a weapon, and in the yellow canoe now permanently strapped to the roof of Jake’s car.

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It’s pretty charming and goes a fair way to selling Crazyhead as a new and different take on supernatural horror.

Because the mythology alone, to be frank, doesn’t cut it. This week, over the series’ halfway point, we learned what Callum has planned for Raquel. She’s a gateway to the demon dimension, and when the time is right, he’s going to open the door and let his hellish brethren come flooding to Earth. At a tacky night club, by the looks of the flyer announcing the event.

You couldn’t exactly call it an original development. Opening the gate to another dimension and bringing forth chaos is high on the list of end-goals for characters like Callum. From Ghostbusters (both versions) to Supernatural, Hellboy, Good Omens, Angel and Buffy, there’s always some card with a mystical key hoping to bring about an apocalypse wherein the oogly-booglies will come spilling in to our realm.

More than once, said card’s downfall has been at the hands of a minion who decides that they rather like the world the way it is, thank you very much. It’s for that reason Callum should be wary of Mercy, whose attachment to her human son is obviously strong. You’d be a fool to underestimate the power of a mum.

Or a best friend, as Suzanne proved this week by saving Amy’s life in an act of self-sacrifice that turned her from vampiric revenant to a puddle of pavement gloop. Amy’s lost Suzanne twice now, this time for good. The pair’s lift scenes were well-played but lacked much peril. Come on, as if Amy’s going to be sucked dry in episode four.

Amy may have lost her BFF, but she isn’t short on love interests. Jake confessed his (unrequited) feelings in a rare and surprisingly sweet moment of earnestness, while she and Tyler finally sealed the deal.

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Not to be left out, Raquel closed the episode by driving off on a date with Starburst Man, aka Harry, aka possibly the “real nasty prick” Sawyer was trying to warn her about before he carked it. If Harry was a demon, seer Raquel would be able to tell—wouldn’t she? So where exactly does he fit in?

The same question applies to Amy’s prophetic visions. It’s about time we met this mysterious mum, wouldn’t you say. The Suzanne storyline has kept the girls busy for a couple of episodes, but it was mostly filler keeping us from learning more about Crazyhead’s demon set-up.

Not that the mythology is this show’s chief attraction; that remains the double act between its two leads, their comic timing, and their characters’ developing friendship. This week saw Raquel’s growing respect for Amy and acknowledgement that she’s not a wet, delusional, shitty little princess in a satisfying moment that brought us closer to both girls.

It’s frantic, this series. A bubbling-over mix of gross-out gags, under-baked story and familiar plot points. But inside the chaos, there’s an undeniable pull. Call it energy, call it chemistry, call it Wokoma and Theobold. As a viewer I may be frustrated at times, but I’m never bored.

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, Shave The Cat, here.