When I decided to look at stories from The Baby-Sitters Club, I had no intention of returning to the TV show from the ’90s until I saw the title of this episode and which BSC member it was focusing on. Considering my other two BSC Halloween reviews dealt with Dawn, this felt right. What’s interesting is that while none of the episodes from the original TV show were adaptions of the books (score one for the Netflix series), this one seems to have pulled from the books. Though weirdly more so the spinoff, Baby-Sitters’ Little Sister as there is a book in that series titled Karen’s Witch
In the book series, there is a woman that lives across the street from Kristy Thomas and her family, and her little sister, Karen believes that the lady that lives across the street is a witch named Morbidda Destiny. In reality, her name is Tabitha Porter. Except in the Nextflix show where her name is Esme and is Dawn’s aunt.
Karen is convinced she’s a witch and truly freaked out by her. Karen isn’t in this episode and I think that was the first mistake as now we have the BSC who are meant to be teenagers believing the woman in a house across from a babysitting job is someone dangerous and is torturing animals for experiments. Yes, one of their charges from a babysitting job tells them this during a babysitting job but the fact that they believe is a bridge too far for my liking.
I don’t know having the BSC members be the ones to believe this of a woman seems a bit farfetched as they are mostly presented as levelheaded. Yes, they are still kids and they can let their imagination run wild and that was something with one of the books I looked at. And this also feels like it’s taking a trait from one character and slapping it onto a character that they thought it’d make sense with. Fair being fair, Dawn is the most outgoing of the BSC so her being into supernatural stuff can fit with her character. However, that’s not the biggest thing they took from a character and gave to Dawn. In the books, BSC member Claudia Kishi loves mystery stories, especially Nancy Drew.
The episode decided to take Claud’s love of mysteries and give it to Dawn as this was a Dawn-centric episode. I get the idea of what the episode was going for and it makes sense in the context of the episode but it feels rather wrong considering that was a core trait of Claudia’s.
Speaking of Claudia, she is part of the episode’s B plot focuses on Claudia who had failed a science test. Okay, that’s accurate as Claud isn’t the best student and does struggle in school. And well, this is where we learn the lady that lives in the supposed haunted house has been serving as her tutor as she was a biologist and knows a lot about animals as she cares for them. I mean I do get the suspicion as Mary Anne and Stacey see her buy some rather appliances before a babysitting job.
Oh, and these two have an upcoming babysitting job across the street, and when one of the young kids under their care says that his telescope can see into the house across the street and while Stacey tries to dissuade this but he points out the witch has a prisoner and they see it’s Claudia. Yeah, I think you can figure out where this is going as the girls think Claudia needs saving and call the house across the street. They call pretending a dog had been hurt and needs saving to get the lady out of the house and get the rest of the BSC to come and save Claudia.
Eventually, the girls learn the truth and learn that Claudia had been keeping her tutoring a secret as she was embarrassed that she needed a tutor. And that’s another thing, this episode claims to be a Dawn episode and it does start that way but by the episode’s end, it’s a Claudia episode. I don’t know if this is a complaint but does feel like a bit of a mislead.
I guess that’s fine and Claud’s story is more impactful and truer to her character. Though I do appreciate how the episode ends with Mrs. Slade aka The Witch-Lady telling Claudia that people don’t think clearly when they’re scared.
My Final Thoughts
This is a fine episode if nothing special. I do think the Christmas episode I looked at last year was much better and did a better job of knowing who the Baby-Sitters Club were. To be fair, this was only the second episode of the series but a lot of it feels off.