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"Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store... and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back—and the real terror begins."

In spite of its title, Friday the 13th: The Series, which ran for three seasons (1987–90) in First-Run Syndication, had nothing whatsoever to do with Jason Voorhees or any of the characters or events of the Friday the 13th movies, through it is still considered an installment in the franchise. It instead followed Micki Foster (Louise Robey) and Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) as they attempted to track down all of the cursed artifacts which their uncle Lewis Vendredi (R. G. Armstrong) had sold out of his antique shop as part of his Deal with the Devil.

After their uncle broke the pact and the Devil claimed his soul, Micki and Ryan inherited "Vendredi's Antiques" and renamed it "Curious Goods." It became their base of operations as they set out to reclaim all of the cursed antiques with the help of Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins), a childhood friend of their uncle. Marshak was an expert in the occult who had acquired many of the antiques for Vendredi during his world travels, and therefore was often familiar with the historical backstories of the objects, which frequently tied into their magical attributes.

Typically an artifact would grant some supernatural power to its owner, but the price of using the power would all but inevitably be someone's life. There was the scalpel that could be used to cure any disease after it was used as a murder weapon, the scarecrow that would produce good crops after killing three sacrificial victims, etc. At the start of the third season, Ryan is replaced by Johnny Ventura (Steve Monarque), one of his contacts who often ends up as The Watson of the protagonists.


Tropes:

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  • Aborted Arc: In "Coven of Darkness", Jack mentions that Lewis spread around a lot of witches' tools (i.e. ceremonial items, such as a chalice, athame, pentacle, etc), suggesting that they would be among the items recovered in later episodes. However, other than the ladder and chisel (both recovered in that episode), it never comes up again.
  • Absurd Cutting Power: As a side-effect of its healing powers (either because it is needed to perform tricky surgery or to enable the user to get to their victims), the scalpel of "Doctor Jack" possesses this ability. It is seen to cut through a mesh fence, large metal doors, and elevator cables.
  • Achilles' Heel: While none of the artifacts can be harmed or destroyed, and almost every one can have its powers undone if the victim is saved, the user is killed, or its power is redirected back on its user, several have unique weaknesses which can be exploited to save the day. Some of these are inherent to the items or their results, some were specifically included in the curse, and some depend on logic or creative interpretation.
    • In "Tales of the Undead", the robot depicted within the comic book was originally written to be completely invulnerable, and the same holds true for anyone who uses it to become the robot in the real world. However, because the comic's writer became bitter over having his work and characters stolen, he gave the robot one weakness which was used to destroy it in the final issue: Being stabbed by the award he won for writing the cursed comic issue that created the robot in the first place.
    • The titular "Scarecrow" works by having a picture of its victim pinned to its shirt. Not only can the victim be saved (and the scarecrow rendered lifeless) by removing the picture, it can be redirected to a new victim by replacing the picture with another.
    • Since the electric chair in "The Electrocutioner" works by transferring electrical energy, the Villain of the Week can be drained of this (and killed) in the same manner as any electrical mishap—by grounding the charge (via a radiator and jumper cables).
    • Because the mirror in "Doorway to Hell" gained its powers by being a "witness" to Satanic rites, this connects it to the Realms of Darkness outside the gates of Hell, as well as to any other similar mirror in Lewis's house. However, not only does this mean the connection can be broken by breaking the other mirrors (which are not artifacts), its window allows Jack to enter the same supernatural realm and, after weathering Lewis's temptations, save the trapped Micki and Ryan.
    • The mask from "Voodoo Mambo" gives life and powers via the murder of voodoo priests—but since its user is also a voodoo priestess, it can be used to kill her, too.
    • As a Logical Weakness, because the handkerchief in "Wax Magic" is used to bring wax figures to life, they can be stopped...by melting them.
    • In "13 O'Clock", the pocket watch will only work if the user is in a particular subway station at a particular time, and holding it. If either of these precepts are broken the user is the one for whom Time Stands Still instead, apparently forever.
    • Because the titular "Eye of Death" is a slide projector, this means there are inherently two easy ways to stop someone using it from returning from the past—pulling out the slide or blowing out its candle.
    • Anyone who uses the rattle in "The Shaman's Apprentice" is calling on ancient spirits. But this also means those same spirits can be turned against them (for abusing them/killing innocents) if someone else knows the needed rites to call on them.
    • A bit more roundabout than usual, but in "Mightier than the Sword", the Serial Killer created by the fountain pen will not stop, or be returned to their real self, until they have committed the crime(s) they were directed to and are about to die themselves. Which means if they are stopped from doing so, or their target is killed by other means, they will turn on whoever else is nearby to fulfill what was written.
  • Age Without Youth: How Uncle Lewis' Deal with the Devil falls apart.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: In "The Charnel Pit", Micki describes the Marquis de Sade as having great charisma and "magnetism"; while some of this is spoken to him as part of her ruse as a visiting duchess, she also speaks in her own voiceover when writing the letter, claiming he is "irresistible". The countess Micki speaks to who ends up forgoing her espionage for General Lafayette to spend time in de Sade's torture dungeon seems to feel the same way. Micki having a dark side and being tempted by evil is nothing new, but generally she is portrayed throughout the series as modest and elegant, not lascivious, and this is the first time such a thing seems to happen without her being whammied by an artifact. (While it's possible traveling through the painting affected her, Johnny does so as well and isn't influenced in the slightest.)
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • The ending of "Coven of Darkness" acts as this. On the one hand, the way Micki's hand trembles when she touches the book of White Magic and the expression on her face suggest fear and a bit of relief, which would make sense since Jack had just claimed she had been drained of all her power (whether permanently or for a good long time) and she had clearly been afraid of possessing occult powers since the revelation was made (either due to Comes Great Responsibility or her experiences throughout the show making her rightfully afraid of pretty much all magic). But her expression and trembling hand, plus the creepy musical stinger, could also mean that something about the draining of her magic, plus how closely she was intertwined with the villain's powers when trying to break her curse, either caused a corrupting backlash or even allowed Lysa to somehow possess or influence Micki toward the darkness. Because the matter of the coven (as stated above) was an Aborted Arc, and the main purpose of having Micki drained (aside from Status Quo Is God) was so that there'd be no way to save Ryan in the third season's two-part opener, this never gets revisited again... so it's never clear what the ending actually means. It's most likely the first option, with The Stinger being a trolling creator's The End... Or Is It?, but we can't be sure.
    • Possibly the fate of the villains in the Time Stands Still episode, "13 O'Clock", which is never fully clarified. They apparently freeze in time at the end of the episode, when Ryan takes the cursed pocket watch away from them. However, only one of them had the watch, so it is never explained what would happen if the user loses the watch during the "frozen time" hour, and the villains are frozen in time in the middle of a subway track. What happens when the next train comes along, or if anyone in the station can see them frozen like statues, is never explained.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Ricky from "A Friend to the End" who has a fairly androgynous appearance, and is intent on J.B. staying with him forever.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The fate of the villains in the Time Stands Still episode, "13 O'Clock".
    • Possibly this is also the fate of those killed by the cursed TV set in "The Spirit of Television", as well as the villain Ilsa Van Zandt when she gets pulled into it at the end; it isn't made clear if their souls are being sent to Hell or trapped within the TV, but the imagery of falling into an endless dark vortex is certainly suggestive, and chilling.
  • Animal Motifs: The Amulet of Zohar in "Hellowe'en" is used to restore a dead body so that a soul placed in it can come back to life. What is it shaped like? A curled-up rabbit, which has long been used as a symbol of life.
  • Art Attacker: Anton Pascala of "The Maestro" is this crossed with Muse Abuse, since the cursed symphonia kills dancers in order to create his masterpieces, but the reason he is willing to do this in the first place is because he is so much The Perfectionist that he believes pain and suffering are not only part of the cost of creating great art, but they are intrinsic to it. Unusually for this trope, it ends up applying to himself in the end, since when one of his dancers quits during the premiere, he takes his place and dances himself to a bloody death so that his work can be finished. Perhaps what is most disturbing about the episode is that, until the moment they are actually driven to their deaths, almost every one of the dancers in Pascala's troupe seems to agree with him that beauty comes from suffering and dedication to creating great art is worth their deaths—i.e., until the very last moment they seem to be drawn to and approving of the Muse Abuse. It's a very unhealthy obsession that unfortunately has some real-life parallels.
  • Art Initiates Life:
    • Variation. The robot protagonist of the comic book in "Tales of the Undead" is not drawn and then brought to life. Instead, the comic allows whoever holds it to become the robot—although the panels of the comic do change to reflect what is happening in the real world.
    • The more usual example occurs with the eponymous "Tattoos", which come to life and kill whomever they are drawn upon.
    • Another variation is the movie camera of "Scarlet Cinema". If it is used to commit murders, eventually a character in the film inside it comes to life in the real world, but the owner of the camera can in turn then become that character.
    • And a third variation with the cursed film of "Femme Fatale", where only one specific character can be brought to life in the real world, and the life lasts only as long as the movie runs (because said character dies at the end) unless a specific person is killed—her real-life actress. So, art initiates life by killing the original artist.
  • Artifact Collection Agency: Micki, Ryan, Jack, and later Johnny's general mission and line of work.
  • Artifact of Doom:
    • One of the series' central tropes. It's been speculated in the fandom that in order to keep the objects circulating and causing deaths, Lewis gave the curse an extra twist; like the One Ring, the objects want to be found by someone who craves what that particular object has to offer. It would explain how the villain in "Faith Healer" found the Sforza glove in an alley, how the thieves who rob the jewelry store happen to drop "Mesmer's Bauble" right where Howard can find it, how the drug-money exchange in "Bad Penny" happens to take place near the demolished ruins of the Satanists' taxidermy shop, just so two Dirty Cops can find the Coin of Ziocles, and how the Leash of Dreams in "My Wife as a Dog" just happened to be nearby in the burning house for Aubrey to use to strangle a fellow firefighter. Or why some objects (like The Cupid of Malek) get passed from one owner to another very similar person within the same episode. Further details
    • Along with attracting a certain type of owner, it’s implied that the curse on each object adapts to the needs of the current owner. In the episode “Vanity’s Mirror,” a cursed compact is used by a nerdy teen to make boys fall in love with her, provided she kills them soon afterward. However, the compact isn’t recovered by the end of the episode, and when it later turns up in the episode “Face of Evil,” a model uses it to kill off her rivals, with each death removing a blemish from her face.
  • Artistic License – Biology: At one point during "Vanity's Mirror", Ryan winds up falling over a railing, smashing through a steam pipe, and crashes onto a cement floor several dozen feet downward. While he does wind up cracking open his head, and getting covered in a considerable amount of blood, all that really happens is that he blacks out for several hours and has a hurt arm. He's even able to run long distances after getting back to his feet, even though he should be completely unable to move at best, and be dead at worst.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The unflattering depiction of Druidism in "The Tree of Life" is also...not particularly accurate, considering it a) is based on the common belief at the time the show was made that Druids were practitioners of Human Sacrifice (itself a belief dating from the Roman Empire and the Christian monks who followed it, i.e. enemies who wished to depict them in the worst possible light) and b) incorporates a great deal of Wiccan and other more general pagan beliefs.*Needless to say, the appearance of wicker men, an all-female priesthood (and an overall undercurrent of misandry), and the term coven (as well as the accusation of witchcraft and spellwork) are either practices disputed by archaeologists or lifted wholesale from Wicca and its offshoots; and while Druids did overall revere nature and all flora and fauna, there was far more emphasis on the four elements and reincarnation than is seen here. The only aspects the writers do get right are the worship of Cernunnos (including references to his mythology), the usage of stone circles, having the rituals be keyed to the seasons and the phases of the moon, and the reverence for oak trees and their seeming resistance to lightning. This is rather undercut, of course, by Oakwood's followers not only wishing to reestablish the Druidic religion but acting as an evil cult out to Take Over the World in revenge for having been oppressed and nearly eradicated in the past.
  • Artistic License – Sports: One of the cursed items is a 1919 World Series Ring. Rings weren't popular items for recognizing achievements at the time, and the first World Series where rings were given as awards wasn't until 3 years later (and not consistently until the late 1920's/early 1930's). This could be for the Historical In-Joke detailed in that entry.
  • Asshole Victim: Many of the people who die on the show are Asshole Victims. Either the antique users are assholes (particularly if they're played by Denis Forest), or the people they kill are assholes, or both. But particularly notable examples include:
    • At the beginning of "The Voodoo Mambo", the estate handler and the realtor seem just a bit too smug at kicking out the Villain of the Week from the home of his late father. That said, the fellow is a classic example of rich white privilege, and since his fortune is based entirely on that of a father who made it off the backs of Haitian plantation workers, he's quite the Asshole Victim even by the show's standards.
    • The doctors mocking White Cloud for his Native American heritage in "The Shaman's Apprentice" most definitely seem to be receiving some well-deserved karma when he kills them to cure terminal patients. The chief surgeon coming to report to him that he has told the medical board to revoke his license is even more of an Asshole Victim, to the point that Micki actually thinks they should let White Cloud kill him if it will save her ill friend; her friend being left instead to face the definite likelihood of death in a couple months actually seems crueler by comparison, to the point of seeming like Black and Gray or even Gray-and-Grey Morality.
    • The antagonist of "Hate On Your Dial" is a violent racist that murders a young black boy in the first quarter of the episode and then later murders his mentally disabled brother with a hammer for grabbing him when he finds him and then hears him plan to kill again in order to fuel the cursed object. It's hard to feel bad when The Klan guys he had been helping in 1954 via the object's time travel powers mistake him for an FBI informant and burn him alive.
  • Astral Projection: The modus operandi of the wheelchair in "Crippled Inside". Sort of, as Rachel is able to touch things and people freely when she's in her astral form.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • One of the inmates of the mental hospital in "And Now the News", a serial rapist, is let loose from his cell by the villain of the episode—in an abandoned wing where Micki has been lured, thereby eliminating a witness and providing another death for the radio. Thankfully she succeeds in bashing him over the head and escaping, and Ryan also comes to the rescue, but the episode takes time to have her crouch in a corner and break down before she recovers enough from her trauma to move on.
    • The episode "Wedding in Black" had Micki being captured by the Devil in a fantasy world from inside a magical snow globe, in which he attempted to impregnate her with a demonic child. Fortunately, she was able to get away before things got worse.
    • The episode "Crippled Inside" had a young teenage girl named Rachel Horn being attacked by four teenage boys during a "supposed date" with one of them. When the leader of the group has Rachel pinned to the ground so that he can attempt to have his way with her, Rachel knees him in the groin so that she can immediately get up from the ground and attempt to escape from him and his friends.
    • In "Femme Fatale", one of the gunsels tells the Glenda character (or the real-life women "trapped" in Glenda's role) that he "always wanted a sample of what she's been selling". The camera cuts away the first time before we see what he does. In the third occasion, we see Micki run away and the gunsel's partner swings at her with the blackjack. However, a beating isn't what "a sample" means.
    • In "Midnight Riders", a resurrected biker tells his false rape accuser that she "owes him one". She dies before he goes through with it.
  • Back from the Dead: Some of the antiques allowed this. One in particular, the Coin of Ziocles, killed and then later resurrected a main character. Another is notable in that it is thematically appropriate for such a curse, since it is an embalmer's aspirator.
  • Backstory:
    • After having already learned of Ryan's dead little brother early in the first season (in "Scarecrow"), and his workaholic father near the end of it (in "Pipe Dream"), it isn't until the third season opener "The Prophecies" that the viewer gets to find out what happened to his mother (and why the episode with Mr. Dallion included him getting remarried as a plot point). Conveniently enough, her return allows for some redemption, and also provides a manner in which Ryan could be written off the show.
    • Not very much is revealed in the process, but "Midnight Riders" introduces us to Jack's father (whom we had never known was missing or even still alive) in order to explain where he's been for the last ten years. Turns out he was Dead All Along and his ghost had simply been caught up in a curse due to events he was involved in nearly two decades ago. He does get to catch up with Jack at least, so the latter gets some closure.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • While the villainous artifact-user of the episode in "The Pirate's Promise" does not win (because, as usual, he ends up a victim of his own artifact), the Greater-Scope Villain (the ghost of Captain McBride) does win since he ends up receiving a body for every one of his mutinous crew's descendants and sails off with them on his ghost ship. (Which brings up an interesting question: note  further details on the Headscratchers page)
    • In a strange way, the villain of "The Maestro". Not only does he end up killing Jack's honorary niece Grace, but also himself through use of the artifact, but all of this is done in service of art, to complete his masterpiece. He, like the rest of his troupe, would view his death as a victory if it created the art he intended, and the final shot of his bloody, masked face as the audience applauds the "dedication to realism" in a dance between Death and Shiva would seem to reinforce this.
    • The artifact-user in "My Wife As A Dog" gets what he wants and survives. The fact that he's been tossed in prison for murder doesn't seem to upset him too much.
    • Then there's the very first episode, "The Inheritance". Yes, Mary has lost Veda and is now just a little girl again, with no special powers at all. But not only has she survived her Artifact of Doom (a rare occurrence) but she also got exactly what she wanted: the strict stepmother she detested is dead, leaving Mary to be spoiled rotten once again by her rich, indulgent, and now grief-stricken father.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People:
    • When you have a slew of Artifacts of Doom which either require someone to die in order to grant miracles to their users, or it just makes it easier to straight-out kill someone, it is nearly impossible to use any of these items to do good, and the villain of the week is usually some unrepentant sociopath who uses the artifact to kill people or kills people to use the item.
    • One exception seems to be the witch's ladder from "Coven of Darkness", which, after Lewis's second-in-command went to prison for graverobbing, ended up in the possession of a good occult circle known to Jack. According to its leader, it had been employed by them to harmlessly empower their own spellwork, but after learning of its curse he instantly agreed to return it to the vault so that no Satanic group could obtain it and use it for evil as it was meant to be (Lysa does claim the ladder will corrupt and turn to evil any who are near it, but as this is a lie she uses to sway Ryan to her side and explain the curse she places on him, it seems clear it never did any harm to the good magicians while they had it). Although as noted in the episode, the ladder isn't an antique but rather one of the witches' tools which was used by the members of Lewis's coven—meaning its powers apparently come from direct worship (in this case, of the Devil and his powers), not the shop's curse. So it would work for anyone who followed a divine power, even that of the Christian God.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Textbook example—when being chased through the hospital by the villain in "Doctor Jack", Ryan decides to hide in one of the morgue's roll-out drawers. The villain comes in, sees one of the drawers is open a crack...the camera cuts to Ryan inside the drawer, where light is coming in through a crack...the villain pulls the drawer open and viciously stabs at the sheeted figure...and it's revealed he stabbed a cadaver, while Ryan was actually in a different drawer.
  • Become a Real Boy:
    • The Evil Knockoff Winston Knight creates of himself from the cursed camera negative in "Double Exposure" ends up wanting to Kill and Replace him, so that he can continue to exist as a real, living person (and it's implied this might happen with any duplicate created this way, if the negative isn't destroyed soon enough). It doesn't work out well for either of them, though.
    • In "Femme Fatale", the episode's eponymous film noir character wants to escape the cursed film she's been trapped in so as to live a real life. At first this is merely so she can get to live a life of passionate romance with the villain, the film's director (and her real-life counterpart's husband), but eventually it expands to wanting to go out and see the world—especially after discovering how many fans she has, which she accuses the director of having hidden from her. Like the example above, to exist for real her counterpart must be killed—but having said counterpart be the one to die in the movie kills them both.
  • Bee Afraid: "The Sweetest Sting" involves a transport beehive; its bee colony act as vampires of a sort, stinging and sucking the life out of one person in order to give youth and good health to another. Interestingly, it's claimed at the end by Jack that since the curse was on the hive, it was safe to release the bees (according to him, they simply flew away harmlessly when this was done), subverting the antagonism of the trope. Throughout the episode, though, they certainly act as a Scary Stinging Swarm—and not only when stealing life, but also giving it.
  • Behind the Black: Towards the end of "What a Mother Wouldn't Do", it's implied that either Debbie snuck back into the apartment while Ryan, Micki and Jack were distracted and took the baby out of the cradle, or the cradle somehow teleported the baby to Debbie once the curse was fulfilled.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Vendredi" happens to be French for "Friday."
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In "The Great Montarro", the bad guy turns out to be not the obvious creepy (and cruel) magician of the title, but his sweet, seemingly-harmless and put-upon daughter.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The episodes which don't end as complete downers usually have this sort of ending, since even if the artifact is recovered and some innocents are saved, others inevitably still die or suffer lasting trauma along the way. Examples include "Tales of the Undead", "The Baron's Bride", "Scarlet Cinema", "A Friend to the End", "Wedding in Black", "The Prisoner", "The Prophecies", "Femme Fatale", "Midnight Riders", "Repetition", and "Jack-in-the-Box". The only episodes to have anything close to a genuine Happy Ending, in fact, are "A Cup of Time", "Bedazzled", "The Voodoo Mambo", "13 O'Clock", and "The Playhouse".
  • Black Dude Dies First: The doorman in "Read My Lips" is the first victim of ventriloquist Edgar Van Horne's dummy, Oscar.
  • Bluff the Imposter: "Double Exposure" concerns a camera that can create a duplicate of whoever has their picture taken of it, whose owner (TV reporter Winston Knight) has been using it to create a serial killer to drum up ratings.note  When Winston subdues Jack, he creates a duplicate of him to go back to Curious Goods to "return" the camera, and kill Ryan and Micki. When putting the camera away, Ryan (noticing how odd "Jack" is acting) remarks how they're lucky the camera didn't get broken, which "Jack" brushes off... prompting Ryan to attack him in defense.
    Ryan: (to Micki) It's not Jack, it's a dupe! He didn't know cursed objects don't break!
  • Body Horror: Notably "Faith Healer", directed by David Cronenberg. "Stick It In Your Ear' features numerous examples of this trope, when both users of the cursed hearing aid have their necks swell up even when the aid is letting them hear thoughts, before they have to discharge the thoughts or die. And there's Howard's transformations into and back from Angelica in "Mesmer's Bauble."
  • Book Ends: "Scarlet Cinema" begins (after the inital footage from The Wolf Man (1941)) with Darius Pogue trying to invoke the power of the moon to become a werewolf by using a severed wolf paw to mark his chest with blood from its claws. The same image of the claw marks ends the episode, when the camera focuses on the scratches his werewolf form left in the doorframe of "Curious Goods."
  • Bottle Episode: The first Season Finale episode, aptly named "Bottle of Dreams", a Clip Show in which Micki and Ryan are trapped reliving past encounters with artifacts while Jack and a fellow antiques/arcane occult expert named Rashid try to save them; both it and the episode which opens the next season came about due to a writers' strike. "Bedazzled" is also a form of this, since after the artifact is recovered, most of it takes place as a Hostage Situation pitting Micki and a friend's child she's babysitting, trapped at "Curious Goods" by the weather, against the villains while Jack and Ryan are stuck in their car when it breaks down as they go to an astrologer convention.
  • Brown Note: Sometimes, the objects will control an innocent into doing something terrible, even committing murder or suicide.
  • The Butler Did It: Played with in "Tales of the Undead". When Ryan goes to Jay Star's house to learn if he knows anything about how the cursed comic book could have brought its robot character to life, the door is answered by a suspicious, resentful, mean-spirited housekeeper who won't let him in, implying she will be another villain. But then it turns out she not only has good reason to act as she does (wanting to keep away reporters and publicity seekers), she loyally defends her employer in how unfairly he had been cheated by the head of the comic book company he worked for. And it isn't long after this that the episode's main villain is revealed to be Star himself, taking the comic from the kid who stole it at the episode's start so as to get revenge on said CEO. After this, however, it is also revealed that some of the artwork from an unpublished comic (which reveals the robot's Achilles' Heel) somehow ended up in the CEO's possession, with the rest of the comic about to be sold at auction...and it turns out the housekeeper was the one who sold it because she actually did resent Star and wanted to make money off of his unsold comics that were just "lying around going to waste." Naturally, of course, he kills her for this.
  • Butt-Monkey: In the first season, if something bad happened, it was generally to Ryan. Later, Micki began to show signs of Butt Monkey-hood, repeatedly getting the dirty end of whatever Artifact of Doom they were after that week.
  • Call-Forward: At the very end of "Faith Healer", Micki approaches Jack about 'a cape' that she's been reading up on, and feels they should make retrieving a priority - it's the artifact from the very next episode "The Baron's Bride", so Micki obviously persuaded Jack!
  • Car Fu: "Night Hunger". Accomplished by means of having the driver psychically linked with his vehicle to allow him to control it effortlessly (and also driving him mad with obsession and the adrenaline rush).
  • Cartwright Curse: If you date a main character on this show, make sure your life insurance is paid up. This is particularly evident in "Wedding in Black", when three of the protagonists' loved ones/friends show up (the latter trio were deliberately chosen and sent by Satan in an attempt to lure the protagonists into an inescapable trap). There is at least one aversion, however, when the girl Johnny is dating in "Femme Fatale" seems like the perfect set-up for being a Victim of the Week (because she's a fan of the movie director who is the episode's villain), but she is only used to get the main characters involved in the story; it's another innocent (and Micki) who gets targeted instead.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the second part of "The Quilt of Hathor", after the number of murders in the Penitite colony have become too frequent and obvious to ignore, Reverend Grange confronts Ryan, since members of his flock have begun blaming him for it all (forgetting that at least one death, that of the first woman the reverend took as his fiancee, happened before Ryan's arrival) and specifically claim witchcraft is behind it. Ryan takes the opportunity to confess everything, that yes Satan is behind the murders, via the quilt and Lewis's Deal with the Devil. Unfortunately, the reverend thinks Ryan is mocking him and his beliefs; it isn't until he marries the episode's villain and she attempts to use the quilt on him that he accepts the truth. Ironically, this results in him turning the tables on her and killing her instead, eventually falling under the quilt's spell in her stead.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Among Val Avery's many roles are his turns on The Western TV series Bonanza and Rawhide, both of which cast him as a sheriff. The episode he appears in not only has him cast as a bitter and vengeful policeman whose glory days are long gone (and would thus fit in any number of Twilight of the Old West pieces), but revolves around an actual Old West sheriff's badge as the cursed artifact.
    • Later reversed with Ryan's actor, John D. LeMay. Four years later after he left the show, he was one of the lead characters in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Amusingly, the author of The Mask of Jason Voorhees (see the Trivia page) turned this into a case of Canon Welding by having his film character, Steven Freeman, be Ryan grown back to adulthood and with new memories of a different life after the events of "The Prophecies" (his memories return after the events of the film, causing him to become obsessed with Jason and his mask so that his ex-wife and daughter leave him).
    • Barclay Hope, previously playing Micki's fiance Lloyd, returns as the boyfriend of a deceased woman who is brought back from the dead by a mortician in "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul"; his appearance is not remarked on, but Micki is inordinately concerned for his welfare and very upset when he is murdered.
    • Similarly, the fact Wayne Best had appeared as both the original owner of "The Playhouse" and the mentalist in "Stick It in Your Ear" makes it rather amusing that his role as Brock in "Jack-in-the-Box" casts him as an old friend of Micki's never met prior to this.
    • And Carolyn Dunn, who had appeared as the target of Eddie's stalking in "Cupid's Quiver" and then as the Penitite Ryan falls in love with in "The Quilt of Hathor" and "The Awakening", turns out to also be a former girlfriend named Maya in "Wedding in Black." Ironically, Ryan resists any rekindling of affections with her (partly due to how their relationship ended, partly because he is suspicious of all the Contrived Coincidences in the episode), and her statement that she had a good reason for leaving him almost seems like a commentary on Laura needing to follow God and look after the colony after her father's death (while standing in contrast to her having served the Devil in this episode).
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • In "Double Exposure", after Ryan witnesses Winston Knight's double committing a machete murder but no one will believe him, he has a nightmare that Knight reveals on the air that the eyewitness report of the murderer's identity fingered...Ryan himself. And then the murderer's arm explodes out of the TV set and tries to strangle him. He understandably wakes up in a sweaty panic.
    • Micki has one at the end of "Mightier Than the Sword" wherein she dreams she's still under the control of the fountain pen and attacks Jack, slitting his throat. It's genuinely unsettling, particularly because it's first played as if it's for real before being revealed as All Just a Dream.
  • Character Name Alias: The villain of "Master of Disguise", once the makeup kit has made him into a handsome Romeo, takes as his assumed stage name William Pratt - which was the real name of Boris Karloff. This is significant. A reporter in the episode picks up on the name usage, as does Jack at the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Surprisingly subtle example in "Bedazzled", where earlier in the episode Micki, to keep busy, is taking down artifacts to keep them safe during the storm that has her trapped at the store and Ryan and Jack trapped at an astrologer's convention and sets aside a mirror. This is later used to reflect the burning beam of the lantern right back at its owner. Since it's never made clear that a regular mirror could do this, this could also be Foreshadowing of the mirror, like the Louis XIV one that was a portal to the Realms of Darkness in "Doorway to Hell", turning out to be a magical object (because occult ceremonies were performed in front of it).
    • One of the ghostly artifacts that attacks Lewis Vendredi when he breaks his Deal with the Devil in the pilot turns out to be the cathedral radio not seen until season 2's "And Now the News". It's also one of the few artifacts in the actual show to appear in the opening credits.
    • Early in "The Long Road Home", the two hick brothers come into the diner with an animal they said they caught in a trap (to have it cooked). This is Foreshadowing for them setting traps all around their home which they use to catch trespassers for use in their taxidermy. But it also sets up for one of the villains getting caught in one himself, in the long-dead and decaying body of his grandfather.
  • Chekhov's Hobby/Suddenly Always Knew That: Ryan's ability to sculpt, so crucial to the clever trick he and Jack use to get a Satanist to bring Micki Back from the Dead, straddles the line between these tropes. The ability is shown earlier in the episode, and it was also hinted that he had some skill with art in "Tales of the Undead" (although there it was drawing, which is not the same skill set), but it still seems to come out of nowhere just when it becomes absolutely critical for him to know it.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Aside from the appearance of the Virgin Mary, the very early episode "The Poison Pen" depicts a monastery right out of medieval times, complete with the usual robes, Latin chanting, cells, an all-male population (and no female visitors even allowed either), vows of silence, and so forth, rather than the modern ones of today (which include many Protestant examples). Why it has a cobwebbed basement with a guillotine and manacled skeletons is also a Riddle for the Ages. On the other hand, the congregation in "Faith Healer" is quite clearly inspired by Evangelical/Pentecostal revival churches of the Protestant persuasion.
  • Circus of Fear: The carnival in "Wax Magic" isn't particularly scary or disturbing itself, but the wax museum sideshow it contains, its creepy and insanely-possessive owner, and the number of decapitation murders occurring around it thanks to "Lizzie Borden" are enough to play into the trope.
  • Clip Show: "Bottle of Dreams"; see Bottle Episode above.
  • Colliding Criminal Conspiracies: In "The Great Montarro", three different conspiracies are going on—aside from the main one involving the Houdin boxes, the assistant to their former owner is involved in the contest (Disguised in Drag) and employs blackmail in an effort to reclaim them, while meanwhile a young go-fer who wants a chance to try stage magic himself and become a star knocks out Jack and locks him in a closet so he can take his place in the "Pendulum of Death" trick (getting free of a straitjacket and chains while suspended from a burning rope over a bed of spikes). Unfortunately both of the latter two die for their troubles, thanks to the Villain of the Week's efforts to thwart the main trio.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The chapel of necromancy that the cult of demonolaters were using in "Demon Hunter" just happened to be underneath the vault at "Curious Goods"; while Jack notes that the power of the vault to contain the evil of the artifacts would also work to contain a demon, and it's implied that the cultists felt/were drawn to that power/evil when they built the place, it's still quite the plot convenience. In addition, the only way to stop the demon was to kill the one who called it with a special cursed knife...which just happened to have been mailed back to the shop from a museum where it had been donated, just in time for the full moon on the night the demon's contract was due. And finally, the discovery of this secret crypt came at just the right time, since once the tunnels in and the hellpit were sealed with concrete, the place made the perfect expansion of the vault, right when the trio were running out of room in it for artifacts.
    • Many of the episodes involve the trio "just happening" to come across an antique, rather than looking for the item or its purchaser.
    • One particularly egregious example from "Vanity's Mirror" involves Jack examining a photo in the newspaper of the crime scene where the villain (and original owner of the compact) from the Cold Open got run over by a car...and the photographer just so happened to catch the episode's main villain, Helen Mackie, kneeling down to pick up the compact in the background, with a clear view not only of her face but her high school jacket that will let them know where to find her.
    • The way the Leash of Dreams in "My Wife as a Dog" finds its way to Aubrey Ross is also rather hard to swallow: after suspecting a fellow firefighter of pursuing his estranged wife (which the guy doesn't deny, only saying that it was his fault she wanted to leave him and now she's moved on to someone else), he happens to find it among the debris in a burning house, so he can use it to strangle the man. While it's later revealed the woman who owned the house had several artifacts she bought from Lewis to explain its presence, and she apparently never used any of them, one has to wonder: did the leash somehow cause the electrical fire because it knew a fireman would be susceptible to its curse?
    • While the Devil has been involved for some time, albeit unknowingly on their parts, in the lives of Jack, Micki, and Ryan thanks to Uncle Lewis, it's still quite the coincidence that each of them happened to get to know a secret Satanist in the past for him to make use of in "Wedding in Black." But then again, it's likely they were guided to the trio on purpose, and it's fairly clear he has at least some degree of foresight power thanks to his status as a Fallen Angel (though of course lesser than God's). This both works for him (his ability to make something go wrong in their lives, leading to their deaths and falling into his clutches) and against him (the extremity of the coincidence, especially with all three souls showing up at the shop on the same day, makes Ryan suspicious so that he looks deeper into each visitor's story and doesn't fall for Maya's trap).
    • Contrived Coincidence or Foreshadowing? The season 3 opener "The Prophecies" establishes that there's some kind of Big Good around. Perhaps that same force is subtly guiding our trio towards the artifacts, or pushing the artifacts in their path, in order to counter Lewis' actions?
  • Cool Old Guy: Jack Marshak.
  • Couch Gag: Every episode ends with a still shot of the artifact it centers around.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In "The Quilt of Hathor", villain Effie Stokes somehow was able to have the foresight, and the time, to sew a near-duplicate of the eponymous artifact just in case someone tried to get it back from her.* Being a plain, ordinary woman no one likes or pays attention to makes for a lot of free time, it seems. But it does make for a nice Your Princess Is in Another Castle! moment when the switch is revealed at the Cliffhanger ending, and it was at least slightly foreshadowed by Micki saying she was looking for another colonist's sewing kit in Effie's chest, implying (and which makes sense for a culture loosely inspired by the Amish) that most if not all women there can sew.
  • Creepy Ballet: Occurs in "The Maestro", where ballet dancers, under the influence of a cursed music box, are forced to dance against their will until they bleed and beyond, leading to their unfortunate deaths.
  • Creepy Child: Mary, the little girl who possesses the even more Creepy Doll from "The Inheritance" becomes one of these during the course of the episode (though she already showed plenty of spoiled and troubling behavior before she got the doll). Someone in the casting office must have been exceptionally on the ball that day, because Mary is played by a very young Sarah Polley, already showing her high level of talent.
  • Creepy Crows:
    • Obligatory in "Scarecrow", when Micki and Ryan are exploring the farm of one of the eponymous artifact's previous victims (complete with a Cat Scare from behind clothelines of laundry).
    • The Oakwood Clinic in "The Tree of Life" is surrounded by creepy (and constantly cawing) crows.
  • Creepy Doll: Veda from "The Inheritance", the pilot episode. Ironically, this was one of the very few items where it didn't actually require a death to operate (though it did kill people). Although, given it was on its first owner, it might just have been working up to that - Veda didn't have a lot of power until the first death.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: The innkeeper in "Scarecrow" is a particularly over-the-top yet still very disturbing example.
  • Creepy Mortician: Eli, in "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", is initially just portrayed as odd. He gets increasingly creepy as the episode progresses, having sex with a woman he resurrected and then gravedigging.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger/Evil Knockoff: Inverted. The villain of "Double Exposure" can use the cursed camera to create what is confused for the first trope but is actually the second... for himself, thus giving him an alibi for the murder spree he creates to make a name for himself in reporting. A more played straight version comes when he creates an Evil Knockoff of Jack to take out Ryan and Micki, then confess to the murders, but this is foiled by Ryan catching the knockoff in ignorance (thinking an artifact can be damaged), then by the villain's own knockoff trying to maintain his existence. Of note is the rather disturbing way it is created, rising out of a bubbling chemical bath in the darkroom.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • At the end of "The Charnel Pit", after he has been disarmed and the Portal Picture reactivated, the Marquis de Sade tries to tempt Micki into staying, first by claiming going back could still kill her and then, when she says she'd rather be dead than trapped with him, by stating that all people are trapped in the prisons of their mortal flesh and can only be freed by death. But when he then implies he desires that freedom, and tells her she has the power to give it to him, she drops the sword with a look of disgust and pity, then goes back through the painting, leaving him alive with his cowardice and suffering.
    • In the earlier episode "Night Prey", Jack spares the life of the vampiric wife out of pity (and, as Micki opines, to give her the chance to make the moral, right choice which neither her Vampire Hunter-turned-vampire husband nor Jack himself had made). But seeing as she has now lost both of the men she loved, and the last shot is of her letting out an agonized scream, it's clear she sees being spared as this. While Johnny worries about them leaving a vampire free to kill again, it's entirely possible she might just expose herself to the sun rather than live on alone and unloved.
  • Cursed Item: This was the central premise of the series itself. Two distant cousins discover that their late uncle had been selling cursed items (courtesy of a Deal with the Devil) from his antiques store. The items themselves bestow something beneficial to the owner (luck, beauty, wealth, power, etc.), but require them to murder someone else in order to function or to maintain the benefits they have already given.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Played with in "Mesmer's Bauble". One of the villain's victims really does do this (to a fatal extent), but only because he is hypnotized into doing so.
  • Cut Short: Not only was the show cancelled in its third season before it could be brought to any sort of satisfying conclusion (whether for the characters or the overall plot), the actors were told the series was ending right in the middle of filming episode 20, "The Charnel Pit"—so there wasn't even a chance for them, the writers, or the producers to come up with anything. That said, the final line of the episode, where Jack tells the others (in reference to the vault) "Let's close it up", is certainly apropos.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: One of the victims of "The Butcher" dies this way, thanks to his signature barbed wire.
  • Dawson Casting: Exploited In-Universe: Ryan manages to pass himself off as a high school student in "Vanity's Mirror", seemingly just by wearing a backpack.
  • Dead All Along:
    • Marie Chase of "Wax Magic", in a twist: while the villain of the episode did kill her, he also brought her back to life by dipping her in wax and animating her with the handkerchief. Unfortunately she can only stay alive by killing, and it costs her her memories. And she's quite susceptible to heat and fire.
    • Ricky of "A Friend to the End". The episode doesn't waste any time revealing this however (since he is first seen as a cobwebbed skeleton), with the drama instead resulting from a) how and why he is alive again and b) the characters discovering these facts before it is too late.
    • Jack's father in "Midnight Riders" had died at sea ten years ago, but is brought back due to a curse, the alignment of the planets, and dark deeds he took part in seven years before that must be set right before he can rest.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Lewis Vendredi's Faustian pact, which set up the main premise of the show.
    • A few of the artifacts also allow such a deal of sorts, when the item in question is sentient or otherwise capable of interacting with the owner (such as, it is implied, the scarecrow, the camera in "Scarlet Cinema", the TV set, and possibly the crib from the Titanic) or when the item involves a spirit, supernatural being, or another villain (the pirate's ghost, the vampire(s) in "The Baron's Bride", Cernunnos in "The Tree of Life", the Marquis de Sade). The most notable would be the cathedral radio of "And Now the News", which explicitly offers the psychiatrist of the episode the chance to become famous and win the Nobel Prize if she stages enough fear-induced deaths (and kills her when the heroes cause her to renege on the time-factor of the deal). Before they put it in the vault, the radio even offers Ryan and Micki a way to collect all the missing artifacts harmlessly and safely "if the right conditions are met". Needless to say they refuse in horror (literally throwing it in the vault).
    • Interestingly, the nature of Lewis's deal is such that he in turn can make deals with his customers; in an analogy to the original Faustian deal, he acts as Mephistopheles to the actual Devil, since each cursed item he sells brings about more evil and corruption/obtains more souls for Hell. To this end, it seems that the Devil allows Lewis free rein to choose the nature of the individual powers of each cursed item—reference is made by Jack several times as to how Lewis asked him to procure particular items (which of course at the time he had no idea what they would be used for) which he would then attach the curses to, usually with Black Humor, Dramatic Irony, or Laser-Guided Karma involved in how appropriate said curses were. He also would answer requests from customers for specific items or make them offers he knew they'd be particularly susceptible to (such as the cradle for the mother whose child was due to die in childbirth or right after), and in at least one case, the cursed pocket watch, he allowed the customer to specifically request the curse in question as part of his petty Revenge against those who had cost him his job.
    • A more limited, and episode-specific, version occurs in "Wedding in Black" when Calvin, the damned soul sent to lure and tempt Micki, states that he had made one with Lucifer and thus is rather put out that after fulfilling his end of the bargain (presumably by killing innocents like the one in the Cold Open), he's about to be executed by lethal injection. While he really should have known better considering who he was dealing with, in this case it's actually somewhat fair since the reason the Devil does this is to a) get him in a different time and place to fulfill a special service for him and b) have more direct control over him, along with the threat of going right back to eternal damnation, to compel his obedience. While it is never overtly stated by the other damned souls (Brother Antonio does call the Devil "Master", but that could simply be due to worshiping him rather than thanks to a deal), it can be assumed they also had such deals to explain how he was able to restore them to life. Unsurprisingly, each of them ends up suffering their original fates for breaking the deal (Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves to Calvin and Antonio for failing, punishment for a Heel–Face Turn on Maya's part), though it is possible Maya managed to get out of it by doing the right thing and being inspired by Ryan's example.
  • Death by Materialism: If not used to get revenge against a greedy individual, the cursed object may provide some sort of material gain to the user. In other words, your death is used to satisfy someone else's material gain. The most literal example of this is the garden mulcher in "Root of All Evil" which consumes the bodies fed into it and turns them into money (the amount based on their wealth/value).
  • Death by Mocking: This is why you shouldn't pick on customers of Vendredi Antiques.
  • Death by Origin Story: "Bottle of Dreams" reveals that Jack had a son, Peter, whom he lost because he was a powerful psychic and determined to do good with his power, but overestimated his ability to handle the dream plane to save another's mind and soul. While Jack was already fighting the forces of darkness at this point, and he did not explicitly blame himself for Peter's death, it was one of his books which gave Peter the impetus to act, and he was most likely inspired by his father's crusade. It's also implied that losing him compelled Jack even more to continue his quest. Naturally the possibility of saving him and bringing him back is something Uncle Lewis tries to use to tempt Jack away from helping Ryan and Micki.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: During the Time Travel episodes "The Baron's Bride" and "Hate on Your Dial", the past is in black and white (as opposed to "Eye of Death", which is in chiaroscuro*, and the unintended Series Finale, "The Charnel Pit", which is in full color).
  • Demonic Dummy: Surprisingly, in "Read My Lips" the dummy itself wasn't one of the cursed items. Rather, the curse was on the boutonniere it was wearing, which brought it to life.
  • Depraved Dentist: The villain of "The Electrocutioner" is a particularly disturbing example of this, thanks to the nature of the chair he uses and how he lures his victims in. The fact that they're all poor troubled youths doesn't help either.
  • Diegetic Interface: Non-video game example in "Wedding in Black"—the illusion the Devil uses to trap Jack, Micki, and Ryan involves a magical snowglobe. As a result, entering it from the real world involves going through a sudden flurry of snow, and once inside the characters are trapped by its glass as an invisible barrier. Also, because Micki and Jack enter it under different pretenses (going to a mountain resort vs. a monastery), neither of them can see each other or their damned soul companions despite being in the same place; even once Jack starts being able to hear and see Micki, he can't do anything to save her because she is insubstantial to him. In the end, however, the interface between the item, its illusionary interior, and the real world enables Ryan and Jack to save Micki: by making use of the car Calvin used to drive her there, they are able to crash into the side of the globe, knocking it off the desk in the shop—which shatters it, freeing them.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: At first, it seems like Cal Rawitz is going to be the antagonist of "Tales of the Undead"; upon stealing the cursed comic, he turns into Ferrus and murders the comic shop owner, before making off with the comic to try and make money off of it. And then the comic's creator, Jay Star, hunts him down and, after Cal turns into Ferrus to try and kill him, murders him to take the comic back in order to get revenge against his former business partners.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The show was originally titled The 13th Hour, but producer Frank Mancuso Jr. changed the name in an attempt to draw in audiences familiar with the popular Slasher Movie series. Mancuso Jr. was also the producer for many of the Friday the 13th movies.
  • Downer Ending: Considering the nature of the show, where the heroes are always in a Race Against the Clock to recover a Cursed Item that threatens the lives of many innocents, it's practically a given that most episodes will not end well. But in some cases the prices paid, the losses suffered (especially deeply personal ones), the seeming futility of their efforts, or the blurring of the lines between good and evil (and each side's methods) makes for especially poignant or dark endings. Notable examples are "Faith Healer", "Vanity's Mirror", "Tattoo", "Brain Drain", "Pipe Dream", "Symphony in B#", "Master of Disguise", "Wax Magic", "Night Hunger", "Better Off Dead", "The Mephisto Ring", "Mesmer's Bauble", "The Maestro", "The Shaman's Apprentice", "The Prophecies", "Crippled Inside", "Night Prey", and "My Wife As a Dog".
  • Dramatic Irony: All over the place, usually in regards to either how an artifact functions (something that heals having to kill to give life or vice versa), what happens to the artifact-owner, or the manners in which the main characters trick the villains. One non-death-related (or curse-related) example of this, however, occurs in "Doctor Jack" where the villain of the episode causes Jack to fall down an elevator shaft, rupturing his aorta and requiring immediate surgery... but the severity of the injury is such there's only one surgeon who can save him: the villain himself, with the cursed scalpel. The end result of this is Ryan, disguised as an orderly, being forced to give the scalpel back after having taken it and the villain, once he sees Jack's face, being forced to continue the operation since he's being watched by the press and all the other OR staff. Of course post-op is a different story...
  • Drunk on the Dark Side/Evil Feels Good: Some of the cursed objects apparently cause the wielder, most of whom are already unbalanced, to become addicted to using them or to actually want to use them to their dark intent. For example, in "Shadow Boxer" the cursed boxing gloves give the Villain of the Week Tommy Dunn a great thrill even before he really uses them, and when Ryan briefly puts them on he becomes overcome with bloodthirstiness and almost beats Jack within an inch of his life.
  • Dying Clue: In "Shadow Boxer", the first victim of the villain tries to write his killer's name in his own blood, but only manages "T-O" before dying. This could be anything (not even necessarily a name), until another boxer who is seen arguing with the villain is also killed, and the trio realizes the "T-O" referred to Tommy. note 

    E-H 
  • '80s Hair: Ryan and Micki especially are victims of this. At the end of "The Electrocutioner", Micki's hair becomes even more exaggerated thanks to the hilarious results of a Van de Graaff generator.
  • Electrified Bathtub: How Jeff Amory/William Pratt kills the gossip-rag reporter who was threatening to do an expose on him, using a radio; because he'd been listening to his own talk show on TV at the time, it is punctuated by a comment that a story he was about to reveal was "shocking."
  • Elite Mooks: In "Coven of Darkness", Gareth confirms that Lysa was Lewis' second-in-command of the black coven. She carries on as leader of the Satanists after Lewis' death, even after Satan kills Lewis.
  • Entitled to Have You:
    • While a number of villains throughout the show have this trait, the strongest (and most despicable) example is Aubrey Ross from "My Wife As a Dog", who not only refuses to sign divorce papers or let his wife go, he actually uses a cursed leash to turn his wife into a dog and his dog into his wife, just so she will always stay with him, loyal and never leaving him, as well as mindlessly obedient and subservient. It also doesn't help that he's the only antagonist in the series to survive and truly succeed in getting what he personally wants at the end of the episode itself (even though he ends up being sent to prison).
    • In "The Long Road Home", Mike Negley tells Micki that when he first saw her, he "had to have her".
    • "Mesmer's Bauble" plays with the trope, since while at first it seems Howard does feel this way toward his idol Angelica, his real motivation turns out to be "entitled to be you".
  • Equivalent Exchange:
    • The main reason the majority of these cursed antiques can't be used for good purposes is they often require some kind of horrific sacrifice to work. An item that heals or gives life has to get that power from somewhere, usually at the expense of an innocent person.
    • A more specific and unique example from "The Charnel Pit" involves the double face painting: it is activated by having blood smeared on it, may be activated from either side/time period, and doesn't give the user anything (Professor Eby and the Marquis de Sade have to agree to their own exchange of young women for knowledge). However, the painting does trade living bodies for dead ones (as in, living ones who attempt to cross back are killed by the passage), and it's an exactly equivalent number either way. See also Start X to Stop X.
  • Ethnic Magician:
    • Rashid, introduced in the first season's finale "Bottle of Dreams" and its sequel, the next season's opener "Doorway to Hell" (and mentioned in a couple of other episodes). Dark-skinned, wearing a fez and speaking with a strong Arabic accent, he yet seems to have a fairly wide knowledge of the occult—familiar with the Egyptian pantheon and mummification practices and able to read hieroglyphics, but he also draws upon pentacles, potion-making skills, and English spell incantations as readily as his white counterpart in "Coven of Darkness". While he does take a back seat to Jack for most of his time onscreen, the latter would never have won without his mystical support, and Rashid is also quite capable of boldly and even smugly going toe-to-toe with Lewis himself, so the stereotypes inherent to the trope are at least somewhat downplayed.
    • In "The Voodoo Mambo", Hedley and the other three elemental Voudoun priests are all Caribbean/African in descent. Averted somewhat, as Hedley apparently doesn't believe in the power of Lewis' curse (and he also notes that what he and his fellow priests do isn't actual magic, but what Laotia does is "the real thing").
    • In "The Shaman's Apprentice", Spotted Owl and his granddaughter Sasheena are Indians and Iroquois medicine people, and both wise in the ways of magic.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: In "Shadow Boxer", Kid Cornelius happens to overhear the trio talking about Villain of the Week Tommy Dunn having killed the gym's old owner (and his father figure), Manny. Not only does this get him off their back (he'd previously caught Ryan snooping through Tommy's locker for the cursed gloves), it leads him to challenge Tommy in the ring, which is how they maneuver to get rid of his Living Shadow and get the gloves back.
  • Everybody Lives:
    • "The Playhouse" is the only episode of the series where no one gets killed. Considering that the victims are children, it's not that surprising.
    • While there are plenty of deaths in the backstory, as well as one husband onscreen from twenty years prior, all of the present-day victims of the fertility cult in "The Tree of Life" survive—Micki saves the bereaved mother (and reunites her with her daughter), Johnny rescues Mr. Sanderson from the tree's roots who then gets reunited with his wife and twins, and it's highly likely that with Sybil dead and the truth about the clinic exposed, all the little girls will get reunited with their families. Even the other cultists get to live and escape.
  • Evil Brit: In "The Tree of Life", Dr. Sybil Oakwood has an Irish instead of British accent, subverting the trope slightly.. But she's still evil.
  • Exact Words: In "What a Mother Wouldn't Do", Leslie Kent cries "The Antique Dealer told me - seven people dying in water and my baby would live!" The significance of this is lost to Micki, Ryan and Jack, because they don't know the circumstances of the other murders. Leslie performed a Heroic Sacrifice to become the seventh person; jumping out the window to land in the shallow ornamental pond below, she died from impact, not drowning, but she was surrounded by water at the time. But The Stinger reveals that the babysitter survived Leslie's attempt to drown her. How did Leslie become number seven, when she should have been number six? A few minutes earlier, she shot her husband - but the bullet went through him and shattered the fishtank he was standing in front of. He died as the water from the tank gushed over him.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: Considering the number of times people (whether victims or villains) die around the main trio, Plausible Deniability becomes completely implausible after a while. Sometimes the only witnesses are friends who are willing to keep the secret, people who know they will never be believed, or children who certainly won't, but at least twice bodies have been left on or around the premises of "Curious Goods" ("Bedazzled" and "The Butcher"), cops were a witness to a Rapid Aging death, a reporter's camera-negative doppelganger causes him to fade out of existence (and then dies of his wounds after becoming real) on live television, villains were trapped in time forever right in a busy underground station, and most incredibly, a villain who had transformed himself into the pop singer he idolized got transformed back, then electrocuted, right onstage during a live concert. About the last one, Jack describes how "bizarre" doesn't begin to cover it, implying that the police couldn't explain it beyond a very convincing makeup job. And in "The Playhouse" when the police witness all the missing children emerging from the eponymous item he notes that after taking it apart and examining it, they'll have to give it back because they'll "never believe the truth". But all in all, it rather seems there's a very powerful Weirdness Censor at work.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: In "Cupid's Quiver", the Stalker with a Crush villain finds out his target is actually Micki in disguise in this fashion.
  • Fake Faith Healer: One episode has a fake faith healer who finds a magical glove that temporarily gives him real healing powers. Unfortunately, it's one of the artifacts the team has to reclaim.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: When Micki is describing the privateers who plied the waters around Whaler's Point in "The Pirate's Promise", she lists several well-known pirates of the era, then adds on the episode's fictional Captain Angus "Butcher" McBride.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • "The Shaman's Apprentice" had a Native American doctor who faced discrimination from the head doctor at a local hospital and at least one orderly, who disrespected his medical skills because of his race.
    • And of course, there's "Hate on Your Dial", a Time Travel episode which deals with the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in a small Mississippi town during The '50s.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Penitites of "The Quilt of Hathor" are modeled off of the Amish or Mennonites... with the Darker and Edgier additions of trial by combat and exorcism by fire. Many of their harsher views toward the outside world, dancing and music, arranged marriages, and the roles of women, and their Holier Than Thou, fire-and-brimstone attitudes, are actually modeled after those of the Puritans.
  • Fatal Flaw: All the object owners have one; they all crave something (revenge, fame, money, love, etc.) that only the object can give them.
  • Fictionalized Death Account: In "The Charnel Pit", the Marquis de Sade is shown to have a manservant named Latour who aids him in procuring and imprisoning his victims, disposing of the bodies afterward, and generally running his torture dungeon. This is true to history for the most part.note  However, near the end of the episode he gets involved in a struggle with Johnny and falls through the Portal Picture, killing him, which is certainly not his real-life fate. That said, the court of Marseilles, who burned him in effigy in lieu of the real thing, would be happy to hear of his fate.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival:
    • Ryan gets one in "Vanity's Mirror", followed by a case of Worst Aid from Micki, who jerks him to his feet without checking the extent of his injuries at all (he fell a good 20 feet, had a bleeding head wound, and could very well have had a broken neck).
    • This is also how the the villain in "The Electrocutioner" is revealed to have somehow survived his execution in the flashback.
    • Subverted in The Stinger of "Tails I Live, Heads You Die": it appears that the villain is revealed to be alive underneath the rock fall in this manner, but seeing as he's later found as a skeleton buried under all the rock and dirt in "Bad Penny", it seems this was simply meant to indicate his final death throes. Although if The Stinger is interpreted as a Call-Forward to a year later, the hand's movement was actually caused by an earth-mover shifting it.
  • Forced Transformation: "My Wife As A Dog", in which one man uses an artifact to turn his wife into a dog, and his dog into a wife.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: One of the signs of Asteroth employing his powers to bring about "The Prophecies" from the Book of Lucifer is the bells in the church steeple ringing in a disturbing, discordant manner. The fact this occurs at 3:33 AM (both half of the Number of the Beast and the height of the "witching hours") only makes this more symbolic.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the Halloween party the characters throw at the store in "Hellowe'en", Jack is dressed up as Merlin and proceeds to perform a number of magic tricks—reading Tarot cards, but also standard fare like pulling coins from behind people's ears (and balls out of cleavage). Just one episode later, in "The Great Montarro", we learn Jack actually was a Stage Magician back in the day.
    • At the end of "The Great Montarro", Ryan compares Micki to Villain of the Week Lila, saying she "could turn out to be a real schizo." While it's Played for Laughs (Micki: "I'd have to be, to work with you."), there are a number of future eps (even in the first season!) where Micki is whammied by an artifact or a villain and ends up falling into corruption or crazed behvior being getting freed/restored to herself.
    • Fairly early in "Doctor Jack", Micki seems oddly fixated on watching hospital staff try and save a flatlining patient in the hallway. This foreshadows her using a defibrillator to electrocute the villain at the climax.
    • Ryan's love of comic books, so prominent in "Tales of the Undead", is revealed two episodes earlier in "Shadow Boxer" when he has to trade a copy of a Green Lantern comic in order to get Micki's photos developed that same night.
    • After nearly being killed by a rapist and a mad psychiatrist in "And Now the News", Micki brings up the possibility that one of them is likely to die in pursuing the cursed artifacts, and Ryan agrees with as lucky as they've been so far, luck is bound to turn against them eventually. What's the very next episode? "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" in which Micki gets killed...temporarily.
    • And after being influenced by a witch's dark powers in the season 2 finale "Coven of Darkness", Ryan actually gets possessed by Asteroth in "The Prophecies". This time it takes a Heroic Sacrifice, youthening, and an exorcism by the Virgin Mary to save him, at the cost of his memories.
  • Frameup: Occurs fairly often in a minor fashion, such as "A Cup of Time" where the villain knocks out an old woman friend of the trio, only for them to be arrested by the police for her assault because they happened to be bending over her (and Ryan was holding the rock she was hit with). An episode-long version, however, occurs with "The Prisoner" when the villain kills Johnny's father and then makes it appear Johnny himself did it, so that Ryan, Micki, and Jack have to clear his name in addition to stopping the villain and getting back the artifact. The second half of the two-parter "The Quilt of Hathor" also involves Reverend Grange framing Ryan for the murder of the inquisitor, both to keep him from taking the quilt and to keep the truth from coming out about his mishandling of the colony's funds (which would likely result in his removal as head of the colony).
  • Fuel Meter of Power: When it is revealed that Micki possesses innate, latent magic, she is immediately called upon by the head of a magic circle to help protect Ryan, retrieve the witch's ladder, and bring down the titular "Coven of Darkness." After she succeeds in doing so, Jack reveals that such powers come from one's Life Energy which is finite—i.e., that she managed to drain all of hers in one night by working against an artifact that so augmented the powers of darkness. Jack then suggests that in time her powers may return but that she shouldn't try them again for a good long time to come, something that she seems quite relieved to hear (and which may have been for the best, considering she seems susceptible to corruption at various points in the show), and the matter is never directly addressed again in the third season, so for all intents and purposes it was indeed permanent.
  • Genius Serum: Supernatural variation: the cursed trephinator of "Brain Drain" somehow accomplishes this by means of siphoning the spinal fluid from the victim into another person's brain. The result is a cross between Ingesting Knowledge (since nothing organic is actually consumed, simply the victim's skills and intelligence) and Genetic Memory. As if the situation wasn't unsettling enough, the transfer seems to also carry over Character Tics—the episode's villain fastidiously files his fingernails just like his first victim was fond of doing, gains the second victim's accent, and fiddles with their glasses the same way the third victim did—and, it is implied, some amount of Personality Remnant. How much is imprinted and how long it lasts isn't known (it seems as if only the most recent victim has the strongest presence, but the accent remains after the third victim's spinal fluid is taken), nor what the ongoing result is beyond increasing intelligence (do the various personalities merge? Get overridden?).
  • Ghostapo:
    • In "Read My Lips", the boutonniere which brought the Demonic Dummy to life was said to belong to Adolf Hitler. In fact Jack is said to be away investigating a whole collection of Nazi artifacts, and some time is spent describing how the Nazis were fascinated with the occult and sought such power in various ways; the item of the episode was specifically meant to bring the wearer back to life if he was killed. Micki comments In-Universe on what would have happened if it had been used for its original intended purpose...
    • Even more explicitly, the amulet of "The Butcher" was created by the Thule Society and is used in the episode to bring Back from the Dead a great Nazi warrior, who supposedly was Hitler's chosen successor, so as to restore the Third Reich.
  • Ghostly Goals:
    • "Midnight Riders" offers examples of both types of goals. The ghosts of the biker gang wish Revenge on those who killed them (and their leader), and in the process of achieving this they can also be brought back to life, which will in turn allow them to then terrorize the rest of the town. Meanwhile Jack's father wishes to atone for his part in these events, and if he can succeed in laying the ghosts to rest by getting the gang leader's body buried in hallowed ground, he can rest as well.
    • "Jack-in-the-Box" has an inversion, where it is a living person who has the goal (in this case, to resurrect the ghost or otherwise get to be with him again) and the ghost is actively insisting that she let him go and instead focus on living her life with the loving mother she still has. Although it is implied that if she does so, this will allow him to rest and move on.
  • Go Back to the Source: In a sense, this applies to the eponymous "Mephisto Ring". While the artifact isn't the actual source of Lewis's power, nor is it special in what it does (though it is in terms of what it is; see Historical In-Joke), it is the very first cursed artifact Lewis sold that is listed in the manifest. This makes it important to recover because it has been out in the world the longest and thus conceivably done the most harm.
  • God Is Good: At the end of "The Prophecies" the sky is lit up with divine light that vanquishes the Fallen Angel Asteroth and destroys The Book of Lucifer. Mother Mary also appears to free Ryan from Lucifer's control.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: And since the exact number of cursed artifacts is never named, it might as well be an infinite number.*
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All: Several of the villains are using their cursed artifacts to carry out this trope:
    • In "The Electrocutioner" the Depraved Dentist, who was wrongfully sent to the electric chair but miraculously survived, is now using its curse to kill all of those who either executed him or didn't try to stop it.
    • "The Pirate's Promise" involves killing all the descendants of the ghostly buccaneer's mutinous crew so as to obtain his treasure.
    • Jack's old Band of Brothers from World War II is being killed off one-by-one in "The Butcher", both to make the resurrected Nazi concentration camp commander immortal and out of revenge for them killing him in the first place. Jack is left to last because he dealt the killing blow (and resisted his torture the longest).
    • The villain in "The Prisoner" is killing all the members of his former robbery gang, both out of revenge for them abandoning him to the cops and a 20-year jail sentence and to find where they hid the money he helped steal.
    • The Sympathetic Murderer, Rachel Horn in "Crippled Inside" is killing all the boys who tried to gang-rape her, both out of revenge and because their deaths will heal her and let her walk again.
    • The biker ghosts in "Midnight Riders" need to kill all of those who killed them in order to resurrect their leader and come back to life fully.
    • The half-orphaned girl Megan Garrett in "Jack-in-the-Box" starts out this way, using the cursed antique to kill those responsible (directly or indirectly) for her father's murder, but she eventually moves on to anyone who gets in her way, tries to stop her, or whom she can view in the same light (nasty drunkards) so as to be deserving of death.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The villain of "Faith Healer" finds the Sforza glove just lying in an alleyway amongst spilled garbage; how it got there is never explained. See Artifact of Doom for a possible idea.
  • Grand Theft Me: The Yin-Yang pendant from "The Long Road Home" allows for this, after being placed on the body of someone the owner has killed; the example shown at the start of the episode is a variation on the second version of the trope, as the villain isn't using the charm to become an upstanding person or to deceive the entire world per se, merely to assume a particular person's life so they can be with someone they love (that person's wife, and their lover). In an unusual variation, one of the heroes (Johnny) has to use the charm to save his life from one of the villains (by transferring into said villain's body temporarily). It also works regardless the state of the body the soul is transferred into, although that has horrifying drawbacks as Mike Negley soon discovers...
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality:
    • In the voiceover narration for "Night Prey", Jack waxes philosophical (and rather despairing) on the Anti-Hero of the episode, how both the vampire hunter and himself were out to bring down evil but the former had crossed the line and descended into villainy himself in the name of his crusade. After seeing what Jack was willing to do or came close to doing, and even how he found himself envying vampires for their longevity and wisdom, it's understandable why he was doubting himself and the trio's mission. While all of the characters have had such crises of faith throughout the show (whether inspired by failures to save innocents, personal losses that hit too close to home, or the endless nature of their quest vs. the seeming inexorability of evil's ultimate victory), it seems to be hitting Jack especially hard in this episode and making him wonder whether it is worth it to go on if all they will face is more death and the further blurring of the lines between good and evil. It also lampshades the Darker and Edgier nature of the third season and the increasing number of Downer Endings as the show goes on.
    • In the episode "Midnight Riders", it at first appears like a straightforward case of good guys and bad guys, where the evil biker ghosts are unfairly terrorizing a small town and murdering various upstanding members of the community as well as attacking their innocent children. It is eventually revealed that matters are not as they seem, with a Dark Secret related to the bikers' deaths that a sheriff, a reverend, and a higher-class lady are all aware of and trying to keep hidden.Explanation By the end of the episode, the only genuinely good characters left aside from the children are Micki, Johnny, Jack, and Jack's father.
  • Greed: The items are often "greedy", demanding more and more for the same thing. One example is in "Spirit of Television", when the cursed TV cuts its allocation of life to Ilsa from ten days to one.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Near the end of the episode "Better Off Dead", Ryan and Jack are able to rescue Micki from the villain of the episode, but Micki, who was experimented on earlier by the villain who had the episode's cursed object in his possession, savagely attacks her friends from within a feral-like state and during the scuffle, Micki strikes Jack in the groin with a back mule kick, knocking him down to the ground and leaving him in a state of extreme pain for a few minutes.
    • At the beginning of the episode "Crippled Inside", a young teenage girl named Rachel Horn is attacked by four teenage boys during a "supposed date" with one of them. When the leader of the group has Rachel pinned to the ground so that he can attempt to have his way with her (in other words, Attempted Rape), Rachel knees him in the groin so that she can immediately get up from the ground and attempt to escape from him and his friends.
    • In "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", Eli knees Jack in the groin while the two of them fight.
    • In "The Charnel Pit", Micki kicks Webster in the groin while struggling with him.
  • Halloween Episode: "Hellowe'en". Aside from the usual trope of it being the night when the line between the worlds of the living and dead is blurred, allowing Uncle Lewis a chance to return to life, the trick-or-treating allows his demon familiar to disguise herself as a neighborhood child to lead Jack into trouble (since he'd have instantly caught on to Uncle Lewis's trick with the Amulet of Zohar and stopped Ryan and Micki in two seconds flat).
  • Hard Head: In "Bad Penny", Briggs swings a graveyard shovel into Jack's head. Jack is knocked unconscious but subsequently shows no ill effects from being concussed.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: A distressing number of people (whether innocent victims, their friends or loved ones, or others pursuing the truth about a cursed artifact) end up confronting the Villain of the Week when they are completely alone and with no one knowing where they've gone. Most of them end up targets of the artifact in question, but some just die to help the villain keep their secret/continue using the curse. Sometimes the main trio also make this mistake, though since they're the protagonists they just end up knocked out, held prisoner, or put in danger before being saved from death Just in Time.
  • Heaven Above: One of the few acts of Divine Intervention in the series appears in the form of a series of divine lights flashing across the sky, with the heavenly changes contrasting with the grounded work of the show's Fallen Angels. This upstairs action even kills the demonic Asteroth.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Downplayed, since she had been the one encouraging Desmond Williams to keep killing women so she could leave the cursed film and live, but after learning (with a little assistance from Johnny) that not only had he been keeping her prisoner in his house, Desmond had been lying to her about how popular she really was—i.e., that there was even more of a life and world out there for her that she was being denied—the film version of Lili Lita, like her older self, calls Desmond out, stands up for her own rights and existence, and seems pleased he gets killed. So it appears she is now free of him and can have a life of her own. Unfortunately for her, when her older self enters the film to save Micki, it turns out she doesn't have a life of her own—since her older self dying in her place destroys her, too. Whether this would also have been true if Lili's older self had died outside the film isn't clear, but knowing Lewis (and the Devil), it probably was...in which case all those deaths were for nothing, and she was urging her own destruction all along without knowing it.
  • Heroic BSoD: In "Jack-in-the-Box," lifeguard Brock's widow Helen starts drinking heavily, entertains pessimistic thoughts, and becomes negligent, bordering on verbally abusive toward their daughter, Megan. Naturally, this makes Megan only more determined to use the cursed jack-in-the-box to kill the men who murdered her father.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • A different sort of sacrifice occurs in "Brain Drain" where Jack's Old Flame Vi sacrifices not just her life but the chance to get her intelligence back in order to stop the villain and get revenge on him in the bargain.
    • Museum curator Dewey Covington takes a sword for Micki in "The Pirate's Promise", leaving her shaken and in tears.
    • Two back-to-back episodes: Ryan's father Ray sacrifices himself to save his son in "Pipe Dream", and the mother of the dying baby in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" commits suicide to become the last sacrifice needed to save her child.
    • Ricky of "A Friend to the End" does this, allowing himself to die (again) for the sake of his friendship with J.B. (since to stay alive he'd have had to kill Micki which J.B. pleaded with him not to).
    • Maya, one of the three souls Lucifer uses to try and lure and entrap the trio in "Wedding in Black", ends up having a change of heart because Ryan's determination and courage in resisting her reminds her of the good life she had truly wanted—so she allows herself to be plunged into eternal torment to help him get inside the snow globe and rescue the others. Jack suggests, however, that Ryan's example may have enabled her soul to be saved.
    • Ryan himself initiates one near the end of "The Prophecies" 2-part episode, where despite being possessed by the dark power of the episode's main antagonist, Asteroth, he's able to regain some self-control and throws himself over a captured young girl in order to prevent her from being killed by Asteroth via being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice. Despite this, the sacrifice is somewhat subverted as Ryan isn't actually killed by it, but rather, he gets transformed back into a little boy and thus he's written out of the series at the end of the 2-part episode.
    • Aging film actress (and invalid) Lili Lita in "Femme Fatale" performs one after discovering what her husband, the obsessed noir film director, has been doing (killing random women by making them become part of one of their movies and dying there in place of the bombshell moll, so that her younger self can appear in the real world for a short time): entering the movie herself to die and take her doppelganger's place, thus destroying her and freeing Micki.
    • Jack's father, in a sense, in "Midnight Riders": while he was Dead All Along, he does stand in the way of the Dragon's zombie to protect his son, Johnny, and Micki, and by making himself a target he tricks the biker into riding into the newly-dug grave, which allows them to bury him and end the curse. This is atonement for having killed the Dragon in the first place.
    • Walter Cromwell in "Repetition" realizes in the end that the only way for him to truly take responsibility for what he has done is to give his own life, thus breaking the cameo pendant's cycle of death and restoring (almost) all those he had killed with it.
  • The Hidden Hour: "13 O'Clock" plays with this trope, since having the cursed pocket watch freeze time gives the owner an hour no one else in the world can experience, and it occurs at 1 AM (thereby also creating the thirteenth hour).
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The low-intelligence, possibly inbred, murderous, (human) taxidermist Negley brothers of "The Long Road Home". By contrast, the gas station attendant who gives Johnny and Micki advice about the coming storm and the cook and waitress at the diner who help defend them from the brothers (and offer them meals on the house) thankfully avert and subvert the trope, respectively.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • A number of the artifacts are said to have been owned by famous people: the linked magician's cabinets in "The Great Montarro" belonged to Houdin (the father of modern magic from whom Ehrich Weiss took his stage name); the scalpel and syringe belonged to Jack the Ripper; the glove belonged to the Sforza family; the mirror belonged to Louis XIV; the makeup case belonged to John Wilkes Booth (and disfigured actor Jeff Amory uses Boris Karloff's real name "William Pratt"); the handkerchief belonged to first Louis XVI, then Madame Tussaud; the ventriloquist's dummy's boutonnière belonged to Adolf Hitler; the hypnotist's bauble belonged to Franz Mesmer; and the villain of one episode goes back in time to try and obtain a historical artifact from General Robert E. Lee.
    • Ryan and Micki also meet Bram Stoker (see Historical Person Punchline below) and the villain of the series' final episode, "The Charnel Pit", is using a painting to communicate with the Marquis de Sade (who is also said to have created said painting). Although Micki does not meet him, the Marquis de La Fayette appears twice in the latter episode, investigating the disappearances of peasant girls in the area and threatening de Sade with arrest (or worse), which does allow her to escape before being taken to the torture dungeon. While there is no evidence of these meetings, Lafayette was in fact head of the National Guard at the time (the year after the fall of the Bastille), and as a high-ranking revolutionary and supporter of the new government he would surely have been suspicious of monarchist (and political opportunist) de Sade, as well as in favor of defending his lower-class victims.
  • Historical In-Joke: In "The Mephisto Ring", the cursed artifact is a World Series ring which gives one the power to predict the victor in any gambling venue. Which ring is it? The 1919 World Series ring—the same World Series which was famously fixed, allegedly by gangster Arnold Rothstein.
  • Historical Person Punchline: In the Time Travel episode "The Baron's Bride", Micki and Ryan track down a vampire with the assistance of a 19th-century Irishman named Abraham, revealed at the end to be Bram Stoker. (Although with a differently-named wife, who neither died in real life nor received the dedication in Dracula.)*
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The show's villains frequently die when their own evil antiques backfire on them:
    • Two particularly memorable examples are the lantern of "Bedazzled" (whose beam is reflected back at the villain by a mirror when he tries to use it on Micki) and the Sforza glove. In the latter case, since its owner had refused to heal a man (Jack's friend Jerry), that man shot him, eventually resulting in him crashing his car...and although he tried to heal himself of the gunshot wound, the location of the crash (between crates and other shipping material on the docks) made it so he couldn't open the door and get out of the car. All Jerry had to do at that point was watch him until the glove's power turned back on him. The fact he was a fake faith healer who cheated his flock and Jerry had previously debunked him made it even more delicious.
    • Stuart Pangborn, the assumed name of the villain in "Brain Drain", gets hit by a nastily fitting death: not only does his last victim manage to get her revenge by pulling the trephinator lever back on him, the other needle armature crashes through the lab window right into the gorilla brain whose intelligence he's been trying to uplift throughout the episode. End result, his transferred mind dies while trapped in the bleeding brain as the nutrients that sustained it drain from the shattered tank, while his body is left with an intellect even lower than he began with, only able to utter a single vowel sound.
    • Joe Fenton of "The Pirate's Promise" gets gold coins from Captain McBride's treasure every time he kills a descendant of one of McBride's mutinous crew, with the promise that he'll get the whole hoard once all of them are dead. What Joe doesn't realize until the moment of his death, due to unknowingly being adopted, is that he is the final descendant, and is taken out by McBride himself.
    • The villain in "Eye of Death" gets hit by this twice—not only is it the magic lantern that causes his death (after Jack blows out its candle—see Tele-Frag), but his scheme to obtain General Lee's sword would have backfired on him, as revealed at the end of the episode: said sword had been broken at the Battle of Sharpsburg (so that the Union wouldn't get it) and lost, so anyone who found it would make a fortune. However, because he asked the general to give it to him unbroken, any Civil War historian would believe it to be a fake...so he went back in time, and died, for nothing.
    • In "The Butcher", the sadistic Nazi torturer who has been raised from the dead ends up strangled by his own barbed wire garrote (after removing the amulet takes away his invulnerability).
    • The villain of "Coven of Darkness" ends up being killed by her own blast of magic—partly because Micki's White Magic was returning her curse to her "a thousandfold", partly because Ryan had actually gotten the witch's ladder away from her (presumably she assumed him holding it would simply make its power burn right through his hand, and didn't realize what Micki's spell was doing). End result? Sent smashing out of the church's stained-glass window.
    • The villain of "Hate On Your Dial" tries to go back in time and save his racist father from being hanged for murdering a black man. But because he knows too much about what is going to happen (and is blamed for bringing back a scrapbook with photographic evidence of the crime—actually obtained by Johnny and then given to the sheriff by Jack), the Klan decides he must either be a "colored lover" or an undercover FBI agent...and so he gets burned on the cross in lieu of the black lawyer he was trying to kill, by his own father. And on top of that, he was the one who inadvertently informed the star witness whose testimony results in his father's conviction and death: his mother.
    • Alex Dent of "Mightier Than the Sword" suffers a particularly delicious form of this: after spending the whole episode (and several years prior) getting off on the brutal murders he has forced innocent people to commit, and writing best-selling true crime books based on the cases, he gets killed by one of his own victims, Micki, because he came to watch her kill another victim (his wife) and then ended up killing her himself instead of what he had written the Serial Killer to do with the cursed pen...so that they remained possessed and went for the only other person nearby—him.
    • One example which doesn't involve an artifact directly occurs in "The Long Road Home"—the villain ends up stepping in one of his own bear trap snares he sets around his property to catch trespassers (which had helpfully been mentioned several times in the episode already)...and because his spirit is in the long-dead, stuffed corpse of his own grandfather at the time, he suffers the horribly gruesome death of being left to twist in the wind while the sawdust stuffings spill out and rip him apart. The fact he had been killing and stuffing numerous people, and had in fact killed his grandfather too, makes this even more a case of him doing himself in, as well as receiving well-deserved karma.
  • Hollywood Acid: In "Crippled Inside", a teenaged attempted rapist backs away from his apparently-cured paraplegic victim into a rack of various chemicals. Body Horror ensues, and one must assume that his surviving family will be getting a wrongful death settlement.
  • Hollywood Dreamtime: Downplayed, but Jack does describe the Aboriginal Leash of Dreams in "My Wife as a Dog" as tapping into the indiginous Australians' beliefs which "don't distinguish between waking reality and dreams...whatever you can envision must become real, otherwise the vision couldn't drop into your mind." That the villain of the episode is using it (though the trio never figures out the full ramifications) to heal and communicate with his dog is also explained by Jack as "Aboriginal tribes have always had a great affinity with animals."
  • Hollywood Law: In "The Prisoner", Johnny is framed for killing his father Vince. Johnny immediately goes to prison (being held without bail until his trial), and there's no paraffin test, which would prove he didn't fire the murder weapon. At the end of the episode, the real murderer dies and he is posthumously convicted of the murders he committed in prison...but never of Vince's murder. So Johnny would never have been released. That said, the warden was told by Jack that the killer's Amoral Attorney who is helping him get information on his former partners-in-crime is being questioned, and the lone survivor from the holdup gang does make a full confession, so the implication is that they gave evidence about the storage locker which, when coupled with the ticket the villain possessed, links him to Vince's death. The warden also makes it clear at the end that he "wants this all kept quiet" (all the killings both in and out of the prison, the lawyer's part in it, the ease of the villain's escape through the air vent passages), so presumably he used the circumstantial evidence to let Johnny off in return for this coverup and the trio's silence.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Unsurprising, considering the main premise of the show is based around Lucifer existing as an Unseen Evil, Lewis Vendredi making a literal Deal with the Devil, and various witches, warlocks, and other magic-users acting as necromancers, calling on Black Magic, or speaking of the Realms of Darkness. LaVeyan Church of Satan accouterments such as the effigy and name of Baphomet, the upside-down pentacle (and cross), cursing others, and perverting/inverting Christian rites (particularly chanting the Lord's Prayer and other holy scriptures backwards) are combined with the usual human sacrifice, Blood Magic, black robes and Ominous Latin Chanting, and desire to destroy or supplant all good magic. Also included are previous erroneous beliefs from medieval and Renaissance times (such as the witch's ladder); pagan elements such as the athame and chalice; raising the dead and seeking to bring about the Antichrist (including an attempt by Lucifer himself to impregnate Micki); suggesting a history of the cult and its evil practices extending all the way back to ancient times via previous long-dead witches and sorcerers (needless to say, untrue); and even Hollywood Voodoo by employing the use of clay figures to control, possess, or harm their living counterparts. The only thing they get right is referring to their belief system as the left-hand path.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Utterly averted in "The Voodoo Mambo". Jack gives a somewhat-abbreviated but completely accurate depiction of the true nature and beliefs of Voudoun (complete with footage of actual ceremonies!), the innocents being terrorized in the episode are benevolent, wise priests and priestesses, and while Micki and especially Ryan are wary at first due to Hollywood Voodoo depictions, eventually they come to realize the faith is a perfectly valid, good, harmless belief system and join in rather enthusiastically with the cultural carnival being held. The only aspects of this trope which appear in the episode are all being carried out by the Villain of the Week, and they are stated repeatedly to be evil, twisted perversions and not a part of true Voudoun at all (being, in fact, aspects of hoodoo).
  • Holy Burns Evil: Taken to a literal level with the Cross of Fire, since (when properly charged by a victim's blood) rather than burning a vampire when it touches it, the wielder simply holds it up to them, it turns incandescent yellow, and they are incinerated where they stand. The Dramatic Irony that the cross must be used to kill before it can do this is doubly-compounded by its history—not only was the blade originally meant to be used as self-defense by the monk or knight who carried it in the Crusades, but the legend said it was a willing Heroic Sacrifice by a parishioner that gave the cross its power against vampires. All perverted by Lewis, of course.
  • Homage:
  • Hostage Situation: Crops up every so often. Two examples in the first season both revolve around the villains coming to "Curious Goods" to get their artifact back after the trio recovers it—Tommy Dunn for the boxing gloves in "Shadow Boxer" at the episode's climax, and a nearly episode-long version for the villains of "Bedazzled" coming for the lantern.
  • Hypnotize the Captive:
    • Happens to Micki in "The Baron's Bride" thanks to the power of the cape to lure in women (and, presumably, the vampire's own mental domination powers).
    • No actual hypnosis is involved, but Ryan is otherwise forced to be this trope by Lysa in "Coven of Darkness" when she curses him into an agony of fever and pain unless he brings her the witch's ladder (while also misleading him into believing she's a good psychic simply trying to destroy it). It is played straight with him however in "The Prophecies."
    • A different form of this happens to Micki in "Mightier Than the Sword", where the cursed pen turns her into a Serial Killer.

    I-L 
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Implied in "A Cup of Time". The Cup's owner has used her renewed youth to become a rock star, albeit a local one. Going by the other owners we see, she couldn't have had the cup any longer than six months, probably less. Any working musician can tell you that it takes not only talent and hard work but sheer luck to make a living at it, and the Swapper's Ivy Cup only bestows youth and health. Meaning that in order to become famous in a short amount of time, the owner must have already had innate musical talent, and considerable skill in judging the market.
  • Idiot Ball: While there are a great deal of times throughout the show where the characters (usually Ryan or Johnny, though Micki also has her moments) make a thoughtless remark, ill-advised move, unwarranted assumption, etc. which gets them or an innocent artifact victim in trouble, at least once what seemed to be an example was a subversion. In "Stick It In Your Ear", after Jack explicitly warns her and Johnny of the unique danger the cursed hearing aid poses (that whoever is wearing it could read their minds and know everything about them, the store, and their intentions), Micki seems to brainlessly think all about those very things while sitting in the audience of the villain's talk show mind-reading act. But it turns out, after she also visits him backstage afterward to think even more revealing thoughts to him, that Micki was doing this deliberately—to lure him out after her so Johnny can tackle him and get the hearing aid. Unfortunately, it almost becomes a genuine example of the trope, since Johnny is so focused on following her in the car that he isn't paying attention to the rest of his surroundings, almost hitting a pedestrian and getting a cop stopping him to see if he's driving drunk. Thankfully he's still able to get to Micki in time to save her (though not getting the artifact back yet).
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: A few of the villains indulge in this with Micki, most especially Tommy Dunn from "Shadow Boxer", the Serial Killer (and rapist) in "And Now the News", and Mike Negley in "The Long Road Home". Bonus points apply to "The Charnel Pit" for it being a Historical Domain Character known (fictionally) for such behavior, the Marquis de Sade; in a variation, however, this mostly applies as long as he believes Micki to be a duchess smitten and intrigued by him—once he knows her real identity, he dispenses with such tactics and just resorts to torture (and not for pleasure's sake, just to punish and eventually kill her). Thankfully, Micki always fights back as best she can (including a satisfying Spiteful Spit in de Sade's case).
  • I Just Want to Be Special: The artifact owner of "Scarlet Cinema," Darius Pogue, is this with a vengeance. Aside from completely hating his boring, ordinary life as a film student, longing to have love, and suffering from the bullying of his classmates, he has an obsessed fixation with horror films, specifically werewolf movies—he can recite all the lines of The Wolf Man (1941) by heart, has a Stalker Shrine to Lon Chaney Jr., and is alternately Longing for Fictionland and doing everything he can to become a werewolf himself. Unlike most versions of this trope, he is willing to do anything to achieve his specialness (and claim his crush for his own) and thus becomes fairly contemptible, but there's still a certain sympathy for his underdog desperation.
  • I Know What You Fear:
    • In "And Now the News", the cathedral radio literally scares its listeners to death by making their worst fears come to life; the fact the radio does this through an announcer (which also interacts with the episode's villain, and even Micki and Ryan during The Stinger, suggesting it has some sentience) indicates it actually does "know" (by reading its victims' minds) what someone fears in order to make it manifest.
    • "The Spirit of Television" seems to be a variation, since the villainous psychic is able to direct the cursed television set to create illusions of her victims' loved ones, who then proceed to berate, harass, and deliver vicious insults towards them until the victim, overcome by guilt and remorse, comes within reach of another TV so they can be electrocuted or otherwise killed.
  • I Know Your True Name: Variation. Because Ryan and Micki use aliases when they enter the monastery in "The Poison Pen", the villain's attempt to use the pen to kill them doesn't work—in fact it actually causes the deaths of the real monks whose identities they assumed (and whom Jack knew of from overseas). Oops. The trope also ends up leading to the villain's Hoist by His Own Petard moment, since it is learned by episode's end that "Father La Croix" is itself an alias for the real estate con man Rupert Seldon...and when he tries to use the pen again to kill them, he writes it down on a slip of paper Jack had left in his book, which just so happens to be the bill of sale from when he purchased the pen from Uncle Lewis. Meaning, it has his real name on it, and seeing as that's the only name on the paper...
  • I Love the Dead: In "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul", Eli the mortician is really into dead women. Even before he gains the aspirator that can raise the dead, Eli takes photos of all of his clients, male and female. But with a focus on attractive young dead women. After he resurrects Lisa, he undresses her, has sex with her, and then puts a new nightgown on her. This is after she's died and been embalmed.
  • Implacable Man: Rausch, a resurrected dead man, is unkillable. Only when the Amulet of Thule is removed from his neck can he die.
  • Inertial Impalement: In "Night Prey", a vampire hunter attacks a vampire but it knocks him down. The vampire then leaps onto the man but is impaled on a crucifix the man is holding up, killing it.
  • In Medias Res: Rather unusually, "The Long Road Home" begins with Micki and Johnny having already been pursuing the Yin-Yang charm and tracked down who owned/was using it; after a couple tense scenes where Micki has to save Johnny from being chained to drown in a gym pool, then facing off with the villain who has just swapped bodies with his lover's somewhat-scummy husband, said villain gets electrocuted by a lamp and, just like that, the artifact is recovered. This is to set up for the fact that the real meat of the episode will be the disturbing villains Johnny and Micki will encounter on their way back from obtaining the artifact, and how it then gets used (both deliberately and inadvertently) to help them escape.
  • In Name Only: The series' tenuous connection with the movies, although see What Might Have Been on the trivia page.
  • Instrument of Murder: "Symphony in B#" featured a cursed violin. The violin itself wasn't used as a weapon, but the hidden blade in the bow certainly was.
  • Invisibility Cloak: "The Prisoner" involves a case of a World War II kamikaze fighter's jacket that renders its wearer invisible when smeared with a dead person's blood. It clearly renders everything the villain wears invisible as well, although in one scene when he sneaks into the bathtub of a victim to kill her, his footprints as he chases her are naked ones. He can be identified by the scent of his telltale cigars as well as, of course, when soaked by kerosene and then lit on fire. The killer does go from invisible to visible once without removing the jacket. The jacket also apparently lets the killer walk through solid objects, since he re-enters his locked cell in one scene.
  • Ironic Echo: When the trio goes to a knife-shop owner in "Doctor Jack" to try and trace the cursed scalpel, after Micki tricks him into revealing he did have it but sold it, he claims that despite having receipts for every sale, he "must have lost [his] memory" on whom he sold it to. Then Jack claims to have photo negatives proving some manner of criminal activity on the shop owner's part (he's an ex-con out on parole)...and when the fellow asks him where he got them, Jack smoothly replies, "I must have lost my memory."
  • Ironic Name: The episode "Vanity's Mirror" features a homely girl named Helen overpowered by a magical compact mirror. The most well known bearer of the name Helen would be Helen of Troy, a Spartan princess from Classical Mythology famed for her beauty.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Not the usual creepy manifestation of this trope, but in "A Cup of Time" the villain of the episode who has since become a singing sensation turns her favorite nursery rhyme, "I'm a Little Teapot", into a rock song.
  • Jack of All Trades/Renaissance Man: Jack, punnily enough, seems to be one of these. While it's never revealed what all he knows, and much of his talents seem to relate to the occult or his role as a procurer of antiques (or at least would be useful while doing so), he does have some rather unusual (and handy) abilities, such as forgery which lets him, among other things, be able to fake both ancient documents and modern IDs, as well as reproduce copies of artifacts like the quill pen. He's also an expert lockpicker, a talent that he eventually passes on to Ryan and Micki. He is a skilled stage magician, and has a number of contacts due to his often-charming demeanor.
  • Jack the Ripper's scalpel was the artifact in "Doctor Jack", and a syringe supposedly belonging to him was the artifact in "Better Off Dead." The latter episode makes use of the largely-discredited theory that he and notorious killer Thomas Neill Cream were one and the same person; in Marshak's defense, he does note only that Cream "said" that he was the Victorian Serial Killer before he was hanged (an apocryphal story), and it can't be denied that the syringe does actually fit both Cream's real-life M.O. (poisoning, specifically strychnine) and his identity as an unethical doctor.
  • Jerkass Gods: In "The Prophecies Pt. 2", God finally intervenes when the trio are outclassed by Asteroth, a fallen angel. But instead of resolving the matter with His presumed Omnipotence, God sets Asteroth's sleeve on fire with Heavenly Light, lets the demon put it out and then sets Asteroth on fire again—fatally, this time.
  • Just in Time: While quite often the trio manages to get hold of an artifact or save its latest victim right at the last moment, two examples are noteworthy in either the specific situation or its victim:
    • In "Vanity's Mirror", Helen Mackie compels her enchanted boyfriend (her sister's former boyfriend) into leaving her sister Bound and Gagged, standing on a chair with a noose around her neck; Jack manages to get to her and save her life right as her feet slip off the chair and she begins to strangle, making for some very tense minutes.
    • In "Jack-in-the-Box", after the ghost of her murdered father insists he can never be brought back (nor does he want to be) and so convinces her not to kill her alcoholic mother, Megan Garrett instead decides to use the cursed antique to kill herself so they can be Together in Death. What follows is an extremely intense scene where the ghost continually pleads with her not to go through with it, the trio and the girl's mother pound on the locked door of the pool as they beg her to let them in, and finally Johnny smashes the door with a chair so they can rush to Megan's side and slam the jack-in-the-box's lid closed at the last second.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The two annoying, jerkish friends of Ryan's who blatantly ignore the warning sign, explore the store basement, and end up setting off the crystal ball that calls Lewis's spirit in "Hellowe'en" just get a brief chastising remark from him, then flee with all the other guests when the dark spiritual forces are unleashed, receiving no other punishment.
    • DeJager escapes with the Shard of Medusa, first because she takes Micki's nephew J.B. hostage, then because they have to go rescue him from Ricky right as she's been found at the airport about to flee to Europe. A later episode ("Crippled Inside") has Jack locate the Shard, and summon Micki to help recover it, but DeJager's exact fate isn't revealed.
    • In "The Butcher", while Horst Mueller remains in prison at episode's end, he is also never punished or otherwise held to account for the murders of Jack's platoon or the renewed rise of neo-Nazism, both of which he carries out via the resurrected Rausch.
    • In "Jack-in-the-Box", while Megan succeeds in killing the man who drowned her father (as well as the janitor who was too drunk to fight well and too scared of the killers to identify them to the police, and a hooker who happened to be with the Asshole Victim and was rude to her), the other men involved get away with their crime because they happened to escape the pool before she could see and identify them.
  • Karmic Death:
    • After seeing him threaten at gunpoint, torment into "dancing" for him, and eventually drunkenly shooting a young black boy, as well as beat his mentally-disabled brother to death with a hammer, then gleefully and viciously participate in a KKK cross-burning, flogging, and murder of an innocent black man who just wanted to buy bread for his children while his wife was in the hospital, it is immensely satisfying seeing the racist villain of "Hate On Your Dial" suffer a Hoist by His Own Petard and get burned to death in the fate he intended for a black civil rights lawyer—and by his own racist father, no less.
    • Alex Dent suffers a wonderfully karmic death after turning Micki into a Serial Killer, considering how he tormented (and enjoyed the suffering of) poor Clint Fletcher as he was executed for crimes he was made to commit, and visibly seemed to get off on all the brutal murders he wrote about with the pen.
  • Kissing Cousins: Although it is never acted upon, it becomes clear from the very first episode that Ryan has some sort of romantic feelings for his cousin Micki, and while at first he isn't aware they're related, the feelings don't seem to subside once he learns the truth note . He certainly becomes jealous of a number of her boyfriends and other men she knows, while the reverse is never true (and when his Girl of the Week inevitably ends up dead, she always commiserates with him). The only time when this is averted is when he deeply (and rather suddenly) falls for one of the Penitites in "The Quilt of Hathor"...and it's Micki who has to plead with him to come to his senses (though not from jealousy or latent feelings but because of the quilt and the suddenness of his feelings). Whether this at all contributed to Ryan being written off the show and replaced by an unrelated stand-in is unknown.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Alex Dent of "Mightier Than the Sword" suffers probably one of the most instant versions of this—sending his blackmailer wife falling down a set of stairs to her death, only to then be killed less than a minute later by Micki whom he had cursed into being a Serial Killer—because his killing his wife went against what he had written with the pen, leaving the murderer still bent on killing. For bonus points, he specifically suffers the terrible slashing death he had intended for his wife, as karma for all the other murders he had forced innocents to commit.
    • After what he intended to do to both Johnny and Micki (and having killed and stuffed his own grandfather and, it's implied, his parents), Mike Negley ending up in his grandfather's taxidermied corpse, stepping in one of his own snares, and literally being ripped apart by the wind is probably one of the most gruesome but fitting examples of this.
  • Life Drain: The Sforza glove of "Faith Healer" is in a sense the inverse of this: it drains diseases and other fatal conditions from people, thus restoring them to full health, which then causes the next person touched with it to suffer an exponentially worse version of the original disease/condition, killing them. Or the glove wearer, if he can't find someone to pass it on to in time.
  • Life Drinker: "The Sweetest Sting"; see Bee Afraid. Also "A Cup of Time".
  • Lighthouse Point: In "The Pirate's Promise", naturally. It's suitably creepy and fog-shrouded, and the usage of the wind and a buoy for sound effects is unnervingly effective. There's also one scene where, to hide from the villain, Ryan has to actually hang off the side of the lighthouse platform, but it isn't during the climax.
  • Liquid Assets: "A Cup of Time". The cursed teacup has a carving of the fictitious "Swapper's Ivy" on its side, which becomes real and strangles the person who drank from it, draining their youth and life for the cup owner.
  • Living Shadow: "Shadow Boxer". The cursed boxing gloves of the title make the wearer invincible in the ring, by means of their shadow attacking an innocent victim and passing the blows and moves on to them. The "living" part is emphasized by the wearer having to put his gloved hands to his shadow's before it breaks off, in a sort of sports salute, and that what happens to the shadow (being hit by bright lights, for example) affects the wearer.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Jack has one when preparing to gun down the resurrected Nazi torturer who has been killing his old platoon in "The Butcher."
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • In "Cupid's Quiver", the Cupid of Malek seems to have this as its curse—its "arrows" cause the target to fall in love with the Cupid's owner, but then said owner is driven to kill the one who now loves him after sex. Although the fact said owners seem to only be Love Hungry ugly men (because the original creator was himself an ugly man rejected by women who wanted Revenge against them), and that the one the episode centers around is a creepy Stalker with a Crush even before he gets hold of it, suggests the Cupid doesn't have to push its owners' obsessions very far. It could even be that, as speculated in the Artifact of Doom entry above, the Cupid only calls to men similar to Malek in the first place. note 
    • Desmond Williams of "Femme Fatale", since he is willing to kill countless young women so as to bring to life the young version of his actress wife so they can be together forever. As a point in his favor, when it becomes clear he must kill his wife so that her young self can become real, he is overwhelmed with guilt and refuses for some time before (he thinks) committing the deed; as a point against him, it becomes clear he only wants the younger version because she's still beautiful and sexy, and that it was this role he created which he loved, not his actual wife.

    M-P 
  • MacGuffin Melee: Sometimes the artifact of the episode gets passed around among a number of people, whether guilty villains or innocent bystanders, before being recovered; two examples, both early on, were "Cupid's Quiver" and "A Cup of Time."
  • Mad Artist:
    • The sculptress DeJager, who uses the Shard of Medusa to kill her models so as to create high-priced art.
    • Anton Pascala of "The Maestro", who forces dancers to literally dance themselves to death in order to create his masterpiece ballet.
    • The director Desmond Williams in "Femme Fatale" is a specific form of this where he only kills for one purpose, to bring to life his actress wife's younger self, although the fact he'd have to kill the real (and invalid) woman in order to make the young self exist permanently is still rather heinous.
  • Made of Indestructium:
    • The cursed artifacts, it turns out, in order to remove the easiest way to end their evil power and force the main characters to have to recover and store them in the vault under the shop instead. This makes for a key plot point in "The Quilt of Hathor" two-parter when the recovered quilt gets accidentally torn, revealing to Jack that it was a powerless fake, as well as in "Double Exposure" where thinking that the camera can be destroyed reveals "Jack" to be an Evil Knockoff. It also means that any hapless victim (or an artifact owner who has a pang of conscience) will be doomed to fail if they try to destroy a cursed item, and it makes for a Downer Ending in "Crippled Inside" after Johnny, in despair over the seeming futility of gathering artifacts whose evil will long outlive him and Rachel's death, uselessly batters the wheelchair with an axe.
    • One exception to this seems to be the makeup kit of "Master of Disguise", since Jeff Amory drops and breaks one of the glass jars holding the makeup when Micki startles him. But in this case it may be that the kit box itself is the cursed artifact, and the individual jars within it are not considered part of the kit (i.e. they just have to be inside it for the kit to transform blood into makeup), so can be broken and replaced.
    • Another exception is the compact from "Vanity's Mirror" and "Face of Evil." When first seen in the former episode, there is a slight crack in its glass, and after the original owner is killed by a car in the Cold Open, it is fully cracked whenever Helen uses it (which also carries through to the second episode). This suggests that either the mirror was already cracked before Lewis cursed it (which could help explain the way it twists beauty and love to evil, and how its results can also be twisted by the user's needs), or that only the compact frame was cursed, not the glass.
  • Magic Mirror: The mirror of Louis XIV, which acted as a portal between Earth and the Realms of Darkness.
  • Magical Camera: The film camera used in "Scarlet Cinema" that can bring the film chracters to life, as well as turn the camera user into said character, which is what happens to camera owner Darius Pogue.
  • Mark of the Beast:
    • Used in "Scarlet Cinema", a star branded or tattooed on the flesh in Homage to the palm-pentacle of The Wolf Man (1941) (although it's just a regular five-pointed star).
    • Also appears in "Demon Hunter", where the cultist who summoned the episode's demon, and who is the only one that can control it, bears its sigil as a mark upon their body. Turns out it's the demon hunter's daughter, who had feigned coming back to the good side and had been a loyal cultist all along rather than merely kidnapped and brainwashed by them.
  • Meaningful Echo: Near the start of "Femme Fatale", the In-Universe noir film is shown to end with Lili Lita's dying character's Last Words being "Funny, I always thought I'd die in bed." At first this seems like Foreshadowing that the older, invalid Lili (who is always shown in bed) is going to do just that—by one of her husband's murder attempts, it eventually starts to look. But after a pillow smothering seems to have done the trick, it turns out she was only acting, giving her the chance to make a Heroic Sacrifice—entering the cursed film to free Micki and die just as her character did. So the echo of the moll's dying words becomes highly ironic, even as it allows Lili to reclaim some of her old self and go out the way she preferred.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The demon who assists Lewis's ghost in "Hellowe'en" calls herself Greta, very close to Gretel. Not only does she lead Jack away with claims of her home being "just a little farther" (a sort of metaphorical trail of breadcrumbs), she locks him in a cage and then later tries to burn Micki and Ryan by sealing them in coffins and sending them toward a mortuary's crematorium oven.
    • Even aside from not overlooking the seemingly unimportant characters, you'd think in "The Great Montarro" that Jack at least would have suspected someone named Lila. While it's the name of a Biblical angel, it's one associated with the night, and is reminiscent of the apocryphal demoness (and first wife of Adam), Lilith.
    • The baby being healed by the cradle in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" is named Allison. As in Loraine Allison, the only first-class passenger child who died in the sinking of the Titanic. To further the parallel, the only member of the Allison family to survive the sinking, a baby brother, was saved by the family's maid, while the baby in this episode ends up saved (and presumably raised as her own) by the Kent family's babysitter.
    • Done In-Universe in "A Cup of Time". The villain chooses the stage name "Lady Die" note  She needs other people to die to stay young.
    • "Wax Magic". The murderous waxwork turns out to be Marie Chase, who was killed then resurrected with the cursed handkerchief. Marie was the first name of Madame Tussaud, founder and namesake of the famed Madame Tussaud's wax museums.
    • The Inspirationally Disadvantaged little girl coming to Marie-Mere for healing in "The Prophecies" is named Christina. Not only is her faith in God key to averting the final prophecy and saving Ryan, but at the end it seems that she will be taking Sister Adele's place at the shrine and convent, since she was "asked to stay" by the Virgin Mary, had seen a vision of Heaven as well, and brought about (as well as received) another miracle of healing.
    • Twice over for Sybil Oakwood in "The Tree of Life"—not only is she head of a Druidic fertility cult that (as per the tradition's beliefs) reveres an oak tree, but she is a priestess who makes several divine pronouncements, including that one of the children they have bred and are raising in the faith will grow up to become a great sorceress and prophet herself (a sibyl being the name for one of the oracular priestesses of Ancient Greece).
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Eli Pittman, the Villain of the Week in "The Electrocutioner", was wrongfully convicted of murdering his girlfriend and sentenced to die in the electric chair. Because this is Friday the 13th, somehow he survives (and retains the ability to absorb and even gain strength from electricity), and so is able to get revenge on those who condemned him. But because (a few assholes among them aside) they were mostly innocent and just going by the evidence until the actual killer confessed later, and because Pittman uses the children at the reform school where he's a dentist as the source of his power, he ends up paying for it...and in the end, suffering the electrocution he originally evaded.
  • Missing Child: In "Repetition", Heather goes missing. Ruth is upset that her daughter has vanished and doesn't know whether or not Heather was either killed, kidnapped, or ran away.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: Referencing the original source of the Three Wise Monkeys, but in a horror variant—in "Year of the Monkey", a Japanese samurai who has mastered their powers and thus gained immortality uses the statues to tempt his two sons and daughter in order to know which one was worthy. If they pass the tests, they gain the longevity in his place and he can die in peace (at their hands), knowing his family's wealth and honor will live on; if they fail, they must either commit seppuku or die a terrible death related to the sense in question, and he gains their life force to be youthened and live on, so as to create another generation and try again. The monkeys do exactly the opposite of what they're supposed to do, but considering they are said to have been stolen from a temple dedicated to the trickster Monkey God, this makes sense.
  • Monster of the Week: Well, "Cursed Antique of the Week", but same basic concept.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table:
    • The artifact-owner in "Badge of Honor" turns out to have an unusual variation of this, where his wife who was horribly burned by a mobster's bomb is hooked up to medical equipment in their home to keep her alive...except she's only a mummified skeleton. What isn't clear is if she died at some point while attached to the equipment and he left her connected in a futile attempt to pretend she still lived, or if she never survived the bombing at all and had been a hooked-up corpse all along.
    • A variation involving taxidermy in "The Long Road Home", wherein the Negley brothers have stuffed the corpses of their grandfather and parents and arranged them in chairs in the attic, dressed in their nicest clothes (the father even has a pipe in his mouth). A nearby wind-up record player is arranged to play the 19th-century parlor song "Home! Sweet Home!", and Mike apparently makes a habit of not only talking to the corpses but "introducing" women he kidnaps and brings home to them.
  • Murder by Cremation:
    • "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul" deals with a lonely mortician who comes to possess a magical embalming device which can alternately kill someone or bring them back to life. He uses it to revive a recently-deceased woman whose funeral he took care of, then uses it to kill her snooping boyfriend. He then disposes of the boyfriend's body in this manner.
    • This is also how the demon Greta of "Hellowe'en" tries to kill a spellbound Micki and Ryan in the mortuary, as mentioned under Meaningful Name.
  • Murphy's Bed: The brother of the villain in "A Cup of Time" is found inside one of these in his old, abandoned apartment. He's been there for quite some time.
  • My Greatest Failure: Twice over for Musashi in "Year of the Monkey"—not only did he fail to kill the rogue samurai he'd been sent to assassinate (because he had loved the samurai's daughter, and had found her murdered by her father) or recover the monkey statues from him, but when he tried to commit seppuku to join his beloved, he failed to give himself a fatal wound. In the present he asks Jack, Micki, and Johnny to stop the samurai and recover the statues, but has to be convinced to overcome his guilt before he will atone for his other failure...facing the samurai in battle, finally dying to join his lost love, and in the process killing the samurai by tricking him into stabbing him after he's dropped his sword (killing an unarmed man is dishonorable, thus making the statues destroy him).
  • My Skull Runneth Over: The danger of the cursed hearing aid—it allows the wearer to hear the thoughts of others, but then those thoughts build up in their brain. If they do not fix their gaze on someone and pass the thoughts on (causing a fatal hemorrhage in the process), it is their brain that explodes. Thanks to some amazing makeup jobs, the results are memorably disgusting.
  • Necromantic: "Epitaph for a Lonely Soul." Made particularly squicky when the mortician villain poses the reanimated women like mannequins and, in the case of one, kisses her when she is still barely back from the grave and has to be manipulated to put her arms around him. It is implied the mortician who originally bought the aspirator from Uncle Lewis had been doing this for years, replacing one undead wife with another, and this is certainly the plan Eli Leonard intends to use. Unsurprisingly, when the women realize the truth, they prefer to die again rather than suffer such a fate.
  • Never Found the Body: By the end of "What a Mother Wouldn't Do", Ryan and the others think Debbie was dead, and that the authorities just can't find the body; in reality, Debbie never died. She just opted to skip town with the baby (which, as far as they know, also mysteriously disappeared).
  • Never Mess with Granny: Old Lili Lita from "Femme Fatale" turns out to be this. Despite being an invalid who often uses a wheelchair and otherwise needs assistance to get around, she: fakes her own smothering death ("Death scenes were always my forte"); holds her murderous, obsessed husband and her own younger movie self at gunpoint; calls her husband out for only loving the "slut" (her term) character he created rather than her; and (after a struggle forces her to fatally shoot him) reclaims her own choices by entering the movie to free Micki rather than dooming her (and simply dying in bed).
  • New Old Flame:
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • Subverted. When the cursed compact that was lost in "Vanity's Mirror" turns up again in "Face of Evil", it seems to have a completely different curse. But Jack reasons that the actual curse had been to give the owner whatever revenge their heart desired; for the first owner, that was killing those who refused to love her, for the second, eliminating anyone who threatened her beauty and her career. With a power as open-ended as this is, it actually makes the compact one of the most dangerous artifacts in the store (further discussion about the compact appears in the Fridge tab).
    • Played straight with Micki in "Coven of Darkness" where, after absolutely no indication prior to this (such as, say, in either "Bottle of Dreams" or "Doorway to Hell" when they had Rashid right there to make note of it) she is revealed to possess great occult power.Possible explanation The White Magic practitioner of the episode guided her into using it for good (Jack mentions the power can go either way) in order to save Ryan and recover the witch's ladder; the end of the episode indicates she could well have fallen to darkness herself. But conveniently enough, all her power is used up by episode's end, and while Jack says it could return, this is never revisited later.* Classic example of Status Quo Is God and Reset Button (and allows the two-part opener of season three to have the Bittersweet Ending it does).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In the first act of "The Inheritance", Micki and Ryan hold a 'going out of business sale' to get rid of all the store's stock. This includes the items in the hidden vault, which turn out to be cursed items Lewis hadn't sold yet.
    • Johnny does essentially the same thing in "Hate on Your Dial", selling a recently-recovered cursed car radio without checking the manifest to see if it was one of the items Lewis sold.
  • Nightmare Weaver: In "The Quilt of Hathor", wrapping oneself in the eponymous quilt allows the owner to make what happens in their dreams come true—usually killing other people, though there is the danger of a person who's aware of what's going on turning the tables on them. Bonus points for the item in question being one that required literal weaving/sewing to make.
  • Noble Demon: The samurai Tanaka in "Year of the Monkey" tries to play himself off as this—yes, he's setting his children up with a Sadistic Choice where they either succumb to the temptation of the monkey statues' powers (meaning they either have to kill themselves or get killed in a horrible sense-related fashion), or have to kill him to inherit said powers, but he is doing this to allow himself to live long enough to create wealth and power for his children. And since the tests they face are to prove whether they have honor, he is technically still following the rules of his society; if his children keep failing (and dying), so he must continue living forever until one truly proves worthy, such is the price of success and honor. However, considering he is asking an honorable child to kill him for no good reason (other than to allow him to finally die) since it isn't a punishment for his many past children he's slain, and once they inherit the statues they are the ones who have to test their own children (and kill the failures), it rather seems as if the honor in question is in name only, or at best only according to very strict and literal Rules Lawyer-ing. That said, this is being enforced by the statues, which may have some Blue-and-Orange Morality in their assessment of honor, and while it isn't clear if this is because they came from the Temple of the Monkey God or because they were stolen, they certainly seem to be malicious if not evil when they kill Tanaka thanks to an Exact Words trick by Musashi.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Johnny, in something of a Heroic BSoD, gives one to the wheelchair at the end of "Crippled Inside" because of Rachel's death and the old man taunting him that "it will outlast both of us and there will always be someone who wants to kill to gain its healing".
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Occasionally we get a mention of a cursed antique that isn't the focus of an episode—for example, the start of "Wedding Bell Blues" has Jack and Ryan dressed in cold weather clothing and Ryan complaining about chasing after cursed snowshoes; early on in "The Playhouse" Micki is pursuing a top hat (which she gets returned to her with no trouble at all) and Jack is tracking down a sacrificial knife; and even the final episode "The Charnel Pit" involves seeking a cursed fire dog (before Micki catches the Villain of the Week carrying a victim into his house across the street and ends up sent into the past). In "The Inheritance", there's a collection of newsclippings that match up with items in Lewis' manifest; a white lace ballgown and an antique weathervane are both mentioned, but never show up in the series, even in the vault. And in "Root of All Evil", when Micki is trying to convince Lloyd about the curse, she shows him a statue of an imp with a spear she says causes blindness and a lamp that ignites fires.
    • One particularly notable example comes from "Stick It In Your Ear." After the usual Cold Open in which a previous artifact user dies, Jack and Micki are getting ready to attend an auction for his estate—and it is revealed the fellow had not just one artifact, but six. Thankfully, all but that one (the cursed hearing aid the episode revolves around) get recovered offscreen, though we never find out what the other five were.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: While the show's onscreen depictions of Satan are not particularly scary (mostly just echoing roars and moans, and the occasional deep, disembodied voice), what Micki describes to Johnny in "Bad Penny" about what it was like to be dead is disturbing enough to qualify as this: that she was all alone, in a cold, dark, empty place, with the Devil watching and waiting for her.note 
  • Number of the Beast: Doesn't turn up as often as you'd think, but at least once it appears quite memorably in concert with Mark of the Beast—the number is literally carved into Ryan's chest as part of Asteroth's possession plot in "The Prophecies", although he is able to resist it and retain his own will to some degree. It does turn out, however, that the address of "Vendredi's Antiques/Curious Goods", as finally revealed in "A Friend to the End", is 666 Druid Street note .
  • Oddball in the Series:
    • One episode does not involve a cursed antique or magical item of any sort, "Midnight Riders", wherein Jack, Micki, and Johnny visit a small town haunted by the evil ghosts of bikers who were wrongly accused of rape and murdered, and who must be laid to rest. Also, only one episode involves none of the main cast members (save for a small cameo at the beginning and ending from Micki), "Repetition", instead focusing on a newspaper reporter who encounters a cursed cameo pendant and must find a way to deal with the consequences of its use. Strangely, these are back-to-back episodes; less strangely, they're both from the Retooled third season.
    • In only one episode, "The Prophecies" two-parter, does the artifact in question get destroyed rather than sealed away or lost. But seeing as the Book of Lucifer was never actually an artifact Lewis sold in his store (and those artifacts actually can't be destroyed), and it is a tool specifically meant to allow the Devil to return to Earth, its destruction is both understandable and even necessary—it certainly might well have been too strong to be contained in the vault. Also, God destroys the Book, and presumably He has enough power to destroy an artifact.
    • The snow globe from "Wedding in Black" was shattered, but it wasn't an actual artifact either.
    • And in only one episode ("Year of the Monkey") is the artifact in question willingly given up by its owner—an antique tea set (never seen onscreen) that turns any tea made in it into poison. In this case the owner will return it if he can determine Jack, Johnny, and Micki can be trusted with it by performing a task for him...helping him recover the Monkey Morality Pose statues he failed to recover from a samurai centuries ago.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • The eponymous "Scarecrow" does this to its victims.
    • This is also how Jack's father killed the Dragon, the leader of the biker gang in "Midnight Riders". Johnny makes the requisite comparison to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, while in-story the "Headless Biker" is considered an Urban Legend...except of course it turns out to be true.
  • Ominous Jack-in-the-Box Tune: In this case, "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor." Usually a cheery shanty, it becomes much more sinister when played slowly. Appropriately enough, the theme is carried through by having the figure inside be a pirate, scenes of sailing ships painted on the side, and the curse when invoked causing some sort of death by drowning. The fact the first jack-in-the-boxes contained a "devil" figure (and were possibly inspired by the medieval folklore of English prelate Sir John Schorne casting the Devil into a boot) only makes the ominousness, and a jack-in-the-box being one of Lewis's cursed objects, all the more fitting.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Micki is actually short for 'Michelle', but no one ever mentions it after her initial introduction to Ryan - who thought his previously unknown cousin was named Michael!
  • Only One Name: Louise Robey, who plays Micki Foster, is only in the opening credits as "Robey"
  • Older Sidekick: Jack is the older sidekick to Ryan and Micki, and later Johnny and Micki, when Jack is even present in an episode. It is never explained why he is supposedly subservient to the younger duo, other then the fact that at least initially, Ryan and Micki owned the shop.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "The Baron's Bride" and "Night Prey". Marie in "The Baron's Bride" appears to be a traditional vampire, although she isn't hurt by daylight. The vampires in "The Baron's Bride" can only be killed by wooden stakes and at least one, Frank, has an aversion to sunlight and garlic. The vampires in "Night Prey" have all of the traditional vampiric weaknesses: wooden stakes, crosses, garlic, sunlight, no reflection in mirrors.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: "Scarlet Cinema."
  • Outfit Decoy/Impersonation Gambit: Happens in back-to-back episodes early on: in "Cupid's Quiver" Micki dresses up as the villain's most recent target after they overhear her agreeing to meet him, and in "A Cup of Time" Jack pretends to be a vagrant in the park so he can get the teacup back from the villain.
  • Paranormal Investigation/Paranormal Mundane Item: The show revolves around the objects of "Vendredi's Antiques" (later "Curious Goods") that held paranormal properties (and some of them were quite modern-looking, like a car radio), but all of them were a pretty vile Power at a Price (as an example: a crucifix that allowed people who were not priests or even religious to destroy vampires, but had to be fed human blood—as in, stabbing people dead with it). Part of the reason Ryan and Micki end up in the Gotta Catch Them All situation that they do, however, is because these items are mixed in with the regular, uncursed antiques, so they have no way of knowing the truth when they are sold. While a number of the items are associated with famous people, many are not, and even the famous ones are often otherwise quite ordinary-looking. Among these are the boxing gloves, the tattoo kit, the foghorn, the sheriff's badge, the handkerchief, the pocket watch, the car key, the cue stick, the car radio, and the TV set.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: In "A Cup of Time", Ryan uses this method to figure out rock singer Lady Die is actually an old woman named Sarah who was conveniently mentioned as being missing earlier in the episode.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: A weird example in "Scarlet Cinema" and highlighting the Jerkass Genie nature of the items: the Villain of the Week is a cinema student obsessed with werewolf films who gets his hands on a cursed camera that will grant him what he desires if he films people with it and kills them. The film that the camera magically creates not only shows the student's kills, but also represents them by splicing footage from other sources (such as Lon Chaney Jr.'s The Wolf Man (1941)). The student showcases the film in his class and his professor is upset about both the "tastelessly basing your plot on recent crimes" part and the "this film has parts of The Wolf Man spliced in" part, which leads to the latter kicking the former out of class.
  • Police Are Useless: The cops are pretty much portrayed as useless overall in the series.
    • In "A Cup of Time", lead investigator Lt. Fishbein is portrayed as arrogant, condescending, and incompetent. In one scene, he has Micki and Ryan arrested just because he doesn't like them interfering in his case. Obviously, they're released because the person they supposedly attacked did prove to the cops that she's their friend.
    • Lt. Moreau in "The Prophecies Pt. 2" takes Micki in for questioning after Asteroth attacks Jack, and then Ryan kills Adele. Moreau takes great satisfaction in denying her a phone call, and holds her for 24 hours despite her having no involvement in the murder. Despite that, Moreau disappears once Johnny strongarms the police into releasing Micki, and isn't seen again.
    • Played with in "Hate on Your Dial": despite the setting being a small Southern town in The '50s, the sheriff doesn't seem worse than any of the other residents, and while he does take the white waitress's side in the diner, he still breaks up the fight and lets the black victim off with only a warning. In addition, when Jack warns him about the murderer's identity, he seems to take the matter seriously and promises to use the evidence provided to him to hold the killer accountable. It turns out that he's a Small-Town Tyrant after all and secretly a member of the Klan, actually the Grand Dragon of the group that commits the murder of the black diner victim, and he only arrests the episode villain's father later when a key (white) witness forces him to by testifying against him. But thanks to the evidence Jack provides which he thinks came from the episode villain as an undercover FBI agent, he still ends up being useful by killing the episode villain with the villain's father watching at his side.
    • Sadly, one of the few times that cop characters actually try to help and show some usefulness ("Mightier Than the Sword"), the villain uses one of his manipulated Serial Killer victims to eliminate said character before he can expose him.
    • Another time where it was subverted actually occurred earlier in the first season's "Scarecrow": after initially being played up as a typical small-town rural policeman, the sheriff who was skeptical of Micki's story (and warned her not to rile up the superstitious townsfolk with her "tall tale") starts catching on all isn't right when he sees the coroner report for a victim says she was killed by a scythe and reveals she had straw in her hands. His willingness to entertain "nonsense" then starts seeming suspicious when he claims to have "secrets" and Micki sees a raincoat in his closet which matches what another victim's orphaned son said the scarecrow was wearing. After she locks him in the closet, he ends up coming to the rescue during the climax, only to get stabbed by a pair of scissors for his troubles...but he survives.
  • Politically Correct History:
    • Beyond averted in "Hate On Your Dial" (although the term "colored" is substituted for the one that genuinely would have been used, same with "boy," which is used toward Elliot, who is a literal boy at 13 or 14, and, back in 1954, toward sharecropper Ben).
    • Also, "The Butcher" makes no attempt to gloss over or shy away from either The Holocaust or the Nazi "master race" dogma.
  • Portal Picture: Used in the last episode, "The Charnel Pit". It's a two-sided (double face) painting that allows an obsessed history professor to contact the Marquis de Sade in the past, where the two exchange bodies of their victims. Since the two images are of life and death, the Equivalent Exchange trades a living person for a dead one.
  • The Power of Blood: Often, this is used to make an object work when simply killing someone isn't enough.
    • Of particular note is the painting of "The Charnel Pit"...as it not only requires blood smeared on the canvas to activate it, it is claimed the Marquis de Sade painted it while in prison using human blood mixed into the pigment.
    • Even Johnny seems aware of the requirement: the killer in "The Prisoner" stabs him but not fatally, and tries to use Johnny's blood on the knife to activate the jacket. Johnny shows up and points out that he isn't dead, so the blood won't work. It doesn't.
  • The Power of Hate: How "The Playhouse" absorbs the souls of children into its nightmarish interiors, leading to...
  • The Power of Love: ...how "The Playhouse" is forced to release souls of the children back to the real world.
  • Properly Paranoid: In "Wedding in Black", Maya comments (after he starts objecting to the Contrived Coincidence of people from their past all showing up on the same day, after they use the snowglobe, to take them on private trips) that Ryan didn't used to be suspicious of people. Naturally, his experiences in hunting down the cursed artifacts have, in his words, changed him—and in this case he is quite right to be skeptical, since they're all damned souls luring the trio in for the Devil's sinister ends. It's also a nice change from Ryan usually carrying the Idiot Ball or at least being naively trusting or the Butt-Monkey.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Played with in the season 3 two-part opener, since Asteroth seems to be making the various prophecies come true yet this is still enough to nearly allow for Satan's return. But following the rules isn't exactly the Prince of Darkness's strong suit (most of the time), and at the same time he's quite fond of the Loophole Abuse (as shown in this very series). That said, it does end up coming true that A Child Shall Lead Them...
  • Prophecy Twist: ...but not in the way Asteroth thinks. When Christina repudiates him and Lucifer, and instead of her being sacrificed Ryan takes the bone stake through the heart, his transformation back into a little boy is taken by the Fallen Angel to be the sign his master intends to possess Ryan for his return. (Since it had to be a child who would either give their soul to Lucifer by praising him or be killed on the altar, it would seem the Devil youthened Ryan after he was stabbed to make it fit.) But because it was a Heroic Sacrifice, the Virgin Mary's miraculous power is able to burn both him and the Book to ashes, and Christina is able to call on the Mother of God to heal Ryan and free him of the possession.
  • Psycho Electro: "The Electrocutioner". Of particular note is that the villain became this via being put in the electric chair and surviving.
  • Punny Name: Most of the episode titles. A particularly clever one was the one with the garden mulcher, "Root of All Evil", which both references gardening and, by way of the rest of the Biblical quote it's from, the money the mulcher creates when it grinds up corpses (as well as the Greed that would motivate someone to use it).
  • Pygmalion Plot:

    Q-T 
  • Rabid Cop: Russ Sharko of "Badge of Honor" started out as a Cowboy Cop in pursuit of the resident mobster, but after his wife was badly burned by a bomb set by the mobster's men he went off the deep end—becoming obsessed with taking the man down, taking risks that ended up getting a fellow cop killed, and then eventually turning full vigilante with the cursed sheriff's badge...including using it on his street contact (who refused to help him any longer in fear of his life) and his former superior after the latter not only kicked him off the force but threatened to take him in to the station (with no backup). By contrast the villains in "Bad Penny" are full-on Dirty Cops willing to cross any lines if it will let them flee the country with a drug dealer's money.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: Downplayed, and in a sense inverted. Ryan wasn't raised wrong the first time, merely deprived of his mother's love after she left the family and his little brother, whose death he blamed himself for, and so did she at the time. That said, the use of this trope with Ryan being youthened to nearly the age he was when she left, and with no memory of the intervening years allows his mother to simply raise him at all, and to make up for her failure in leaving him in the first place—i.e., it's not a second chance for him to be raised right, but for the one doing the raising to do it right.
  • Random Smoking Scene: In "Mighter Than the Pen", when Alex turns Micki into a serial killer using the cursed pen, she smokes as she visits Alex's wife. This is done to show that she's now an evil person. Alex wrote nothing about her smoking, and it's never been shown that Micki smokes, before or since.
  • Salem Is Witch Country:
    • Jack states that "The Quilt of Hathor" was woven by witches in Salem, thus explaining the pentacle patterns on it, but—as is typical for the time the show was written—not specifying whether these were evil ones (although since Lewis chose to put a curse on it one would assume so, unless he was being his usual blackly ironic self), nor whether this means the victims of the trials were innocent or not. When Sarah learns the quilt's origins, she proclaims that this justifies why she always felt uneasy about it and the dreams it gave her, implying if she'd known the origin from the start she would never have bought it.* Which is ironic, since otherwise many of the harsher and more disciplinarian aspects of the Penitites' Spartan ways (particularly their xenophobia and disparagement of dancing and music) actually resonate with those of Salem's Puritans.
    • Reference is also made to a supposed "Witch Queen of Salem" named Hyberia in "Tails I Live, Heads You Die". While it is stated that she was believed to be "Satan's mistress" and was hanged by the people of the village for her black magic practices, it once again isn't made clear if this made her one of the few accused witches to be truly guilty while the rest were still innocent, or not.
  • Satellite Love Interest: While there are multiple guys/girls of the week that Ryan and Micki date throughout the show, it also begins with Micki having a fiance, a snobbish lawyer named Lloyd. He only appears in the pilot, and seems introduced just to explore her posher background and give an excuse for why she would be initially reluctant to join in artifact-hunting. After being mentioned in several subsequent episodes, he finally appears again in "Root of All Evil" so as to be written out of the show—not by dying, as one might expect, but by breaking his engagement with Micki thanks to refusing to accept the curse. Played with in that it isn't that he disbelieves the magic per se (although he doesn't witness any magic, just a gruesome death), but that he can tell the dangers the trio face are real, and this makes him worry for Micki's safety (considering what happens to her later at various points, he was right to be). When she still refuses to quit because of the innocents they had inadvertently targeted, he walks out.
  • Scary Scarecrows: "The Scarecrow", naturally enough.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: In a bizarre and random example from "Hellowe'en", in the middle of chasing Micki and Ryan through the mortuary basement, the demon Greta ends up falling on a pile of broken debris that she'd previously shoved a gurney into and somehow lands on a piece like a stake, killing herself.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • The first season finale, "Bottle of Dreams", acts as something of a sequel to "Hellowe'en", since the main reason Lewis has the canopic jar delivered is to trap and kill Ryan and Micki in revenge for their being part of denying him a return to life; the episode which starts the next season, "Doorway to Hell", is essentially Part Two of the same sequel episode, since it is still about revenge (on Jack too, this time) and Lewis's plan once again involves an attempt to return to life.
    • In both the first and second seasons, an artifact is lost in one episode, only to be recovered in a later episode in the following season—the compact in "Vanity's Mirror" is found and returned to the vault in "Face of Evil", and the Coin of Ziocles from "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" is recovered in "Bad Penny." Both address the trope in different ways: thanks to the desires of the artifact user being different, the compact's curse works differently (killing someone to make the user beautiful, rather than doing so after making them love them), while the Season 3 episode deals with Micki's PTSD over the coin since it killed her in its first appearance, and it follows up on the death of Johnny's father Vince in "The Prisoner", since Johnny uses the coin to restore him to life.
    • At the end of "Wedding in Black", Jack warns Ryan that just because they managed to defeat the Devil's attempt to either claim their souls or impregnate Micki with the Antichrist (in revenge for all the artifacts they've recovered) doesn't mean it's over; "all we've managed to do is to survive round one." Indeed, he tries again via Lysa and her "Coven of Darkness", with both Ryan's soul and Micki's magic in danger of corruption, and a third time by means of Asteroth and the Book of Lucifer in "The Prophecies" two-parter. This time he succeeds to some degree, because while the Devil doesn't get to (permanently) kill or corrupt Ryan, the latter does end up youthened and deprived of his memories, so that Jack and Micki no longer have his assistance in hunting down artifacts. After this, and despite Johnny joining the team, Satan doesn't try again directly, though the destruction of the Book might have something to do with that.
  • Serial Killer:
    • While technically any villain who must murder in order to use their artifact counts as this if they reach the 3-5+ victims definition, Alex Dent in "Mightier Than the Sword" is using the cursed fountain pen to transform innocent people into examples of the Cop Show trope so that he can a) get off on the brutal murders b) help the police track down the killers for the fame and c) make money off the true-crime books he writes about their exploits. The examples which are shown in-story seem to fall under either Visionary (one is a priest who is supposedly acting in the name of God, who under Dent's direction actually uses the sobriquet "the Angel of Death", the other is claimed to have simply been obeying the voices in his head) or Power/Control (Micki is specified to be interested in playing with and even torturing her victims before she kills them), with some Hedonism thrown in.
    • Winston Knight in "Double Exposure" has a similar motive as Dent: he has his photographic doppelgangers act as a single serial killer, and then has them call in to confess to him on-air, boosting his viewership.
    • The murdered victims in "The Charnel Pit" are described as the victims of a serial killer. They aren't, but rather the Marquis de Sade's victims sent through the time portal to the present. The transition kills them, and Professor Eby disposes of their bodies.
  • Shout-Out: In "Faith Healer", Jack, Ryan and Micki are watching the Villain of the Week on TV, about to use the Sforza glove. Said villain hasn't bothered to have a second, matching glove made note  leading Ryan to utter this classic line:
    Ryan: Who does this guy think he is? Michael Jackson? note 
  • Shower Scene: In "The Poison Pen", Micki takes a shower in the monastery, which is how one of the monks finds out that she was being a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • In "The Maestro" the ballet being composed by the villain is "The Legend of Shiva". One of Shiva's titles is Lord of the Dance.
    • In "The Tree of Life", the Gaelic deity Cernunnos that the druids worship is a real-life legendary being.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Used in the usual fashion in the werewolf episode "Scarlet Cinema", although with the twist that after the gun with the silver bullets is lost, Ryan is forced to choke Darius-the-Wolf-Man with silver nitrate-coated film... the film from the same camera Darius had used to become it.
  • Sinister Minister:
    • The very first episode after the pilot, "The Poison Pen", seems to have a case of this since the villain is a monk by the name of Father La Croix, and he in turn has several villainous lackeys at the monastery. However it turns out this is a case of Bad Habits, since he is actually a former real estate fraudster and con man named Rupert Seldon who has donned the cassock to escape the law (as is his partner, the supposed Oracle of Death), and when one of his lackeys learns the truth he turns on him.
    • The two-parter "The Quilt of Hathor" has Reverend Grange of the Penitites, who at first seems like a genuinely kind and good, if stern, shepherd for his flock and who is genuinely distressed by the deaths (later revealed to be murders) going on in his colony; he even accepts Ryan (for a while) as a new convert, and while the rules of their faith lead Ryan to a trial by combat against his daughter's fiance, Grange accepts the "verdict" when Ryan wins. However, it turns out he has been deceiving his flock by cooking the books and cheating the colony out of their funds, and after his superiors begin investigating he takes advantage of the quilt to not only turn the tables on its original user, but to kill the Inquisitor, frame Ryan for the murder, and sentence him to burning at the stake, in the process moving from a quiet, soft-spoken, and reasonable leader to a thundering, fire-and-brimstone Knight Templar who declares Ryan to be in league with the Devil and anyone who takes his side is also a wicked sinner. Unusually, his followers do end up turning on him once unequivocal proof of his crimes is presented (by his own daughter).
    • Another subversion appears in "Mightier Than the Sword", where the chaplain who attended Clint Fletcher's execution ends up being a Serial Killer himself who is executing "sinners" so as to cleanse the world and enable them to be judged and "resurrected"—but only because he is compelled to be by the true villain, Alex Dent, using the fountain pen.
    • The only example close to being played straight is Brother Antonio from "Wedding in Black." While it is played with in that he turns out to secretly be a Satanist (though it isn't clear how long he's been one; it's entirely possible he was still a true man of God when he first met Jack), it is never implied he has actually taken on an authority role (liturgical or otherwise) among the Satanists, in which case he is still an ostensibly Christian preacher who simply uses his faith to cater to his dark desires. While his time in the snowglobe mostly consists of the typical cackling villainy of the show's Satanists, he does try to tempt Jack into sacrificing his soul to save Micki with the reasoning that doing so would be heroic and virtuous. His time as a missionary in Nigeria involves sating his desires with one of his converts, with the entitled way he justifies it ("I deserve this after all I've done for you people!") certainly suggesting the desire for power inherent to the trope, while his claim to Jack that spending time in Africa "only strengthens [my] faith" implies the usual Villain with Good Publicity aspect.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • On the DVD release of the series, each episode ends with the logo of CBS Television Distribution, which has a calm and soothing jingle, in contrast to the often-scary content of the actual show.
    • The season 3 episode "Hate on Your Dial" has the 1987 Paramount Television theme play on said logo due to a plastering error. The remaining episodes contain the correct music on the logo.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Micki freaks out when a tarantula crawls up her arm in "The Poison Pen".
  • Stable Time Loop: When Micki falls through the Portal Picture in "The Charnel Pit" and ends up trapped in 1790 Paris, she writes a letter explaining what happened to her so that, if she never makes it back, at least Johnny and Jack will know the truth. The desk the letter is concealed in ends up being found after the Marquis de Sade is imprisoned (again), and passes through various hands through the centuries until it eventually gets sold at auction to Professor Eby...who uses it to find the painting and learn how its curse works. When Micki is horrified that this means her going back in time is what enabled the professor to send all those women to de Sade, Jack reassures her that "those who seek evil will always find a way to achieve it", i.e. that Lewis or someone else would have found and understood the painting on their own.
  • Stage Magician:
    • "The Great Montarro". The episode in fact revolves around a number of them, from the cursed artifact's original owner, to a whole theater full of them competing for a prize, with several falling under suspicion before they are unfortunately eliminated and the true villain is revealed. Also, Jack was apparently one in his youth.
    • One of the magicians Jack used to have an act with, Robert "The Great" Jandini, appears in "The Spirit of Television", being asked by Jack to help him, Micki, and Johnny out in debunking whom they suspect to be a phony medium. Unfortunately, said medium has the use of a cursed TV set, which she uses to kill some of her clients in exchange for prolonging her life, and Jandini ends up paying the ultimate price for attempting to help the protagonists out, much to Jack's own rage and guilt.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Aside from Eddie in "Cupid's Quiver", Howard in "Mesmer's Bauble" is a particularly sad but also disturbing version of this, since not only does he have a Stalker Shrine and is willing to kill to become attractive to and close to the target of his crush, but in the end it turns out he wants to actually be her. Not to mention Aldwin Chase from "Wax Magic", who not only kills his crush, but resurrects her with a cursed object in order to have her... then magically compels her to kill innocent people in order to stay alive.
  • Start X to Stop X:
    • When the trio has to rush to save Linda from becoming her brother's next victim in "Tattoo", Mr. Chen gives them a sacred needle he said was blessed by his former mentor at a monastery. While Jack uses it simply to kill the now-living coral snake that had been drawn on her (as a dart, using a straw as the blowgun), it's still a case of using something nearly identical to the original item to undo its effects. Whether it could have been used to remove the tattoo itself, had it not yet come to life, is unknown.
    • The cameo pendant of "Repetition" works somewhat like this in that once the owner kills someone, their spirit becomes trapped inside... so the only way to free them and restore them to life is to kill someone else and put their spirit in it, and so on and so on. The only way to break the chain, it seems, is for the owner to then kill themselves. It's also shown, by Contrived Coincidence, that the chain literally does have to be started before it can be stopped, since the little girl who dies first happened to be wearing it, and the cameo then happened to end up caught on the bumper of the car that hit her.
    • In a way, this is how Jack figures out how to bring Johnny and Micki safely back from the past in "The Charnel Pit": because it is an Equivalent Exchange where sending a live person through the Portal Picture means only a dead one can return (and it's a one-to-one correspondence), he sends two dead people through in order to enable two living ones to return.
  • Super-Senses: As would be expected, the Monkey Morality Pose statues from "Year of the Monkey" make use of this trope in their Secret Test of Character for Tanaka's children, downplayed for the gift version and exaggerated for the punishment. Koji is given the ability to hear others' thoughts (though only one person at a time, and they must be right beside or in front of him); when he uses it to gain insider trading information for the stock market rather than exposing incompetent or disloyal employees, he ends up fatally hemorrhaging from his ears. Hitoshi, interestingly enough, is given the ability to affect other people's sight, masking what they see with something else; when he does this to keep from being busted by a customs official for smuggling banned imports, he ends up with his eyes burned out. Michiko is given the ability to also learn what is in another's thoughts, except it occurs through the statue speaking (for her ears only) a Dark Secret the person would otherwise never reveal. Because she is the only one to resist the temptation to use her ability for evil, it is never shown what a failure would have led to, but chances are it was likely some form of Tongue Trauma.
  • Supporting the Monster Loved One: In "Night Prey", after Kurt finds out that his wife has become a vampire, he captures her and imprisons her in his abandoned factory lair. When she asks to be fed, he pays a hooker to come to his home and his wife drinks her blood.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The episode "Mesmer's Bauble" starts with singer Angelica's radio performance of "Nature Boy." Right as the audience is introduced to the sad but creepy villain, Howard, with his Stalker Shrine and obsession with the performer, she sings the famous line "There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy..." And as he crouches in the corner, clinging to her poster and weeping, she sings "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love, and be loved in return." That said, it sets the theme of the episode and his motivation quite well.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • A friend of Micki's needs her to babysit her son for a while and so brings him over to stay at "Curious Goods". Is this Ritchie of "Bedazzled", or J.B. of "A Friend to the End"? The latter is much more crucial to the plot, and he's also less bratty and annoying, but the set-up and character types otherwise fulfill the same functions. Since they are two seasons apart, presumably the character was recast and renamed because the first child actor had grown too much to play the same role (or the plot of "A Friend to the End" would not have worked if the kid in question already knew about the artifacts instead of being Locked Out of the Loop).
    • When actor John D. LeMay left the show at the beginning of the third season, his character Ryan was written out of the series by being transformed back into a little boy via a subverted Heroic Sacrifice at the end of "The Prophecies" 2-part episode and replaced by Steve Monarque as Johnny Ventura (who had appeared as a Sixth Ranger in previous episodes).
    • The Old Man (John Gilbert) in "Crippled Inside" is a stand-in for Uncle Lewis, since they couldn't bring R.G. Armstrong back for Season 3. The character serves much the same function as Lewis did originally: manipulate and give the various cursed antiques to those who will use them for evil. The Old Man capers and laughs manically, just as Lewis did in "Hellowe'en".
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Occasionally.
    • "Badge of Honor" and "Crippled Inside" are two examples, with the added bonus of all (or most, in the former case) of the victims being deserving of their fates.
    • The eponymous mother in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" is at first only a callous and heartless murderer who believes the end justifies the means, but she becomes this trope at the end when she sacrifices herself to be the last victim needed to save her baby.
    • The artifact owner in "Scarlet Cinema" Darius inverts this, since he begins as a strange film student obsessed with Universal Horror movies who still remains a sad, friendless loner picked on by his fellow classmates... But once he starts committing murders with the film camera he becomes rather monstrous, moving from accidentally killing the camera's owner, to an Asshole Victim, to his professor when he humiliates him for essentially making a snuff film of the second murder for his class project. By the time he's trying to kidnap the target of his Villainous Crush so they can both be werewolves together, he's pretty much lost all of the viewer's sympathy—although oddly, not that of either the Damsel in Distress or the main characters; Jack wishes him peace in the next world, and Ryan and Micki both express their regret that he should have been careful what he wished for.
    • Donald Wren in "The Mephisto Ring." While becoming The Gambling Addict and the way he maniacally revels in the deaths of his victims is hardly sympathetic, as his own mother says, most of the people he killed were bad guys—including the head of the gambling ring, which was also a case of Revenge for having supposedly killed his father (after the horrific Fingore scene and subsequent No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, the asshole absolutely deserved what he got). Donald also makes it clear he wants money not just for itself or the thrill of gambling but to have a better life and to give his mother everything she wanted. In the end though, while his death is sad, the real Sympathetic Murderer is his mother, who is forced to shoot him to stop/save him, just as she had his father.
    • Ricky of "A Friend to the End", since he is only doing it to stay alive and his past history of suffering abuse has made him very hateful towards all adults.
    • 'Lizzie' in "Wax Magic", who not only turns out to not be the owner of the cursed object, but has already been killed, so her 'husband' could resurrect her and compel her to love him with the cursed object. However, she is the one who has to do the killing (she doesn't remember the murders) in order to stay alive.
    • Variations also occur where what seems to be/is set up to look like an example gets subverted in the end. The director of "Femme Fatale" has an old, invalid wife who was once one of his best actresses; the way the episode is set up, the viewer could be forgiven for thinking the cursed film will be used to youthen her and/or keep her alive and healthy, but instead it turns out he's using it to simply bring her youthful self out into the real world, and in the end he's willing to kill his wife to make her youthful self permanent—because she's still young and sexy, and because he loved the role, not the actress. And in "Mightier Than the Sword", the various Serial Killers actually are sympathetic despite their terrible crimes because they are being compelled to commit them by the real villain (and don't even have any memory of doing it).
    • Megan Garrett of "Jack-in-the-Box", like Rachel Horn, straddles the line between sympathetic and unsympathetic. At the start she only uses the cursed antique to kill those who murdered her father—acts which in turn allow her to speak with his ghost and, eventually, bring him back to life. While she does target a prostitute who is merely rude to her on the street (because she's with one of the killers at the time, and won't tell her where to find him), it's not at all hard to have one's heart go out to her. When she then flips to targeting her own mother—because she has become verbally abusive and neglectful, her losing herself in alcohol makes her seem like the drunkards who killed her father, and her father's ghost specifically told her he couldn't be with her as long as her mother was alive—she loses the viewer's sympathy. But then it comes right back to her with a vengeance after he convinces her he can never come back, so she decides to use the jack-in-the-box to join him on the Other Side.
  • Taken for Granite: The fate of those who have the Shard of Medusa used on them to create "very lifelike" art.
  • Take Our Word for It: Averted—the ballets composed by the villain of "The Maestro" are shown onscreen to be genuinely haunting and beautiful, and the dances set to them are both masterful and exotic.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • In "Year of the Monkey", Shohei knocks Micki and later Jack out with a karate chop to the neck.
    • In "The Charnel Pit", Webster hits Jack over the head with the butt of a whip. Jack wakes up and suffers no ill effects, and comes to several rapid intellectual conclusions shortly thereafter.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy:
    • The Satanists in "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" are disguising their underground cavern temple by running a taxidermy shop on top of it. When the construction crew demolishing the ruins in "Bad Penny" find some of their buried bodies a year later, they blame it on the shop's business.
    • Taken into full-on Taxidermy Terror in "The Long Road Home": aside from a number of disturbing and creepy shots of various stuffed animals in the Negleys' house and garage both when Johnny and Micki first arrive and later while they are exploring, it's eventually revealed that the brothers' parents and grandfather are stuffed corpses arranged in a semblance of life in the attic. This culminates when the Yin-Yang charm gets inadvertently used to transfer one of the brothers' souls into their stuffed grandfather's body, and thanks to a bear trap snare and the storm winds outside the trope gets taken to its ultimate gruesome conclusion.
  • Tele-Frag: A combination of this and Portal Cut happens to the villain in "Eye of Death". The slide projector he'd been using to travel to the past gets shut off just as he tries to jump through the portal to the present, leaving him embedded in his wall.
  • Temporal Paradox: "Hate On Your Dial" ends up being an example of the Reverse Grandfather Paradox. The villain goes back in time to stop his father from being convicted of murder, but inadvertently informs the prosecution's star witness of the crime, because he doesn't know the identity of the witness... his mother.
  • There Are No Police: Many episodes end with the three protagonists in situations that would look extremely suspicious or even incriminating. One in particular would be "Bedazzled" where three people (including one policeman!) die at the shop with only Micki there. How did she get rid of the bodies?
  • The Unreveal: In "A Friend to the End", it is never explained exactly how Ricky's father murdered him, although the one flashback showing his abuse certainly implied it came from a simple beating or even from the severe whipping he was receiving. However, the fact multiple fights occur on the abandoned mansion's second floor landing, and most of them end with someone smashing through the staircase banister or falling over it to the floor below, is telling. While such a thing happening is not unusual, the fact Ricky seems almost driven to push his victims there could suggest that is how he himself died as well.
  • 13 Is Unlucky:
    • Aside from the name of the show itself (both the original and that forced by the executives), when the pocket watch from the Time Stands Still episode was activated, a ghostly 3 would appear next to the 1 to create the "13 O'Clock" of the title.
    • In a cross with Title Drop, Jack makes note at the end of "Hellowe'en", when Ryan claims they are safe again until the next Halloween, that they still need to worry because in two weeks, it will be Friday the 13th.
  • Time Stands Still: The premise in "13 O'Clock", where a cursed pocketwatch allows the holder to be the only one moving about the world for just one hour once it's 1 in the morning. note 
  • Together in Death: Contemplated in "Jack-in-the-Box", Megan is as much dealing with her alcoholic, grieving mother after Megan's father dies, and considering suicide to "be with him", as she is with the cursed box.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of Lucifer, and one of three copies, apparently; aside from the one seen in "The Prophecies", another is said to be kept sealed away in the Vatican and the other is unaccounted for.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Happens in several episodes, notably "Scarecrow" and "Midnight Riders."
  • Tragic Monster: Almost literally with the villain of "Master of Disguise."
  • Translation Convention: The unexpected series finale, "The Charnel Pit", involves Micki traveling through a Portal Picture to 1790 Paris. Considering Micki's posh background (and her having European ancestry), it is entirely likely she knows French, so that scenes in which she is present are in the proper language and simply being translated to English for the audience's benefit. However, all scenes in France, even those which occur when she is not present (such as ones between de Sade and Lafayette, or de Sade and his manservant) are still in English, and the writings de Sade passes to Eby through the painting are also written in English.*
  • Two Aliases, One Character:
    • Both Father LaCroix and Brother Curry, the "Oracle of Death", in "The Poison Pen" are aliases, although the latter is only important due to his role as the former's partner-in-crime (and the one taking credit for the pen's "predictions"). That the (eventual) abbot is a character who the audience already knows of is more important, since said character is the one who bought the pen from Uncle Lewis...and his real name is key to his eventual downfall (see I Know Your True Name).
    • Singer Lady Die in "A Cup of Time" is actually an old woman named Sarah, post-youthening.
    • Two back-to-back episodes, albeit for very different reasons. In "The Electrocutioner", Eli Pittman takes the name Christian Lindheim when he is released from the mental hospital following his botched execution—obviously because of having been convicted of murder and the notoriety of his surviving the electric chair, as there would be no other way to return to school let alone find work without being harassed and judged. (And since he had been declared dead, it may be that legally he had to change his name.) Only later, when he begins hunting down and killing those responsible for sending him to the chair, does having a new name aid him in his crimes. By contrast, Harry Braeden in "Brain Drain" takes the name Stuart Pangborn after absorbing the mind and intelligence of the doctor who was using him as a test subject, since there would be no way to explain how he's suddenly a genius and he both wished to conceal his crime and continue the doctor's work. The fact he kept the file around with his old name and a photo attached rather undercuts this, of course.
    • Variation in "The Sweetest Sting". Because the vampire bees drain a specific person's blood along with their life, when they give youth to others this causes them to take on the appearance of the one who was stung. As a result, both Norman Hendricks and Ben Landis take on the names and roles of Fred Marr and Bob Tucker, respectively. Meanwhile the villain McCabe still has his own name and identity, but he has taken on the appearance of Dwayne Purdy, the hive's original owner.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: An episode's plot is almost always concerned with recovering a single artifact (at least onscreen), though occasionally there are unrelated subplots like a Love Interest, a secondary mystery to be solved, saving a particular victim, or the simple matter of finding out an artifact is involved, or which one and how it works. But in one episode, "A Friend to the End", there are actually two separate plots with two different artifacts, the Shard of Medusa and the child's coffin. And they affect each other and even intersect several times—because Ryan and Micki are focused on getting the Shard back (and J.B's mom simply dumps him on Micki), they aren't even aware another artifact is involved for a while, and thanks to J.B.'s Crying Wolf tendencies his story is at first not believed, especially by Ryan. It isn't until J.B. tells Micki the story of Ricky's parents being murdered that she recognizes the name, looks up Jack's file of newspaper clippings, and checks the letters to Lewis and the manifest to put the clues together. Thanks to her leaving her coat behind at DeJager's, the Mad Artist is able to track them down at the store, catch J.B. there to hold hostage, and get the Shard back. And then thanks to Micki figuring out what's up with Ricky, she and Ryan have to rush to save J.B. from him, allowing DeJager to get away at the airport.

    U-Z 
  • Unrequited Love: At the end of "Hellowe'en", when Micki and Ryan ask Jack whether anything Lewis's ghost told them about his wife was true, Jack waxes eloquent on how beautiful and amazing a woman she was, that everyone loved her, and that he knew her "better than [he] ought to have, perhaps, but not as much as [he] would have dearly wished." Whether Lewis knew about this (and this at all factored into why he killed Grace, if he did; Jack only states she died) is left unrevealed. It's also implied she may have acted as a Morality Chain on Lewis (it seems clear she did not know about his Deal with the Devil or the curse; it might even have occurred after she died), and losing her is what set Lewis on his path to damnation, but this is also not confirmed for certain.
  • Unseen Evil: Lucifer, the Greater-Scope Villain of the whole series and the one responsible for the whole plot is never shown on camera. The only one who briefly catches a glimpse of him is Micki near the end of "Wedding in Black", who describes his eyes as being empty. Jack goes on to say, "Maybe that's all evil is. An absence of good."
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Jack and Ryan's plan in "Tails I Live, Heads You Die" is a classic example, since there isn't even a hint or indication of what it is, or that they were planning off-screen, until The Reveal (the fact there barely seemed time for Ryan to make the switch is a separate issue).
  • Vampire Hunter: In "Night Prey", Kurt Bachman is a vampire hunter. He wears a trench coat and sunglasses at night, and wields a cursed antique, the Cross of Fire, that he uses to kill vampires. As Jack suggests and is portrayed throughout, Kurt is insane and hunts vampires because one took his wife and made her into a vampire. Ironically, at the end of the episode, Kurt himself is revealed as a vampire, as he lets his wife feed on him rather than let her die (and so he can have the strength to fight off her vampire master).
  • Victim of the Week: A standard occurrence in the series itself.
  • Visual Pun: Albeit one that takes a bit of thought. The musical notation B# is spoken as 'B sharp', and in the episode "Symphony for B#" the Villain of the Week uses a very sharp knife hidden in a violin bow on his victims.
  • The Watson: Johnny in late Season 2 and throughout Season 3 when he became a regular character, often acts like this, mostly because he's a newbie. But also because after three seasons, the production crew needed someone to reiterate the basic concept of the show for new viewers.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: Obligatory in "Wax Magic", albeit revealed off-handedly at the end of the episode.
  • Weirdness Magnet: In many episodes, the three artifact hunters are often "coincidentally" in the vicinity of someone who starts using a cursed antique, or knows someone that is being targeted by an antique-user. Episodes that feature this include, "A Cup of Time", "Tales of the Undead", "Double Exposure", "Badge of Honor", "Symphony in B#", "Read My Lips", "Better Off Dead", "A Friend to the End", and "The Maestro".
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Ryan, as revealed in "Pipe Dream", but when he finds out that his father Ray is using a cursed tobacco pipe to fulfill his ambitions, it leads to Ryan Calling the Old Man Out while no longer acknowledging him as a father...until Ray performs a Redemption Equals Death Heroic Sacrifice to save his son.
    • Hot rod racer Mikey, in "Night Hunger." He grew up repeatedly trying to please, and ultimately hating his super-macho father, Dominic, who had repeatedly made him feel inferior compared to other kids, especially his childhood (in baseball) and adulthood (in drag racing) rival, Deacon. However, he's reached the point where he's using a cursed key – which Dominic, and not Vendredi gave him – to kill people so he can keep winning races, and once he realizes he can psychically control his car through the key, it's revealed that he plans to use this power to kill his father. In the end Mikey succeeds, while also killing himself in the crash.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • At the end of "Demon Hunter", Faron, the head demon hunter, just... disappears after killing his daughter. His fate isn't stated, and he's never mentioned again.
    • In "Year of the Monkey", Shohei teleports to get the cursed monkey statues, and teleports to Curious Goods to kidnap Jack. He's Tanaka's loyal right-hand man, but doesn't appear after he abducts Jack. There's no mention of him again.
    • In "The Tree of Life", Sybil is killed but the rest of the coven escapes. At least one of them, Dana, was an eager helper in Sybil's blood sacrifices. Dana and the others don't have the cursed statue, but they could still cause quite a bit of harm. No mention is made of their fate.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Near the end of the episode "Shadow Boxer", the Villain of the Week, Tommy Dunn breaks into Curious Goods and takes Micki hostage, threatening to hurt her if Ryan and Jack don't give back the cursed boxing gloves. Ryan gets the gloves from the Vault, but instead of giving them to Tommy, he decides to use the gloves in order to help save Micki. Of course, in order to make the gloves work, the user needs to use something as a punching bag so that their shadow can simultaneously attack its targeted victim; since Jack was near him during the time of the incident, it's quite safe to say that Jack got the short end of the stick, and that he wasn't too pleased by Ryan's actions. It gets worse when you realize Ryan didn't need to punch Jack. The first time we see Tommy use the boxing gloves, we are shown that he can summon the shadow just by using the gym's sandbags; instead of going back upstairs with the gloves, Ryan could've easily punched something downstairs for a few minutes until Tommy was down.
    • The action in question ended up not carried out, but in "The Shaman's Apprentice", Micki was willing to let the villain use the cursed rattle to kill the prejudiced chief surgeon so that her friend could be healed of incurable cancer. Jack called her on this, and when in the end they were forced to call down the ancestor spirits upon the villain and then return the rattle to its cave, Jack tried to comfort Micki by explaining to her that while life isn't fair, with the good dying unfairly and the bad getting to live on, they couldn't play God and choose who had the right to live and die, making it a much more downplayed and gentle version of the trope. The fact the episode ends with the friend finding the villainous doctor is gone and she is left without a cure makes the whole thing far more ambiguous, or at least more painful, than such situations usually are.
    • In "The Prophecies Part 2", Ryan kidnaps Lucifer's child sacrifice. Granted, Asteroth is possessing Ryan, but at least some of the time, Ryan has his own free will and chooses to stay in the village rather than just... leave. In the end, Ryan has to sacrifice himself—sort of—to save the girl that he kidnapped in the first place.
    • Another example of this trope is Johnny during Season 3 of the series. He was able to get the cursed wheelchair in "Crippled Inside", but decided to give it back to the Sympathetic Murderer of the episode out of sympathy and pity of her plight which does not end well for her. "Hate on Your Dial" had Johnny carelessly selling a cursed car radio to the brother of a racist man and "Bad Penny" had Johnny getting the cursed coin from the villain of the episode, but instead of giving it to Jack and Micki, he decides to use it in order to resurrect his dead father Vince, who was killed in "The Prisoner".
    • In "The Sweetest Sting", they let someone dying of cancer perish from withdrawal from the special honey, even though there's entire shelves of the stuff right there, enough to last him for decades if he just used a little of it every few weeks. Also in the same episode, Jack lets the vampire bees in the cursed hive free, trusting that they will turn back into normal everyday bees due to not being in the cursed hive anymore. Jack has no reason to think this, especially since he, Ryan, and Micki are dealing with the dark and malevolent power of Satan. The smart thing would have been to destroy the bees themselves in order to be on the safe side.
    • Jack is the one to get it from Johnny and Micki in "Night Prey" when, after recovering the Cross of Fire, he is perfectly willing to let the man who was using it to kill vampires (and get revenge for what was done to his wife) die at the undead's hands. He claims this is because "it isn't their business", that they only need concern themselves with the artifacts and that he just wants to protect Johnny and Micki. But it's pretty clear that the fact the vampire hunter had killed his friend Father McDermitt, and was willing to kill plenty of other innocents along the way (to make the cross work but also, though Jack doesn't know this at the time, to feed his now-vampiric wife), has led Jack to reject him as someone worth saving. When he ends up having to rush into the factory after all to save them and kill the now-vampiric vigilante, he finds he cannot kill the wife—perhaps because after having lost both of the men she loves, he can't bring himself to punish her more (though at that point she might prefer a Mercy Kill). In the end, Jack is left doubting himself, their mission, and even his own morality, while Micki opines that leaving the vampire wife alive, while a bad idea if she keeps on killing, was Jack's attempt to give her a chance to make a better, more moral choice than he or Kurt had.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: While a majority of the items had a time limit on their powers (where either the killing or the beneficial usage must take place within a certain amount of time of the other, or they would lose the chance to gain it/be killed by the item when it exacts the price from them instead of the innocent victim), several explicitly had other deadlines enforced:
    • In both "Hellowe'en" and "Doorway to Hell" the spirit of Lewis Vendredi had only a short window of opportunity to escape Hell and come back to life (in the former case by dawn, since that would be when the day of the dead was over, in the latter because he needed to make the spiritual trade before the anniversary of his death was past). The former example even uses the common trick of making the villain think he's won, only to reveal (in this case because the heroes stopped the mortuary clock) that dawn has come, with the usual satisfying results.
    • The hoodoo priestess of "The Voodoo Mambo" also had to collect all the elemental powers to come back to life before dawn.
    • Because it was associated with bringing a good harvest (i.e. something itself based on a particular season/weather conditions) the "Scarecrow" had to kill its three victims before a certain date.
    • The Evil Knockoff of "Double Exposure" had to be killed (through destroying the negative it came from) within a certain number of hours or the original would die and the duplicate would become real.
    • The seven people dying in water to make use of the healing powers of the cradle in "What a Mother Wouldn't Do" all had to die before the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking (not just the date of April 15, but the actual time of 2:20 AM).
    • In "And Now the News" the cathedral radio set a deadline of three deaths by five to midnight if the villain wanted her miracle cure (and Nobel Prize).
    • A different sort of time limit exists in "Eye of Death"—since the magic lantern can only project a slide for three hours before its candle burns out, that is how long the user has before he will be trapped in the past.
    • In "The Prophecies", the heroes are fighting to make sure the villain does not succeed in fulfilling the Book of Lucifer's pronouncements (whether by protecting Sister Adele's life or preventing the dark events from occurring) within a certain number of days before a special holy day—if the villain fails, he'll have lost his chance to make them come true, but if he succeeds, the engineered Crisis of Faith will destroy God's power and allow Satan to return to Earth. Interestingly, while a clock striking during the middle of the night is used as a herald of the various prophecies, this doesn't occur during the climax.
    • The demon in "Demon Hunter" has to kill all those who slew its cult masters by midnight of the full moon on the date of its contract if it is to return to Hell with the souls it has gathered. At the same time, the one who called the demon must be killed with the cursed knife by the same deadline if the demon is to be banished safely and the portal to Hell sealed.
    • Another different sort of time limit appears in "The Spirit of Television". Because Ilsa Van Zandt is using the cursed artifact to keep herself alive after she developed an incurable, degenerative condition, each death and each soul she feeds to the TV only extends her life by the same amount of time the doctors gave her to live—ten days.
    • While the Druidic fertility cult in "The Tree of Life" follows the seasons and the phases of the moon by their own belief system, it's eventually revealed the cursed Cernunnos statue also requires that they kill one father out of every twelve throughout a given year in order to keep producing twin pregnancies. The climax also takes place on the winter solstice, during a full moon, and requires a "Sacrifice of Fire" to provide their tree with the life energy needed to produce flowers and "seeds" for them.
  • When the Planets Align: In "Midnight Riders", a special alignment of the planets (specifically, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) is stated to somehow allow for time to be turned back so that past events can recur in the present; although no artifact is involved, there certainly does seem to be a ghostly curse invoked. The result diverges depending on whether heroes or villains are involved: the biker ghosts, if they can kill all those who killed them before the alignment ends, will be able to restore their murdered leader and all come back to life; meanwhile if the heroes can bury the biker leader's body in hallowed ground before sunrise, they can lay all the ghosts to rest (including Jack's father who got caught up in the original events) and end the curse.
  • When Trees Attack: Unsurprisingly occurs in "The Tree of Life" since the cursed artifact is giving the oak tree power and a degree of sentience, and the whole point of the Druidic fertility cult is for it to absorb enough life energy so as to produce new "fruits" (duplicates of the artifact) which will let each priestess start her own coven with her own tree. But after Johnny gets pulled by its roots into the underground warren along with the latest Human Sacrifice, he's able to cut the problem off at the source (literally) by slashing the artifact free from the root system.
  • Whole-Plot Reference:
    • "The Pirate's Promise" has more than a few similarities to The Fog (1980) what with the seacoast setting, the creepy lighthouse, the artifact being a foghorn that summons fog rather than warning against it, a murderous seaman's ghost, and a long-ago betrayal being visited on the perpetrators' descendants.
    • The episode "Symphony in B#" is this for The Phantom of the Opera, with Janos Korda as Erik, Leslie as Christine Daae, and Ryan as Raoul, complete with mysterious rooms and tunnels beneath the theater for the resident Tragic Monster to hide in, a return of the Phantom's original unhinged psychotic tendencies (and his desire to have a normal life via continuing to make musical recordings), and the suspicion that Leslie/Christine could be the one behind what's happening. The differences are that this Phantom actually has to kill to make his music (because of his ruined hands and the cursed violin), the instrument of choice is the violin rather than the organ (or the human voice), the two of them had already been together as a couple before the accident that burned him and ruined his hands (rather than being mentor and student, and him being deformed from birth), and Erik's original plan of Together in Death ends up carried out (albeit accidentally, after Leslie makes a Heroic Sacrifice). Also note Leslie's last name, Rains, is a Shout-Out to Claude Rains, who played the Phantom in the 1943 film.
    • "Read My Lips", aside from the Child's Play references, also has a number of similarities to the Anthony Hopkins film Magic, what with a Split Personality ventriloquist struggling to escape the clutches of his seemingly-sentient dummy. It even has a Burgess Meredith-like actor (playing a rival ventriloquist, rather than his agent), although with a high-school crush Love Interest rather than a fiancee.
    • "Midnight Riders", with its theme of the dead coming back to kill the ones who unjustly killed them in a massacre, is also similar to The Fog (1980).
  • Who You Gonna Call?:
    • Although the occasional artifact deals with ghosts, demons, vampires, or other supernatural beasties, in general it's the items themselves which concern the trio. That said, there are plenty of villainous individuals and groups (especially the ever-eager Satanists) to either swoop in and try to claim one or which are already making use of one that the heroes have to stop before they bring Hell on Earth. Although there is a Masquerade (albeit one which seems to have a good amount of Implausible Deniability), the three still manage to always be on-hand when things go bump in the night or happen to hear about whatever occult matter is going on; occasionally they also get summoned for aid by those in the know (such as the white magic circle in "Coven of Darkness" or Sister Adele in "The Prophecies"). Ryan Jumps at the Call while Micki is at least very reluctant at first if not outright refusing; Jack, as The Mentor, simply sees it as a duty they are honor-bound to carry out, not only because they're the only good people who are aware of the issue and what's at stake but because for one reason or another they are partly responsible for the situation.
    • One episode-specific example, however, occurs in season 3 with the eponymous "Demon Hunter" family. It isn't made clear how long they have been involved in Demon Slaying or what the first impetus for doing so was—flashbacks reveal that they had been hunting down a particular demon-worshiping cult because their daughter/sister had joined it, and then pursuing the demon the cult members sicced on them while being slaughtered (both for revenge and to resurrect themselves), but it seems as if the father and one brother may have been hunting demons and their cults for longer than that. It's also not revealed how they obtained their equipment (or how there could even be technology to locate and track demons), but since the father's general attitude and terminology used suggest a military background, it is most likely some sort of quasi-government agency a la The X-Files.
  • With Catlike Tread: At various points throughout the series, one of the trio tends to give themselves away to villains they are sneaking up or spying on; nine times out of ten it will be Ryan. A particularly egregious version is in "The Baron's Bride" when he leaps out of hiding in the warehouse to try and stake the vampire Villain of the Week. In his defense, said villain is about to bite and vampirize Micki, but by announcing himself with a scream he ruins any chance of a successful staking. Thankfully Abraham shows up Just in Time to save the day.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Ricky from "A Friend to the End," whose past history of suffering abuse has made him very hateful towards all adults.
    • Howard from "Mesmer's Bauble". The dorky record store clerk turns into a homicidal, obsessed maniac once he gains possession of the titular trinket. So obsessive, in fact, that he doesn't just want his idol, pop star Angelica, to love him. He wants to be her.
    • The only thing that Rachel Horn of "Crippled Inside" did wrong was go on a date with the wrong boy. Then she suffers Attempted Rape, and during her escape ends up a quadriplegic. Her only hope is to kill the boys who tried to rape her, one of which is determined to finish what he started, so the cursed wheelchair will heal her. In the end she takes out her last attacker in a Taking You with Me.
    • Poor, poor Megan Garrett from "Jack-in-the-Box". She walks into the pool where her father works as a lifeguard (on her birthday, when her parents are planning to hold a surprise party) just in time to see him attacked by a group of drunk assholes, then find his body floating in the water. Her mother loses herself in alcohol and ends up becoming verbally abusive and neglectful. She is so desperate for her father to live again and to be with him that she doesn't care who she has to hurt or kill to make it happen (leading to some very Troubling Unchildlike Behavior). When she comes to believe her mother no longer loves her and her father's ghost tells her they can't be together so long as her mother is alive, she attempts to kill her too. Finally the depth of her grief leads her to attempt suicide with the cursed jack-in-the-box so she and her father can be Together in Death.
  • Working the Same Case: In "Badge of Honor", initially Ryan and Micki have no idea about the cursed object of the episode, instead pursuing Micki's New Old Flame who seems to be a criminal dealing with a local mobster; only by pursuing him to the mobster's club do they end up inadvertently witnessing the vigilante antagonist who is using the artifact to get revenge on said mobster and his men.
  • Yandere: The artifact-owner of "Wedding Bell Blues" is this taken to the fatal extreme, since she rejects all pleas to leave the man she wants to marry no matter how it's pointed out he only cares about gambling and pool and is just stringing her along...but after he (thinks he) kills her with the cursed cue stick so he can win his tournament (because he witnessed her killing her own sister for sleeping with him), she appears in her Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress, and in a classic If I Can't Have You… kills him with her own wedding cake server.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • On a few occasions, the trio doesn't get back the artifact they're seeking. Sometimes the villain manages to escape with it (DeJager and the Shard of Medusa in "A Friend to the End"); sometimes it is lost and they have a chance to get it when it turns up again in a later episode (the Coin of Ziocles, the compact—which is actually shown being found in the bushes by someone as The Stinger of "Vanity's Mirror" to set up its return in "Face of Evil"); once they were actually fooled by a switch with a duplicate ("The Quilt of Hathor"); and once they promised to leave an artifact in a safe place where it could do no harm, only for it to be seen in the vault in a later episode ("The Shaman's Apprentice", then "Jack-in-the-Box").
    • There are also a few cases where the artifact in question does not turn out to be the obvious suspect (in "Read My Lips" it isn't the Demonic Dummy, but instead the boutonniere it's wearing) or the item cannot at first be found in the manifest because it was a gift from Lewis and thus never sold (the eponymous pipe in "Pipe Dream", and the car key in "Night Hunger"). The latter case is both at once, since it turns out the key itself was not cursed, but rather the chain that held it. And once, in "Double Exposure", the name of the purchaser in the manifest could not be identified until Jack realized it was actually the call letters for the TV station the villain had worked at.

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