The only thing worse than a stranger coming into your town and taking the lives of two youthful teenage girls — and a teacher — is knowing that it was someone that was a part of the town the entire time.
There’s a naivety in familiarity. Where you become complacent to the safety you’ve been granted your entire life. Not realizing that danger has been lurking near you the entire time. As close as next door.
In the conclusion of Quibi’s When The Streetlights Go On, as weird as it sounds, we finally got some closure. It wasn’t exactly the closure I wanted — as the finale had me yearning for what could’ve been between Charlie and Becky — but knowing it would never get a chance to be.
All because of a sick serial killer masked as a happy-go-lucky dentist that was secretly plotting how to kill the two bundles of life he saw daily, in Chrissy and Becky Monroe.
Ultimately, we learned the identity of the murderer. And I was angry. Mostly because Charlie and Becky had become friends again, and my ship was getting ready to sail. Becky was smiling for the first time in a long time with Charlie, and it almost felt like a second chance at life for her.
Until that was stolen from her.
But I was also angry that it was someone that was in plain sight. If it was a stranger — like a delivery guy or something — there wouldn’t be a reason. With it being someone these girls knew well — their next-door neighbor — it was frightening beyond belief.
Knowing that this sick asshole had been plotting this — that he was able to brutally kill those girls and an educator — was disgusting. But more than that, this is the kind of series that makes you question your surroundings.
How well do you really know your neighbors? Do you really trust them? And if you said yes, are you sure?
For all intents and purposes, When The Streetlights Go On is based on a true story. It isn’t, but it is. While this isn’t based on events that happened in explicit detail like this, the scary truth is that there are plenty of stories like this one. Where sick perverts in the world feel entitled to something — whether it’s to being with someone or even to taking someone else’s life, because they can.
How many murders have there been involving the brutal killings of innocent people? Too many to count. But plenty to fill the seasons of crime shows and films.
Even as I write this review, the scary thing is that someone is being murdered. Whether by a jealous ex or an ex friend or a creepy neighbor that’s been silently lurking next door.
But it’s shows like this that remind you to always keep your head up. Even now, as times have changed. The fact that When The Streetlights Go On takes place in 1995, there’s a reason for it. Back in the day — even growing up, as I did in the ’90s — it was more trusting. Where kids, like myself, could go outside by ourselves and return home for dinner without a worry.
Thankfully, society has gotten smarter since then. Back then, there were killings in small towns that some people would brush off. Basically, “that kind of thing would never happen here.”
But that’s the thing, that small town where those murders happened, they were saying the same thing before it did. Just like the town of Colfax had.
As Charlie reflected on that summer of 1995, we understood why — even after 20 years — it’s stuck with him. When he learned that Becky was murdered, he lost his innocence. He realized that, even in a small town, no one is safe. But he also lost someone that he loved — and a future that he’d just seen laid out perfectly in front of him.
When Charlie returns to Colfax 20 years later for his reunion, the memories are fresh. That kind of thing stays with him. Even if that wasn’t the case for the rest of Colfax. After Becky’s murder, the Monroes left town, and a new family moved in. Colfax eventually forgot about the Monroe sisters, as if they were fading from the town’s memory. As if two brutal murders hadn’t happened right under their noses.
But, as it does, life goes on. Even if you’re the one directly affected, you have to find a way to move on. But for the rest of the town, they weren’t directly impacted, so it was easier for them.
While life does go on, the past isn’t forgotten. So when Charlie returned to Colfax, those memories came back as if they’d happened yesterday.
We end on an adult Charlie going on a run through the familiar Colfax streets, and he says that a piece of himself still haunts those streets. He can’t forget what happened that summer of 1995, no matter how hard he tries to.
But when the streetlights go on in Colfax, those ghosts roam the street, a reminder that even the smallest of small towns isn’t safe from those sickos in the world.
You can catch all episodes of When The Streetlights Go On on Quibi.