I hate to say it, but Kakyoin’s really proven to be the weakest link. None of these Stardust Crusaders need a scene where they’re opening up about their feelings at the dinner table, but at least Polnareff has (or had? Is it totally resolved, now?) that score he needed to settle. After that, he doesn’t have to go on some breathless monologue for there to be an added level of empathy when he’s squaring off with a villain. We know the memory of his dead sister is motivating him.
Kakyoin, though? He was only evil for an episode. There isn’t much of a redemption arc there. You might say the he’s trying to get revenge on Dio for manipulating him, but that still doesn’t put much of his skin in the game. Even if you removed the ticking clock hanging over Jotaro’s mom’s head, the Joestars still have a bitter bloodfeud with Dio. Kakyoin’s got nothing and, honestly, at this point, he’d add more value to the story if he were killed off (if only to reassert the danger Dio’s minions pose).
Anyway, if the last couple episodes were paying homage to ‘Video Nasties,’ then the references were too obtuse for me to pick up on. This 'Baby Reaper,' however, isn’t a direct tribute to Freddy Krueger, but I’d be shocked if Araki didn’t get the idea for this episode after watching one of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST. flicks (let's hope it was DREAM WARRIORS).
Of course, that said, I have no idea what musical act ‘Mannish Boy’ is a reference to (taken literally, it obviously means that the baby possesses a preternatural, malevolent intelligence?). The gimmick of the ‘waking dream’ might not be as fresh, but the notion of these big, burly men fighting against an evil toddler is both hilarious and scary.
Watch "Death 13, Part 1" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.