Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Fades, Season 1, Episode 2

Ok… I am faintly bemused and had to check if I missed an episode because there seems to be information covered in the “previous episode” recap that wasn’t there in the previous episode. Maybe I missed it.

Anyway, we rejoin the action with the Angelics (apparently the word for the humans with odd powers) trying to stop the pissed off trapped dead ghosts (the Fades) from destroying the world.

One of the brain breaking parts about this series I’m going to have to try and get round is the way that death is not the end – after all it is all about dead ghosts, right? So while we had both Sarah and Helen die in the last episode, Sarah’s still walking around talking Neil. Unfortunately having Sarah hang around isn’t that damn useful since she’s an extremely fatalistic dead person. Not exactly full of hope and light – she is convinced that the end of the world is inevitable.

Meanwhile Paul, our reluctant hero, is still having horrific – possibly prophetic – nightmares. What we do know from all this is that mac is absolutely terrible at interpreting dreams. Hopefully anyway. Neil, the only surviving Angelica (I wonder what his shiny ability is?) still has the job of introducing him to the new world he is seeing (and dreaming about). And takes him to an old mental institution to meet the local ghosties – where Paul meets Natalie, a Fade who runs around silently trying to electrocute him. Well, everyone needs a hobby. Of course this shows another ghost who can touch things – another bad sign for the doom and gloom. However, they’re there to meet Eric, one of the very first Fades from 1946 when the ghosties first stopped moving on – and he used to be an Angelic. And he has a really freaky way of shaking hands and meeting new people. And it is confirmed – Paul is the special chosen one. And he can resurrect birds.

We do have the inevitable “but I didn’t chose this!” scene, but, given the givens, I think Paul is probably justified in not wanting to have the ability to “see murderous ghosts who want to kill me, oh and the world is ending.” I have to say as far as preternatural abilities go, it’s pretty low down the desirability list. Especially when said ghosts start eating flesh for extra power, kill local school children and generally are not pleasant people. Ok, the glowy healing hands are pretty cool
Of course, it doesn’t become more desirable when Neil expects him to abandon his life to be an Angelic full time – saying goodbye to friends and family.

Meanwhile Mark is dealing with his missing ex-wife (Sarah who is dead but hanging around) by losing his temper with his students and trying again with the failed one night stand on her bed. Stay classy Mark. Ghostly Sarah gets to watch invisibly and she’s most certainly not amused. He does find paperwork pointing towards Sarah’s whole other life.

I’m not quite sure what role Mark is supposed to fill yet, he seems a little tagged on to the story. Same with Anna, Paul’s deeply unnecessary and utterly unpleasant sister.

Paul’s relationship with Jay continues to be horribly awkward and cringeworthy. Jay continues to throw hints, clues and everything else at Paul in his cluelessness – so probably extremely realistic and authentic. And I like Jay as a character – the dichotomy she lives with what she wants and the act she maintains with Anna.

Paul’s interactions with Neil are good though, I’m really seeing a good mentor relationship developing there – and I loved Neil’s pep talk. And no, I don’t think Paul’s going to turn round and become uber alpha hero, but he still has strength and Neil shows it well – as well as being well acted, very real and not ridiculously alpha male or ridiculously soft and gentle either.

Mac and Paul still bounce off each other extremely well. The banter is good, even the babble is good, usually. Usually. Sometimes it just gets to the point of ridiculous buffoonery. I’m also vaguely irritated by the extreme outcastness of the pair that is utterly unexplained. However, we do see more depth with Mac and his home situation –it’s tragic and not fun but I’m glad Mac’s saved from being total comic relief – and it shows the depth of their friendship. In fact, I think I like most of the interactions between the characters here – even between Paul and his mum are very real and true.

I’m not amused by the ambushing gross anti-gay and ablest slurs that were utterly unnecessary and pretty much came out of nowhere, especially since the show hasn’t had a single GBLT person yet and only side disabled characters. The ableist slur has been used by an obviously unpleasant character but that doesn’t redeem it and the anti-gay slurs aren’t even relegated to the ever-vile Anna.
The series still have amazing atmosphere and theme. They’re dark, gritty, spooky and in places outright frightening without the need for flash. The characters are extremely real and its very character driven, the relationships are real, the acting is good. It has problematic elements and I’m leery where some of it is going, but on the whole, yes I like it, I really like it.