Monday, January 16, 2012

Review of The Sanctuary Season Two

The best episodes of season two were the first two.  I am not saying that it was all downhill from there, just that it was hard to top the emotion that the scooby gang, yes that's what I am calling them went through with Ashley's death.  It really humanized Magnus to watch as she searched for any clue that her daughter might possibly be alive.  I could really feel her pain as a mother, and I loved watching Will turn from just another sidekick into a true anchor for her. In the end, I think that Ashley died so that the audience could get a sense of jeopardy from the show.  If week after week the scooby gang fights impossible odds and survives then there is no real tension. With Ashley dead they created the possibility that a cast member that we have grown to care about could actually die at some point.

I don't think that Magnus becomes any less irritating this season.  This in part is because the writers insist on inserting her in history to validate the fact that she is 158 years old. Did you know that she was even on the Titanic and was saved by the unsinkable Molly Brown? I have to admit I rolled my eyes at that one.  Who is this woman, Forest Gump? I know, I know, Momma always said that life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get.   Is it possible that there is a historical moment in which she did not participate, or a historical person that she did not meet? 

This season we finally got the introduction of a regular character of colour.  Kate Freelander who is played by Agam Darshi is forced to turn to the Sanctuary after being captured by the scooby gang and she is deemed compromised by the cabal. At first she is resistant to becoming a part of the sanctuary but she eventually takes Ashley's place.  Her loyalty is tested twice with the most obvious being the episode in which she meets Jimmy, a former gang member that Magnus is trying to help.  Jimmy as it turns out, is the man that killed her father.  This is a growth episode for Kate, as she realizes that she could have been Jimmy and that she alone is responsible for how her life turned out. In typical paternalistic fashion, Magnus reminds her that she still has her whole life in front of her.

One of the more touching episodes this season is Fragments.  An abnormal named Jack who communicates with sign language attacks Rachel, the woman that Henry loves.  Jack's food is poisoned to encourage him to kill Henry because Gerald rightfully believes that Henry has become the third wheel in his marriage.  This episode is all about accepting ourselves for who we are and believing that we are worthy of love.  In the end, Henry lets Rachel go, though she professes her love for him, because he fears that it will hurt his friend Gerald. One thing I am confused about, as a far Henry's characters goes, is the idea that he would never be able to be human again if he transforms to a wolf.  

The very last two episodes of this season were absolutely the most problematic so far.  Will and Kate are forced to go to India to investigate what they call a Kali cult.  Yes, Kali the Hindu Goddess. These followers have the ability to stop disaster from happening by keeping Kali calm.  Kali is not just a spirit on this show, she manifests as big Bertha, a huge spider who is capable of shifting the tectonic plates.   I am not overly familiar with Hinduism however the very idea of Kali being managed by humans is absolutely wrong.  It is also no accident that it is Kali the destroyer that they chose to fixate on and not Kali the maternal.

From the moment I realized what they were doing, I knew it was going to be a problem.  It all begins when normally docile abnormals start acting weirdly out of fear.  Will and Kate head off to Mumbai and a macri a small spider implants itself in Will and he is able to see and converse with Kali.  In one scene, Kali is in a pool and a reflection in the water makes it appear as though she has four arms but that is about as far as the show goes to make Kali appear as we have become used to seeing her.

In the background on the science end of things, you have Magnus hunting down Big Bertha and trying to preserve her life, because she believes that a creature this powerful has to much of a connection to the world's ecosystem to simply kill off. Unfortunately for Magnus, this puts her into a spot with the leaders of the other sanctuaries.  Just as Will convinces Kali to stop the destruction by dancing in the street (this btw is the worst bollywood performance ever) Terrance Wexford, takes control and attacks Kali. 

We are left with Will being unconscious after Kali attacks him and Big Bertha climbing on top of the tectonic plates and releasing some sort of sonic boom.  Can I just say that referring to a Hindu Goddess as Big Bertha is beyond offensive and the liberties that they have taken with her story is typical western appropriation of Eastern mysticism. These stories are not theirs to use and I don't for a moment understand why they went there at all.  Somehow I have the feeling that never would have chosen to play with Christianity in this form.  To see a bunch of White characters debating the life worth of a Hindu Goddess was simply imperialism in action.  The fact that the added an actual Indian actress to the mix, does not make it any more acceptable, especially because she was not in a leadership position within her own damn culture.

I don't know how they are going to repair this in season three, but they need to back away from the idea that they can just jump in and out of cultures of colour and infiltrate them for the purposes of a plot point.  This means no more Mayan villages, and no more Hindu Gods. I think that it is particularly telling that the only Sanctuaries that are lead by people of colour are in countries where they are in the majority and the London and American sanctuaries which basically run the institution are headed by White people.