Saturday, February 11, 2012

Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 6

An argument about creating weapons in a factory owned by several brothers quickly escalates – and then one brother is on the floor, hit on the head with a metal bar. And lo they have a case, defending Marcus who is being charged with the murder of his brother.

I dislike Tom attacking Marcus for his atheism, especially since his own growing jadedness, lack of faith in the world and Mr. Mountjoy’s often questionable motives and bizarre actions have been getting him down as well. Still, after being convinced of Marcus’ innocence, Zak is determined to see him acquitted.

But there are other issues as well. The very nature of the armaments factory closing costing many jobs, of a long trial increasing the risk that it will lose its contract and the factory will be forced to close again costing jobs – yet at the same time, it’s a weapons factory that contributes to so much killing. And, of course Richard is using his naughty fallen angel influence to further have the factory closed (putting pressure on the defence as well). And his machinations put Hannah at risk of attack by disgruntled factory workers blaming her as the lawyer shutting them down.

Which cumulates into an epic confrontation between Zak and Richard in the Minster – angel wings! I don’t know this scene was impressive and beautiful with a gorgeous setting but… it could have been so much more! Personally, if I was going to have Zak walk yup the aisle, backlit so epicly then I would have had his wings stretch up and outwards, filling the space, not be so bedraggled and close. I would have had halos and flashes of light and darkness when they struck each other.

It’s still an incredible, powerful great scene and is an almost perfect example of demonic temptation and angelic fall in a beautiful setting (the Minster is a beautiful building and it was used extremely well).

We have relationship angst, of course, with Hannah (walking love interest with no real role or character) having fun with her soldier boy and Hannah seems to sort of remember Zak which is a problem. More of a problem is that she was brought to York by Richard expressly to tempt Zak – she’s another chess piece, a pawn in the battle between heaven and hell. Every now and then Hannah seems to be cast vaguely as their grounding with reality, as the only non-angelic regular cast member she could be the normalising factor, the practical factor, maybe even the factor that shows that miracles can’t always fix things. But we don’t really get there and I think it’s an opportunity lost.

Zak also kicks arse in court because Hannah shows up and inspires him, it seems. I’d really like to see Hannah more as her own person rather than through the lens of one man or other. And then they go and put the end of the world on a timer – curse the temptress woman, it seems.

And Mrs. Sherringham with her brother-in-law with a growing relationship that still sits uncomfortably with me because it’s based entirely on how like his brother he is. Is this a relationship with him or a relationship with her dead husband with him as a stand in? At least it does serve to make Mrs. Sherringham more than the Mother Hen to Tom and Zak. And Carl is making good points about Mrs. Sherringham living her own life – this is looking hopeful (though a man saving a woman from her life of drudgery, ah the Cinderella Complex, something we need to address as well) or was until we realise it’s another demonic plot of Richard’s! Yes, Mrs. Sherringham being seduced into having a life of her own is the act of the devil!  Why didn’t they just have a snake tempt her to pick an apple and serve it in crumble to Zak and Tom? It would have been more subtle!

But it’s ok, Zak and Tom work to make her a wonderful little party showing that all is warm and wonderful.

Tom is starting to get disillusioned because nothing they do changes much in the grand scheme of things, which is fair enough and reasonable – and I want to see it developed. But I want to see it developed in a realistic manner, and not with Tom pouting and sulking like a child being told there is no Father Christmas. His growing cynicism isn’t coming off like Zak’s jadedness so much as proof of Tom’s child-like naivety. And while it’d be nice to be rid of that naivety, I’d like to see it grow into him actually maturing. And I’m not sure that’s going to happen because he suddenly gets better half way through. From angsty and melancholy to chipper again – it looks more like a mood swing than disillusionment or growth.

There remains little inclusion in the series – no GBLT characters and only 1 POC character and the women fit very very narrow roles.

As is common with Eternal law, I feel there was a lack of depth, even if there were some epic scenes. We touch on the morality of an armaments scene vs the lives of the factory workers, but never go into any depth. We have the nature of Mrs. Sherringham living her own life as opposed to being a glorified servant, but we never follow it through (worse, we end up portraying her independence as an infernal plot!) we have Tom’s disillusionment but it not leading to learning, growth or maturity and instead it being cast aside when it not longer useful. Even Zak’s angst over Hannah and his wondering “what if” and the cost of not falling is used for moments of poignant and powerful emotion but never really delved into. In short, we have a dozen issues that could be deeply and truly explored in fascinating and meaningful ways but we continually don’t do it.

But then we do, at least, have some great acting, some truly powerful scenes, emotion powerful enough to knock you back in your chair and some glorious usage of a beautiful city (York tourist board must love this show. It actually makes me want to drive over there for the day). Gah, I cycle between being impressed and infuriated. Honestly, I wanted to give it a 4 fangs for epic scenes and general epicness (I was surprised by the amount of epic pulled this episode and I always have a weak spot for the epic), but the tropes made me pull back