Thursday, May 3, 2012

Blood Ties: Season 1, Episode 5: Deadly Departed

  We begin with an argument – Vicki being rather good at those (and usually in the right as well) between Vicki and Celluci. After weeks of refusing to hear anything to do with the supernatural he is furious that Vicki didn’t tell him that Henry Fitzroy was a vampire! He also tries to argue two pronged that Henry is a threat (because of all the stuff he has seen in the movies) and pour scorn on the idea that Henry helps her deal with the supernatural cases (which he pours scorn on for believing in). I’d demand he pick a point and argue it rather than arguing 2 mutually exclusive points. Still, Vicki has ordered far far too much Chinese food, so this can be discussed over a meal

We move to what looks like a haunting and a death because of it – a really really scary haunting actually. That was really well done considering what looks like an extremely small special effect budget. The deceased is a defence attorney and his widow wants Vicki to investigate (the police believe it was a heart attack). She believes the attacker would be Magnus O’Connor, an ex-client of Freddie’s. Except it seems like Magnus killed himself a week ago.

This of course leads Vicki to go see Henry because… I have no idea. To pose for a picture for him (except the picture he’s drawing isn’t actually in the pose she’s sat in… details details). More flirting and foreshadowing. The next day it’s time to go interview Magnus’s grieving mother – she gets no information but makes the woman cry and Magnus’s younger brother threaten her.

On to the most excellent pathologist, Dr. Rajani Mohadevan (she is my favourite character in the show – even if it is dubious that Vicki has constant access to her morgue) who points out that cardiac arrest just means “heart stopped working” and doesn’t indicate much in terms of cause of death. Bruises on the heart suggest someone reached into his chest and squeezed it. She also finds out that Magnus died with a pentagon carved into his chest – something that Celluci lied to her about.

Back to Henry for more feeding him of information which leads to the inspiration of Magnus’s suicide being a Celtic death ritual to allow him to seek revenge after death. On to see Sinead, an ex of Henry’s (they broke up because Sinead used magic to bind him to her – something she tries to do again, using magic to coerce Henry back into her bed) who says  that the spell on Magnus’s bodies was just the equivalent of the Last Rites.

Later we get to see the excellent pathologist again when the prosecutor in Magnus’s case also shows up dead with Magnus’s fingerprints on his heart – causing Vicki to go check on the judge as well. He’s covering in fear after a threatening phone call (really judge? In your profession a spooky phone call sends you to the panic room) and Vicki questions him on exactly why Magnus is so eager to kill them all – it seems they covered up some of the evidence in his case being contaminated. She packs the judge off with Henry to a hotel to keep him safe but, alas Magnus arrives and kills the judge anyway (despite Vicki’s truly pathetic attempts at first aid). But they did find out that Vicki’s marks from the demon allow her to touch Magnus’s ghost.

There follows some fun confrontations with the police (especially the Nasty Police Chief who just Hates Vicki, Crowley) over the judge’s death. Time for Henry and Vicki to question Sinead for the truth of the ritual while Celluci and Dave Graham (his side-kick – can a bit character have a side-kick) question Magnus’s brother who has been seen at each of the crime scenes. Sinead tells them some random vague stuff about Vicki’s tattoos and that the ritual on Magnus’s body wasn’t cleansing ritual (surprise) but actually *gasp* blocks the spirit and keeps it on Earth (you need an expert to figure this out by now?) and that it has been bound to a person! If only they could figure out who? I mean he has “mother” written across his chest in big letters.

And the police detective who also screwed up the case against Magnus and Magnus’s next victim? Is Detective Crowley. Time for a grand confrontation to save Crowley’s life and have Vicki’s special marks rip out Magnus’s spectral heart – niiicely done. Maybe I’ll take back my criticism of the special effects. Henry could have just snapped the mother’s neck – I’m just saying.

While Celluci annoys me a lot more than he did in the book – since he spends all his time being jealous or heckling, at times he and Vicki do fall into a relationship I love – bantering off each other and sliding into discussions where you can sense them as old friends with old arguments, old in-jokes etc that really works. I just wish we could see more of this and less of Celluci locking antlers with Henry and playing sceptic while werewolves eat his shoes.

He continues to demand Vicki keeps him in the loop – he’s done this before, but at no point has Vicki kept information from him except when he refuses to deal with the supernatural. He seems to spend a lot of time demanding Vicki keeping him up to date on her case then demanding Vicki stop telling him about the case! Then acting like she has a habit of withholding information from him.

As with last episode, I question why Vicki has gone to Henry with this case. Lawyer dies of apparent natural causes, has a freaky message on his phone but her suspect is already dead. What about this case screams or even whispers of the supernatural? Also, the awful Irish accents don’t make this episode any easier.

I want to see Dr. Mohadevan play a much bigger role – in fact, she’d make an awesome sidekick or protagonist. I love her rational scientific mind that refuses to be surprised by anything and is willing to encompass anything – and if the evidence says that a non-human creature killed someone or that someone died by having their heart squeezed then that is what happened – never mind what is “possible” or not – that’s what the evidence says! It makes me forgive Vicki being able to access any and all resources of a police detective

I still don’t like the flip of roles between Henry and Vicki from the book. In the book, Henry hired Vicki for her skills as a detective for the supernatural community – now Vicki keeps dropping in on Henry as his random supernatural Wikipedia for all of her cases – it’s a completely different dynamic and presents Vicki as constantly asking – no, demanding – favours so she can do her job.

I’m going to poke at the Nasty Police Chief Who Hates Vicki simply because this is a trope I see a lot in fiction – if you have a strong, independent, powerful female character and she meets another strong, independent, powerful female character then they have to hate each other (or one has to hate the other for no good reason if the person hated is the protagonist). It’s like there can only ever be one! I think it’s also why a lot of strong, independent female protagonists have no other strong female characters around them. And of course Celluci has to tell Crawler that her mistakes don’t make her look weak – they make her look human (hmmm… male dominated profession, woman leader makes a mistake? Yeah I think she’s pretty right on that one).