Thursday, May 17, 2012

Blood Ties Season 1, Episode 7: Heart of Ice

Vicki and Celluci are doing their flirty thing, with Celluci blurring the boundaries around their relationship and Vicki giving him not too subtle “back off” vibes. And Vicki doing some actual, mundane detective work for money.

On the supernatural front, Francine, a homeless woman is attacked by night-versioned beast-like hunter under the light of the full moon.

Annie, another homeless person and a friend of Francine takes the case to Vicki. She remembers Vicki from her police days as one of the few who had any sympathy for the homeless – and with at least 4 people missing, they need sympathy.

After finding some of the dead woman’s stuff and some blood she, of course, turns to henry, hoping to use him as a bloodhound to track the blood trail into the sewer. Yes there is flirting. Vicki takes the bag they found to Celluci to try and get the police working on the case. Celluci is unwilling to devote resources to the case and deems it a low priority and a “hard sell” especially since it’s based on the witness statements of homeless people.

While not helpful on her case, he does want Vicki to look at his; Celluci and Graham are working on the murder of a sex-worker who was drained of blood with tiny holes on her neck. And a big, neon sign saying “vampire” flashing over her corpse. Yes, of course Celluci is aimed at Henry and Vicki is protecting him. The fact that Vicki has given Henry blood before also raises itself in the conversation

Henry’s tracking of the beast doesn’t find it – but does find a human who is also hunting it – and he calls it a Windigo. The man, Peter, a Native American, returns to Vicki’s office with Henry to tell them a dramatic story about the Windigo – a creature that used to be a man that eats people. He tells all of this in a rather stilted English for some reason. Coreens’ research fills in some gaps on the big hairy monstrous Winidgo

Celluci is approached by a Javier Mendoza over the dead sex-worker. He’s an officer of “canon law” and is basically hunting Henry because he’s a vampire.  He also brings a file of other supposed victims of Henry, including Delphine, a  woman he was in a relationship with in 1944 – which Celluci then takes to confront Henry with in his classic jealous style. Celluci is left with the difficult choice of handing Henry over to Mendoza or not – he doesn’t like Henry, but working with or helping a vigilante killer is a hard choice to make.

Javier presents Henry as a monster with a mass number of kills and that Vicki will be the next victim. And Javier gives him a sun pendant that will drain Henry’s life if placed on his chest. And Javier should know because, unknown to Celluci, he has already used it on Delphine – who isn’t dead, she’s a vampire (something Henry neglected to mention) and imprisoned at Javier’s mercy, left for the sun.

Vicki and Henry go into the sewers to try and find the Windigo where they run into Peter and a man in a very bad costume (seriously, special effects or costume budget, please! I’ve seen better costumes on teenagers at Hallowe’en) there is a scuffle – Henry gets hurt and Peter gets dragged off. Henry needs blood to heal – but refuses Vicki’s offer after the latest jealous drama with Celluci.

After more research, Coreen discovers Windigo don’t like fire – and gets Vicki a nifty flamethrower. She also hands out silver bullets left, right and centre. Vicki and Henry have the obligatory fight scene against the Windigo I can’t even remotely take seriously – not only is the Windigo the most appalling costume I’ve seen since early Doctor Who, but the fight choreographing is absolutely appalling. The fight ends when Celluci, with his silver bullets, shatters the Winidgo. And puts his little sun symbol on Henry’s chest. Mendoza arrives and they lock Vicki away at gunpoint so Mendoza can take Henry away

CLIFFHANGER. Personally, I’d be worried about Celluci – because Vicki’s going to hurt him. Oh yes yes she is.

Classwise, the episode points out how helpless the homeless are and how little the powers that be care about them. We also see racial minorities and mention of the mentally ill among the homeless – too many depictions of the homeless, especially when we’re expected to feel sympathetically about them, omit depictions of the marginalised people who are most threatened by homelessness.

We do also touch on several of the issues the homeless face – how precious the items that keep them alive are and how leaving the crime scene untouched is impossible. The lack of sympathy and support from the police

Winidgio (and Skin Walkers for that matter) are becoming very popular in Urban Fantasy. The sad things is, they seem to be included less to try and include some non-European myths, legends and culture in a genre that could certainly use more inclusion, so much as they’re included to give us a shiny monster that’s basically a werewolf, but werewolves are just so passé. This isn’t used to increase the inclusion or diversity of the series - it’s used to bring in a shiny new monster. We aren’t trying to include Native Americans or their culture – we’re raiding them for shiny new beasties.

I love Vicki’s speech about duty and obligation – as someone who has seen the monsters and know what they can do – and knowing the police can’t or won’t act how can she stand there and not act? (An interesting parallel to Celluci’s own quandary over Henry – since this is something else the police can’t act upon), I also love Henry’s resignation to the fact that he can’t win an argument with Vicki. In terms of interesting speeches, I also like Henry’s speech about choosing to live and being irritated about being judged for drinking blood. Even Celluci’s quandary has a lot of food for thought in it. There’s lots to think about there, I’m not sure if it was all explored adequately, but the seeds are there