Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blood Ties, Season 1, Episode 8: Heart of Fire

Last week Celluci’s jealousy (coupled with Henry’s obtuse need to be as mysterious and non-communicative as possible) lead to Henry getting the ugly sun brooch to drain his powers and leave him vulnerable to Javier the vampire hunter.

Vicki is not pleased by this turn of events. No, no she is not and makes her displeasure very well known with judicious application of knuckles to jaw. Celluci seems to think that working with vigilante priests is part of his job – wow, the job description of a police officer just got way wider. They agree to work together because Vicki wants Henry back and Celluci wants Javier Mendosa – why? In what way has Javier acted differently to what Celluci expected?

Henry is a chained up for the pleasure of Javier, who is quoting the trippier parts of Revelations. Henry spends a lot of time rather pointlessly flailing in his chains and trying to bite Javier from a distance of several feet. We also get some wonderful flashbacks about the last time Henry was held captive by the Catholic Church.  We also see that it was the same priest in both cases – making Javier over 400 years old.

Javier drains his blood and offers him a rat to eat – which Henry rejects out of mercy. There follows classic inquisition techniques of torture for confession and showing henry video of Delphine, one of his vampire children who Javier also tortured into confession. This goes on in extremely dramatic fashion – it’s very thematic but it’s also very melodramatic. In the past eh escapes by winning the sympathy of Mendosa’s female assistant, Maria – and praying over the rosarie to convince her he’s not evil. Then he eats her – hey, he’s hungry, snack time! But he also offers her his blood to make her a vampire. She wakes – sees Mendosa and calls him her love – and he stakes her (with a hammer as well – very realistic and traditional).

Celluci goes back to the police station for more flirting with Kate (to his cluelessness) and boss lady Crowley on the warpath (because she doesn’t like Vicki, because strong, independent tough women must hate each other, It’s a Rule). And Vicki sets Coreen on the research trail.

Police work includes harassing prostitutes for more information (there was a prostitute murdered last week as well). I dislike the harassment but I do like how the sex-worker makes it clear that she needs the money and makes their harassment clear as harassment. She takes them to an abandoned church where  Javier tried to take her to feed the last vampire he had kidnapped (Delphine)

They find Delphine, chained and starving Vicki feeds her and asks her a few questions – but then the sun comes up and Delphine burns to ash. They do find the research that Javier left behind. We also get Celluci being all sad because it was such a horrible way for Delphine to die.

More research later, including awesome pathologist, reveals a Chinese herb revered for immortality mixed with vampire blood (yes, the pathologist is awesome). And Coreen finds that the 8 rayed sun is also of Chinese origin – again for eternity (I think the mythology is played very fast and loose here). They also learn that there was a priest in the Sapnish Inquisition called Javier Mendosa as well. It’s at this point I back away from the screen in case it wants to slap me any harder with blatantly obvious clues.  With this barrage they finally come to the conclusion that Javier is using vampire blood to extend his own lifespan.

Searching for Mendosa, Vicki enters his church alone and is captured – and brought into the room with the starving and out of control Henry. He tries to use her to force Henry to confess killing Maria. Which is as much about purging Mendosa’s guilt as it is about any dedication to confession.

Vicki manages to free herself from her chair – just as Henry manages to break his chains – but Mike arrives in time for a rescue, knocking out the priest and getting snacked on by Henry, though he stops before causing major damage. They find the key and free Henry from his Sun brooch. Henry then gets his own revenge on Mendosa. And, somewhat suspiciously for some reason (by the shifty way she acts) Vicki picks up the sun brooch. Presumably for reasons other than it being too dangerous to leave lying around

One of the things that is so unique about Vicki is that she is a disabled character. Her condition means she has very little – and shrinking – peripheral vision, has to wear powerful glasses, has next to no night vision and her sight is slowly deteriorating. But the TV series is increasingly forgetting this, often having her without her glasses, staying in darkened rooms (even her own office) without turning on bright lighting and having frequent nocturnal adventures without her vision being apparently compromised. It’s great we have a disabled protagonist – but less so when the disability is turned off when it gets in the way of the plot or forgotten about except for odd references.

I also really wish that Vicki wouldn’t keep being kidnapped. It’s getting habitual.

Inclusionwise the series is still poor – a bit part POC here and there that’s never sustained. Which is a shame, because the characters they do have are great – for those few seconds they’re on screen.

Now I’m interested to see what happens next –especially whether Vicki and Henry suddenly forgive Celluci because he helped fix the mess he made. I will be irritated if they do. Rescuing someone you arranged to have kidnapped doesn’t redeem you in my eyes.