Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blood Ties, Season 1, Episode 9: Stone Cold

Vicki and Celluci meet jogging and discussing the ramifications of last episode. It seems that things are tense but Vicki is confident things will be fine between them. As an added bonus, she reassures Celluci they’ll be fine. Which doesn’t please me.  But more on that later.

Anyway, back to the plot – and a young couple are busy getting down to business, clothes come off and then she grows snakes and he turns to stone. Surprise gorgon! That’s got to put you off. Almost as much as the awful special effects.

The man’s (Brendan) modelling manager comes to Vicki to ask her to find him because she’s all he has in the world. Oh and he owes her $6,000. Celluci has recommended the case – which cases Coreen to suddenly start cheerleading for Celluci (and here was me thinking she was Team Henry) and acting like Vicki is unreasonable for not instantly forgiving him

Time for Vicki to do what she always does when she has a case – go see Henry. Yes I’ve ranted about this before as well – it’s a simple missing person’s case, Vicki, you’re a detective, you’re not even going to try and investigate before dragging the vampire in? This makes Vicki look so incapable and weak as detective that she can’t even begin to pursue a case without begging help from a vampire. How did she manage before Henry came along?

On to the nightclub where the man disappeared to pick up leads, speak to bar staff and eventually lead to the club owner (the gorgon), Elena who knows nothing, remembers nothing and has never had any trouble ever. Which is, of course, very very suspicious. In particular Henry heard her heartbeat race showing a lie and Vicki catches on that Elena mentioned “sexual predators” before she did –pointing to what she was thinking. Good detective work, I like it. Time for more Vicki and Henry flirting

Back to Coreen to check a website that Henry heard about in the club – a website where men post pictures of the women they’ve slept with. Yes, it’s classy. Thankfully Vicki treats it accordingly. But open for the women from Brendan’s profile has the club owner’s distinctive tattoo.

Celluci follows up to the same club asking questions because it has suddenly become a police matter, and starts flirting with Elena

Knowing she lied, Vicki and Henry go to her house – planning to enter unofficially (also known as breaking and entering). Out come the lock picks (or Henry entering through an upstairs window) and Henry hears a far-too-slow heart beat inside (wait, his hearing is that strong?) And inside they find a statue of Brendan – with the too slow heartbeat. Vicki and Henry rush out with the statue (and an acknowledgement and reminder of Vicki’s disability, at last) just as Celluci and the club owner bring the flirting home.

Coreen, Vicki and Henry all gather at Vicki’s office to discuss the stoned Brendan – and Coreen the very well read comes up with basilisk or gorgon. Vicki suspects Elena, but Henry advocates more caution. There is also much teasing of Vicki over Celluci going to Elena’s house. For some reason Vicki wastes her time taking this to Celluci who, obviously, ignores everything she says as usual and is snippy because she’s not all fuzzy and warm to him and wonders why they don’t just end everything. Y’know, Mike, I thought exactly the same thing myself. Why does Vicki put up with you?

In frustration and with characteristic courage and recklessness but, I have to say, uncharacteristic spunkiness, Vicki taunts Elena the gorgon to try and draw her out. And it works – a masked man turns up at Vicki’s office to smash the statue. She smacks him around really nicely but one blow puts her down. This is followed by reasonable depression and a really powerful conversation between her and Henry about love, youth and connection. Speaking of powerful scenes – Vicki buries the statue fragments that are all that is left of Brendan.

Celluci and Elena keep flirting and Celluci pokes Dmitri the doorman (probably the statue breaker).  They take the flirting to the next level, though the making out turns awkward since Celluci has half his mind on Vicki. Coreen and Henry go to Elena’s club to get in the VIP section where they find many many more statues. Using computer software they track them all to missing people.

Vicki and Henry meet to discuss bringing her down – and she borrows a sword from henry to do it. They have another great discussion (this episode is really full of them) on taking lives, on humans versus monsters and how hard it is to do.

Through Celluci and Dmitri we see a lot more of Elena’s pain and history. And we have a good description of her as a rape survivor and how rape survivors are treated. It’s really well done and covers a full depth of emotion – except that there’s this big glaring issue of her being a murderer. Which we see when she turns Celluci to stone! Yaaaaay, can we leave him like that?

Time for Henry to rush in and Vicki practice some dramatic posing before cutting Medusa’s head off and freeing the statues and leaving Dmitri to grieve over her head. Everyone goes on for some dramatic moping – especially with the death weighing on Vicki’s hands.

Then Vicki and Celluci have a little discussion in which they seem to quietly and subtly bury any romantic relationship they could have had.

Ok time for a great big temper tantrum rant. I am very very sick of the Celluci pity party. Celluci is not the injured part here. It’s bad enough that Celluci has been nothing more than a walking avatar of jealousy this entire season, but his ridiculous decision making and hatred of Henry allied him with a vigilante priest without doing any background check on the guy – and then his actions got Henry tortured and both Henry and Vicki nearly killed. Why is Vicki talking about things being eventually fine? How is she resisting not slamming his head against every flat surface every time she meets him? He hasn’t even apologised! And why is Vicki the one reaching out while Celluci slopes off in a huff because instant shining forgiveness isn’t forthcoming?

And Coreen! What is wrong with you, lady? Acting like Vicki’s being unfair not welcomeing Celluci back with open arms is beyond ridiculous! Celluci did not “make a mistake” he wilfully sided with a murderous vigilante – and don’t tell me he didn’t know. What did he think the Catholic vampire hunter was going to do to Henry? Advocate a vegan diet? Discuss anger management therapy? His wilful actions nearly got Henry and Vicki killed – and no, finding Henry afterwards is not redeeming! You can’t push someone into a pit (where they fall and break all their bones) then offer them a hand out and make it all better!

Maybe I’m more vengeful and grudgy than most, but I do hate it when characters give people a pass no matter how extreme the behaviour of people who’ve hurt them. I don’t think it makes them look compassionate and forgiving or even grown up – I think it downplays the bad treatment and validates it. It also feeds into the pernicious societal idea that just because someone said sorry (which, I hasten to add, Celluci hasn’t actually done) he is owed forgiveness. Forgiveness is earned, not owed. And, from a story standpoint, since we don’t then get any attempt at redemption from the bad behaviour, I spend the rest of the series thinking of them as “that arsehole” because his shitty behaviour has never been addressed or redeemed.

Rant number 2 – yes I’m still irritated by Vicki calling on Henry the minute she has a case – even when the case seems to be mundane, even before she’s even tried to do any investigating on her own. In the book Henry is the one who goes to Vicki for help most of the time – because she’s the detective with the skills, knowledge and experience that he, a writer, doesn’t have and the supernatural community needs. For Vicki to turn to Henry not only when she has a supernatural problem, but as standard procedure for all cases makes her look incapable of doing her job and a much weaker character.

I do like how there is some acknowledgement of the Gorgon’s past though – of the abuse she suffered in Greek mythology and how grossly unfair her treatment was. Vicki obviously doesn’t accept it as an excuse; which I agree with but think she brushed off the trauma abuse victims face too cavalierly – but I do like that she did dispel the idea that abuse victims are inherently abusers as well. It needed to be done since we’re examining her abuse and her experience as a rape survivor but she is also a murderer. There is an examination of her pain and suffering and the rape apologetics. It was really well done and covers it from several angles