Monday, May 28, 2012

The Dresden Files: Season 1 Episode 9: The Other Dick

To continue to be a police consultant Harry, apparently, has to get his private investigator’s license, which involves class rooms and tests (well, given that he continually uses magic which doesn’t look good on police investigations and half of the cases he’s worked on must be marked unsolved, I think it’s a miracle he’s still a consultant at all). Unfortunately for Harry, the class isn’t a charity and he isn’t paying his fees – sending him begging to Murphy for money.

Oh, and for extra fun, his teacher (Brenan) turns up dead. Really, murdering the teacher in a private investigator school? Surely someone’s going to figure it out! (But it’d make a great final test wouldn’t it? Who murdered your teacher – for an A) and, of course, Harry was found over the body (which is such a habit of his Murphy doesn’t even suspect him any more. Honestly, Harry must stand around bodies waiting to be discovered lurking over them). The man was also charged with electricity – shocking Harry when he touched him

The main clue they have is that he was working on something before he died – though his notes are in code and his assistant, Fontaine (who thinks Harry should be arrested) knows nothing about it. Harry wants to solve this case because the deceased was a decent man, a good man. And Bob thinks he wants to solve it because Fontaine is an attractive woman. Of course, Bob is a dirty old lecher – but not always wrong when it comes to Harry and his disturbing  habit of getting very close to female clients.

Using some magic on the notes translates them and he heads to see Ronald Jones, HR manager at a meat packing plant where he meets up with and teams up with Fontaine.  Turns out Jones hired Brenan to follow his wife who was spending a lot more time away from home – but Brenan cleared her of having an affair, something Fontaine doesn’t agree with. There follows much tug of war between Harry and Fontaine over who is in the lead.

Following the wife, Felicity, leads them to many many shops and a fertility clinic in a ley line cluster – something Harry wants to follow up alone but ends up having to bring Fontaine along with him. Naturally, hilarity ensues. But Harry follows a ley line into a room. Now, I think the writer was aiming for this “alternative therapy room” to be full of creepy occult stuff (so the music implies). To me I just see a metric fuckton of candles with some rather abstract artwork and odd little potpourri piles. It’s quite pleasant, really. Anyway Felicity is being treated in the pleasantly decorated not-very-spooky occult room. Other than Brenan being grabby with Fontaine, they don’t find much else and leave with piccies of the occult room and a sample of tea from it.

They’re not very suspicious of these people for… reasons I can’t quite place. But, hey, Harry’s a wizard maybe he saw something in the fuckton of candles I missed, so I’ll give it a pass – it’s not like past episodes where Egyptian art was considered instantly suspicious.

Bob looks over the tea and finds it magically wipes out your memory and heightens your spiritual energy (sounds like gin to me – losing your memory while raising your spirits) and Fontaine arrives with the piccies, information about a ritual and lots of difficult questions about Harry being a wizard. Which Harry would have problems answering if a bomb weren’t thrown through his door (it had a counting down timer and everything!) which is most impolite, I feel

Harry does some shiny shiny magic (with his hockey stick. I may have snarked about this before) containing the bomb in a shield so the explosion is contained. It looks seriously impressive and I’m gleeful this show is finally investing in some good special effects. The effort of holding the shield leaves Harry flat on his back though. And he tries to treat Fontaine as a delicate snowflake and urges her to drop the case and stay safe – something she doesn’t take kindly to. And I absolutely love her speech “safe, there’s no such thing as safe. There’s alive and there’s dead and anything in between is just dumb luck.” I like her, I like her a lot. She also snarks really well since the doctor has his license to practice medicine revoked by California “do you know how bad you have to be for California to shut you down?” I will leave the Californians in our readership to respond to that.

Bob does get a glance at the piccies and says that the symbols are portals for incubi – evil sex demons that prey on women.

Time for a midnight visit to the clinic – Harry with his hockey stick and Fontaine with a gun – except Dr. Overland is dead – the same way Brenan died with a wound in his neck from an acupuncture needle. Time to call the police and drag Murphy away from her night at the opera. It’s time to find the nurse – Anya.

Meanwhile has examined the piccies and seen a spiritual smudge (and lots of icky poking ensues) – the camera has caught the incubus impregnating Felicity. But he doesn’t have chance to pass this on to Fontaine because she’s already run to the Jones’ house and stumbled upon them mid ritual. Unfortunately, Jones is there and he’s the incubus – able to control her into confessing to the murders and killing Harry.

Except Harry comes through to the rescue! Magic ensues – much shininess and Fontaine and Felicity are saved! Go hero Harry.

Predictably, Murphy and Fontaine can’t get along. This is such a tired trope – strong female characters cannot abide each other’s presence. You get a kick arse, take no prisoners, tough woman and put her with another tough woman and in TV land they must snipe at each other until one is driven away or… what? Dominance is established? Can there be only one? Are strong women the new Highlander?

I’m loving the high magic content in the last few episodes and hope it dramatically keeps up – it’s much more exciting and evocative to see.