Friday, June 22, 2012

Bedlam Season 2, Episode 3: Unfaithful

Dan is in his usual flirting form showing Rita, a new character, around part of the Bedlam building. She’s looking for a venue to get married in after her last choice blew up in a gas leak (go for the rubble, Rita, it beats ghosts). Despite the reason she’s there, Dan is still on full flirting form – much to the disapproval of a bridal-dressed ghost haunting around. The flirting escalates as he promises to fix everything for her wedding within a week – and they kiss (I agree, Dan beats a hen do any day). It geos no further as the lights go off – and bride ghost is furious.

After the credits we catch up with them dressing which means a) it went further than a kiss and b) we didn’t get to see Dan half nekked. Boo. Rita has understandable regrets and Dan promises discretion. Unfortunately the haunting begins and in Rita’s flat a little bridal-themed music box is playing.

Max and Dan have some banter then Max goes on to play with his ghost site and the information he received last episode (unknowingly from Dan to try and shut down the site) when Ellie barges into his room without knocking and grabs his closed lap top against his objections (hmmm, she has complained about him crossing boundaries when he looked in her rucksack – but she’s doing this?). She finds the ghost blog and puts it down as her life online (because if it’s about the ghosts it’s her life?) and orders him to shut it down. She belittles him as if he were a child and accuses him of treating it like a game – as if he wasn’t there trying to save Cass’s life last episode and if he hasn’t saved Ellie’s as well. Of course, according to Warren and Dan, this website is the main reason more tenants (and victims) aren’t flocking to the building.

Warren is suffering from sleep deprivation after his many spooky dreams, but Dan comes in with the good news – the site has been taken down (Max was obedient to Ellie’s orders) though Dan intends to keep looking for the culprit. Dan attributes Warren’s distraction  to missing Kate (though the mention of family seems to be hitting sore spots for Dan). When Dan leaves, Warren looks up Kate in his phone, but then gets woozy – and enters one of the spooky dreams with a  shadowy figure. When he comes out of it, seemingly seconds later, he’s in the deserted, still-under-construction part of the building (which has a body in the walls, still). His phone rings – from Kate, but he only hears noise and static.

In the lobby Max runs into Rita – and they know each other from the past. There’s a somewhat awkward reunion (and, perhaps  a suggestion that he may have had an unrequited crush on her). Her mobile rings – but when she answers she only hears static-fuzzed bridal music. Yes, the spooky is beginning. She returns to her room to find the bridal music box playing again – and the television showing BBC news has scrolling text at the bottom “Forsaking all others” over and over. The tension ratchets up in perfect bedlam style, until Ed, her fiancé leaps in, breaking it. He has a copy several wedding vows for them to look through – but Rita focuses on the “forsaking all others” line. They both then get to discuss wedding plans with Dan which isn’t awkward at all

Later in the bar, Ellie attacks Max some more and Max reveals that he was haunted as a child by his dead father. She’s briefly stunned by this revelation (that Max may have feelings?) but Max moves the conversation on quickly to assure her the blog is shut down and to offer her some sweets she got from Rita (who he reveals to have been his girlfriend when he was 17, hence the awkward). The sweets trigger Ellie’s Spook Vision – showing the music box and a bride being dragged away during her wedding day. She also finally tells Max about Eve – the spooky  little glowing girl with the marbles.

Back with Rita, the haunting continues – with a piece of paper whjere the ghost has scrawled “forsaking all others” dozens of times – and “whore” on the other side. She rushes to Dan to tell him someone’s been in her room – and asks if he’s told anyone. He says no… and they end up in bed together. After the action she reveals this isn’t the first time and that her fiancé has no idea. She discusses her motives for getting married which seems to be more based on familial obligation rather than what she actually wants.

Brief meet up with Max, Ellie and Dan lets everyone know who Rita is and Max’s last relationship-  and makes it clear Max isn’t disappointed he’s not with Rita because he’s pining for Ellie (for some unknown reason). Max and Rita have some reminiscing over the wine list for the wedding when Ellie shows up and has another vision of the ghostly bride – this time her being raped.

Max and Ellie discuss the vision, with Max worried about whether Rita’s in danger and expressing an urge to keep her safe. Ellie scoffs at this and mocks him, before quickly talking about how hard her life is seeing ghosts and how she has no answers still. They discuss how Max viewed his father’s ghost as a child as well.

While this is happening Dan sneaks up to Warren’s home, covers a wall with a collage of Kate’s pictures then calls Warren – seeing a phone call from his home, Warren runs up to his flat to be stunned by the pictures.  Warren returns to the office to grab Dan to go see the collage – but they’re gone when they return. Warren, naturally, think he’s losing his mind, but Dan is there to support him. Kate’s gone, but Warren can rely on Dan.

Rita starts sleep walking, with doors ghostly opening for her and the wedding music box playing. She makes her way to the still-under-construction-spooky part of the building (y’know, they really need to hurry up building that part) to the room that is going to be used during the wedding. She wakes as the candles are blown out, in darkness, naturally rather perturbed. And absolutely horrified when she looks down and finds the aisle carpet under her feet is saturated with blood. Ellie hears her screams and comes running to comfort her.

Warren is still not having a good day. Coming home again he finds Keira inside cooking and snaps at her for just walking in – though he did give her keys. They battle back and forth, but Warren is confused, abrupt and accusatory until Keira leaves in exasperation.  She goes to the bar to drown her sorrows – but Warren comes in and apologises. Keira still wants to know where their relationship is going and also makes it clear she is tired of hiding it, she and Max talk and we have more evidence of him crushing on Ellie (for some reason)

Investigating, Ellie and Max go searching Rita’s flat, find the “forsaking all others” note. Ellie has a vision off the music box where she sees the ghostly bride, her dress bloody from the aftermath of the rape, her rapist leaving and another man telling her to be quiet.  Rita arrives home though, catches Max in the apartment and thinks he is the one behind the note. But when Max leaves, the haunting begins again and she sees her wedding dress stained with blood.  The music box starts up again and the lights begin flickering in standard ghostly fare. Rita stamps on the music box, breaking it – and the doors starts slamming. She starts crying and Ellie runs in again, hearing her panic.

Ellie and Rita sit and talk over tea about the haunting. And Rita tells her she was unfaithful (though not with who). She has very low self-esteem – she had wanted to be a doctor who wanted to go to med-school, she sees herself as a screw-up for working in a shop and how her family loves Ed because he’s a doctor – again, she seems to be marrying for their approval. Ellie also tells Rita about her calling off her own wedding – because it wasn’t the right time. Rita objects to Ellie externalising her experiences on her and points out just because Ellie didn’t get married doesn’t mean Rita shouldn’t.

Ellie returns to the flat and Dan brings wine. Ellie says she thinks Rita is unwell and encourages Dan to help convince Rita to call off the wedding – which Dan, very rightly says, is neither his nor Ellie’s business. She talks about her own wedding that didn’t happen, he suggests if it bothers her maybe she might want to get him back – and she makes a snide and completely unnecessary comment about him and long term relationships. She starts to cry over her lost fiancé, her job and where she is going. She says she feels lonely – which Dan empathises with – and Ellie asks if Dan will take her to bed.

Which is, of course, when Max returns to the flat determined to follow Keira’s advice and tell Ellie he likes her – and hears them together in their room (talking though) and goes to bed instead. Next morning Ellie says she had fun and Dan says he cheered her up. Ellie moons over her engagement ring and gets another ghostly bride vision. Max bursts into her room (she snaps at him for not knocking – yes, she actually does. He points out he did knock) and they talk about Rita and the visions. Ellie thinks the ghost died of a broken heart (what? Really? They were pretty clear rape scenes) and is taking vengeance on Rita because the ghost didn’t get to marry and Rita is disrespecting the institution of marriage by being unfaithful.

It is also the day of Rita’s wedding and of course the haunting continues. But Rita does make it to the aisle. Ellie and Max lurk in the background of the wedding – and Ellie sees the ghost and doesn’t think the crowd will stop it. And sure enough the haunting happens – doors slam, the room becomes freezing cold and the candles are extinguished as the registrar asks if anyone has any objections. To try and make the ghost back off, Max reveals Rita’s infidelity (classy) and Rita runs – fleeing to the unfinished spooky part of the building.

But she is chased by the ghost – who looks really really really spooky, carrying the music box until she falls over the bannister. Dangling over the long fall, Max grabs her arm and tries to pull her up, but the ghost grabs her other arm and tries to pull her down. Max urges her to call off the wedding – and when she says she’s not getting married the ghost disappears, allowing Max to pull her to safety.

Later Ellie confronts Dan for taking advantage of Rita when she was vulnerable (which I’m not entirely sure actually happened) and makes it clear that Ellie and Dan were a one time thing. Max re-activates the Bedlam  blog. And Ellie sees Eve again, when asked what she’s afraid of, she draws a picture of a bald man with the B symbol on his head – sending Ellie into the creepiest of creepy visions.

Ok we’re 3 episodes in and I just don’t like Ellie, especially the way she treats Max who is supposed to be her faithful servant. She treats the haunting of Bedlam heights as her life and her issue –ignoring the victims and not even considering how it could be hurting other people. Max is worried about Rita being in danger and Ellie instantly makes it about her life going to shit? This is after Cass died last week from her haunting as well? And she mocks his “chivalry” for worrying about her?

Dan’s story just took a huge twist with his manipulation of Warren. I wonder how much this is connected to Dan’s family issues – I’m curious. But worried as well as to what it will do to his character.

Rita was an interesting character, with a very complex story with her attempts at redemption for her family, her low self-worth and suppression of what she really wanted. I’m also happy to see even more racial inclusion – but in this case it seemed awfully close to the Jezebel  stereotype.

Ok, the biggy. The ghost Ellie saw was brutally raped that left her wedding dress stained with blood from the waist down. But this terribly violated ghost is hunting down unfaithful women in vengeance? Really? And her big thing is the disrespecting of marriage vows? Not rape or sexual abuse – no, people disrespecting the fidelity of marriage. Even the way Ellie characterises her visions “she didn’t get chance to get married” well that seems like a very very minor compared to what was done to her. It really seemed to downplay the rape – it was less important than the fact she never got to get married and have her wedding. If they wanted to highlight the wedding they could have had the ghosts husband cheat on her during the service, they could have had it called off, they could have had her drop dead walking down the aisles - all would have made more sense than a gratuitous rape scene that no-one actually called rape and was less important than the disruption of the wedding

And I strongly dislike any trope that ends up with women being punished for having sex – Rita was haunted for it and publicly shamed.

It was skeevy, methinks and really damaged the episode.