Friday, June 15, 2012

Bedlam, Series 2, Episode 2: Pool of Tears

A swimming pool. Oh dear they built a swimming pool. Considering they had ghosties that could drown you in a bathroom sink last season, building a swimming pool is so very not a good idea. And yes, there’s a ghostly figure and dark shadowy stuff. Dry land! Dry land!

Ellie, our medium, is still squatting in the building (remind me again her reason for being in this place?)  And she’s still being followed by the glowing girl who drops black marbles (and gives her images of the child being carried off by a bald man with the scary symbol carved into his head).  The name of the child is Eve, or so she writes on the wall. I tell you, the youth of today and their graffiti, shameful!

At the bar, Kiera is introduced to the swimmer Cass and her trainer Dominic a former swimmer in the Commonwealth Games. Dominic leaves and Kiera starts plying Cass with vodka.  And Ellie comes down to get a drink with Max (the bar man who she’s squatting with) being ultra-ultra nice as seems to be the norm. Ellie shoots down his offer to be a friendly ear rather abruptly to be honest.  Kiera decides the best way to clear Cass’s head is for them all to go to the pool semi-fully clothed in the middle of the night. There is much slashing and ducking and Cassie gets a ghostly vision – of a woman being dragged to and thrown in the pool during the asylum days where she was held under (the asylum had a pool?) – and seeing a black clad ghost of her under water. She comes to the surface and urges everyone out of the pool (damn ghosties ruin all the best parties) using the excuse that they’ve been drinking and it’s not safe. As Cass leaves the pool, Ellie notices she has some scars on her wrists.

Dominic is passive aggressive and snippy about Cassie coming to bed late (she trains at 5:00am). Kiera and Ellie leave, with Kiera commenting on both Dominic’s control freakiness and also mentions the scars on Cass’s wrists believing they are marks of an attempted suicide – but Ellie shuts her down, disliking the assumption and the gossip.

The next day Max continues to play on the ghost hunting website and Dan walks around in a towel letting us know that while Jed has left the show, we still have some mighty nice eye candy around. We get some nice little inserted character development learning that Dan doesn’t get on with his family – and that Ellie grew up in care. Max also questions Ellie about her little freak out the night before – recognising a ghost sighting when he sees it. Being the nice guy he is, he offers to go down to the pool with Ellie to check it out. But down at the pool Ellie gets another vision of the ghost being held under the water back in the asylum days and turns and leaves, unwilling to talk.

Warren and Kiera are sorting through Kate’s things and Warren discusses how he doesn’t expect Kate to return (since she was kidnapped by the creepy bald guy last episode, this seems likely) since Kate has been so angry with him since Jed’s death. Kiera is parsing through the stuff she wants to keep when Dan comes in – they’ve lost one of their potential residents because of the Haunted in Bedlam website. But they do conclude that, given the time the pictures were posted, that they must be posted by someone from within the building (Max most likely).

Cass is back swimming and being stalked by the spooky ghost - and we get the first drowning attempt, her hair caught in a vent at the bottom of the pool after she’s lured by her stopwatch left next to it. But when she gets back to the edge – she see her stop watch hasn’t moved. She returns to boyfriend Dominic, worrying that she’s over training but he pushes her to keep going.

Ellie, meanwhile, is playing marbles with her glowing imaginary friend, Eve and catches Max watching her – so snarls at him before being ambushed by another drowning girl vision. Max tries to help her sort through the vision but she rejects him, finding his help too much and wants to handle it on her own. Which is why she goes down to the pool, alone. She manages to spook herself a little but nothing happens (except the tension ratchetting up a little), though Dan tells her the pool is closed because of Cass’s accident.

Which, as Ellie relates to Max, doesn’t make much sense given how strong a swimmer Cass is. Max, however, is hurt that she shut him down so sharply before and tries to play silent treatment – which lasts for 3 seconds with Ellie asking for his help with much eye-rolling. Frankly, while Max requiring her to ask for help is a little childish, the fact she shut him down and stomped off saying she’s doing everything alone then came back and assumed he’d help was deserving of some response. Nor am I impressed by her eye rolling over it.

They resolve to warn Cass that there’s a territorial ghost defending the pool that has taken issue to her – admittedly a hard sell. But Max fights reluctance with lots of praise for how good Ellie is with people and what a good listener she is (she is? Since when?). He leaves and she goes to talk to Cass, though it doesn’t help that it starts with another vision. We learn that Cass has always been training – first bullied by her father into it and now living with Dominic – though she says she does love it, though she seems almost to be convincing herself. She and Dominic had been in a car crash when she was driving and his injury stopped him becoming an Olympic swimmer – so he now focuses on her. And, predictably, the “hey there’s a ghost trying to kill you” conversation doesn’t go well.

Meanwhile Dan has found some files about the asylum’s pass and Warren’s family. He hopes to use them to lure out the ghost hunter who runs the website – Warren agrees but is obviously discomforted, which is pretty natural considering he knows what happened when his father ran the asylum. Dan does some snooping into Warren’s account on the computer. He has a brief snark fest with Kiera. Warren has gone home for the night and has another of his spooky dreams (the same kind Kate had in season 1). Kiera catches up with him and finds him very distracted and confused. We get some more of her backstory and character development as well with her past and some relationship discussions between her and Warren, with the age gap and what it means. Warren also now has a new tattoo – the same star and B symbol engraved into the creepy bald guy’s head.

Ellie reports her failure to Max who is very comforting, but also worried that Cass doesn’t accept the warning – he runs out, heading to the pool.

Cass goes down to the pool and is showering  - but blood mixes with the water, apparently from her wrists. And we see the ghost shadowing around. She gets in the pool (don’t you normally shower after being in the pool?) and after many tense near misses – is pulled under in drowning attempt number 2. Max and Ellie arrive to find her floating face down and pull her out of the water. She’s not breathing but Ellie, the paramedic uses mouth-to-mouth to bring her back.

Back at Max’s and Ellie’s flat they talk it out – and Ellie suggests Cass take a training break and offers to go with her to speak to Dominic about it. Predictably, Dominic isn’t pleased by Ellie is there for moral support. Cass doesn’t want to swim, she’s been pretending – he feels she’s wasted the last 2 years if she doesn’t keep training, she feels she’s wasted the past 2 years on training. She lays down the law.

Max and Ellie go back to the flat to celebrate. And Ellie shows max her B mark – which she’s always had but now she’s seeing the symbol in her visions and it worries her. He’s seen it in the building and they infer a connection between her and it.

Unfortunately, it’s not over that simply – back at Cass’s, Dominic is laying on some majorly abusive guilt, even using her suicide attempt and the car accident to attack her. He throws a bag at her and tells her to get out (run, Cass, run!). She leaves, naturally in bits, and takes a knife with her. She goes to the pool, gets in with the knife and starts to cut herself. But then returns to the surface and throws the knife away, angrily. She tries to leave the pool – but the knife has disappeared and the ghost grabs her and drags her under the water. They struggle and return to the surface – where the ghost shows her cut wrists; Cass looks down and sees her own wrists have been cut.

And Ellie gets a new vision. The woman who was tortured by drowning, who killed herself in the pool, slashed her wrists first. Ellie quickly takes this to Max, seeing the parallels with Cass – and they run to the pool. They arrive to find Cass floating in the bloodied water. Max jumps in to pull her out – but it’s too late, she’s dead

Ellie and Max review, with Ellie blaming herself for not saving Cass and realising how dangerous what they’re doing is.

This episode wasn’t as spooky and frightening as the last one – but it was definitely more emotional impactful and I think excess supernatural elements would have distracted from that.

I do like that Dominic’s behaviour is called our repeatedly as controlling and that Ellie was there to help her stand up to him. But I think I’d have preferred it if the impetus wasn’t so much ghost related (and if more was done or recognised) – Cass was being controlled and bullied, that alone is motivation enough, not just the evil drowning ghostie. One thing that is somewhat novel is seeing an abusive relationship that isn’t physical – because this kind of emotional abuse is just as abusive (and has just as dire consequences) as physical abuse, but on TV (and in life) we tend to default to physical abuse in our assumptions. I would have liked very much to have seen some consequences for Dominic.

Max is just so… nice. I think I would find him annoying as well being so very very very NICE. Yet, at the same time, Ellie is very not nice. I think she lashes out at Max in a disproportionate manner especially for a woman who was so desperate for someone to believe her not long ago – and who managed to parachute her way into Max’s flat after he gave her a bed for the night – which is still unexplained. And after the great help he gave her last episode, including saving her life.

I think Max’s puppy-dog niceness is annoying, but not nearly enough to be deserving of Ellie’s treatment of him.

I find myself liking Dan and Kiera despite themselves more than anything. Dan’s arrogance and cockiness is probably going to be grating at times (like last episode with Kate) but they are both being developed into fuller characters than expected – and fuller than Molly last season.

I am impressed that the POC are in very non-stereotypical roles. Dan is playing the young, supremely hot man and general yuppy and Kiera is playing the uninhibited, impulsive wild-child (with a minor edge of Mean Girl)

All in all, the season has started well, even if I’m not entirely happy with the reboot.