Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hex, Season 1, Episode 3: Life Goes On

Cassie is out in a club, spilling lager and being ambushed by awkward boy, Felix. She chases guy-she-covered in lager for demonic creepy reasons, especially since a wrinkly, demon Azazeal seems to be in the crowd – or possibly because Felix is really really boring. Following him through a really niftily decorated club, she finds him fitting on the floor, gasping in pain. He gets better quickly as soon as Cassie arrives and runs for it (and, thank you writers for NOT having her say “are you alright?” until AFTER he gets up and runs away).

An odd incident, as Cassie returns to the club proper, at least it ditched Felix and gave chance for mean girls Roxanne and Jen to remind us they exist. Across the room, she spots that the fitting guy she spilled lager on has creepy bloodshot demon eyes (I assume she sensed this some other way given the distance) and decides to follow him again and the girl he’s with (not because she’s stalking the guy, honest). He catches her manhandling the girl so responds with fire extinguisher foam and, after a quick run – electrocuting him.

She limps off back to the school under the gaze of sexy Azazeal, back to her room to have a weepy moment looking at the empty bed, because, of course, Thelma is dead.

She falls asleep – and then is entwined half-naked with Thelma, kissing and caressing – and waking up just before Thelma’s hands get too close – and Ghost Thelma is at the end of the bed, yes, messing with her dreams. Time to start the day and even with Thelma having the big dramatic issue of dying, it’s still all about Cassie. They discuss Azazeal’s persistent, stalkerish behaviour.

Cassie slopes off feeling sorry to herself until she runs into Troy (who bites her and makes her an Original vampire. Damn it, I can’t look at this actor and not see Klaus from the Vampire Diaries) the sexy love interest. Flirting and flirting over coffee and room-mate complaints begins. I think it’s supposed to be sexy, but I’m kind of mesmerised by Troy’s hair. Thelma, being a ghost and having nothing else to do except moon after Cassie, is wafting around their coffee date

Cassie brings up Thelma being at the coffee shop later, but Thelma claims concern. Cassie chides Thelma for spying on her (that would be Thelma, the ghost, who can’t communicate with or interact with anyone but Cassie), more sexy gossip follows. Until they run across a girl in olde worlde clothes. A girl with no fingernails (yes that’s creepy) who tries to strangle Cassie (I understand, only 3 episodes in and I’ve got the creeping urge to strangle Cassie too). She flashes all Azazeal-y so Cassie and Thelma run from the child-ghost and lock it out of their room, breaking a lamp and being ready to electrocute it if it got through. It goes silent instead.

Thelma urges Cassie to use the Spooky Pot to try and find out what’s going on – and she gets a flash of the girl hanging from a tree in the past. (Is it just me, or does she seem to have forgotten all the revelations of the last episode?)

The next day, Thelma is spying on naked Cassie in the shower and overhearing a conversation where Roxanne describes the vivid sex dream she had about Thelma – yes, Thelma has been dream hopping again. I can’t think most girls in a school like this would be eager to describe their lesbian sex dreams to the whole room.

And Cassie goes into the grounds and gets to talk to Azazeal the Sexy for menacing banter. With Cassie, again, having forgotten everything from the pilot

To a school common room where we have to endure Leon, again, who is wondering with Jem and Roxanne if Cassie and Thelma ever had sex and, if so, who was the “man”. Yes, sadly. Cassie leaves and Troy, now cast as the good sexy love interest leaves to follow her and flirt some more. More watching Troy play sport, more banter with Thelma.

Cassie’s teacher, Jo, tries to be nice, reach out to her and give her a shoulder to cry on, but Cassie shuts her down, partly for being Cassie and partly because she is tired of all the sympathy over Thelma. Obviously since Thelma is still around to her, Cassie isn’t doing much grieving so finds the niceness and sympathy aggravating. For a brief moment she discusses this with Thelma, but probably realises this could be a conversation that may, just may, not be about her so goes to examine the spooky tree where the girl they saw was hanged. The tree has a scar on a branch from the rope where the girl was hanged, and underneath they find a grave for Esther McBain, Rachel McBain’s daughter.

Later, on her own for once, Thelma goes to examine the secret room in the school where she was killed. She finds scratch marks on the door – as if someone trapped within clawed at it with their finger nails (like the broken-fingernailed Ether). There’s a whole lot of spooky in the room. Thelma finds some creepy drawings and, pulling the cloth off the walls, finds that the whole room is covered in them, hundreds of creepy drawings of... people? Demons? Did I mention how creepy it is? Because it’s seriously creepy.

Next day Thelma reports to Cassie and they discuss that Esther was locked in that room, but Cassie dismisses her, pretty much completely.

Time for Jo, the earnestly nice teacher and totally inappropriate but awesome headmaster. Jo has her earnest worries about Cassie, while Inappropriate Headmaster points out how much she’s overreacting and that it’s natural for Cassie to handle grief in her own way and that skipped lessons aren’t the end of the world. And how Cassie needs support considering she has no father and her mother is undergoing psychiatric treatment.

On to an actual lesson! And it’s poetry, where Jo has, again, got her class reading erotic poetry. I know we haven’t seen many classes yet, but does someone need to talk to the teachers about the obsession with erotic content? For Troy and Cassie flirting and more Leon being, well, Leon. Cassie and Thelma talk – and Thelma realises that Cassie is drawing the same creepy demon people as were in the room.

Cassie goes on a date with Troy (stalked by Azazeal) and Thelma wonders if ancestry may have anything to do with Cassie’s witchy powers – so goes into the office and checks out Cassie’s file. And finds that a James McBain is the one paying Cassie’s school fees

I love Thelma but not her treatment. I don’t like the idea that she’s dipping into straight women’s dreams to have sex with them – the image of the predatory lesbian out for the straight women is too ingrained to be comfortable with that – there’s too much of this idea of the GBLT sex predator out there. Thelma is also a complete Lesbian Best Friend. Especially since, as a ghost, she’s almost required to orbit around Cassie, the one person who can see her (but then, it was scarcely different when she was alive).

The series has an interesting take on ghosts, they can’t walk through things, can be locked out of rooms and can physically manipulate objects. Thelma even eats. I don’t know if it’s an interesting twist or rather lazy writing. Though I do approve of Thelma’s plan to hold a naked Haka in the headmaster’s office

The series continues to be incredibly atmospheric with an amazing sense of tension, style and effect. When places are supposed to be spooky they are, creepy people are indeed creepy and scary situations are most certainly scary. It’s well done, brilliant even.