Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hex, Season 1, episode 4: Deeper into the Darkness

Cassie and Troy are continuing to flirt (and I’m fighting to get the image of Klaus from the Vampire Diaries) out of my head. Honestly I can’t find any chemistry because both characters are just so damn soggy and pretty vacant personality-wise. It all feels so very bland. Thelma has more spark than both of them together. Speaking of, their little make out session in the car is interrupted by Thelma whispering to Cassie. She is more than a little distracting and eventually Cassie calls it off. She then  goes to her room to confront her on interrupting the bland sexy times with Troy (and his awful hair). Thelma is trying to tell her what she discovered last episode, with Cassie’s own connection to the McBains, but Cassie is still stuck on Troy and laying down the law to Thelma, containing a long list of things she isn’t to do (mainly cementing Thelma as even more of a creepy, obsessed stalker) but also includes banning her from eating all the time – what? Why? Cassie, cool down that power trip. Thelma finally blurts out that Cassie is a McBain and that her dad’s name is James McBain.

The next day Cassie goes to see her mother in a mental institution, identifying herself by name in case her mother doesn’t recognise her. They quickly set into conversation about flowers and photographs and it’s apparent that, while Cassie’s mother doesn’t remember them, Cassie has had the same conversations with her over the same things several times before. It’s clear Cassie is patiently enduring and managing her mother in many ways.

Cassie confronts her mother who had never wanted her to know her father. Cassie believes it is because her mother didn’t want her to know she was a McBain. That could be to protect her from Azazeal, but then why send her to the private school, Medenham, which used to be the McBain’s home? The only reason Cassie can see is that her mother wanted her to become what she is, wanted her to meet Azazeal. Her mother says she was pursued by Azazeal and that it Azazeal made promises he didn’t keep and it was Azazeal who drove her mad which pushed her into the home and that, no matter where Cassie went, she was a McBain and Azazeal would have found her. She believes there’s no point in fighting Azazeal.

Back at the school Cassie is crying, saddened that she always hopes for her mother to be better; she cries and Thelma comforts her. Thelma worries about Cassie getting irritated with her – because if Cassie’s getting tired of her then what can Thelma do? The only person she can talk or interact with in any way is Cassie, she’s utterly dependent on her for any and all human contact. Cassie also makes a double entendre joke about missing Thelma “when she runs out of batteries” that’s not ok. Yes, flirting can be fun – but Thelma has already told Cassie off for controlling and manipulating her using mixed signals, in the face of that it’s not fair to go on flirting and using sexual jokes.

While Cassie sleeps, Thelma goes through her notes and finds Cassie has doodled even more of the disturbing little monster sketches Thelma found in the hidden room. Cassie has more spooky dreams of Esther McBain which she relates to Thelma as she wakes.

Later while Cassie is sat in the grounds, Awesome Headmaster David sits and talks to her about Thelma since he thinks she’s grieving. He says Jo (the wet teacher) is worried Cassie’s going off the rails – David makes it clear that he thinks it’s understandable and he approves of people going off the rails anyway. He also takes the opportunity to drop some more world building on her – explaining about Esther being hanged for killing her lover.

More flirting and shirtlessness with Troy, who is slicking back his hair for the good of mankind. I quite quite agree, it’s amazing what hair can do for a man. Followed with discussions with Thelma about how much she likes Troy and doesn’t want Thelma to be jealous – while Azazeal stalks the hallways. Moving into Troy’s bedroom, he cuts his hand, smears a caterpillar or maggot or something equally icky with the blood and puts it in Troy’s ear. Ick. Ick and more ick.

Cassie’s mother calls, in a state and Cassie goes back to visit. She gives Cassie a necklace that has been in the family for years that will protect her – so long as Cassie never takes it off. She makes Cassie promise to always wear it. She also apologises for hurting Cassie – Cassie accepts it and understands she had no choice but sways she can’t talk about it. When Cassie leaves Azazeal appears, comforting Cassie’s mother. The necklace came from him, not Cassie’s family. It will make her unable to see when someone is possessed so, by Azazeal’s logic, if she can’t see them she can’t worry about them – which comforts Cassie’s mother. Back at school Cassie avoids wearing it, in part out of resentment to her mother, but Thelma convinces her.

Just to remind us that the Mean Girls are still there, Roxanne and Gemma are sniping over Troy and Cassie being together. They gather to torment Troy about it. Troy storms off, Leon following to push it even further and Troy threatens to kill him. I suspect it’s due to the possession (which Thelma notices – the blood shot eyes) but I’m all for a little Leon killing.

Thelma runs to tell Cassie about it – but Cassie dismisses it as just being Thelma’s jealousy and won’t even delay her date. As a last ditch effort, Thelma begs Cassie to wear the necklace. Cassie does but threatens Thelma never to speak to her again if she sees her at all on her date with Troy.

On to the date, the necklace prevents Cassie from seeing Troy’s possession. Much flirting follows, sharing of memories etc etc etc, fill in the fluffy, until they end up in an out building to have sex wearing a ridiculous number of clothes – I suppose it fits the setting.

Meanwhile Thelma is examining the school artwork, noticing how unusual it all is (goats and crowned snakes and a minotaur and a naked woman) and notices that the naked woman is wearing a necklace that looks a lot like Cassie’s and that the window with the goat and snake has a pane the same shape as the gem.

Thelma runs to find Cassie, calling her name and searching – but arrives too late, only after the action is finished and Troy is no longer possessed – his eyes are clear. But then she sees Cassie – and her eyes are blood shot and possessed

Thelma’s continued obsession with straight women is vexing to say the least – it’s a pernicious trope that GBLT people are constantly throwing themselves at straight people no matter how uninterested said straight person is – it serves to make GBLT people look predatory and desperate and straight people look extra special. I’m tired of Thelma mooning after Cassie and being jealous of her. It’s extra skeevy in this case because Cassie frequently exploits the attraction to keep Thelma near, useful and loyal. I am glad that it points out overtly how utterly dependent Thelma is on Cassie and why Cassie freezing her out would be so devastating, but it just underscores how utterly dependent Thelma is on Cassie. And Cassie flirts, or gives the strong impression of it. I actually think she flirts more with Thelma than with the bland Troy – which is extremely unfair on Thelma.

Cassie’s interactions with her mother are subtle but really do show how mental illness can cost a family and, inadvertently, even lead it dismissal of the person as the loved one becomes harder and harder to deal with. Cassie’s strained patience and hollow affection are, in part for how angry she is with her mother, but there’s also a sense of how their relationship has been degraded by her mother’s illness.

I think that while the Mean Girls and Leon are deeply unpleasant people, I also think that Troy’s treatment of Gemma (Jem) is pretty shoddy – using her as a fall gap girl if Cassie isn’t interested.