Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blood Ties, Season 2, Episode 3: 5:55

A simple retrieval of an object for Vicki’s client – perhaps the worst businessman ever – from a seedy motel when Henry’s vampire senses start tingling. Lo, there is evil about, Vicki’s pentagrams start glowing, doors slam, maids drop trays and… big dark shadows come racing at them.

And Vicki wakes up at 5:55 (this is relevant or it wouldn’t be the title of the episode. Oh and no way that was a dream, just saying). She recounts this to Coreen, including that she died at the end of it. Then a new client, Jacob Keller, arrives and it’s the awful businessman who sends objects to complete strangers (actually, to complete stranger’s mailboxes) on the promise they’ll send him money back, from her dream. He recounts what he wants her to do – find this object (in the possession of a Benoit), just like in the dream.

Vicki starts with her investigating to find the person who owes Jacob money, or the object at least (with the most awful Southern-US accent I’ve heard outside of True Blood). At least Henry mocks her for it.

Unfortunately, when she arrives at the Benoit’s flat, he’s dead and it’s a crime scene, with Celluci and Kate already processing it. Time for some office gossip and relationship drama before Vicki tells her client that the man’s dead and his Roman glass has been stolen – he is rather perturbed since he owes people money for retrieving it and needs either payment or the glass back (yes, gape at this guy folks, he went into debt to acquire an object that he then “sold” to a complete stranger, sight unseen, sending the object to an untraceable PO Box).

Vicki has a clue where the bowl could be sold – from her dream; which is where she leads them all, pretending she saw an appointment in his flat (this would be the dream that ends up with her dying). Of course, she takes time to discuss her jealousy (hypothetical) with Henry who has just the right amount of arrogant sexy swagger about him. Back to the plot and away from the flirting – she begins to replay her dream. This time she manages to see a guy who they try to restrain, but are distracted by Keller – and he opens a box (pandora’s?) and all the dark shadows come out again…

..And Vicki wakes up in her office at 5:55. And this is when I headdesk. Yes it’s a Groundhog day plot line. Honestly, writers, this plotline was original exactly once, after that it became a sad, cheap way for you to make 10 minutes of plot cover the whole damn episode/film/whatever. Yes, I’m not a fan.

Thankfully, this convoluted groundhog day plot line is being played by Vicki Nelson – and she doesn’t tolerate such bullshit. When Keller arrives in her office this time she grabs him by his coat, slams him against a wall and demands an explanation. She rushes to try and save Benoit, but arrives too late – a sneaky janitor leaves the scene and Benoit dies after gasping “janit-“. (It’s such subtlety which impresses me about this show). Crime scene means Celluci arrives and Vicki spends her time on this third time round to talk about him and Kate – ugh, it was bad the first time.

She even feels the need to have the same conversation with Henry again while heading to the box in the motel. And this time they leave the box unattended AGAIN, and Keller opens it.

Rewind, replay. 5:55 in the office again. Yadda yadda, blah blah – they visit Benoit and catch him alive and drag him back to her office with Keller. Leaving them under vampire guard, she arranges to go to the motel with Celluci – who, of course, plays the sceptic (AAARGH what does it take to make this man believe in the supernatural?!). Only, this time Darrel Foreman, the man supposed to be selling the box is dead, murdered. They run to catch the murderous fake Janitor, get him and the box which Vicki then opens… Vicki opened it. What, was there not enough discussion about Celluci’s tie this time round?!

Rewind, replay, it’s 5:55 again! This time she draws the symbol from dead Darrel Foreman’s ring and asks Coreen to identify it. Vicki and Celluci to Benoit’s this time capturing the janitor as well. And Coreen has found the ring – it’s the symbol of the Knights of Babylon who guard Pandora’s box. Yes, Pandora’s box (do I get to pat myself on the back for this one?) She also says that no living person could resist the temptation to open the box (which explains Vicki at least).

Everyone’s in police custody now, they just need to find Darrel Foreman and the box. And they need to do it soon, since they have no reason to hold Benoit or Keller and no proof to murder from the janitor. So time for Vicki and her side-kicks to go to the motel to find Darrel, on the way her predicting things to convince them she is groundhogging. The change this time is that they tell Darrel to stop rather than just throwing a vampire at him – and he shoots Celluci. She demands Henry bring her the box so she can open it and rewrite history – since she was the one who changed it so Celluci died. Henry thinks they’ve won – they have the box and it’s secure – but Vicki is determined to change it and tearfully begs for Pandora’s box. And Henry opens the box.

5:55 again. Ok, this time she closes her office, collects Benoit and is followed by the murderous fake Janitor to the hotel. She sneaks up on Darrel and grabs his own gun to hold him at gunpoint and demand the box – and the janitor arrives and he’s a Knight of Babylon as well and wants to take the box back to where it belongs; and Darrel has stolen the box. In comes Henry, upping the arms race from guns to vampires and Vicki declares she will put the box where she knows it will be safe. With an added bonus that while no living person can resist opening the box, vampires don’t count as living.

Conclusion time – and Vicki thanks Henry for trusting her enough to end the world for her, which is a pretty major gesture.

Can I just say that Henry is completely right to be irritated at Vicki in the beginning because she asks for his help to pick up a bowl? She’s gone from the police force’s crack detective, Victory Nelson, to a woman who can’t leave her officer without calling Henry.

And let me despair of the ongoing mutual dislike between Vicki and Kate. Honestly, I expect them to draw swords and try to behead each other – there can only be one Strong Female Character! This time because Kate has solved a case that went cold when Vicki was a cop. With a bonus strong undertone of sexual jealousy because he went out to dinner to celebrate with Kate wearing his lucky tie. Honestly, I feel ridiculous even writing that, how the writers managed it I do not know.

I don’t think I have to say how not impressed I am by Groundhog day plot lines – but they’re pretty common. They take second place only to Amensia/time-travel “let’s play lots of clips from past seasons” episodes in my list of clichéd crap people try to sell us as new.