Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blood Ties, Season 2, Episode 8: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 Vicki is paying a visit to a local prison where there’s a man, Charles, inside for killing a woman, cutting off her head and hiding it. Charles confessed. He has a problem – he’s psychic and, at the time, he couldn’t tell the difference between his own thoughts, the voice in his head, and that of the actual killer. Now he can tell the difference because the voice has started again, and the real killer has already picked a victim. Of course, this is a hard sell to the police, but Vicki deals in weird all the time, it even says so on her advert.

She takes this to Celluci who is sceptical. I was close to screaming about his constant, unreasonable scepticism, but this time he makes some sense. While he believes in the mystical badness, there are plenty of normal reasons why the killings could start up again – including a copy cat killer that is being manipulated by Charles from prison.

Vicki isn’t convinced and reviews all her old notes since, surprise, she was the one who put him in prison. Time for some flashbacks to the days when Vicki and Celluci flirted.

Time to call in Henry for his input. He’s still not best pleased with Vicki after last week, but the whole rift between them doesn’t seem to be nearly as bad. At very least he’s watching Vicki in case she has any black magic side effects. Henry does spot a wooded area Vicki mentioned repeatedly in her notes so it’s time for a road trip.

When Vicki arrives, they find a crime scene and Celluci. She asks details from Celluci and if she’s right and Celluci pulls out a whole lot of arsey behaviour and gives her a lecture on her always expecting to get what she wants. Now, I’m fine with keeping Vicki from the crime scene because she’s a civilian, I’m even fine with him not sharing details with her (though he does), but doing either because Celluci’s in some kind of snit from last week and/or because Vicki’s right? Petulance isn’t a good look on the man. Vicki did bring Henry, though, so while Celluci was sticking his bottom lip out and pouting, the vampire has snuck in for a look at the decapitated body.

Vicki goes to Dr. Mohadevan and I’m amused that no-one has tried to silence the doctor, because that never works. The awesome pathologist, in between being vexed by annoying relatives of missing people trying to find out who the body is, tells Vicki that the similarities between this body and the previous murders are “striking.” Just as Celluci arrives so Vicki and Celluci can snipe some more. Celluci insists it’s a copy cat and the crime scene photos were leaked on the net, hence the similarities and Vicki that it’s definitely the psychic theory. I kind of want to slap them both and am desperately clinging to hope that Mohadevan does. Alas, she does not – but she does throw them out of her mortuary.

We have more flashbacks and see that, back in the day, it’s Celluci who had doubts about the case, Charles’s sketchy recollections, the lack of physical evidence and the voices in Charles’s head. But Vicki is the one who is certain and pushing – and making Celluci back off on the insanity option. Some of this is reflected in her discussing the case with Henry, including the doubts, with Henry poking at the whole “Vicki Nelson hunch” theory.

Kate (Dave must be in the plot box) and Celluci examine what friends Charles had who could be the copycat. And find none – no cell mates he was friendly with no contact with the outside world and only one visitor – his brother, and that 3 years ago. Which would mean he waited 3 years before playing copycat.

Still, they check him out anyway and find he’s a janitor at a closed hospital, and further that their mother was a psychiatrist who analysed them incessantly, causing a rift between the brothers and the mother. In the prison, Vicki talks to Charles who has a painful vision and tells her Celluci is on the right track. Naturally Vicki celebrates that they’re getting closer to the truth. Hah, no, she pouts and tantrums to Henry basically sore because Celluci may beat her to the answer. Henry decides to speak to Celluci since Vicki refuses – and he uses his vampire wiles to get the information about Charles’s mother, Rebecca Perkins – including how she was struck off for stealing medicine and now runs her own alternative clinic.

Vicki, with all her usual ethics, goes to Rebecca’s house with Henry, at night and enters when they find it empty. They mention the height chart of the 3 brothers (including the little brother, Sidney, we haven’t seen yet who was apparently very very tall at age 13 – it’s been lampshaded and probably has big flashing lights over it screaming “clue” in classic Blood Ties fashion). They also find Rebecca’s medical files for the brothers. Sidney has a “growing resistant to the Ketamine and Cocaine mixture.” Kelley, the Janitor brother, was been given Progesterone (a chemical castrator), and put Charles on an anti-depressant – all without a medical license after being struck off. Vicki concludes she has been experimenting on and torturing her own children.

They hear a bang upstairs – which is odd because Henry has heard no heart beats. They go to investigate and find a body by a windy, open window – whose head falls off. Time to call Mike who is a little tetchy about Henry’s mind tricks and chucks Vicki out of the crime scene.

This forces Vicki to send Coreen to Mohadevan to gather info – of course Mohadevan spills – and they learn that the body was Rebecca’s but the head was from the corpse of the first victim, Allison Cohen. Some research finds out that Allison went to the same school as Sidney and that Sidney wasn’t particularly intelligent. Vicki then makes a leap based on Rebecca’s experiments – she’s trying to isolate the ego, the super-ego and the id in the hope that this will allow them to suppress the id and control childhood aggression.

Wow, that was a damned impressive flying leap of logic there, Vicki.

Vicki decides to speak to Charles and ask him about it, who basically confirms Vicki’s supposition that Charles was supposed to be ego (organised, conscious centre of the brain), Kelley super-ego (moral centre) and Sidney the id (impulses). She also speculates that they are psychically connected and Charles is seeing through Sidney’s eyes – but Sidney won’t betray his brother.

Vicki discussing the issues with Henry who doesn’t understand her desire to discover Sidney’s motives – they know he’s doing it so why does “why” matter. Vicki points out it can help find the next victim. Henry decides that since the brothers were 3 sections of the mind, they’re all one person and they’ve already got one of them imprisoned. Neither of these statements make sense either logically or even from Henry’s point of view, they’re a clumsy, uncharacterised lead up to him and Vicki bickering about morality over the whole stabbing and stealing his blood thing (which they could have just had without the truly awfully written segue). They argue and Henry storms out.

Going back to the case notes and flashbacks, Vicki sees lots of rambling about uncontrollable urges – and being judged for them. Which makes her think Sidney didn’t act alone (the super-ego brother is Kelley, seems most likely). She takes this to Celluci who will hear none of it, especially since Kelley’s alibi checks out.

So Vicki follows Kelley, to his work place, through the abandoned corridors to a man’s body – that has been there for some time. Then she runs into Kelley – with the sickle murder weapon. Who calls himself Sidney – and has a conversation with himself. Kelley has absorbed Sidney’s personality and killed his body – he believes that since they are the three parts of the mind, they need to re-integrate so he’s killing people to get doubt cast on Charles’s conviction so he can be released and murdered and integrated. After all this exposition, they fight, Vicki is winning but Kelley/Sidney uses chloroform to knock Vicki out. Which leads to a drugged Vicki dream/flash back in which we’re supposed to believe Celluci is the calming influences to Vicki’s hunches making them a great team (uh-huh).

Celluci goes and sees Charles, all doubtful – but Charles tells him not only everything Vicki has – but also that Sidney/Kelley has Vicki captive. He calls Henry and sends him to help and then exploits the psychic link to fight Sidney/Kelley – by hitting Charles, they feel it. Something Charles encourages (kinky).

Thankfully, to avoid damselhood, Vicki saves herself and beats Sidney/Kelley unconscious with a chair before Henry arrives. Vicki is woozy and drugged and apologises for the dark magic to Henry while in that state – he accepts the apology and quietly breaks Sidney/Kelley’s neck when he tries to attack.

Conclusion! Charles is released and confirms that Sidney/Kelley integrated and Vicki gives a warning after that – suggesting that Charles is no longer Charles – but Charles/Sidney/Kelley (and he has a little evil grin as well)

Even though in theory it was woo-woo and not mental illness, the whole “multiple personalities create a serial killer” has been done over and over, it’s abelist, it’s offensive, it’s lazy, it’s inaccurate and it remains a major societal prejudice against mentally ill people who, and it can’t be said enough, are considerably less dangerous to the general public than sane people. Can we not do this?

This episode in general was pretty lacklustre. Henry had major issues with Vicki which were all but ignored beyond sniping and now seem to have been brushed under the rug. On the flip side, Celluci and Vicki bickered like small children – they were supposed to compliment each other?

Any attempt to address the ethics of Vicki and Henry’s playing fast and loose with the rules we had from last episode has just completely dissolved.

And the plot was clumsy and poorly written. We have vast monologues of exposition. We have lampshaded clues. And Vicki going from “oh she experimented on her children” to having a full, detailed knowledge of what Rebecca was trying to achieve AND the psychic link was beyond unbelievable. Why not just have her ring the psychic hotline and have the answer sent to her?

And how did the Super-Ego become the murderer brain?

All in all, disappointing.