Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hex, Season 2, Episode 8: Where the Heart Is

So last week, for reasons unknown (but may be related to his hotness) Ella was utterly unable to fulfil her life’s work and kill Malachi. Instead we’re going to have teen angst instead.

Beginning with a pleasant pub, Thelma and Malachi trying to make nice with her after he lashed out last episode; trying to explain how hard he’s finding things especially since, technically, he’s 6 months old and has lost both parents. She begins to feel sympathy and he empathises with her being so on her own and asks who she would want to be with if she had the chance. Reluctantly, Thelma plays the game and points out a woman she likes.

And that woman is suddenly hit by a car.

It’s also Ella’s birthday – and Leon has got her a 446 birthday cake and a beautiful necklace (awww, sweet little puppy). He has a surprise for her tonight – a surprise that apparently Malachi has insinuated himself into. There’s more of Malachi trying to flirt and telling Ella he’s her perfect man and Ella saying “rawwwr I will kill you!” which is much less convincing after the whole sword-at-the-neck thing. After which the immortal woman with super powers laments to the powerless, isolated, unable to talk to people or touch people ghost, Thelma, how much she wants a normal life and a normal relationship and how hard it is to be an Annointed One and how no-one cares about her. Alas, Thelma does not slap her a good one for this. Thelma encourages Ella to find what happiness she can – her life’s too long to spend it miserable.

Leon, Tom, Alex, Ella and Malachi all go to a Chinese restaurant (the surprise) and discuss Ella’s multi-faceted past and Ella spends some time wandering off on her own with Malachi, doing absinthe shots and more flirting. Because that’s very classy when you’re boyfriend has taken you out for a meal with friends for a birthday surprise. Ella, you are making me pity Leon, the show already transformed his character between seasons but I draw the line at pitying him.

The normality of the whole celebration bothers Ella until she bursts into tears and tells Leon that she just can’t be his girlfriend, she can’t celebrate birthdays when they’re so meaningless to someone who is nearly 500 years old, she can’t stay with him and have kids and have a family and grow old together and he needs a normal girl – she leaves in tears.

And gets in a taxi with a philosophical taxi driver who goes the wrong way – and won’t let her out the taxi. Her powers aren’t working and it turns out he’s Raphael, the Archangel, there to chide Ella on her naughty straying and letting Malachi live. He’s menacing, dangerous and extremely creepy -  y’know, Azazeal was less creepy than this. Heaven needs to work on its PR. He gives Ella something to help focus her mind and threatens her should she stray from the path and forget who she serves.

After more flirting with Malachi she decides to check it out – it’s a cilice, a spiked metal chain worn around the upper thigh that’s expected to encourage chastity by mortifying the flesh. The love triangle continues with Malachi taunting Leon about not being in their league and how Ella is bound to come to him. There’s a fight, Leon is suspended for a week and Ella tries to encourage Leon that their relationship is stronger than a week’s absence will stretch (uh-huh).

Thelma has decided to pay a visit to the morgue to check on Maya – the poor woman hit by a car earlier. And finds her ghost crying in a corner – who runs when Thelma approaches. Thelma looks up Maya’s details on the sleeping guard’s computer (while stealing his pork pie, of course, she is Thelma) and gets her home address.

After chasing her down, Thelma eventually manages to convince Maya to let her help (after Maya saw her mother prostrate with grief and Maya couldn’t talk to her). It’s touching as Thelma comforts and is there for her – saying how she wished someone had been there for her when she died – and helping her come to terms with being dead. It’s also really well acted as Thelma is conflicted with her own guilt, as her words to Malachi may have been what killed Maya.

Which, of course, Malachi is quick to manipulate – threatening to tell Maya how she died and why if Thelma doesn’t try to convince Ella to go out with him. Thelma also finds out about Ella’s cilice. Ella protests that it’s to help her distract her frustrated thoughts about Malachi and Thelma, wisely, points out “we have vibrators for that”.  She throws the cilice away – but also, at Malachi’s direction, advises Ella to give Malachi a try for one date.

So she dresses up and off they go – using Azazeal’s shiny rock – to a little club in 1920s Berlin (don’t you just hate it when they go ridiculously over the top, flashing their bling on a first date?), though Ella is perturbed that the burlesque singer is Perie, the demon-fairy, she’s quite pleased with the arrangement. But when she turns her back another man speaks to Malachi to give him the same lecture that Raphael gave Ella (albeit he’s far more avuncular and less creepy). Mephistopheles reports that his superiors are also not very happy with Malachi doing his own thing since they can’t interfere directly.

With the aid of Thelma, Leon has sneaked into the school to try and spy on Malachi and Ella – running though the abandoned part of the school and all its secret passages until he meets up with… Raphael. Who is only too happy to tell Leon that Ella and Malachi are on a date – and where and when (to make sure Leon feels properly inadequate). But Raphael isn’t all bad (heh), he’s sure she’ll change her mind if she sees Leon, so sends him back as well (interesting world building power note, the Archangel doesn’t need any magic bling for time travel).

He zaps into existence in the sex toys, bondage and costume room and instantly starts to get changed – though Perie the fairy comes in half way and mistakes him for a client. She doesn’t recognise him since this is past Perie. Who quickly ties him up in bondage games – so he can look through a window. And see Ella and Malachi go into the next room and start stripping and making out – and likely more if Ella didn’t look up and see Leon.

She leaves the room in tears – watched by Perie and Mephistopheles.

Honestly, to have an epic battle between good and evil, Angels and Demons, magic, ghosts and darkness and we end up with – a teenaged love triangle? Ugh. And why why is Ella so drawn to Malachi? She barely knows him!

So Maya, the lesbian ghost – another one. Of course, this further confirms that all the GBLT people on this show have been DEAD (are there any straight ghosts on this show?) And I say that as someone who knows what’s coming as well, but couldn’t wait to start snarking this theme. Also, the subtext of GBLT people being completely invisible and unknowable among straight people, relationships going on in utter secret mixed with lots of unrequited love and pining (and invisible leering) is pretty glaring. And yet again we have Thelma’s sexuality being manipulated or a source of weakness or pain.

I do like Raphael and Mephistopheles, though Mephistopheles is my favourite (even if I do have to fight against the urge to call him Giovanni Sforza – always awkward seeing actors in different roles), I like the cunning, avuncular, polite, suave persona. Much more human than the creepy, harsh, inflexible Archangel Raphael. It’s a nice dynamic and interesting contrast