Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hex: Season 2, Episode 13: The Showdown

 It’s the last episode of the season – and Malachi seems to be well and truly winning. The school is in tumult, there are no pretences of lessons and many students are painting Malachi’s mark everywhere. It seems the whole school has fallen under his sway. Arrogantly, Malachi even dismisses Jo’s worries about Ella – he believes he’s untouchable with everyone in hand. Except Roxanne – who is still praying in the chapel. Personally I’d think the goal would be less convert Roxanne and more spread beyond one school, if they’re going to be bringing about the end of days and all. At the moment they have end of maths – a relief, yes – but it’s not like they studied it much anyway.

Still, Malachi is determined to turn Roxanne and she’s determined to talk about God and Heaven and faith and further blame herself for Jez’s death. He keeps trying to get to her – and kisses her, which puts him back to square one and her leaving.

Leon is imprisoned in Ella’s room and is spending lots of time taunting Ella and Thelma. Thelma throws anger back, Ella just kind of looks sad and tortured, as usual. They have a plan though and drug him with a sausage roll (which is so classily Thelma. She also pokes his unconscious form with a sausage roll as well)

Thelma enters his brain where she finds him in bed, in a forest, with blood slipping from his mouth (similar to how Ella’s dreams looked when she was in Malachi’s thrall) – and like when she attacked Ella with fire, she attacks Leon with his worst fear – castration. He wakes, a little freaked out and confused as to why he’s in a cage. He’s back (shame they couldn’t have figured this out before murdering Mia.)

Then comes the awkward moment of explaining to Leon that he killed Tom, thinking he was an Incubi – and that Ella didn’t tell Leon his deepest desires. He blames her for not trusting him, for having such a low opinion of him – if she had kept him in the loop he wouldn’t have made the mistake. He begins to tell her they’re basically done as a couple, how she carries some responsibility for killing Tom – and how she consistently uses people around her (which, though puts her in tears, is pretty much true). He leaves and Thelma comes in to comfort Ella while she cries.

Later, once the tears are done, Ella uses the spying tunnels to check on Roxanne rejecting Malachi yet again. Time for Ella’s cunning plan (oh dear).

This involves Thelma putting the spirit liquid (the stuff that lets humans see ghosts) in Roxanne’s drink, then going looking for clothes in the morgue (while eating a pork pie. Of course). And goes to visit Roxanne in the church – dressed as an Angel. No, not like Raphael – with wings and a harm and a halo. She is Trainee Angel Xena. After much inept fumbling, she sets Roxanne on her path (sure, she’s not a convincing angel, but she is dead which gets some supernatural points).

Now comes Ella’s role – which is frightening and unpleasant (as always). To remake her Orichia dagger she needs to forge it in fire – and she has to hold it in the flame with her bare hands because it feeds off her pain and fire.

Off Roxanne goes to Malachi, setting him up to meditate while searching his room – and returns to the chapel holding the amber stone. Remember that one? It can alter time and space. The Dues Ex Plot Device. Which she gives to Trainee Angel Thelma, who is awesome.

Leon goes to Tom’s grave and gets a little visit with Tom’s ghost who shows up to give Leon forgiveness and absolution. And to urge Leon to return to Ella.

Leon goes to the pub – where he runs into Mephistopheles, the suave demon who is looking a little rough after his past intervention got him punished. He fills in Leon on what’s happening, the school taken over – and Malachi trying to cause the end of days, when Heaven and Hell fight each other (and he makes it clear he doesn’t particularly care for either side and whoever wins, dark times will follow). And to deliver a hallmark card on how wonderful love is. Hey, Leon, got the message yet?

With the gem, Ella and Thelma can put their plan into action – he’s too strong to kill with the knife now. But once he was as weak as a baby – flashback to when he was a baby in an incubator watched by the fairy Perie.

Ella uses the stone to travel back to then and opens the incubator. Of course Perie intervenes (which Ella didn’t see coming). They have a fight one in which Ella yet again forgets she’s telekinetic, and Ella head-butts the fairy out of commission.  Ella ignores her and goes to stab Malachi  but gets a ridiculous flashback of Leon’s oh-so-mean words and hesitates, allowing Perie to stab her with her own knife. Ella knocks her aside and she bangs her head on a plastic ridge and slips to the floor, eyes wide open in a way that suggests she’s dead (there’s an anti-climactic death).

Grasping the stone, Ella returns to the future (without killing the baby), gasping and in pain (yes the laid down sweating in agony look, again) while Thelma provides amateur first aid. And we have desperation – because Ella made the knife strong, pouring all her fear and pain into it. Ella has another goodbye scene with Thelma, thinking of Leon and crying and grieving and lamenting that Leon was always her true love, her perfect fit, while Thelma comforts her (comforts the murderer of her OWN true love, I might add).

In the main hall, Malachi gathers the whole student body – and drags Roxanne down to join them – and he fills her in on the End of Days as well. Dramatic scene time! Apparently, they need to sacrifice a pure soul to finally declare war. By sacrificing someone who belongs to God, they will provoke a response. The dramatic fire begins to burn the whole school down.

Leon hurries back to Ella’s side and finds her dying in bed (again) and instantly decides to cauterise Ella’s wound (more dramatic Ella pain, laid on her back sweating and suffering) before Leon helps her run down stairs with Thelma following – laden with the knife, the book and the blasty thing of Orichia – fleeing the burning school as Roxanne is sacrificed.

We end with Thelma, Leon and Ella together outside the school – and the mark of Malachi filling with blood.

Y’know they’ve got the crystal, they could try to kill Baby Malachi again, I’m just saying

After this season they never bothered to make a season 3 and, sadly, I think I can see why. It’s a shame because I liked the setting, the world and the plot as it were and certainly the characters (mostly, especially Thelma). It had a lot of potential

But it didn’t live up to it in season 2, I think. And the main reason is Ella. It started so well, arse kicking demon slayer ready to take on Azazeal, the Nephilim and everything else. Then we had the love triangle – does she love Leon? Does she love Malachi – and there is absolutely no damn good reason why she and he should have fallen in love – and we had to endure episode after episode of Ella and Malachi and Leon relationship drama with Raphael and Mephistopheles throwing in their opinions. It completely derailed the story for no damn good reason and it made no sense at all.

And Ella completely lost any sense of being pro-active or strong. She spent the entire season being victimised, tortured, suffering, cowering in fear, screaming or grieving and angsting – and over and over again she assumed the pose of laying on her back, sweating, cowering and whimpering. Over and over again it was her main pose – sweaty and suffering. Her facial expressions were fear or pain and little else. Tortured by Azazeal, in the mental institution, detox from St. John’s Wart, afflicted by boils, grieving over Leon, grieving over Malachi, grieving over Thelma – always crying or suffering. She is a constant victim. Towards the end even Leon pinned her down and nearly bled her to death- and she couldn’t kill a demon without Leon saving her.

And the way she treated Leon and Thelma was pretty damn shoddy as well. She used Leon from first meeting but even as they became friends and lovers, it was all about what Leon could do for her – and huge risks and sacrifices he took for her – while she constantly regarded him with a low level contempt. Thelma as well slotted quickly into the role of sidekick, Ella inheriting her from Cassie and it reached such levels that this episode Thelma comforted Ella about Leon – her LIVING boyfriend – after Ella had murdered Mia not a few days before.

Which brings me to sexuality. Several lesbians and a gay man – all dead. All of them. Most of them ghosts for a little while but there is some serious subtext here. Gay people lurking among straight folks, invisible, unable to interact, barred from being part of life and society, hidden from the eyes of straight people? Yeah, I call subtext with a whole lot of gay death thrown in – with Thelma, Mia and Tom all dying in part due to their sexuality and their love interest as well! And Thelma spent the whole season – 2 seasons in fact – being constantly manipulated through her sexuality and love life. Even Tom's ghost only made a reappearance to urge Leon back to Ella.

Racially, we had a token inclusion at best, even if Headmaster David was awesome in season 1.

I didn’t particularly like the Roxanne storyline either, as I mentioned before with her being shamed and painted as the perpetrator. But making her good and chaste and pure and chaste and holy and chaste – and did I mention chaste? Was she an unpleasant character before – sure, she was vicious and cruel. Her sex life wasn’t why she was evil.

All in all the first season was great, the second season had amazing potential – but it crashed and burned.