Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ultraviolet Season 1 Episode 5: Terra Incognita

 A man trying to enter the country from Brazil at an airport passes customs, but is stopped when they notice he is bleeding from his ears. A doctor is called to examine him, and finds a bloody bite on his throat, while the woman he flew in with calls someone waiting in the hospital.

Mike, desperate about Kirsty and her journalist, approaches Frances and asks her to get Kirsty to stop it. Frances refuses – why would Kirsty listen to her, she’s a grown woman and can make her own choices and, besides, Mike’s the one who joined the secret squirrels, it’s his job to handle things like this. She makes a very convincing argument – and that’s aside from the fact Frances doesn’t like Kirsty and is an ex of Mike’s so doesn’t really owe either of them anything.

Back to work and the man is in a hospital bed, with Angela She-who-has-never-heard-of-medical-ethics hovering over his bedside like an especially hygienic vulture. She confirms to Father Kill-them-all-and-let-god-sort-it-out Harman that it’s Code 5 (or V if you going by the Roman numerals we-must-not-say-vampire-ever) and it’s a visible wound because the man has a non-contagious haemorrhagic fever that makes him bleed from any vulnerable spots, even if invisible. More confusingly, his sister asked for Angela by name as an expert for his condition; but she isn’t, not for haemorrhagic fever anyway.

While Vaughan and Mike search through their bags, Harman and Angela interview his sister, Maria. Harman begins in Portuguese before she asks if he speaks English. She says her brother’s condition is sickle cell anaemia and she wants to see Dr. March – Harman gestures to Angela, but she’s looking for a male Dr. March, Angela’s dead husband. This confuses Maria, because she’s sure he’s still alive.

Angela insists the man can’t have sickle cell anaemia, that wouldn’t cause this bleeding. Maria blames the blood transfusions he’s been having but Angela insists that’s impossible and there’s no way a transfusion would have cured sickle cell anaemia, quite agitated and a little patronising, Maria fires back that she has lived with Aguinaldo’s illness all his life, she knows what she’s talking about. She said the transfusions cured him but then he began to bleed.

Harman asks about the bite wound on his neck but she’s silent about it. Angela asks what “they” said about her husband and Harman virtually drags her out of the room. She starts to argue with him but a bored nurse informs her that Aguinaldo is bleeding again and she’s called away

Vaughan and Mike have a conversation about sickle cell anaemia, what it does and how it’s more prevalent in Black people and that it was Angela’s husband’s specialty before the vampires targeted him (probably why they targeted him since they’re interested in blood disorders).  After interviewing the flight crew they learn that the plane was delayed for an emergency cargo of medical supplies.  They arrive in the cargo area just as the truck drives off – with the man Maria was talking to in the passenger seat. Mike tears off after him while Vaughan calls for a helicopter and a road block and checks out the medical supply box they’ve left behind. Inside is something that looks a lot like a metal coffin.

Inside, Angela notices not just the bite but a lump on Aguinaldo’s back which, when pressed, bleeds profusely. Harman continues to interview Maria learning that she was told that Dr. March would not help them because he didn’t do charity but she was sure if she could meet him in person and make him see Aguinaldo there would be no way he’d say no. She had to leave Brazil in a hurry, buying tickets at the airport, so doesn’t even know where Dr. March is. Angela returns to tell maria about Aguinaldo’s health (with the same bedside manner you’d expect from an axe murderer) – and Harman sends her out again; which doesn’t make her a happy bunny.

She returns to Aguinaldo and outs him under and ultraviolet light, revealing dozens of bite wounds.

Vaughan notices the clock on the side of the big metal coffin that seems to be counting down to sunset and after x-raying it and confirming “organs for transplant” he clears out the warehouse and has it moved to a secure facility where men with guns can stare at it. Meanwhile Mike calls off the roadblock so he and his helicopter and his van full of soldiers can see where the other coffins are being delivered.

Vaughan checks on Angela who is frustrated by Aguinaldo’s condition (and I have to give kudos to Angela for, when Vaughan asks what Harman thinks, “stigmata for all I know” and a comment on how she’s not going to ask him for his medical opinion.) And to confuse things Aguinaldo’s medical history does show severe sickle cell anaemia which he’s now cured of and his haemorrhagic fever is undetectable.

As an added complication, Maria is getting impatient, frustrated that she’s not being allowed to see her brother or Angela now, she doubts even whether Harman is a priest and demands to go. Harman has Vaughan take her where she wants to go in the hope she will confide in him.

She asks to go pray and he asks which church she belongs to, she says no church and is taken to a riverside; she points out that just because she’s Brazilian doesn’t mean she’s Catholic and the statue in her bag isn’t Mary, it’s Yemenjá – she’s a Candomblé practioner and explains what it is and how the Yoruba religion was hidden, the orishas presented as saints, during slavery. Vaughan doesn’t have much time for it, but she asks whether he’ll help Angela meet her husband. She tries to get him to talk to the people who answered her prayers – now more clearly vampires, insisting all they want to do is stop the killing. Vaughan replies that they were experimenting on Aguinaldo, not helping him.

Back to Angela who is Not Happy with Harman and tells him that the wounds on Aguinaldo happened over several periods and aren’t full feedings – more like tastings. They’re interrupted by  Mike calling and saying they need to pull the truck over because it’s not stopping, Harman has doubts but Mike insists on his expertise as a policeman and says the vampires have a surprise planned and they have to act now. Mike and his small army move in.

And find a truck full of tires. They’ve been a diversion ever since the airport.

Meanwhile Vaughan manages to get Maria to tell him where she was going to take Aguinaldo, a deserted warehouse. He gets out and is bludgeoned unconscious by a man in a security guard uniform – he asks Maria where Mrs. March is.

Vaughan wakes up in a warehouse with 4 coffins around him. He gets a call from Mike saying he’s 20 minutes away, which is a problem because the clock on the coffins says 4 minutes. Mike tries to pep talk him into finding a way out but Vaughan isn’t one to be fooled like that and he hangs up. He calls Angela as the coffins decompress but hangs up without saying anything as the dramatic, sad music plays. He draws his gun and gets ready to shoot himself, before changing his mind and pointing his gun at the coffins.

Then he’s struck by an epiphany, and drags one of the coffins from the very centre of the room to the door, where sunlight manages to squeeze through the gap between the 2 large warehouse doors. With seconds to spare he rips out the timer and makes it speed up, opening early. When open he briefly exposes the vampire inside to the sunlight from the crack and, when it explodes (and when vampires die on this show they explode) it rips a hole in the door.

That was a pretty awesomely dramatic scene all through – including the epic build up. But it was near ruined by the awful direction and refusal to use any special effects make it hard to tell exactly what it was Vaughan did to cause the explosion.

Mike and his team arrive to find the other 3 coffins empty and Vaughan alive. He doesn’t know where they went, he escaped while he had the chance.

Back at the base, the captured coffin they have opens and a vampire steps out. He approaches the 2 way glass where Angela is standing and tells her he’s a friend of her husband. He begins the mind games, having no time for the cleric Harman (conversations that lead nowhere) and instead preferring science. He talks to Angela about her husband and how he talks about her etc etc we’re the good guys, really, we’re fluffy vampire bunnies and how Harman was the one who killed her husband and daughter – when they were turned. Angela leaves.

Vaughan and Mike pull Maria out of the river, she’s committed suicide. And Vaughan reveals a little more past.

With Aguinaldo Angela has a break through – the blood the vampires were transfusing him with synthetic blood – perfect, artificial blood. They’ve been testing it on a human because, if he can survive on it, so can they. And clearly it isn’t ready – and Harman realises they want Angela’s husband, an expert on blood, to perfect it. Angela realises maybe they do want peace – if they can perfect this then they won’t need to feed on humans. He won’t have it of course but Angela argues for an open mind, which Herman, the Catholic priest responds with “that’s the worst thing we can do”.

And lo, Harman summed up in one scene

Angela and Vaughan both don’t compare their days but they’ve both been through hell and she invites him back for a coffee. But when they get to her house it’s brandy not coffee and Angela asks what Maria said about her husband – she insists on knowing and he says that Maria said she could have her husband back. But he said dead is dead and it’s impossible. He leaves after they both do touching little “we’re totally not flirting really” moments

Throughout all this Frances continues her investigation for Mike (despite telling him no) and reveals Mike has nothing to worry about. Both Kirsty and her journalist friend quit their jobs and they’re now inside with the curtains closed in the middle of the afternoon. Frances thinks sex, I think vampire. Mike asks her to deliver a message to Kirsty and she does

Mike gets a fax from Kirsty confirming she’s willing to meet. He hurries, late, conspicuously leaving his camera gun at home. He meets her in a busy bar. She talks about being abandoned and how she knows Mike was hurting about Jack as well. She also dismisses the journalist as just a conspiracy theorist who was willing to listen. When he talks about her finishing with him she asks if he’s being spying on her – and whether he’s jealous. He says she’s being stupid and she asks “would it be that stupid?” Dum dum! She’s interested! Time for the awful director to get some ridiculously intense eye close ups. And he notices (in case we missed it) that she hasn’t touched her drink. He goes to the bathroom, troubled, but realises he’s left his camera gun at home. He starts crying and uses his normal gun to break the bathroom mirror.

He returns to the bar but moves too slowly for dramatic effect, the camera taking hours to follow him and before he can check for Kirsty’s reflection, two goons jump him. In the struggle he drops his gun, which Kirsty sees and runs in panic and shock.

One thing I do like about Angela is, while utterly unethical and rather unpleasant, she is completely confident in her skills and abilities. She’s not going to be intimidated by Harman and not going to accept he has even the slightest idea in medical issues compared to her. This is something she is even better at than Mike who often has to fight to have his expertise as a policeman recognised

I particularly like Angela’s questioning their assumptions about the vampires (albeit for potentially more emotional reasons) and not folding because Harman resisted.

Vaughan, is showing some levels of complexity beyond the silent, angry, dangerous Black man – but he’s still almost entirely physically orientated and there for intimidation purposes.

I do quite like the explanation, albeit shallow, of Candomblé except then we find that she believes vampires are answering her prayers; so, again we have a Yoruba sourced religion being presented as evil

I still have little time for Harman. And if they’re going to do a storyline with Kirsty they need to do it, these 5 minute hints every episode is a tiresome distraction. Shall I guess now? Kirsty is a vampire and this is going to be a MEGABIGSHOCK in the last episode.