Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cult, Season 1, Episode 5: the Kiss

We start on the show gathered around a camp fire with Kelly as a cultist and Billy, taking drugs with the sword-triskele symbol on them. Billy talks to Kelly about being united in a vision – mind, eyes and bodies – then takes off her dress and throws it into the fire while the drug takes hold. He turns her round and asks her if she “gives herself to this joining” when she says yes, they kiss and he says she’s his only love.

The show is on Jeff’s television and Jeff himself is just sending off his article to his editor, Bert, having pushed his deadline close. Bert (an obvious friend who has known them for a long time) asks about Nate and Jeff shows him the photograph they found – looking at the board Nate had up he sees a similar photograph with him wearing the same clothes – including a medallion. His editor notices the medallion and says they have “accept, forgive, release” on them – they’re sobriety medallions. Bert says Nate fell off the wagon (he was a drug addict) but got with the program and didn’t tell Jeff – since Bert was really close to the family, he acted as Nate’s family member in the meetings.

Of course, Jeff asks why a photo celebrating completing the program would be on Nate’s Cult wall and asks after the other man in the photo – Dustin, who became friends with Nate. And Bert knows where he lives.

On the set, Marti (the actress who plays Kelly) is dreading that night’s party where several major fans have been invited – it’s all in costume and she has to give a private tour of the set. She wants Skye to come so she has someone she can talk to (also asking questions about Jeff, “Skye’s guy”) – when Peter cuts in to add his own not-very-subtle crushing on Skye to try and get her to come.

Jeff goes to see Dustin and when he arrives an ominous black pick up drives by (we can tell it’s ominous, the music says so). An ominous black cat meows at him (we can tell it’s ominous, the camera says so) and he sees Dustin’s mother (who’s not even slightly ominous). Jeff lies and pretends to be Dustin’s case worker and learns he’s moved – and it’s apparent he’s involved in the Cult True Believers as well. And he’s all excited about the studio party. And she has an ominous feeling. How very ominous.

He and Skye talk about the party on the phone, she says that the tickets were a random lottery but, since you had to provide your own transport to LA, anyone who couldn’t afford it sold their tickets, so it’s possible anyone could have made sure they got a ticket. Jeff wants in – which means showing up as Skye’s +1… and dressing up in costume as Billy, Skye dressed as Kelly in her flammable white dress.

To the party, 100 Billys and Jeff getting a little shocked when Skye introduces him to Marti, who has grabbed Skye in the hopes she can join the private set tour but Jeff and Skye beg out to look for Dustin. Jeff also catches on that Marti knows his name because of the many many times he and Skye have talked on the phone. Then the crowd goes a little wild because Roger, the actor who plays Billy, has arrived with Creepy Super Fan Kirsty on his arm. She makes eye contact with three fans dressed as Billy who set off on some plan – one of them is Dustin.

A couple of people conspicuously touch Jeff (so I guess something has been slipped into his pockets) and despite being on a mission, Dustin starts handing out drugs much to the annoyance of his fellow Cultists. And Lexi, she who apparently dislikes sobriety, gives Skye a drink spiked with the drugs much to her and Jeff’s anger.

They spot Dustin and follow him and find him being lectured by… detective Sakelik, who smacks him and takes the remaining drugs off him. They can’t hear more because Skye starts to get woozy.

Outside, Roger has managed to get some privacy when the man who bumped into Jeff, Steven, approaches him. He isn’t a fan of Cult, he never even watches it – but his girlfriend is. He has seen roger in other films though – when he was younger, the “James Dean of the 90s” which has Roger briefly nostalgic before Creepy Kirsty shows up again. Steve comments on the car and leaves and Roger tells Kirsty that he’s a real fan.

Steve… show writer was called Steven Rae, right? Yes.

Moving on – Skye is well and truly feeling the effect of the drug as Jeff helps her sit down in the offices. They discuss their plans and Sakelik but she’s out of it and keeps touching Jeff in a pretty flirty manner – which is when Peter comes in. Awkwardness ensues and Skye sends Jeff back to the party. Where he decides to go to Detective Sakelik and give her a full blown “rawr I know” posturing. She’s not impressed, nor am I.

Marti is stuck giving the super fan a tour, and he’s managed to see some subtle Hindu subtext to a scene which she puts down to “Billy being Billy”. At which point the party has a Billy/Kelly kiss emulation trying to recreate the scene from the beginning of the episode with fans in costume. Several of them kiss – and a drugged Skye returns to the party to run into Jeff. The camera focuses on them and the crowd chants for them to kiss. Jeff tries to bow out with a peck and she follows it up with a full on kiss that means business. Much to the annoyed looking on glare of Peter and the intrigued creepy watching of Steven.

Meanwhile Marti has now shown her Creepy fan to the set where they shot that kiss, and the others she was showing around seem to have left. And he becomes creepier and creepier especially with him being all “yay Billy” and presenting Kelly as being the betrayer.

Jeff and Skye have retreated behind the scenes again, getting another bottle of water into Skye and helping her feel clear again when they find Marti’s bodyguard staggering, someone hit him on the head. He tells them where Marti was going and they hurry off.

Creepy Fan is now calling Marti Kelly and accusing her of not treating Billy with respect. But her rescuers aren’t Jeff – it’s Dustin, his friends and Detective Sakelik. A van arrives to take the Creepy Fan away when a van arrives – Sakelik tells them to take him as well and the men from the van jump on Jeff and drag him into the van. They drive off, leaving Marti unconscious against the rock as Skye and security guards arrive.

It’s a crime scene, Creepy Kirtsy and Steven share a silent eye-contact moment and Skye talks to Marti and Marti reassures Skye she’s ok. Skye panics over Jeff, calling him, and avoids Peter.

Sakelik dumps Jeff out of the van and tells him it would be easier if he let her do her job. He questions what her job is since this is clearly not normal policing, and she says she has to protect the show. She writers a web address on his hand and says that is the reason he’s still alive – then she drives off with their creepy fan still tied up in the back.

He goes home to find Skye waiting for him and f they hug in relief. They check the website and find his article for the paper, confirming the date – and Nate tied to a chair. Nate tells Jeff he’s fine but won’t be if Jeff doesn’t stop looking – he has to stop looking for Nate. Nate has something they want but says he won’t give it to them unless he’s sure Jeff is safe and again begs Jeff to stop looking as he won’t be able to keep him safe otherwise.

Y’know, it would be more convincing if he weren’t tied to a chair.

Kirsty and Roger have a moment and she asks after Marti and urges him to be careful – there are lots of crazies out there. She drives off, and nods to the car at the bottom of the drive – inside which is Steven and Sakelik.

I still…  have no idea what is happening. So very very very confused, yet still so very very very curious. I think they’ve made a mistake in not continuing the “hey these things just snap right off” meme because that was so utterly creepy and they’ve lost their creepy edge. It’s intriguing and odd and curious and has plots within plots, but it’s considerably less creepy than it was.

The romance is starting – I knew it would but I really don’t think the show needs it. Perhaps more emphasis on Skye’s own agenda, her own personal reason for getting involved, rather than trying to use a romance to more solidly link her to Jeff’s motivation.

I didn’t like Skye being kissed while drugged, I did like Jeff’s reluctance towards any kind of kiss or flirting while she was in that state.