Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wolf Lake: Season One, Episode One: Meat the Parents

In Seattle Washington, detective John Kanin pulls up outside of a house and when he enters, he takes off his jacket and puts down his cell phone.  From the ominous music playing in the background, we get the sense that he is not alone.  Suddenly, he is attacked from behind and it turns out that it's just his girlfriend Ruby.  The two start to kiss and when John says that he is going to hop in the shower, Ruby replies that she likes him dirty.  Really? At only two minutes in, that is one of the cheesiest lines I've heard in urban fantasy. When they are done, Ruby decides to go and get takeout and tells John to stay and relax and that she loves him. When Ruby leaves, John lies in his bed and smiles.

She heads out to her car and the moment Ruby gets in, she is attacked from behind.  John hears the struggle from the apartment, grabs his gun and heads downstairs.  As Ruby is being attacked, her eyes flash yellow.  By the time that John gets to the car, it appears that Ruby is gone, but there is a bloody hand on the seat.

At the police station, the cops say that their best guess is that the hand belongs to a White male in his 30's but they have no idea how it got separated from the body. John is sitting in an office when his partner Frank and the Lieutenant enter to ask John to tell them again what happened when Ruby disappeared. They ask if Ruby was into anything and how long her knew her.  John says 8-9 months and questions why they are asking.  His partner reveals that there is no record of a Ruby Wilder in the national database. This means no DMV or social security number.  The Lieutenant then asks if he is sure Ruby is her real name and John grabs the files and says that he is sure. John then asks if Frank checked the college and learns that there is no student record for Ruby.  John insists that she is studying dance and that he picks her up there twice a week. Franks says that Ruby might be studying there but is not registered under Ruby Wilder.  The Lieutenant adds that Ruby has no bank account, credit history and that social services has no record of her. Frank says that this is either some kind of mistake, or Ruby is a ghost.

Frank returns home and finds an earring belonging to Ruby on his bed.  Six months later, John's answering machine asks for a message to be left and directs the caller to page him immediately if the call is regarding Ruby Wilder.  Around his office, there are missing posters of Ruby and a map with locations marked off. It's Frank and he says that John should pick up because he knows he is there.  In desperation, Frank points out that he is forcing him into a life with Harry until they can catch a case. John's pager goes off and he answers believing that it's Frank but it turns out that it is a man named Earl, claiming to have seen John's poster of Ruby at a gas station on the highway.  Earl says that he thinks he gave Ruby a ride in March and that he dropped her off at the Wolf Lake exit.  When John asks for the callers name again, he hangs up the phone.

With a bag packed, John hops on his motorcycle and with visions of Ruby dancing through his mind, he drives through the day and late into the night, until he is forced to stop when a young girl runs into the road.  She immediately tries to get away from him and John tells her that he is a police officer and asks what she is running from.  What John does not realise is that he is being watched from the woods. The girl hops on John's bike and tells him that if her father finds out that she is gone that he is going to go totally berserko on her. John hands her his helmet then starts the bike up, as he unknowingly continues to be watched.  Something is following them making growling noises but on his bike, John quickly out paces it.  When John is in the distance, we see a naked man with glowing yellow eyes in the bushes.

John pulls into town and the girl hops off thanking him. She  asks about Tommy Rule, who shot a bunch of people at a mall. When John says that he doesn't know him, the girl admits that they play chess together over the internet and asks if it's twisted.  John says that it depends and when she leaves, he turns and sees a statue of a wolf.  John the heads to a hotel, which has an absolutely sumptuous interior. He heads to the cafe inside and meets Sherman Blackstone, who immediately does a magic trick with an egg. Sherman tells John not to encourage him because he could go on all night.  John asks about a waitress and Sherman doesn't answer and instead wants to know what kind of gun John has strapped to his ankle.  Sherman than introduces himself and asks what brings John to their little paradise in the pines because it can't be official business, due to the fact that John arrived on a bike. John quips that Sherman doesn't miss a thing and Sherman says that in a past life, he must have been a scout for Custer or somebody, then contradicts himself to add that they don't believe in past lives because that's a Buddhist thing.  John asks about the service and Sherman tells him that after midnight, everyone is on the honour system, so he should just himself to the kitchen. Sherman adds that there is a money jar in the fridge and warns him to watch out for Rusty.

When John opens the door he finds Rusty on the floor, and when he turns around Sherman is gone.  At the front desk, John is handed some sheets and when he walks outside to go to his room, there are numerous wolves howling at the moon.  Inside, he gets on his laptop and looks at the missing poster of Ruby.  He falls asleep and wakes to the sound of the still howling wolves.  When he gets up and opens his window, he sees Ruby standing a distance away staring at him. It turns out that this was only a dream and when he approaches the window in reality, what he sees his a White wolf with blue eyes staring at him.

At the jail, Sheriff Matthew Donner is playing his keyboard, while a prisoner is singing, when John walks in and flashes his badge. Donner leaves the cell and learns that John is tracking a missing person.  When Donner looks at the photo, he says that Ruby is not from around there and that they don't get many strangers passing through.  When Donner attempts to hand the flyer back, John asks him to take another look and says that she might have dyed her hair, cut it, or could be using a different name.  Donner again says that he has not seen Ruby, so John says that he would like to continue making inquiries within the limits of jurisdictional compliance and asks for permission to put a few of the photos around town.  Donner says yes and then when he looks at the photo, he asks Holly his deputy if the picture could be of Deena Rose, the checker at the market. Holly replies that she is house sitting for the Bricklane triplets and adds that Deena Rose did come to town about six months ago. John says thanks and leaves, as Donner and Holly exchange a look.

John heads to see Mrs. Bricklane and learns that Deena quit and took a job over at a farm. John says that he doesn't know how she does it and Mrs. Bricklane says it's nothing because Rosemary gave birth to quintuplets last Tuesday. 

John then heads over to the farm and is immediately given directions to leave because Vernon believes that John is looking for the reservation. Vernon then adds that he can never tell the difference between two tribes of Indigenous People.  John asks him if he knows a Deena Rose and flashes his badge.  He is taken out back, where there are sheets hanging on a line and from behind Deena looks just like Ruby.  When Deena turns around he sees that she is very pregnant Deena Rose.

Matthew Donner  is talking with Sophia, his daughter, and it turns out that Sophia is the same girl who John gave a ride to last night.  Matthew asks if she was out by the lake last night and Sophia asks if she is grounded now.  Matthew says that they all know what goes down at the lake and now there's drugs and that if she gets into trouble that there is no turning back and her whole life will be done. Matthew is clearly concerned that a mistake will mean that Sophia will be trapped there the rest of her life.  Matthew then says that he thought that they were together on that and Sophia says that she is 16 and is of course going to question. Sophia says that she is has to go back to work and Matthew warns his daughter that they are watching her and that they are testing her.  Sophia tells her dad that they can't make her do anything she doesn't want to do. Matthew tells her that she won't find what she thinks she is looking for and Sophia points out that her mother found him before walking away. 

John sits down next to Matthew and tells him that his last tip was a bust. John tells him that he is a type A makes him crazy and wonder if the sheriff is jerking him around. Matthew replies that he is wondering the same thing about John.  When John replies that they are going to keep an eye on each other, Matthew says that he has been doing that since last night and then gets up and leaves.

Sophia come out of the kitchen and sees\ John, so immediately turns around and leaves.  Three menacing young men enter the dinner as John leaves when he gets a phone call.  It's Frank who says that they traced the call from the trucker and that it originated in Wolf Lake.  John asks for an address.

The three menacing young men who entered the dinner are driving in a pick up truck. The one who is driving asserts that they are never to deal X to the kids on the hill and that he is disappointed.  He adds that he it cannot happen anymore and that it never should have happened.  The driver pulls over and tells Fletch to take a nice long walk home and to find a way to be better at his job.

Sherman is hitting golf balls into the lake, as the driver tells his buddy to relax and give Fletch a fighting chance.  Fletch starts to run frantically through the woods until he is grabbed by the legs and dragged away.  Sherman hears the scream and pauses hitting golf balls to look around.

John is hops the fence at Wolf  Lake highschool and heads straight to the payphone where he matches up the number on the phone, with the number that Frank gave him. Satisfied with the match, he starts to walk away, until he glimpses a photo of Ruby in the display case.  John bashes in the case using a fire extinguisher and grabs the photo.

At a church service Luke Cates leans forward to say something to Sophia but is stopped by his father Willard. John interrupts the service and walks in announcing his name, holding up his badge, saying that he is from the homicide department of the Seattle police department. John holds up the picture of Ruby that he got from the highschool and adds that her name is Ruby Cates and that he knew her as Ruby Wilder. John asks where Ruby is and says that he is not leaving until he gets an answer. Willard stands up and introduces his wife Vivian and says that they are Ruby's parents.

At dinner that night, Willard tells John that he runs a brewery and that everyone lies. It's clear that the Cates  have money, just from looking at the table setting. Willard say that the earth spins on an axis of denial, in an orbit of deceit and adds that it's probably the same in John's business. Willard says that the people of the town aren't lying to John but protecting their family because apparently, the Cates sign most of the checks in Wolf Lake and everyone knows how hard they have been hit by this.  Willard says that it's been two years since they have heard from Ruby and have no idea where she was.  John asks Willard the last time he saw Ruby and Vivian replies at a private hospital outside Spokane. John asks if Ruby was ever violent or destructive in any way and Vivian answers, "only self destructive." John asks about other relatives, old boyfriends or roommates and Willard says that they have tried and have racked their brains.  Vivian points out that John isn't here because he is a policeman but because he loved Ruby.

In town, Luke pulls up to the curb with a car full of people and tells Sophia to get in. When she is resistant, he asks for one more chance and promises to go easy on her this time.  Ruby hops into the already crowded back seat of Luke's car.

At the Cates, John is looking through the family photo album at pictures of Ruby. John says that he doesn't understand why Ruby didn't talk about any of this and Vivian surmises that Ruby wanted to be someone else and erase her history. John says that outside his window, just sitting there at the edge of the lake that he saw a White wolf last night.  Vivian replies that it's very rare and that the Indians would say that someone is watching over him - the spirit who made the earth.  John replies that he hopes it's true.

In the car, Shawn is trying to talk Sophia into taking drugs and Luke tells him to chill because with girls, anything that isn't yes is no. Shawn then suggests that anything that isn't yes is maybe. Wow for a moment there I we actually got a pleasant line about consent, but clearly, that couldn't be allowed t stand. The girl Luke is with, reminds him that Sophia could tell her father and Sophia assures them that she is not going to tell.  As Luke continues to make out with the girl in the front seat, he watches Sophia in the rearview mirror.  His eyes go werewolf yellow, as he continues to stare and Sophia is clearly becoming uncomfortable.  When Shawn tries to force himself on her, Sophia says that she has to go and it is up to Luke to insist that Shawn let Sophia out of the car.

John is at a bar drinking a bottle of locally brewed beer, when he notices that the label has an image which looks exactly like the earring that Ruby accidentally left in his bed. Sherman suddenly appears in the seat next to his and asks if John found what he was looking for. John replies that he doesn't know what he found. When Sherman says that it's a shame to be confused and leave town, John asks if he said that he was leaving. Sherman turns and asks if John is staying and when John does not answer, Sherman call him the enigmatic stranger. John says goodby and gets up to leave.  On the way out he grabs a man's arm and when he sees that he has some kind of deformity John apologizes and leaves money to pay for the man's drink. Clearly the John thought he saw a man with a missing hand and assumed that it could have been Ruby's attacker.  It probably was and I believe that the man is in the process of growing back his lost hand.

Vivian is standing on a balcony wrapped up in a sheet and she says that it's a shame to waste a view like this on a human. She then asks if John is gone and is informed by her lover that he is still there. Vivian says that it was too much to hope that John would leave of his own free will.

John heads out into the parking lot when he hears a loud growling noise.  He heads over to Luke's car and pulls him out of the back seat. When he looks in, he finds a deformed looking creature, before Luke hits him over the head.  When John wakes up, he is in the woods and his gun is gone.  John stands up and looks around, picks a direction and starts to walk, but stops when he hears a sound.  What John does not realise is that he is again being watched.  He stops again when he hears a wolf howl.  John quickens his pace and finally starts to run.  Not watching clearly where he is going, John steps on a bear trap.  The mysterious white wolf enters the clearing and stares at John before making its way closer to him  At a distance, Willard points his gun and shoots it.  John tells Willard that he didn't have to kill it and Willard says that he used a tranquilizer gun for re-location. John insists that the wolf wasn't going to hurt him but Willard says that when wolves lose their fear of humans that they are dangerous. Willard adds that they have been tracking the wolf for days. Willard then tells Floyd to make sure that John gets back to town in one piece before he leaves carrying the wolf. I have to say that for a man who just had his foot caught in a bear trap, John is being rather ridiculously stoic.

The next day, a limping John approaches Sophia who asks what happened to him. John replies that he had a minor accident in the woods and says that they have a pretty ravenous backyard. Sophia tells him that she doesn't know where Ruby is.  John says that he is there to ask what she saw in the forest that night and adds that he knows she was frightened. Sophia says that she is having deja vu because she is certain that they have already had this conversation.  John tells Sophia that he thinks that he saw it to and that it was huddled in a car and that he cannot explain what he saw.  Sophia tries to dismiss it as the altitude but John is not convinced and says that Ruby Cates is very important to him. Sophia believes that John is hunting Ruby down in search of fame and John says that if he doesn't find Ruby that the entire rest of his life isn't going to have one moment of joy or meaning. John asks again if Ruby is there and points out that a lot of people are trying to make him think that she isn't. Sophia asks John what that tells him before walking away. John calls out that he never got her name, and she turns and tells him Sophia.

Sherman is teaching a class and he brings up the various methods for hunting wolves.  Luke Cates and his girlfriend are in the class sitting next to each other as he lectures. Sherman says that man could exterminate the wolf from the face of the earth in less that six months if we so desired.  Sherman asks what the most important thing is to the wolf and the class answers, "survival of the pact." Sherman repeats after them and plays with a coin, in the same fashion that the man who called John and gave him the tip about Wolf Lake did.

As first episodes go, this one wasn't too bad.  I had a little trouble following what was going on and who was who, simply because they through so many characters at us at once.  I am sure that as I become familiar with who everyone is and how they are connected I will have a better understanding of the story. Also could they lay it on any thicker that the supernatural element are werewolves? At times I felt like I was being beaten over the head with this fact.

They laid it on pretty thick with Native American mysticism.  As far as I can tell, the only indigenous actor and character on the show is Sherman Blackstone played by Graham Greene. Though Lou Diamond Philips often plays indigenous or latino characters, he is in fact Filipino. There was a lot of mention of Indigenous mysticism and though I didn't note any outright racism, it felt derisive to me.

I didn't like that John's whole raison d'etre is to save a woman he believes to be in distress.  It gave me shades of Supernatural.  There do however seem to be some strong female characters, at least in the first episode so I will simply wait and see how gender is treated.

On a final note, I was amused to see that even though Wolf Lake aired in 2001, Paul Wesley's acting has not improved one iota since then.