Thursday, September 18, 2014

Witches of East End, Season 2, Episode 9: Smells Like King Spirit

Ok, let’s clear the B storylines first:

Dash is having massive temper tantrums because Ingrid doesn’t want to return his calls. Dash does kind of epitomise the entitled, spoiled, rich kid doesn’t he? His tantrums reveal a hidden stash of letters and books from his evil grandfather – that would be the evil grandfather who was in a relationship with evil past!life Ingrid. There’s even a photograph of her.

He tracks down Ingrid because her not returning his calls is STILL not a big enough hint to ask about his evil-granddad’s journals. Ingrid explains the whole cursed rebirth thing and past lives. Dash also realises his mother was over a century old and that Ingrid had sex with his grandfather- but thankfully Ingrid is not his granny because uckies uckies uckies. Ingrid also remembers that evil granddad was evil – he had her do things like kill people and cover it up. Like she did with Dash. Ooops.

Dash counters it’s totally different because he’s not evil. Uh-huh, I think he’d have trouble convincing an impartial jury – and Ingrid for that matter. To prove his lack-of-evilness he has to burn the journals and black magic. Which he does. Good step. Step 2 involves Dash telling Killian he nearly killed him with magic. Yeah, not sure this step is a good idea, to be honest. Ingrid keeps trying to sell this as redemption while he’s clearly seeing it as a step-by-step guide back into Ingrid’s bed.

2nd B storyline and 2nd Beauchamp daughter:

Freya (argh, must we?) who dumps all of her Killian issues on Ingrid including that she thinks Eva is bespelling Killian (which is a) a classic case of main characters magically knowing the script and/or b) super arrogant because Freya assumes the only way Killian would chose Eva over her is witchcraft).

Eva and her daughter/grandmother seem to be using a magical pregnancy test that comes up negative which makes Eva very sad.

Freya sneaks into their house to steal a bottle of potion and runs into the grandma/daughter – who responds to this trespass by breaking glass and making a huge mess. Not the most useful offensive spells in the world. Granny needs to work on her aim. The stress of random vandalism also causes her heart trouble.

Freya tries to convince Killian that her breaking into his house is nothing to do with him being a depraved stalker and that Eva is totally evil but it’s not because of Freya’s jealousy. Uh-huh – that’s a pretty hard sell there.

They go to see Eva – and find her much older. Eva’s daughter/grandmother died from the heart attack. Eva isn’t even a witch – she’s human, but so long as she has a child by a warlock she remains young and powerful - which is why she needed to be pregnant by Killian before her daughter died. That didn’t work out so now death is catching up with her. As she collapses, Killian begs Freya to help and she leads him in a chant to help Eva but it doesn’t work. Tragic death follows Eva assuring Killian she really loved him, honest.

Killian goes, alone, to talk the whole living a lie thing through with Dash – reflecting on people he thought he loved lying to him. Guess what Dash decides to talk about? Yes, perhaps the worst possible moment, ever. Literally, he could not possibly have chosen a worst time for this.

Dash tries to point out he was angry and panicky, Killian points out that Dash actually pushed him out to see for him to die. “I was mad” and “I panicked” are really not good excuses for this. Lots of old brother issues are dragged up and a huge magical fight follows

In the aftermath both are unconscious and surrounded by wreckage – including the broken charm that’s supposed to keep the body of Dash’s victim underwater. It rises to the surface. What, you didn’t think to use a breezeblock as well as magic?

And the main plot:

Freddie is busy slicing and dicing Caroline for his sacrifice to granddaddy but Caroline keeps being funny and cute and declaring how much she loves and trusts him so Freddie just can’t go through with it. Y’know, rather than family members and lovers maybe you should try to sacrifice and arsehole? Like, say… Dash?

Tarkoff is, of course, very displeased by this and expresses this by throwing purple light at Freddie which appears to be unpleasant. Since Freddie has failed twice now, Tarkoff is going to do his own murder/sacrifice/possession just as soon as he’s finished beating 8 kinds of shit out of Freddie

He goes home to show Joanna his badly beaten face and puppy-dog eyes.

Wendy is in bed with Tommy and makes plans for keeping their relationship a secret from Joanna before she joins her sister in the kitchen. The deception lasts 2 seconds but Joanna is distracted anyway by the bruised Freddie who reveals to them both that Tarkoff is an agent for the king. He also reveals that the king is super-duper sick which is why he can’t come through the portal anyway; he needs a new body. Because of Tarkoff’s powerful woo-woo, Freddie wants his mother (with even more powerful woo-woo) to kill him (also since Tarkoff is being clearly set up to be Joanna’s love interest, they will get MAXIMUM ANGSTY!)

Tarkoff, meanwhile, is busy kidnapping the sneaking Tommy. Of course. I thought the whole point of the Mandragora and the killing is that you couldn’t just grab any random person for sacrifice? Or have they just given up on that and have decided to pick people most likely to make a Beauchamp cry?

Joanna gets down to spelling business while Wendy fandpoodles also while talking about loved ones betraying her (oh Freddie, practice those puppy-eyes!) Joanna has nasty scorpions that paralyse and kill people (is that magic or, y’know, just scorpions?). Freya and Freddie are called to sue their wonder-twin powers to find Tarkoff. This takes him to his lair in an abandoned psychiatric hospital and, for some odd reason, singing while he prepares to slice and dice Tommy.

Nah, this scene tries too hard to be creepy.

Tarkoff also reveals that the king’s spirit is in Freddie (because he’s in exposition mode) which cue Freya to give her twin a way-over-the-top shocked look and Freddie boy to turn up his puppy-dog eyes to 11. This was supposed to be tense. I giggled.

Back to the kitchen where Freya tells Wendy and Joanna and I wonder why Freddie actually thought for a second this big secret wouldn’t come out. He tries to explain, no-one is impressed and Joanna throws one of her paralysing scorpions at him – he’s down for the count. Joanna threatens her son with scorpion death (which Wendy is all for) while Freddie gasps out what wonderful people they were for forgiving him and loving him (uh-huh, which you betrayed. This sounds like a bad strategy for getting them to trust him and not kill him).

They leave him paralysed and go hunt down Tarkoff, looking all dramatic and shiny while they do. But they’re too late, when they arrive Tommy is no longer tied up (Tarkoff’s spell seemed to work). With him missing Joanna calls Tarkoff and basically lays down an ultimatum – he meets her to negotiate peace or she crushes him like a bug. He decides to meet to negotiate.

Tarkoff takes his own precautions – firstly going to the library and knocking Ingrid out then calling Freya and imitating Ingrid to ask her to come to the library “because there’s a scary guy outside”.

Really? And Freya doesn’t turn round and say “Ingrid, you’re a freaking witch, magic up!” Freya walks into the trap like a lost little lamb.

Joanna and Wendy meet Tarkoff in the bar where Tarkoff reaffirms his loyalty to the king and how he’s spent centuries being a complete creepy stalker after Joanna (and, really, throwing in mind reading doesn’t make that any more romantic). Apparently the king promised Joanna, his daughter, to Tarkoff as a reward which is even less romantic and means we will all very much enjoy the horrible thing Joanna will doubtlessly do to him. Joanna isn’t buying that she’ll come round to the idea of bring a prize for him and scorpions him – he responds by blocking it and disappearing. Rather than scorpions they could have used just some of the magic Killian and Dash threw at each other.

Tarkoff goes to pick up Freddie (presumably he still needs to extract the king from him) and Freddie scorpions him (Tarkoff, did you turn off your telepathy or something? No, I don’t buy the whole “element of surprise” Tarkoff went there looking for Freddie who he KNEW would be pissed at him).  He then makes the paralysed Tarkoff swallow the scorpion which is just plain nasty and unnecessary. Freddie promises to kill the Host (Tommy) and himself – and therefore the king.

With his dying breath, Tarkoff mentions a “present” – the bodies of Freya and Ingrid, hanging from the trees in the garden. Joanna and Wendy return home, massive incredible grief follows.

Question – why does Dash’s evil granddad write journals in multiple languages? Is English the language he reserves for writing about Ingrid? I am torn on this storyline, on the one hand Ingrid and Dash have some great scenes and I really want to see where all these cyclic past lives are going but Dash’s constant pushing of her when she’s clearly trying to get some space needs some calling out – but every time she ignores his calls, he shows up in person and she folds to him.

On to the second B-plot, well that was an anti-climax. The evil Eva is defeated by her daughter’s heart attack? This storyline was always kind of lurking unsatisfactorily in the background, the characters too hollow and uninvolved compared to Dash/Ingrid or Wendy and Joanna. And now it’s over (taking with it two of the series few POC as well – with Alex also plot boxed that leaves a somewhat debateable Freya – who is played by a WOC actress but looks to be playing the role of a white woman, especially given her all white biological kin). And the whole thing feels like a relatively temporary speed bump in Freya and Killian’s ongoing story and Freya’s continued inability to have a storyline that doesn’t centre around her romance. Also, we had a tragic send off for Eva, which is supposed to make me go “awww” but instead makes me think that we’ve completely washed over the fact this woman repeatedly raped Killian – and that’s not even the first washed over repeated rape this season has had.

I’m going to go into business renovating old psychiatric hospitals into blocks of flats – if you believe TV there are a gazillion of these empty, spooky haunted places just ripe for development.

Do not try to pass of Freya and Ingrid as dead show – even if they didn’t have a built in resurrection, we know beyond doubt that there’s no way you’re going to kill off these two. Nope nope nope, don’t even try to cliffhanger that. But what was Tarkoff’s plan here? He wants Joanna to love him so assuming killing her daughters will facilitate that? He didn’t even try to use them as leverage – he just randomly murdered them for funsies.

Freddie is incapable of acting anything other than pathos. I don’t even think it’s bad acting, I think the actor literally cannot turn off the puppy-dog eyes. He is cursed to always look cute and hang-dog even when trying to be menacing and tough. Actually I’ve just done an image search for Christian Cooke – yes, this man is cursed/blessed with eternal puppy dog eyes. Even when making someone swallow a scorpion he still makes me want to say “awww” and pat him on the head.