Thursday, October 9, 2014

Witches of East End, Season 2, Episode 13: For Whom the Spell Tolls


Ingrid is Nikolaus’s prisoner and he’s apparently just finished torturing her in the name of punishing her to make her obedient. This is something he’s done a lot with Frederick in the past (which explains a little of Frederick’s general desperate actions). He now tries to play good guy to Ingrid. As a bonus point he reveals that Ingrid is pregnant – with Dash’s baby or the Mandragora’s?

Like any good villain he monologues his evil scheme – to steal the powers of his offspring. He’s already stolen Ingrid’s. Like any good villain monologue, this is overheard by Frederick. He tries to stab Nikolaus and ends up stabbing himself instead. He’s never the most effective guy around.

Tarkoff still has Joanna prisoner and drugged – but he’s not in the present, he’s just created a duplicate of her room back in the 1840s. He talks about his plan to rape her. While drugging her constantly he eventually runs out and has to restock the opium from a random stereotypical Chinese extra and, in doing so, is spotted by Freya (she and Wendy have been fluttering around panicking about being stuck in the past and not achieving much but eating up episode minutes). Wendy follows him in cat form and smacks him over the head (he can’t read the thoughts of a cat is the excuse for his telepathy not warning him). They drug Tarkoff and escape.

While they’re doing that, Freya and Edgillian have some romance angst. Of course.

In the present, Raven the FBI detective has some input from her colleague – the body of the man Dash killed has similar gunk on him as she found in Fairhaven. Dash, missing his evil grimoire, invites her over. She arrives and he accuses her of taking his journals – which she denies. He aims for hyper creepy sexual threats. Except she’s not playing any more, she has a warrant and 5 federal agents

Anyway Ingrid and Frederick (who Nikolaus has just left behind) hurry to Fairhaven to join Dash – (the FBI have apparently been and gone - it should take them DAYS to search a house of that size – and Dash promises Ingrid to keep her out of the murder investigation), looking for his books. Which he doesn’t have. He does say he read them all which means Frederick and Ingrid can read them out of his mind.

Frederick reads Dash’s mind and chants an odd language that Ingrid translates as they figure out which spell they need (as an aside, I wish they’d decide which language the witches use – the Beauchamp family seems to alternate between at least 3).

Just as she finds the right spell they also get a message from a witch – he passes on a letter written by Wendy and Freya to pass on over 100 years in the future (yet again we see long lived witches, yet again no explanation of Dash and Killian) so Ingrid can help them all get back.

In the past everyone runs to the time door, chased by Tarkoff – WHY IS HE NOT DEAD?! You had him helpless right there?! Or kill him now – there are three of you?! Ingrid opens the time door but Tarkoff manages to destroy the box before they escape.

Seriously. That damn box was the whole point of this whole time travelling adventure and you break it because Joanna can’t hold onto it or kill her enemies? AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH

Frederick again pledges his loyalty and you can totally trust him this time. Nikolaus then magically kidnaps Wendy, planning to strip the powers of them and kill them one by one. Meanwhile Ingrid reveals their convenient plan B from the grimoires – a spell that needs the 4 Beauchamp women to kill Nikolaus. Frederick doesn’t have the necessary special powers (because a grimoire in Dash’s house has a spell designed for these four because REASONS) – he does have puppy dog eyes though and he uses them.

Thankfully for the gang, Nikolaus has fallen into exposition taunting of Wendy rather than actually getting on with the power stripping. He tries to taunt Wendy with what a terrible mother she’d be – she’s not impressed. She doesn’t need to be a mother to know she cares deeply and passionately for the people she loves. She definitely wins the banter round.

The Beauchamps go to confront Nikolaus and assault him with chanting from every side. Ingrid’s power begins to return. A few more lines and he collapses to the floor. Wendy goes to the body but Tommy is dead (um… can we make sure? Decapitation? Burning? Please?)

Random distraction – Raven arrests Dash for murder.

Killian is still dying so Ingrid and Freya go check on him. He’s dead… why do I think this isn’t permanent? She kisses him and glowing… aww come on, when did I enter a Once Upon a Time episode? Yes he lives, they kiss and begin humping on his death bed.

And Frederick is dead – some woman (I bet Raven) killed him and scrawled “death to witches” in his blood.

Wendy decides to sacrifice her last life to save Tommy and his very forgotten daughter (remember her?)

She wakes up in some kind of fiery hell to meet her other sister – Helena.

Killian decides to visit his brother to forgive him and help – and Dash casts a spell on him – swapping their souls. That seems a little extreme a thing to resort to! Dashian decides he’s going to pretend to be Killian forever more and even go back with Freya.

Ingrid takes a test and confirms she’s pregnant.

Raven’s legal case is a hot mess. She has a comparison made from illegally gathered evidence and she had sex with her prime suspect. A man with as much money as Dash has can hire a lawyer to do all kinds of damage to her case – and destroy her career in the process. And why did she suspect Dash in the first place? I don’t recall any particularly reason why she’d connect him with any of the dead beyond “this house was built by a creepy guy”.

I think Raven hates witches because her parents called her “Raven” and now everyone assumes she’s a very unoriginal neo-pagan.

I kind of think this whole season has been a bit of a hot mess when it comes to storylines. Everyone has been doing their own thing too much giving us too many stories and many of them didn’t seem to actually go anywhere or be properly developed or achieve anything – both some of the short ones (Wendy and Ronan? What was that about?) and even several long ones (in the end, what did Killian and Eva actually do except drive Freya/Killian angst cycle. Or Frederick/Claire for that matter). Ones which could have had promise – like Dash and Killian learning how to be warlocks, were just shunted into the background (which could also have developed Ingrid/Dash to more than it was. And maybe then they could have developed Dash’s character enough to make the ending even remotely make sense).

Even the main plot line was incoherent, quite aside from Frederick’s yo-yoing loyalties. First we have the Mandragora to go do stuff, but then that stuff isn’t needed and they find a body for the king anyway – that’s most of the first part of the season gone. We go back in time to pick up a box (and get bogged down in a Freya love interest storyline AND a lost key storyline) which achieves nothing and in the end Ingrid just happens to have the useful spell anyway. Freya and Ingrid die for lots of dramatic angst scenes that consumed the best part of an episode – only to have it all undone. This happened a lot –we’d spend a lot of time on something which wouldn’t actually go anywhere or achieve anything or add to the plot or the development or, well, anything. It was incoherent, it was scattered and it had a whole load of do-overs.

I’m also almost dreading the next season – look at the storylines! Raven the witch hunter. Dead Wendy, angry sister Helena, Dash/Killian swap, Killiash in prison so there’s a court case, pregnant Ingrid with a “who’s the daddy” storyline, dead Frederick, alive Tommy. And Tarkoff’s still out there somewhere. There’s a RIDICULOUS number of storylines there – enough for four shows! And I’m not even going to pretend to be upset about any of the deaths

Inclusionwise… We had Eva and her daughter -which was a magical sexual predator who eventually died because of it. She as the one with the dark, foreign, seductive magic and was pretty much painted as obviously evil from the beginning She was constantly a side plot and never part of any real main storyline – just a stepping stone in Freya and Killian’s path to TWU LUB! Other than her we have Raven’s black assistant (I don’t even know her name). And we had Alex show up for 2 episodes to snark, help out and then disappear never to turn up again. She’s a Black lesbian or bisexual woman and has had a relationship with Joanna – so bisexual main character, right? Hmmm…

…except this is the first time it’s mentioned and as soon as Alex is gone it was never mentioned again (which has shades of Sanctuary about it). More, look at how this compares to every other relationship on the show – both in terms of depth and explicitness. Wendy/Ronan, Wendy/Tommy, Freya/Killian, Freya/Edgillian, Dash/Ingrid, Dash/Raven, Killian/Eva, Frederick/Claire – we have had a HUGE amount of opposite sex romance/sex scenes on this show and they have all (even Wendy/Ronan) given us more information and more depth and showed more than Alex/Joanna. The comparison is glaring because there has been so much opposite sex romance on this show (it’s the very reason for Freya’s existence) that Alex/Joana screamed of one off tokens.

Minorities did not do well here. And though it’s supposed to be a show of strong women even that is shaky – Ingrid was raped and then kind of fell into the role of Dash enabler. Joanna kidnapped, sexually assaulted and generally not doing a whole lot of anything despite her huge power being constantly emphasised. Wendy not much better (defined mainly by 2 love interests and being ineffectually suspicious of Frederick). And Freya exists to be a love interest – every single storyline she has is romance orientated, usually Killian orientated. Remove Killian, you remove her. That’s why she had to save him from poison because she literally has no existence without him.

And then the rape – the terribly handled rape. About the only sexual assault treated as creepy on this show was Tarkoff kidnapping and drugging Joanna. The mandragora raping Ingrid was turned into Ingrid feeling terribad guilty for all the bad things she did while under its thrall – not about actually being raped, that was never addressed. Eva raped Killian for most of the season and in the end she gets a tender goodbye from him and zero acknowledgement of what she was doing.

And going into the next season we have Dashian very likely to be raping Freya who thinks she’s sleeping with Killian which suggests it’s going to continue

I can’t say I’m eager for the next season to begin