Sunday, November 27, 2016

Van Helsing, Season 1, Episode 11: Last Time

This episode fell flat for me, mainly because of the vast pit of my disappointment, but also because we have a huge amount of emotional drama I’m just not that pulled into.

I think the problem is that way too many of these characters have been banished a side characters – something I’ve criticised often and bitterly – that this big emotional brouahaha just hasn’t really hit home

Take Suzy – this episode everyone returns to Suzy’s parents isolated home where Suzy digs up a mega fuckton of daddy issues. Her mother is dead – and died before the uprising, her estrangement with her father meaning she was never even told her beloved mother was dead. Suzy makes her contempt for her abusive father super clear when they find her dad turned into a feral vampire and kill him

We’re only just being reintroduced to this character and I really don’t know why we have to drop a big abusive past storyline on her as a kind of character development – especially since we already have the shared history of her and Vanessa that could be built on. And the damn hints that they’re in a relationship – seriously they couldn’t develop that one 5 second moment to something more (especially after we saw Vanessa gleefully getting it on with hot guy last episode) rather than graft on this tragic past narrative.

Which is why all this very time consuming emotional narrative just didn’t pull me in. Parental issues is an overused cheap development trope. And an abusive childhood is something that needs far more time and depth than tis half-assed episode. And if they wanted me to care about what happens to Suzy they could have done a far better job developing her actual relationships

Yes I said “what happens to her” because she ends up dead. Yes, that teeny-tiny moment between her and Vanessa actually having a relationship will never ever become more and we’ve another show filed whose LGBT representation is a Quiet Portrayal, never to be mentioned again (almost inevitable when we have an LGBT protagonist if the show isn’t going to be about the Tragedy of Gayness).

How does she die? The serial killer. Yes it’s not obvious who I care so little about I’m not even going to try and remember his name. The serial killer is Sam and he’s just that good at hiding his crime. With them down to four when he manages to find Suzy alone he murders her and removes her finger

And with that, our briefly-mentioned-but-not-developed bisexual woman is joined in death with our completely-undeveloped-lackey-Deaf-man-who-could-have-been-so-original. His death involves lots of tragedy with Mohammed which would make me sad if it didn’t make me angry because they play the are-these-guys-a-couple-or-just-really-good-friends game RIGHT TO THE WIRE. I’m leaning on couple juuuust but really this big dramatic goodbye and we’re still dancing round it – and the times they’ve been split up and reunited and we all they ever did was bro-hug? Ah the bro-hug of gay affection!

On top with my endless annoyance at this show dancing so delicately around LGBT affection, I’m annoyed because I’m supposed to be super moved by Mohammed’s grief and Sam’s loss when, again, both characters have just kind of followed everyone else round – Axel, Vanessa, even Flesh and Doc, have had more meaningful attention. Sam became a silent figure with a bat.

Anyway they don’t kill Sam, but cut his leg and leave him for ferals to eat. Because they’re not killers. And this doesn’t count. Apparently. I’m not even going to process that nonsense. It does mean we can expect feral Sam around in the future.

Through this episode we have other long drawn out unnecessary emotional attempts to fill the plot line. Like they get in touch with someone on the radio about the resistance apparently in Denver. The guy gets pretty sad about being isolated and alone and it’s supposed to be a Thing. I would be more interested in his Sad Thing, if we didn’t have a cast of 4 characters right here who we’ve barely scratched the surface of and if it weren’t just so done already. And Sam spends a long time shaving his hair and gets emotional about it. Because someone realised they had minutes to fill

We’re left with Vanessa and Mohammed who now don’t have to answer awkward questions about where they’re going next or goals vs safety or anything like that

Brief check in on the villains. They’re still ridiculous and villainous – but Dmitri is kind of singing in the sunlight suggesting the cloud cover is beginning to part a little