Monday, December 4, 2017

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 6: Dr. Dredge. MD

It’s time for Isaac to get back in town (after seeing some horribly rotten bodies) and reuniting with his family - first of all with Bea

Ok I am hearing Bea and Isaac talk in this scene and, of course, they’re this amazing, passionate couple who love each other immensely. But I kind of here a lot of subtext poking from Bea here which Isaac seems to be ignoring. Like she’s clearly unhappy James showed up unnannounced and he assures her it was just for their protection but seems to miss Bea’s issue with a) not knowing anything about James and b) James and Isaac has this whole history she wasn’t part of and didn’t know about. Isaac keeps dodging and seems to focus more about Bea saying Cal has questions but I feel that there’s an undertone here that Bea has questions too. He does say a reassuring “no-one ever knows me as well as you” which is nice but she says “no-one ever will” which… is slightly creepy? Like “there will never be a woman after me! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!”

This whole scene is sweet but I do have this undertone that Bea isn’t super happy with how much of Isaac’s life she may have been excluded from: and while he’s focusing a lot on Cal, he doesn’t seem to be equally focusing on her. Which is kind of my complaint about the show in general - Bea needs more attention!

But before we focus on Cal and Isaac let’s look at Cal and May’s oh-so-complex relationship. They have sex and Garvey nearly walks in on them and clearly knows what is happening and everything is AWKWARD

May freaks out and Cal tries to be understanding but May is clear that his platitudes mean nothing - he understands nothing, she understands nothing, it’s all too complicated.

And from there she has to go to a little town meeting about an upcoming awkward founder’s day. The main point of this is to establish that the Hastings are still pretty much hated by the whole town - but May awesomely speaks up for them because she has not time for the town’s nonsense

Can I also ask if these Founder Celebrations actually happen in America? I don’t think we have anything like that over here (largely because when a city is 1200 years old no-one has a damn clue who founded it, why or when)

Dr. Kim also speaks up for the Hastings and since he and May are old friends and possible ex’s they decide to have lunch

Unfortunately it looks like Dr. Kim is the new meat puppet for The Dredge (his old body has been found by the Hastings and Tilly studies it’s weirdness and finds she may be able to track the Dredge which could be useful). He has already visited Anansi and, in exchange for a shiny magic mirror, has taken all the memories she gained when she visited the Hastings. Despite this I still have my doubts over whether Anansi is a villain or just playing a long game with a possible alternative that she’s simply mercenary. She only helped the Dredge to what she had agreed to and didn’t step 1 millimeter outside that. It’s also worth noting that the Dredge didn’t even try to threaten her or coerce her: not out of friendliness which there clearly isn’t any but, but the way she turned her back on him, because she is Not To Be Messed With

So I think we should term Anansi as “complicated” When it comes to her goals, her alliances, her relationships, and… well.. Everything.

With those memories Dr. Dredge pokes May - and later Garveys - sensitive sore spots. Poking Garvey about how her dad hasn’t been around and how complicated Cal’s return was. He pokes a lot of May’s memories and drags up all of her very complicated feelings about Cal and mixes it all up. This also gives May and Garvey time to talk together and Garvey is super not happy about May letting someone into their lives who abandoned them. May tries to deflect this by making it clear she was responsible for not telling Cal about her - but Garvey just turns that anger onto her: she’s not happy that May never gave her chance to know her father; denying her that option.

It was all complicated which will no doubt continue to be difficult for some time to come. It’s all a very powerful relationship full of difficult complexities.

So to Cal and Isaac and the many many issues here. Cal is The King of Passive Aggressive towards his dad, He has lots and lots and lots of questions for his dad; part of which is questioning whether he is just another in a long line of sacrificial families to Isaac’s war. And Isaac finally agrees to answer them: but warns him that this is his chance to stay safe. If he knows, he’s dragged in and can’t get out

Cal wants in and so out comes the memory gem - apparently useful woo-woo for Isaac to download his memories so centuries of history don’t make his brain explode. After warning him about possibly side effects they go back in time to see Isaac’s mother and also the moment he became immortal - when Templar Knights and soldiers of the Islamic Caliphate both came together to create a champion to swear allegiance to: Isaac

I’ll note that this didn’t exactly answer any of Cal’s questions or concerns but it did create a very impressive sense of Isaac’s legacy. A sense that, maybe even if Isaac is sacrificing people to be soldiers to his cause, then at least that cause is, indeed, very very worthy and important.

It’s also time to check the ring of Solomon - a Ring that contains a lot of trapped Infernals (which Dredge is eager to get his hands on), which Isaac uses to show Cal how to channel those Infernals, bringing them forth to speak to them (including an example from New York which… I don’t even know how to address this).

By opening to all the voices they preyed on Cal’s doubts to have him attack his dad which also serves as therapy to address some Issues. Cal has spent a few years blaming his dad for the death of Arlo, completely hating him for it but now knows he was the one who struck the killing blow. Isaac proves his familial love - he desperately wants to protect his children and he’d rather Cal hate Isaac than have Cal hate himself - which is powerful and one of those moments of genuine affection between these two which makes their usual sniping much easier to handle.

Among all this bonding no-one actually explains why summoning Infernals from the ring is actually useful in any way except to provide a floor show.

Any revelations from this is distracted by Dr Kim calling Cal and telling him to walk into a trap or he will kill Garvey and May. Like every show where this trope is used repeatedly in the genre, Cal walks right into said trap. I’m not a fan of the trope.

What is interesting in this show is that the actual action and the plot feels considerably less than the actual relationships between the characters: which are layered and strong which is surprisingly excellent: surprisingly since I’m normally much more plot driven fan.