Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 10: Green on Blue

We have something dubious and supernatural shenanigans going on at a boot camp. This concerns the local barman in LaRochelle since he’s a veteran like Cal and his nephew is currently in said boot camp running the risk of being eaten by something gribbly and nasty.

Cal tries to play oblivious when he’s recruited  but the barman has been in LaRochelle for a while - he’s also been barman for a long time so has heard a lot of drunken gossip. He knows what the Hastings do and what they’re up to.

Calvin’s in and they go speak to the commander/colonel who runs the camp. I assume they get this kind of personal attention because they’re veterans. The barman runs his mouth about hauntings and obviously is dismissed out of hand for being a damn fool. Calvin is more reasonable, discussing how they’ve had an utterly ridiculous number of missing recruits and it’s only a matter of time before the camp is shut down, they’re investigated and her career is officially wrecked. So she might as well let Calvin look around discreetly

Ok, part of me is a little leery here because she allowed these people to roam around her camp with very little reason at all. But I think this could be a comment on the world building - or maybe I’m just reading too much into it. I’ve said before that in a world where the supernatural exists then people are going to be less… cynical? Disbelieving? More inclined to believe that some nasty shadowy monster is eating their recruits.

Calvin also reads the riot act to bartender when he tries to go public after his nephew is attacked - you call the Hastings for help, you do it THEIR way.

She even had an experience herself when she was a recruit which she explains after they do some investigating and hear about electrically charged air and check in with Isaac and Tilly for some reasearch. They confirm that the enemy is probably a kind of djinn - a shiqq (and points to world building in doing a little more research rather than just saying “hey, genie!”). The colonel identifies a possible witness, and they find a recruit trying to kill himself but prevented from doing so by the shiqq. It seems likely he’s made some kind of devil-at-the-cross-roads deal to basically get him through training since everyone expected him to wash out. The shiqq tries to kill the bartender and Calvin jumps on him after the ring whispers at him

His demon ring is doing it’s best to seduce him to use his power, to “ally” and defeat their enemies. I’m not sure if that’s what happened here because he just kind of leaps at the shiqq and wins. So I’m going to assume yes and that the monster wasn’t just body slammed to death

But this monster of the week episode wasn’t the main point. We had two more intriguing side quests going on.

Firstly we have Tilly and her heavy history. She returns from her holiday early for various reasons but between her distractions she mentions her mother has died

And it’s apparent their hinted at fraught relationship was very very very fraught indeed. Which is even more fraught since her will asks to be buried at the Hastings family cemetery.

Her mother, like Tilly herself, was Wiccan and her high priestess and executar of her will arrives to discuss the ceremony. Tilly easily recites the necessary rites and things between Tilly and said priestess are… not good. The uncompromising praise she has for Tilly’s mother - a woman Tilly calls abusive and neglectful. She also blames the priestess for driving a rift between them - and she doesn’t deny it, saying she thinks a “clean break” was best. She also suspects Diana of an ulterior motive - she needs someone to fill Tilly’s mother’s place. She’s recruiting

Her complicated feelings go further when we see Tilly utterly break down while caring for her mother’s body.

She and Diana cross horns again - Tilly tries to make Diana confront the abuse, while Diana talks about redemption and change - which is a shitty thing to do to any victim, trying to blame and guilt them into forgiveness. She doubles down by almost accusing Tilly of giving up her faith - though Tilly rejects the idea she has to be with a certain person or in a certain place to observe her faith and adds her insistence that her job is important and even spiritual.

Diana has another bombshell - she’s dying. She does want Tilly to return home but to lead the coven. And Tilly, though clearly not liking Diana and having some issues with the Coven, she clearly recognises the massive honour involved. Diana invites her to come home

This is also really awkward for Isaac, you can see him wanting to treat Diana as a bereaved customer deserving of respect and Tilly is an employee who should respect her but then Tilly has her personal issues, is family, is hurting and has a solid dollop of being right.

Tilly tells him about the offer and he says how important it is to be with family - but that she is with family with them. She does challenge this because though the words are nice she points out they don’t entirely treat her that way. She is the Help. Isaac doubles down - she isn’t just like family, she IS family

Which is nice and just what Tilly clearly needs when she’s this hurting; but at another time and when not grieving it would be nice to expand on her not-mean-counter there; the insistence she is family is good but clearly not everything backs that

Tilly tells Diana that she wants to stay home with the Hastings - and Diana excludes her from the funeral, calling it “family only”. And she doesn’t get slapped upside the head!

Tilly cries in Isaac’s arms - and I love this cementing of Tilly’s place in the family.

And to another member of the family - Garvey

Garvey is having issues with Russ and his newly learning her secret. As I said last episode, the dynamic here is very different - he doesn’t think she’s a freak despite her powers and he isn’t afraid of her. No, the issue is he doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. She is all powerful and shiny with an awesome mission and life - and he’s so normal and boring and mundane.

In a genre full of teenagers wailling about being normal, this very real hailing of the special and interesting is refreshing.

He also encourages her to experimenting with her magic - which she does. At his urging she uses shiny woo-woo to make his fidget spinner move. Of course he now feels less special but Garvey has the idea to see if he can learn since they shared blood

It doesn’t go well, It’s all bloody and messy and awful and Isaac has to rescue them, kick Russ out and read Garvey the riot act about treating her so-important family legacy. Which means Garvey’s magic is well and truly out there and on the table

And Russ still doesn’t blame Garvey. I really didn’t expect Russ to be as onside as this. I expected him to be a low key antagonist. I think it speaks to just how… mature Superstition is, and it’s something that has struck me from the beginning with this show with all of it’s powerful family drama which manages not to aggravate or annoy me because it’s handled sensibly. There’s no ridiculous melodrama, plot points driven by ridiculous decisions or characters acting like they have a severe concussion – it’s what makes it work