Thursday, January 25, 2018

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 12: Resurrection

Ok this was awful. Super super awful. It’s an offense to this excellent show that this is the episode that actually counts as the season finale. Thankfully, it’s not necessarily plot that is the problem -so let’s dwell on the plot before we have to reach the final battle which was plotted, choreographed, designed and embellished by five year olds.

The Dredge whispers in Calvin’s ear and eventually turns him to the dark side following the convoluted deal Calvin made last episode. Calvin fights despite being very very spooky and creepy - and it’s finally clear how far he’s fallen when he comes onto May. She tells him no - and he presses and starts to get forceful and the spectre of rape is in the air before Garvey interrupts. She tells Rus something is up (and Russ has also developed a supernatural database which could be useful as well. It also implies they’ve let Rus loose in their library)

May, and later Tilly, consult on this and believe Cal may be suffering from PTSD - since he is a veteran who was in a war zone. They do raise the possibility of possession though and do focus on PTSD. May confronts Cal and Cal realises he doesn’t remember anything. May thinks he should get help but he decides he’s a terrible person (he is appropriately devastated by what he nearly did to May), bringing up his dead brother and Dredge who called his soul Black.

Cal goes on to stab the Mayor - not fatally but definitely unpleasantly - and raids the alchemy room. He also has a creepy moment with Isaac when he shows off his new awesome runed bullets - which can kill absolutely everything which both impresses and slightly scares Isaac. But Isaac has a touching father some moment, especially since Cal seems to be trying to say goodbye. He does the same with Tilly which leads everyone to realise that Cal may be possessed and not just traumatised.

Cal also, finally confronts daddy-dearest. Isaac tries to talk Cal into giving up the ring - he’s realised what the cause is. Instead they fight and Isaac may be the better fighter but he’s unwilling to hurt Cal - so Cal wins. And slices open Isaac’s stomach and takes away some of his intestines as one does

Cal does try to fight against possession by trying to commit suicide - this doesn’t seem to work at all. So being possessed makes you bullet proof… He also steals The Dredge’s old host

The mayor is smart enough to speak to Isaac about his son’s stabbing rather than plotting revenge and he and Isaac are both very respectful and mildly menacing to each other.  They get together and decide to stop possessed Cal and try to figure out what he’s doing with this ghoulish scavenger hunt: apparently with the blood of an immortal (how many immortals are there out there that people have made a spell around them?), the blood of an Infernal and a blood of a virgin can all be used to resurrect an Infernal’s body - and make it indestructible. This will be bad.

And that virgin Cal’s using is his own daughter Garvey, which gives us the cringe worthy moment of a man asking his daughter if she’s a virgin. Nope nope nope nope.

Also, do abstinence-only advocates realise they’re leaving our children vulnerable to human sacrifice? Or, given its success rate, maybe they do and they’re secretly campaigning against teenaged virginity?

Anyway this is where I start tapering off because everyone gets together and moves through some tunnels to rescue Cal, Garvey and Rus and have a big battle against the Dredge and a cartoonish cast of characters the Dredge releases from the Ring of Solomon

And it is awful

It is so awful

It’s so utterly awful that I don’t even know if I have words to describe it

It’s so terrible it’s almost good because it MUST be a parody. It simply must be. Every actor on this show has my endless respect for not turning round and storming off the set in sheer disgust after collectively slaughtering the director Murder on the Orient Express style

So the big combat scene at the end and oh my gods never have I seen such cheap CGI. There are shows from the 80s that looked better. Did this show, airing for the first time in 2018, actually resort to a 60s style different backdrop? Because noway this nonsense was modern green screen. I don’t care how low budget this is - I’ve seen kids put together better effects on youtube, so don’t tell me about the budget. No-one’s budget’s this low. I don’t care if all they could afford were shadow puppets and confetti, they could afford better than this.

And the battle? Hey we’re releasing demons from all eras so I can get historical costumes, the Romans, the Supremes. But the guy running around with the chainsaw and magical boom box? (Complete with effects that look like someone drew on the screen in crayon). A man sat in the lotus position flying around shooting lasers from his forehead? Everyone running around with laser-guns? Some guy plays the kettle drum through-out even when everyone else is being killed. There’s a roman who the Dredge is super happy to see who just dies (also why is there a Roman centurion in this ring that Isaac has been filling since Isaac is only a thousand years or so?). There’s lightning and fireballs - oh and James appears. From nowhere. Apparently Isaac called for help but he only found out about this threat an hour or so ago? Was James just camping on the sofa in case he was needed?

Also lurking around town in case help was needed is Tilly’s mother’s coven who join in (along with Garvey) and, hey these wiccans can unite with Tilly and throw fire and magic and all kinds of zappy power and you’d think he would have mentioned this. In the end the Dredge is defeated and James dies - so, possibly, does Bea

There was no epic in this finale. I was literally cringing. It was embarrassing. It was painful. I’m not even able to process the cliffhanger of Bea apparently being dead (though I do rage if she is dead because she’s an awesome character who really deserved to be developed more. Hey she started using magic in the second episode and then that was forgotten - and now we’ve got Wicca-meets-DnD instead?). This one appalling fight scene also both destroyed the ring of solomon and kind of made it pointless as well: I mean Isaac has been collecting demons for centuries but it turns out that they were all really easily killable with lasers

It’s a shame because before this trainwreck of a final episode came after a pretty awesome series. The familial relationships between everyone is excellent - yes there’s a lot of family drama but it works because it’s all sensible. There’s no melodrama, there’s no convoluted fights. People who love each other both forgive and respect each other, think and work their way through any issues they have and generally makes all that conflict work. Garvey, Calvin, May, Isaac, Tilly - all their issues work so well together. And I love that they did surprising things with the Mayor and Russ. All the characters surprised me and worked well together

Throw in an excellent Anansi, a good solid premise with some decent combat and monsters - ok, there have been issues where some of the monsters have been defeated a little easily or not been all that scary (the djinn come to mind) so the plotting for individual episodes is sometimes shaky - but the overall arc, the characters and the world is solid.

Throw in some excellent racial diversity - a Black family, centred firmly on Black characters as the main characters with some, briefly, appearing Asian and Latino characters - we actually have a Louisiana that isn’t 90% white with 2 or 3 Black people lurking in the background. We also have a number of strong female characters - we have May and Garvey and Tilly all being strong, capable, determined, skilled, intelligent: and we have Bea. Who is all of the above but I really wish there was more of her.

There are no LGBTQ characters though, which is a sad absence. Except the last scene, I think no-one would be sad to be excluded from that