|Photo courtesy NBCUniversal|
EXCELLENT CREEPY CLIFFHANGER! Just had to get that out of my system; now I can proceed. That seems to be an area that this series is doing particularly well. Not every episode, which in itself is commendable, but when they do it (this episode, the previous episode, and the pilot) it has been genuinely surprising, leaving you wanting to fast forward to the next episode, and interestingly, something entirely outside of the UK version of the series, so truly a cliffhanger for all.
Unfortunately, their resolutions in the following episodes have left something to be desired. At the end of the last episode, Emily was bloody because she had been attacked. BY A VAMPIRE. At the beginning of this episode, our gang is at the hospital (minus Sally who for some reason is not there) while Emily is treated. When Aidan sees that Bishop is doing the investigating, he gets suspicious, and quickly determines that Marcus is the one who attacked Emily. Why doesn't he check for bite marks IMMEDIATELY? We were all wondering if she'd been bitten at the end of the last episode, and that was clearly meant to be part of our concern about Emily. Really? It would have taken 2 seconds to show Aidan checking her neck. Some cleaner, clearer resolutions for the cliffhangers would be appreciated, so here's hoping for that in the next episode.
Okay, back to the beginning. Sally did the voiceover for this episode's introduction, which included the great line "even a monster can be afraid of the darkness." I'm thinking that would have been a much better title for the episode, as the cute titles continue unabated. I get that they're using song titles, but why?
I'm also not totally satisfied with the way they've been dealing with the Marcus vs. Josh discussion. Bishop told Aidan that Marcus "was provoked by a lesser being. You let your dog run wild, the rest is justice." Josh and his creepy were-Daddy beat up Marcus and another vamp. Why in the world wouldn't Marcus want to retaliate? The fact that he chose Emily as his victim instead of Josh wasn't really explained, although I expect it's because he doesn't want Josh and potentially others to come after him during the one to two nights per month when werewolves, according to some versions of the legend at least, are more powerful than vampires. By choosing Emily he is pointing out to Josh that for most nights and all days, Josh will not be able to protect his friends and family against vampires. It might have been nice if someone had simply said this. Still, I like the dynamic of Bishop, Aidan, Marcus, and the rest of the vamps. The creepiness, foreboding, and vague mentions of Aidan once being a sort of vamp superpower, have been nicely played.
Sally's storyline unfortunately swung back to the weak side in this episode. After starting to feel more powerful in the last episode, her failure to convince Bridget of Danny's menace in this episode just deflated her. They did, however, do a much better job in this episode than they previously had at detailing the things that Danny did that pointed to him being an abuser. Sally's telling Bridget that hoping that a new dress or the perfect cake would make everything right again, by making him happy, was very in keeping with the combined hope and degradation that victims reportedly feel. We need to see more strength from Sally if we're going to continue to feel sympathy for her character.
But YOWIE how creepy is Danny?! Kudos to the writers and the actor playing Danny for stepping it up this episode, just as they did in the UK version. "That's the best you got? You're more pathetic as a ghost than when you were alive … and I'm happy. Finally." Wow, just who exactly is the monster in this scenario?
I really enjoyed the scenes with Josh's family. Josh's parents were hilarious. The writers totally nailed the "concerned educated parents" - trying to not scare him off, calm and smiling, totally tense underneath. "Thank you Josh, for sharing that." They even were able to maintain the veneer of understanding when his dad asked, "How long have you thought you're a werewolf?" As for Emily, it made complete sense that Emily would have shown her parents Josh's journal; as she said, she thought he needed help, and she was scared. The bit about the garlic was kind of cute, and continued the lighter feel of the meal once Aidan arrived. It gave Josh another opportunity for a good line, when trying to determine what he could give Aidan to help him recover: "Anything I don't have to summon a warlock for."
Going home was a really lovely idea, and everything seemed so comforting and normal. Marcus showing up at their doorstep was therefore particularly terrifying, and Josh played that well, though it was shot in a bit of a silly way once he started breaking up the hat stand. But hello. why didn't Josh tell his parents that Marcus was Emily's attacker? They might have better understood Josh's reaction. If it was because he felt he needed to protect them from his world, fine, but it seemed an obvious thing to do.
I was really hoping for a slightly better indication of what Josh's parents actually thought of his "coming out." It seemed like they thought he was crazy, which would be an appropriate response, but if he was actually going to stay he would have to somehow convince them that he was telling the truth. It wasn't clear, though, because Emily said that she would come home once a month and help, as though she believed him. Ah well, there's only so much that can fit into a one hour commercial tv episode.
Aidan's discussion with Josh about why staying wouldn't work was a nice way to remind us of how long Aidan has been a vampire, and give us a hint of his dark past. His final line to Josh was my favorite of the episode, and summed it up nicely: "They're your family, and that's exactly why they're defenseless against you."
Which brings us back to the final scenes. Marcus is in trouble with Bishop. Bishop claiming that they have too much to do and too little time to waste on not including the weakest, and the "mistakes," was a cool setup for what may be to come. That what's-to-come looks like it may include some kind of showdown between Bishop and -- The Cocooned Things? Seriously, very cool ending, and I can't wait for what I hope will be an excellent continuation in the next episode.