Original Air Date: August 2, 2006
Director: Alex Chapple
Warning: the following review contains spoilers for this and the previous episodes of Blade: The Series. You can watch this episode free at thewb.com.
This episode kicks off with Blade (Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones) and the prisoner he rescued last episode, the pregnant Vanessa (Sonja Bennett), on a train outside of Paris. When Vanessa starts to scream for help, which is completely reasonable given that she’s handcuffed with a strange, stoic man who just injected himself with some drug, Blade takes the step of bitch-slapping her unconscious.
That shocked the hell out of me. I mean, Blade has always been an anti-hero, but I know groups of internet folks that would start letter writing campaigns over this. Even I, more forgiving than most, don’t know if that was cool for Blade to do. But I have to give the series this: it has shown time and again that it’s not afraid to take Blade to some risky places, and this may be the riskiest so far. Later this same episode a vampire attacks Vanessa and Blade says “Don’t hit the pregnant lady” – not because he had an epiphany about what he did was wrong but because … we’ll get into that in a bit.
Blade is taking Vanessa to Paris to see a doctor who will examine what she is carrying, and perhaps tend to the concussion Blade just gave her, but House of Chthon vampire Marcus Van Sciver (Neil Jackson) has sent teams of assassins to intercept and stop Blade. The first of these assassins attack on the train, others attack in the Paris sewer, and I really wonder how Marcus’ trackers found Blade in those places. The train I could almost see as Marcus somehow knew Blade was headed to Paris, and perhaps Marcus agrees with me in thinking Blade should avoids air. But in the sewer? How in the world could these assassins know exactly which sewer Blade would visit and when? Is there some sewer in Paris that all the tourist vampires must see when in the City of Light?
I was happy to see these assassination attempts as it meant some action for the show, and one part was truly inventive–a vampire coming at Blade while crawling upside-down on the ceiling of a train-car. But unfortunately violence without story is a boring thing, and between the random attack locations and the nameless, faceless nature of the attackers it felt like dull video game sequences rather than great action scenes. The walk into a sewer to be ambushed was the most video game-like, as if Blade just hit a checkpoint and triggered a wave of attackers. Also, the fights seem small in scope as the assassins attack in pairs. In the movies we’ve seen Blade take out a hundred vampires in five minutes, so two don’t seem like very much of a threat.
But during the fights Vanessa and Blade form a bond, Vanessa even saving Blade from one
terrible stunt-woman evil vampire on the train.
And while I don’t know how Marcus knew where the assassins could find Blade, the show does explain how Marcus knew to send them in the first place. Congratulations to the screenwriters, you fooled me. Last episode I bemoaned the death of sexy, fun vampire Chase (Jessica Gower) in a lackluster explosion. Silly me to think a raging fire could kill such a character, as she is found burned but undead, and sent back to Detroit. I would however like to know how she’s sent back to Detroit, as when she’s delivered to the House of Chthon’s medical wing she is still smoking from the fire. Now, Blade had to fly (presumably coach, vampire hunting doesn’t pay well I’d assume) almost 16 hours, not counting layovers, from Detroit to Berlin. Yet somehow Chase’s burned body gets from Berlin to Detroit while still smoldering. Okay, let’s move on.
Through blood therapies (and oxygen? Why would a vampire need an oxygen tube?) Chase begins the change from the Freddy Kruger latex-monster she was back to the sexy English vamp we’ve come to love, and she reveals Blade’s interference and his rescue of Vanessa. To stop Blade and retrieve Vanessa, Marcus dispatches his pairs of assassins, and also sends Krista Starr (Jill Wagner) to Paris.
But Krista has some personal problems to deal with. Her mother has been diagnosed with leukemia, and Krista’s uncle tracks her down to ask her to donate bone marrow. The vampire is afraid she’ll infect her kin through the transplant, so she refues the request and her uncle accuses her of trying to hide a drug habit. Krista’s Paris assignment is probably a welcome diversion from her guilty conscience. Of course, as Krista is Blade’s undercover operative in the House of Chthon she cannot actually partake in killing the daywalker, so she kills the two assassins who accompanied her, and meets Blade at the doctor’s office.
Blade himself is also a bit distracted as he’s been having visions of his mother (Alana Husband) when she was pregnant and recently turned, saying how she wished she’d killed Blade in the womb. Of course, the doctor points out Blade’s mother’s name was also Vanessa, so the proximity to a possible vampiric pregnancy would bring back these thoughts.
Unfortunately none of these flashbacks worked for me. Being delusions or visions or whatever, they carried little weight, and they didn’t provide me any more insight into Blade as a character. I think the writer’s intent was to give us more of Blade’s back story, but there was no payoff to it. More, it shows Vanessa Brooks vamped out and pregnant in the kitchen, whereas we know from the original Blade film that she went into labor immediately after being bitten. Overall these scenes did not work for me, but perhaps this will come up again later.
The pregnancy story takes a big twist here, and once again I was mistaken in my prediction, for what Vanessa is carrying is not an army of pure-blood daywalkers, but actually nothing at all! There is no baby in Vanessa’s womb, just a mysterious viscus fluid. No one knows what the fluid is – only that it is not Aurora.
The doctor extracts all the fluid from Vanessa, and Blade arranges for Vanessa to go underground hiding from the House of Chthon. Blade takes a small sample of the fluid for analysis, and Krista takes the rest to return to Marcus.
One great twist comes when Krista realizes she can’t return to Marcus without suspicion. She has Blade cut her face with his sword, take out one of her eyes, and also mutilate her hand. It’s a great touch that I didn’t see coming, even if it does lack weight since we know she will heal by next episode.
We also get a scene that I actually liked of Krista wondering if she can continue to play double-agent, and realizing that this isn’t a mission with an end date but something that will go on perhaps forever. It’s a great moment that actually served to drive home the emotional scope of Blade and her war on Marcus, though I wonder if she’s lost sight that her original objective was not death to all vampires, but just to avenge her brother.
Speaking of Marcus, he has problems of his own as Damek, head of the House of Armaya, has demanded a meeting with him and House of Chthon pureblood elder Charlotte (Emily Hirst). Damek knows of the Aurora project and, worse, knows that over a thousand Armayan vampires were killed while being experimented on by Chthon scientists. Charlotte thinks rogue vampire Det. Boone (Bill Mondy) spilled the beans of Aurora to the Armayans, but in the meeting it’s discovered that the leak was Sands, the vampire from three episodes ago.
Still, Boone is on the loose and we do get one scene of FBI Agent Collins (Larry Poindexter) still on Boone’s trail and investigating the shootout at the Louisiana funeral home. Collins’ chief Sorenson calls to take Collins off the case, but Collins refuses and we’re given an insight that Collins’ investigation may be personal, related to the death of his family.
Overall this episode failed to impress me. While my early reviews complained of there being no action, this episode had action for action’s sake and it was unfulfilling. While I am hooked on the X-Files-like mystery of the strange amniotic fluid, Marcus’ grand scheme, and what will come of Boone and Collins, these are all the slow-moving subplots that weave through every episode but yet progress very little. It’s these myth-building elements that have hooked me on shows such as X-Files, Lost, and Heroes, but the Blade mysteries honestly can’t hold a candle to the black oil, The Others, or Sylar.
If the overarching stories of Blade were more compelling, I’d be more engaged. Likewise, if the larger arcs remained the same but each individual episodic story, such as the assassination attempts here or the Bad Bloods previously, were more entertaining then the show would be passable. But right now, the episodic adventures are lackluster, and the overarching story minimal.
My only hope is that, as we approach the end of the season, the larger story arcs will come to the fore and (dare I dream?) have a satisfying payoff.
Current verdict: complete not recommend, even for Blade fans. Pick up a comic instead.
Read Arnie’s other Blade TV Series reviews:
|Death Goes On
|The Evil Within
|Turn of the Screw
|Angels and Demons