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The family you make

Yes, along with all the other shakeups in BH-land, we have our very first episode title!

Which, as much as I'm usually fond of them -- for convenience of reference if nothing else -- I'm not sure really works. With a show like this, that's not only thoroughly serialized but has multiple plot tracks in every episode, it's nearly impossible to come up with a title that will encapsulate any given episode.

That said, this title gives us the handy reference that it's the one with Lia, and although she directly interacts only with Mitchell and briefly with Annie, she touches the whole family by being the key to Annie's return.

With the "everything is different" message stamped on every frame, it's worth noting that structurally this ep feels very much like the S2 opener. Unrest, uncertainty, tension among the family (primarily between Nina and Mitchell this time round), introduction of new characters, parallel werewolf transformations, angst worry angst drama angst, WARM FUZZY GLEEEEE, and a coda of eep.

Nina and George and non-movie-perfect sex! Or attempted sex. Getting stabbed in the butt with a pen? Minor speed bump. Nina's hair caught on George's glasses? (And OMG Sinead with the faces and the little squawks!) Over it. BUGFUCK CRAZY VAMPIRE (and yes, this was approximately two minutes after I said the werewolves need cages and he needs a frickin padded cell!) barging in, diving bodily across them and not even registering that he's interrupting something? Yeah, that's the end of that mood.

And it's quintessentially BH -- hilarious comic set-piece, but also an extremely effective vehicle for showing us (a) how secure George and Nina's relationship is right now, and (b) that Mitchell is more of an unholy wreck by the minute.

Mitchell's journey has no real surprises -- even Lia's identity is pretty obvious -- but it's the execution that matters, and it's executed very well. I was struck, and... I think heartened is the closest I can come... by the attitude of the train passengers. They're not looking for vengeance. They're not looking to take a piece out of him. That's not going to balance anything, any more than whatever good Mitchell can do will balance anything. And the way Lia drags him around to being honest with himself brings home just how much ground he has to make up to even approach where we first met him. Because he used to be that honest, or close to it. He didn't used to make excuses. He used to know that the ledger-book approach was useless. "I did things," he said, and he knew what they were and what they cost. And then he got complacent. And then he got caught up in being responsible for all the vampires in Bristol and forgot how to be responsible for himself.

That's not magically fixed, not by a long shot, and I'm not holding my breath that we've seen the last of the lies. In fact, oh, look, he's already keeping Lia's prediction a secret, in the face of Annie's point-blank question. *thwap* Unfortunately, I think it's going to take him another hundred years to learn that lying to the people who love him NEVER ends well.

Nina at the police station? ROCKS BEYOND THE TELLING OF IT. And then... oh, George, you really should have known you didn't need to worry about transforming in the same place. Or not about killing each other, anyway. *snerk* Have you forgotten what happened five minutes after you scratched her in the first place?

McNair & son: Love the movie conversation. Curious whether Tom was born a werewolf. Looking forward to learning more about them, and how they'll interact with George and Nina. And, of course, what they'll think of George and Nina's housemates...

The celebration of Annie's return, OMG!!! Grinning so hard my face hurt, seriously. Though I really did want to shake Mitchell for the bluff. You do NOT do that to George! But after that, with the hugging and the dancing and the silliness and the first we've seen of spaztastic goofball Mitchell in WAY too long... I want to hug them ALL. Gleeeeeee! And I know it's inevitable things will get rough for them in a right royal hurry, because, well, that happens. But I really feel like they'll remember to keep each other in the picture this time. And that will make all the difference in the world.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
studiesinlight
Jan. 24th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
I think that I may choose to run unspoiled again this season of the UK BH (although I did read your post on the US BH, which is also on a channel I don't receive).
wiliqueen
Jan. 24th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
I think it will be more enjoyable that way. If you like, I can warn you if I'm wrong and things start going south in a S2-like way again.

I'm thinking I'll do reposts of episode comments when the BBC America run starts. No telling how that will coincide with how you get hold of the eps, as I don't know the dates, but it might end up making it more convenient for you to find the posts again if you wish to.
studiesinlight
Jan. 24th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
If the story turns more direly upsetting than season two, I would benefit from a preview, thanks. But yes, unspoiled will probably be best, and yes, I will come back to read your posts then! (How might you feel about adding a tag for episode reviews, or by season? Would that save you work in reposting later?)

I don't get BBC America, so I don't know when I'll see the season. DVDs will come out in their own time, and Netflix will get it, and Amazon will stream it... If second season hadn't been so very dark, I'd feel more urgency, but while of course it would be nicest if we could all watch at the same time in the good old-fashioned way, I'm not too anxious about trailing behind.

I hope you aren't lonely up ahead there! ;-)
wiliqueen
Jan. 24th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
The reposting would be more to bring it to the casual eye scanning down a Friends page.

I always feel like I have too many tags already, but I guess I tend to think more of them for my own use than for readers', which probably isn't good. I'll ponder getting over the "that looks so cluttered!" thing.

As for being "lonely," it's an object lesson in how different it is when most people I have contact with in a fandom are on Twitter! :-D There are a couple comms here on LJ, but the discussion tends not to be in our accustomed depth there either. If I need to wait a little bit for that, that's okay. :-)

Edited at 2011-01-24 10:36 pm (UTC)
brightknightie
May. 14th, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
UK BH S3 E1
I've now watched the first two episodes of the UK BH S3, and gotten to enjoy this post of yours! :-) Comments on episode one, "Lia," only, for the benefit of anyone who may come after:

I found it very promising! It seemed a bit of whiplash, taking care of the Limbo problem and rescuing Annie in such short order after all the build-up. However, it also seemed that the storytelling was putting things back where they belonged, plot-wise, theme-wise, and, thank goodness, acknowledging-our-pathetically-inept-metaphysics-and-trying-again-wise.

I felt that I got a little more Mitchell than I really wanted, and that Annie was consequently shortchanged of her fair third of the storyline, but I did enjoy her solo scene with Lia -- there was a lot in that pause on her way out -- and after last season's Mitchell focus, he has the most loose threads in need of stitching up.

Lia... makes me think of Buffy's First Evil in some ways. I suspect that she may be more than just what she appeared, not only because she spoke to Annie with an air of great experience not merited by her actual time since death (even granting Limbo/Purgatory's timelessness), but because of her position in the storytelling. I predict her return.
wiliqueen
May. 14th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re: UK BH S3 E1
I felt that I got a little more Mitchell than I really wanted, and that Annie was consequently shortchanged of her fair third of the storyline

My concern continued to be with balance too. Disproportionate baggage.

I hadn't thought about the First, but you're right, there are definite echoes, certainly in tone.
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