Vampires are people too! At least, that's what The Gates would have you believe. Me, I'm not so sure this is the direction the show really should be taking. But what do I know--I think monsters should actually be monstrous. Revolutionary, I know.
"Digging the Dirt" starts with Nick having a nightmare about his wife being bitten by Dylan while Frank Buckley intones "we can't let you leave." Hating that Buckley has anything over him (see last episode) Nick enlists a reluctant Dylan to help him dig up dirt on Buckley so they can at least be on an even playing field. He's already discovered that W.R. Harrison, co-founder of The Gates, died under mysterious circumstances, and he wants Dylan to use his position as a member of the Gates' Board to find out more information.
Meanwhile Nick's wife, Sarah, hosts a pool party for all the desperate housewives in the community. She just wants everyone to get along. Nick might be the one having nightmares but it's clear that Sarah is the one living in dreamland. Claire (vampire) goes despite her hatred for all things Karen Crezski (werewolf), and the feeling is definitely mutual. Although all the cliques seem to be united in their dislike of Devon, who has a knack for being an equal-opportunity bitch. Sigh.
Speaking of Devon, Nick has a chat with her and finds out that W.R. Harrison ("Uncle Billy") was like a second father to her. She claims that Harrison and Buckley had a huge falling out before he died (she believes Harrison found out about Buckley's affair with Vanessa). A week later Harrison had his tragic accident and Buckley had full control of The Gates and all the profits. Murder motive: check.
Unfortunately, Nick's theory falls apart when Dylan discovers that 80% of Harrison's share of the profits goes directly into a trust fund--there's no gain for either Buckley (who apparently gets underpaid for his work) or Devon. Nick's not done yet, though. He muses that the motive for killing Harrison could have had more to do with anger than money. He proposes they speak to The Gates' CFO, Lloyd Foster, who's been there since the beginning. Foster confirms the big fight between Buckley and Harrison, claiming that Harrison threatened to shut The Gates down--he even had Foster work out the details. Sure he's onto something, Nick says he's going to need access to the records and a copy of Harrison's will.
In the will, Nick and Dylan discover a codicil added a week before Harrison's death, stating that payments were to be made to a company called River Trust Gates Management. When they investigate further, they discover an unused office (although still guarded by a camera) and paperwork for an offshore bank account. It's clearly nothing more than a shell company. Dylan brings up the point that this is vampire MO (they need to keep switching identities and transferring assets since they don't age), so the thought occurs to them that perhaps Harrison is a vamp and the company is funnelling money back to himself.
Oddly, Devon is interested enough in Nick's investigation that she uses her special "calming" tea to put the whammy on Sarah and get her to tell her all about it. As Devon is dropping Sarah off at home afterward, telling her to "forget all about it," Karen happens to be driving by and notices. She looks less than pleased.
Devon's busy elsewhere, as well. Hooking up with a guy she met from an online dating site (whom she chose specifically because of his screen name: "beastlyboy") she tells him he can be himself with her--that she was looking for someone different. A moment later his eyes go wolfish. Then they pick up where they left off.
The next scene has Nick and Dylan traipsing through the cemetery in the dark, on their way to digging up Harrison's coffin to see if his body is in it. Dylan asks about needing a court order to do this and I'm pretty sure Nick says that's only if they want to use a backhoe. I really hope I misheard because that is just stupidly wrong. The writers should know better. Anyway, there is a body in the coffin and it's definitely Harrison's--only the impact on the back of the head indicates something other than an accidental fall. So Harrison was murdered. The plot thickens.
As Dylan tries to sneak into the house, Claire is suddenly there confronting him. She claims she could smell him as soon as he came in the door, and she's pissed because she's working so hard to fulfill her promise to him and be a good, non-murderous, housewife. He caves and tells her about Buckley's blackmail and what he and Nick are doing. But as soon as she finds out that Buckley only wants silence and cooperation, she's even angrier. She can't believe that Frank Buckley, after welcoming them into The Gates with open arms, caught Dylan and Nick killing someone and all he wants is for them to follow the rules. She's infuriated that Dylan wants to get dirt on Buckley so he can have leverage. She tells him to think about her and Emily and stop going after Buckley.
The next day when Nick calls Dylan to meet up, Dylan won't do it. As Nick tries to figure out what's going on, Buckley walks into his office. Nick confronts him about blackmailing them and Buckley responds that it's not blackmail--it's an intervention to let them know they can't get away with things like that in The Gates. Nick then confronts him about killing Harrison. Buckley is dumbfounded--Harrison was like a father to him. From Buckley's reaction, it's clear he didn't kill Harrison. So Nick tells Buckley to let him do his job and get justice for Harrison.
Back to Devon for a minute, she and beastlyboy are sharing a bath. He seems pretty smitten with her and she "confesses" to him that a lot of people have hurt her. He lets her know that he can make problems go away. She gets out of the tub, ostensibly to add more bubbles, but retrieves what is clearly a potion. She informs him that "It's not so much what you can do as what you can give." Then she dumps the potion into the water. A moment later the hapless guy is paralyzed. As Dylan starts pushing him underwater, she tells him she wants his eyes. Charming.
I should mention that Claire has been dealing with her own issue all episode: Christian. First he sends her this text: "I'm thirsty. You?" Then Claire returns home and finds a vase of roses on the front table. The card on them is from Christian and the note says: "Blood red. Just the way you like it." Infuriated, she throws the vase against the wall and calls Christian, telling him all the calls and messages have to stop...and the doorbell rings. Karen Crezski is there and barges in. She seems genuinely concerned when she sees the shattered vase, but Claire quietly tells her to please leave. Karen asks why they're like this with each other, and Claire tells her to go. But she can't go. Sarah's been drinking Devon's tea and is in trouble. That catches Claire's attention. When she asks what Karen suggests they do, Karen responds that first they'll clean the mess and then they'll go talk to Sarah--together. It's heartwarming to see vampires and weres comes together against a common enemy.
Nick, meanwhile, had continued to investigate Harrison's death and seems to have found the breakthrough he needed. He calls Foster and tells him there was no forced entry--Harrison's killer had to have been someone he knew and trusted. He needs Foster to put together the financial evidence so they can nail Buckley. He tells Foster he'll be a hero if he helps solve Harrison's murder.
As Nick watches on camera, Foster shows up in a panic at the shell office. It seems Nick was setting him up all along. But suddenly Buckley shows up, incensed at Foster's betrayal. As he takes a step toward the CFO, Nick puts the video monitor down and gets out of his car. Then he hears a shot. Back inside, Foster has shot Buckley and, sounding way too much like a Scooby Doo villain, exclaims that Buckley never could leave well enough alone. As Buckley clutches at the wound in his chest, Foster starts squirting lighter fluid on him. Just as he's about to set Buckley ablaze, Nick bursts in and arrests Foster. The hero saves the day in the nick [pun possibly intended] of time!
As Buckley is being wheeled to an ambulance, he stops to chat with Nick, pointing out that if Nick had let him die he'd be free of Buckley and The Gates. Nick admits the thought had crossed his mind. Buckley releases him, saying he can go if he wants to.
Lest we think the drama is limited only to the adults, Andie is suffering unpleasant side effects from Dr. Peg's anti-succubus herbal remedy. She's short-tempered and twitchy with both Charlie and Brett, although that doesn't seem to improve much after she flushes the pills. Her mood ends up spreading to Brett and Charlie, who get into a fight over her. After Brett kicks Charlie's ass, Andie rushes to hug Charlie. That's when Brett sees the unnatural veins on her shoulders. Meanwhile Andie realizes her succubus powers are acting up again so she runs off. Later, Brett catches up with her in the woods and tells her he realizes she's different and he understands--really understands. He shows her his wolfish eyes and tells her he's not human and that she's not alone. She shows him her back, then turns around and says "It started with my mom..."
At the station, as Nick is wrapping up the case, Vanessa suddenly walks in. She says that Buckley asked her to stop by, that he told her Nick is thinking of leaving The Gates. Vanessa acknowledges that he's obviously afraid of the vampires, but points out that Sarah and Claire are friends and that Dylan risked everything for him. What if, she asks, they aren't monsters but people in difficult situations who need his help? Feel free to gag now. As Vanessa is talking we see Claire getting a text from Christian that says "Last Chance"; Andie and Brett walking together and chatting as Charlie looks on unhappily; and Sarah tossing Devon's tea in the trash. Vanessa then asks Nick what if the Gates isn't a trap--what if this is where he's meant to be. Right...
Nick asks if The Gates is such a great place, why all the secrets? Vanessa has an answer to that too: Buckley is trying to protect her; she's a vampire. And the real secret of The Gates? Everything that Buckley has ever done for the community has been out of love. You could sweeten a tanker full of week-old coffee with this saccharine.
But then we go back to Sarah, looking mighty twitchy as she grabs the tea out of the trash and starts brewing a cup. Elsewhere, Devon is casting some sort of evil spell, and doing witches no favour in the process. On a large piece of parchment covered in "eerie" symbols she places the vial of Claire's blood she procured several episodes ago, the face mask she peeled off Vanessa after giving her a facial, and beastlyboy's eyes in a jar. Then she cuts herself and starts drawing lines of blood on the paper. What is she up to? Tune in next time to find out.
Other than Claire's lovely parasol (as seen in the photo above) nothing about this episode impressed me. Like The Vampire Diaries, The Gates started off with too much melodrama and not enough monster action. Unlike The Vampire Diaries, The Gates still thinks the melodrama is the way to go. As I keep watching The Gates, I keep asking myself when it's going to get interesting. It looks like I'm still going to be asking that for the next long while...
Appearance: Pale-ish humans. Fangs are subtle.
Strengths: Super strength, enhanced sense of smell.
Weaknesses: Can't tolerate sunlight--have to cover themselves in a special cream to keep from burning up and then are still sensitive to it.
Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter someone's house.
Claire: [re: Karen Crezski and her friends] There's nothing worse than that rancid dog smell.
Leigh: You invited Claire Radcliff and Karen Crezski to the same party?
Leigh: Oh, this is gonna be good.
Karen: Sarah, what we're saying is, things that seem too good to be true usually are, especially when they involve Devon.
The Gates, Season 1 Episode 7 "Digging the Dirt." Written by Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Directed by Fred Gerber. From ABC.