14 July 2010

Moonlight S1 E5 "Arrested Development"

Spoilers Ahead

This episode of Moonlight is brought to you by Fate: bringing people together since time immemorial!

Did Mick really think he could keep avoiding Beth? Well, he might have but apparently the universe has other ideas. Much better ideas...

After ignoring her calls, Mick accidentally runs into Beth (and Josh) when he goes to pick up blood (she, ironically, just finished having bloodwork done). After a bit of awkwardness, Josh invites Mick to the party he and Beth are having the next night--for their one-year anniversary. Mick would go but, alas, he already has plans. Silly vampire thinks he's foiled fate and can go back to avoiding the girl he loves.

Fate, however, is not so easily subdued. Beth's boss sends her to report on the possible serial murder of an escort, while Mick is hired by a couple looking for their daughter--who recently turned up on the internet as an escort. Abandoning her anniversary party to head to the morgue while the window of opportunity is open (and upsetting Josh in the process), Beth runs into Mick again, this time when he brings his clients to the morgue to ID the body. Although the dead girl turns out not to be the daughter of Mick's clients (but was her close friend), Beth manages to convince Mick that they should work together to find the killer, who happens to be a vampire.

Beth's no stranger to fate herself. She points out to Mick that it's no mere coincidence that they keep running into each other. And even her relationship with Josh was, as her obnoxious friend Marissa reminds her, by Beth's own admission fated (they collided in a parking lot). Marisa is weirdly pushy about Beth getting serious with Josh (they've been together for a year and still aren't living together. Horrors!), so when Beth's phone suddenly rings, Marissa is quick to point out that fate (aka Josh) is calling and it's up to Beth to answer. Sorry, Marissa--the caller is Mick, not Josh.

There's some fine acting in "Arrested Development." When Beth calls the dead escort's clients in hopes of finding the killer, her reactions are completely natural and believable--exactly how you'd expect anyone to react in a similar situation (not that most people would ever be in a similar situation, but still...) And Alex O'Loughlin (Mick) is particularly skilled at subtle emotional expression. The coldness in his eyes contrasting with an otherwise impassive face as he's being reamed out by an FBI agent is great. And the way he looks confused even as he longingly leans forward after Beth kisses him... but that's not until later.

What Mick has already discerned, and what his clients' daughter finds out on her date with the killer, is that the vampire is a perpetual teenager, complete with cracking voice and acne (played by Wes Robinson, American Dreams). As if that wasn't bad enough, he's been a virgin for 197 years! No wonder he's feeling homicidal. Interestingly, when he suggests they hang out and go on some of the rides (they're on the boardwalk by the beach), suddenly the escort claims she doesn't have time for this. Hey, if I were getting paid $500 an hour to go on roller coasters, I wouldn't complain. I guess the killer teen agrees; he suddenly starts getting nasty.

Mick and Beth show up in time to save the girl. Mick tries to reason with the teen, I suppose the way hostage negotiators try to reason with human kidnappers. It doesn't go well. The fight scene that ensues, making good use of some of the boardwalk rides, is enjoyable. It's choreographed well to the background music too. And fate intervenes once more, saving Mick from an unpleasant death and handing it over to the teen instead. Maybe his life would have gone better if he'd found himself a similarly awkward teen girlfriend instead of going after hookers.

After arranging a reunion at Beth's office between his clients and their daughter, Mick tries to quietly slip away while Beth talks to her boss. Beth notices he's gone and goes after him, catching up with him in the parking lot (see--fate's still at it). She's hurt that he left without even saying goodbye. Seemingly at a loss over how to deal with her, Mick starts saying goodbye, only to be interrupted by a kiss. I really do love his reaction, and the way he can't quite pull away. Beth kisses him again and scampers off (leaving me with the distinct impression that a teenager does, in fact, continue to exist within everyone). Mick is still looking confused, and then he smiles.

Sometimes Fate just gets it right.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale humans until the vampire emerges, then ghostly white eyes, and elegant fangs. They also have sharp claws that extend at will.

Strengths: Enhanced hearing, sense of smell. Super speed, strength. Ability to jump to a great height.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, roller coasters, cockiness.

Mythology: Vampires aren't always recognizable as such, even by people who are familiar with them. Vampires and humans can have sex; it just doesn't usually end well. Vampires remain in the same condition (physical and apparently emotional) as when they were turned.

Sound Bites

Josef: Another casualty of the digital age. Now it's categories: blondes, Asians, busty, mature. Equestrian. Hm. Choice, choice, choice. It's very efficient. Very... American.
Mick: You sound almost nostalgic.
Josef: Whatever happened to the good old days of four girls on a street corner undercutting each other?

Mick: [responding to Beth's question about sex between vampires and humans] You want to know how it works? It doesn't. It doesn't work.
Beth: So it's impossible.
Mick: It's not impossible. It's inadvisable--it never ends well.
Beth: Never?

Teen Vamp: Have you ever loved someone completely? So that she was your whole world. You'd do anything she asked, anything at all. Have you ever loved someone that way? So you forgot about yourself and all you thought about was her.
Mick: [flashing back to Coraline] Yes.
Teen Vamp: See, I never have. [punches Mick]

Mick: [voiceover] What we want doesn't always matter. Then again, sometimes it's all that does.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 5 "Arrested Development." Written by Chip Johannessen. Directed by Michael Fields.

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