27 August 2010

Moonlight S1 E9 "Fleur de Lys"

Spoilers Ahead

I can't stand Coraline. She's boring and annoying and quite frankly, I don't think Shannyn Sossamon is much of an actress. So it was with no small amount of satisfaction that I watched Beth shove a stake into her chest. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

"Fleur de Lys" opens with Beth knocking insistently on Mick's door. When Mick finally opens it he's wet and his shirt's open, but Beth doesn't seem to notice. She bursts out that she has proof that Morgan is Coraline, and just as Mick is about to tell her how he already knows, Coraline comes down the stairs sporting little more than wet hair and one of Mick's shirts. Beth is infuriated, not only at Coraline for what she did to her as a child, but at Mick's present betrayal. Out of nowhere Beth pulls out the aforementioned stake and expresses her displeasure in unequivocal terms. Then the episode goes back 24 hours so that we can see how we ended up here, a device I appreciate as a fan of non-linear storytelling.

The previous day finds Beth lurking in her car as she stakes out Morgan's apartment (wonder if there was supposed to be some irony there, with Beth staking out the apartment before staking Coraline). It seems she has acquired a bit of an obsession over finding out whether Morgan really is Coraline. Although Mick is finally convinced they're not the same person, Beth needs to be absolutely sure that this isn't her childhood kidnapper. She wants Mick to keep Morgan occupied while she investigates. One way or the other, Beth is going to find out the truth.

(On a side note: Mick tells Beth that Coraline was a 17th century French courtesan. Coraline's fleur-de-lys "tattoo" is actually a brand, apparently given to all courtesans of this era. We even get a flashback scene of Coraline being branded. Remember this as it's going to be an issue in a couple of episodes.)

For now, Mick takes on a surveillance job that involves watching a rich man's trophy wife and obtaining evidence of the affair her husband suspects she's having. Mick decides it's the perfect way to keep Morgan occupied and after much grovelling over his treatment of her at the cemetery, she agrees to be his photographer on the case. It doesn't take long for Mick and Morgan to get the evidence they need, but when Mick overhears the wife saying that her husband will kill them if he finds out, Mick suddenly isn't so keen on giving his client a motive to off his wife.

Meanwhile Beth is busy researching her colleague and possible kidnapper. Her research leads her to breaking into Morgan's apartment and snooping around, almost getting caught in the process. But as she gets deeper into the mystery she's noticing hints that Mick and Morgan are getting deeper into each other. She can't quite hide her jealousy but it also seems to spur her on in her investigation. She even goes to see Josef to ask him about Coraline. From him she finds out about Coraline's old party house.

Mick does seem unusually drawn to Morgan, which makes no sense to me as Beth is infinitely more attractive, but whatever (no one said sexual chemistry was logical). Morgan seems just as drawn to Mick and the two of them probably would have done more than just kiss had they not been interrupted by the discovery that their client's wife's lover is the client's son (her stepson). They decide to head to Buzz Wire, where Morgan knows a sound guy who can clean up the poor audio of the lovers' conversation, and Mick makes an appointment to meet his client in an hour. But he stashes all their evidence at his office, unwilling for the moment to do more than talk to his client.

Mick gets stood up and he soon discovers the meeting was a ruse so that his office could be broken into and the evidence stolen. Knowing his client now has proof his wife is cheating, and with whom, Mick takes off to the son's house to warn him. Just as Morgan is listening to the improved audio and realizing the son and the wife are planning to kill Mick's client (not the other way around), Mick is realizing the same thing as he sees his stolen papers and photos on the son's table. Before Mick can react the wife shoots him in the back. Then she and the son decide it's time to kill her husband/his father.

After Morgan rushes over to warn Mick and finds him hidden (and by then healed) in the underbrush outside the son's house, they realize they have to get to his client before the would-be murderers do. They save him in the nick of time, thanks to Mick's vampire skillz (there's a nice shot of him jumping down a stairwell to save time), although they end up getting mussed in the process. So they go back to Mick's place to "clean up." I guess that's what the kids are calling it these days. As Mick walks by the bathroom while Morgan takes a shower, he notices the door is wide open. Of course Mick can't help but head in. And when Morgan turns and sees him and asks if he wants something, he has to get into the shower (fully dressed) with her. Poor Beth hears nothing but excuses about why it can never work between them, but Mick barely hesitates with Morgan. As they kiss he gets a good look at the fleur-de-lys on her shoulder. It's Coraline! Only in human form. It's difficult to tell whether he's happier that Coraline is alive or that she's apparently found a cure for vampirism.

Beth's emotions are a little easier to read. She decides to visit Coraline's old party house and discovers it doesn't appear entirely abandoned. Then she discovers a pile of photos of Mick and herself, taken secretly. Even worse she finds a girl's room downstairs that she realizes was the one she was kept in when she was kidnapped. Suddenly enraged Beth breaks a child-sized chair and makes a stake out of the leg. And then we come full circle, as Beth is back at Mick's door and Coraline ends up on the pointy end of that stake. Of course, Beth didn't know that Coraline really is human now (and even if she was a vampire Beth didn't intend to kill her as stakes only paralyze). But the very mortal Coraline is now bleeding to death while Mick freaks out. Beth looks confused, but not sorry. I can't say I blame her. The episode ends with Mick preparing to get Coraline to a hospital.

I think it's a pretty safe bet that Coraline will survive the staking. Alas. What's less easy to predict is how all this will affect Mick and Beth. One step forward and two steps back: ain't love grand?

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then ghostly white eyes and elegant fangs.

Strengths: Super strength, speed, and jumping ability. Enhanced hearing. Fast healing. Able to withstand injuries that would be fatal to humans.

Weaknesses: Stakes, their makers.

Mythology: Fire is supposed to be fatal to vampires, yet Coraline somehow survived being enveloped by flames.

Sound Bites

Beth: I've got the proof. She's been lying to us, stalking us. Morgan is Coraline.
Mick: I know she is.

Beth: [on the phone] Seriously, what are you guys doing?
Mick: We're working a case.
Beth: Sounds like you're working something.

Josef: You have to understand--Mick and Coraline's relationship was one of those terrifying, completely self-destructive freak shows that you spend your while life searching for knowing that it can only end with one or both of you dead.
Beth: That's your idea of love?
Josef: Well what can I tell you--I'm a romantic.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 9 "Fleur de Lys." Written by Gabrielle G. Stanton [FYI now she's writing for The Gates and The Vampire Diaries, as well as co-producing them]. Directed by James Whitmore Jr. From CBS/The CW.

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