13 October 2010

Moonlight S1 E10 "Sleeping Beauty"

Spoilers Ahead

I think Moonlight missed the mark in "Sleeping Beauty" by not using The Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma" as the theme song. But then maybe that would have been a tad irreverent. Too bad, though--it seems like an opportunity wasted. In any case, I'm getting ahead of myself (I seem to do that a lot).

If you'll cast your mind back to the last episode, "Fleur de Lys," you'll recall that it ended with Beth staking Coraline, not realizing that Mick's ex is now human. "Sleeping Beauty" picks up the story a short while later, with Coraline in the hospital. She's definitely looking all-too human as she lies unconscious with tubes attached to various body parts and a punctured lung (Beth missed the heart). Apparently infection is already setting in and it seems unlikely Coraline will pull through (we can only hope). Interestingly, Coraline protected Beth by telling the doctors it was an accident. Trying to ingratiate herself with Mick, perhaps? He's too busy obsessing over how she became human again to really notice anything else about her. Vampires are odd creatures. One thing I appreciated about this episode, though, is that Coraline is not the main focus. That would have been the obvious route to take and I'm glad they didn't go there.

Instead we watch as a sick old man hires a hitman to kill Josef. Even more intriguing, he knows what Josef is, insisting that he be killed with fire. That can't be good. The assassin is definitely thorough. As Josef hosts poker night at his office (they play for vials of blood) a hail of machine gun fire rains down on them. Before they can recover, the hitman tosses in a couple of incendiary devices and Josef's office goes boom. And just when I was really starting to like Josef.

Mick of course investigates, even as he mourns his friend and worries about Coraline. It doesn't take him long to notice that the incendiary devices used were military grade. But before he can look into it further, he gets a call from the hospital letting him know Coraline is awake and asking for him. When it rains it pours. After reminiscing a bit over Josef, Mick asks Coraline how she became human. Knowing she's got something he desperately wants she avoids the question until she finally passes out again. So Mick just takes out his handy hypodermic needle (no, that is not a euphemism) and helps himself to a sample of her blood. You've got to love his enterprising spirit.

Back at his place, Beth is waiting outside the door for him. They share a moment of reconnection and grief over Josef before heading inside. And who should be waiting but the man himself: Josef survived. We never do get to find out exactly how he escaped but he's pretty annoyed that it was so improbable that no human will believe it, thus forcing him to avoid exposure by staying "dead," thus rendering him broke and homeless. And you thought you had a bad day.

Once they're over their initial shock, Mick and Beth join forces on the investigation while Josef is forced to lie low at Mick's place. But Josef doesn't entirely get the concept of keeping a low profile, as Mick soon finds out. After hacking into the military's basic training database and finding their assassin (who turns out to be former special ops and a mercenary) Mick returns home and discovers Josef entertaining a group of women. I think Mick overreacts a little as he kicks the women out before turning on Josef and flipping over his irresponsibility and lack of consideration. It's hard not to feel sorry for Josef when he quietly says he gets lonely, but Mick somehow manages to, snapping that now he understands why. When Josef says he needs to go to his office to get money out of the fireproof safe hidden there, Mick claims he can't deal and that he's going to bed. It's awesome to have friends you can count on for support when you really need it.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital, the doctors are mystified as Coraline's temperature drops rather than turning into a fever (as would be normal with an infection). Knowing her background, though, it's not difficult to guess why. Suspicions are confirmed as a nurse leans over to adjust her pillow and Coraline vamps out staring at the woman's neck. I thought the nurse was dead for sure, but when she straightens up again Coraline is back to looking human.

Ignoring Mick's outburst, Josef goes to his office anyway. He runs into the head of security while he's there and tells the man he's the only one who knows Josef is still alive, so they need to keep it between them. Not long afterward the guard is talking to the hitman, telling him he called as soon as Josef showed up, figuring there'd be something extra in it for him. And there is--a bullet (there's a nice shot here of the guard's blood splattering across the security monitor). Unaware that anything's amiss Josef retrieves the safe. But rather than grab the cash in there, he picks up a small velvet bag and removes a heart-shaped locket. As he stares at it, the assassin comes up behind him and gets ready to shoot. Out of nowhere Mick stops the guy (okay, maybe he is a good friend after all). As he and the hitman fight, Mick tries to get him to say who hired him. The hitman holds out until Mick finally dangles him out the window. At this point the guy names John Whitley, a New York real-estate developer. Satisfied, Mick knocks him out.

When Josef denies knowing John Whitley, it's obvious he's lying. And when Mick turns his back on Josef for a second, Josef disappears. After seeing the hitman safely in police custody, Mick meets up again with Beth. She's done some research and found out that John Whitley is a 93-year-old man whose daughter went missing in 1955. Worried that Josef is out for revenge, Mick and Beth decide to head to New York (although not before Beth and Josh indulge in some relationship drama).

And speaking of drama, our hitman manages to kill two cops and escape from the back of a squad car. Guess who else is taking a trip to New York? He actually gets there first and pays a visit to Whitley. After forcing the invalid to tell him what Josef is, he orders Whitley to tell him everything about vampires, including how to kill them.

When Mick and Beth finally catch up with Whitley, the hitman is gone. Whitley ends up telling them that after his wife died two years ago, he discovered his daughter's diary, which his wife had kept hidden from him. He claims that the diary revealed that daughter Sarah was seduced by a vampire named Charles Fitzgerald (aka Josef Kostyn). He believes that Fitzgerald/Kostyn killed Sarah. It's taken Whitley two years to find Fitzgerald and he refuses to die before avenging her death.

While Mick and Beth wait to hear from her hacker friend about where Josef could be, Beth reads the diary. It turns out Sarah loved Josef and very much wanted to be turned. So what happened to her? Before they can ponder it too much they get the call with Josef's possible whereabouts. As they start heading over I'm amazed that Mr. Vampire P.I. doesn't notice they're being followed by the hitman, but whatever.

Mick and Beth find Joseph at a house where he seems to be the owner. Resigned he invites them in and takes them into one of the bedrooms. Unconscious on the bed is Sarah Whitley, who apparently hasn't aged since 1955. Joseph then tells the sweet, sad tale of how he and Sarah met and fell in love, how she figured out he was a vampire and didn't care, how she wanted to be turned so they could be together always. In a flashback we see him placing the heart-shaped locket from his safe around her neck. This is a whole new aspect of Josef, who until now seemed like the antithesis of all things romantic. He goes on to tell Mick and Beth that something happened when he turned Sarah, that "she got lost somewhere in between," and has been in a coma ever since. He's never been able to let her go, hoping that someday medicine or a miracle will bring her back. This statement is punctuated by the assassin crashing in through the window.

The hitman shoots and then stakes Josef, snarling in frustration when Josef still doesn't die. That's when Mick steps in, hauling the guy against the wall and breaking his neck. Then he unstakes Josef. A while later as Mick and Josef talk, Josef tells him he hopes the universe is on Mick's side in making it work with Beth. Mick almost looks giddy with excitement at the thought. After Beth gives Josef Sarah's diary, she and Mick leave, and she can't stop thinking about what happened to Sarah. Mick's mind is elsewhere. They're supposed to be catching their flight home in a little while but Mick suddenly wants to go out on the town and do something fun. At first Beth looks enthused but then she gets serious and makes a lame excuse about having left on bad terms with Josh and how she should get home. Mick's cool about it (unlike me) and they share another moment of connection, although this time there's a figurative--and literal--barrier between them (a cab). Maybe it's the smart thing for the two of them to keep their relationship strictly platonic, but as they part in opposite directions, it's definitely not the satisfying thing. Tragic love--how I hate you.

The episode ends back in the hospital in LA. Coraline jolts awake, saying Mick's name. Then she flatlines. As the staff rush in, we discover the bed is empty and Coraline is gone. I guess her humanity didn't take.

I liked "Sleeping Beauty," despite a couple of predictable and slightly cheesy moments. The story with Joseph and Sarah was unexpected and well done. The fight scenes were good (and who doesn't love an explosion?) And much as I didn't care for it, Beth resisting Mick and returning to Josh was probably the right way to proceed with that storyline. If only they'd gone with The Smiths.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super strength, speed. Ability to leap abnormally high.

Weaknesses: Fire. Stakes (paralyze). Mortal women.

Mythology: Vampires don't give off heat (and therefore don't show up on infra-red). To turn a human, the human must be drained and then fed vampire blood; the procedure is dangerous and doesn't always work. There may or may not be a cure for vampirism.

Sound Bites

Beth: You still care for her, don't you?
Mick: She was my wife.

Coraline: You look like someone just died.
Mick: Someone just did. Josef.

Josef: Well, are you just going to stand there all day or are you going to help me find out who killed me?

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 10 "Sleeping Beauty." Written by Trevor Munson and Ron Koslow. Directed by John T. Kretchmer. From CBS/The CW.

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