10 November 2010

Moonlight S1 E11 "Love Lasts Forever"

Spoilers Ahead

You know how when you watch a show regularly you figure you can predict where it's going to go, what's going to happen, which characters are going to stick around--that sort of thing? I thought I'd figured Moonlight out. I was wrong.

"Love Last Forever" starts off with Mick working out as he ponders in a voiceover the state of his life and his feelings for Beth. Deep stuff for a shirtless guy doing pull-ups.

Elsewhere, Josh is trying to cut a deal with an El Salvadoran mobster, trying to get the guy to turn on his boss in exchange for a lenient sentence. The guy refuses and more or less lets Josh know he's going to regret going after them. He wasn't kidding. As Josh walks to his car that night, a pair of guys on motorcycles (faces conveniently hidden behind dark helmets) chase him down. One of the guys knocks Josh around a bit before throwing down a photo of Beth with her face crossed out. The guy aims the laser sight of a gun on Beth's face and tells Josh to remember that it's not a good idea to accuse an innocent man. Then they take off, leaving Josh hurt and freaked.

As Mick and Beth hang out at her place, talking about the blood sample he stole from Coraline and how much he hates being a vampire, Josh shows up. Mick leaves so that Josh and Beth can talk alone, and Josh tells Beth that he's recused himself from the Tejada case because Beth's been marked. He claims he'd never step down if it was just him at risk, but he can't let anything happen to her. She (showing a lot more courage than I think I would) insists he stay on the case, pointing out that the case could fail without him and more innocent people could die. A moment later they're kissing and "reconnecting" as a couple.

The next morning Josh and Beth are still reconnecting as Mick waits for Beth at a blood analysis lab, debating whether he should tell her how he feels about her. If you think that's painful wait until Mick shows up at Beth's apartment looking for her after she missed their appointment, and sees Josh there in his pj's. But Mick is quickly distracted when he realizes Josh is arranging a police guard for Beth. Josh then asks Mick to watch over Beth until the squad gets there, which Mick is only too keen to do.

We meet the infamous Tejada (who sounds more like a cheesily stereotypical Mexican when he speaks than an El Salvadoran--not good) at his daughter's 16th birthday party. He's clearly devoted to his daughter, even if he has no compunction about murdering other people's children. But the celebration comes to an abrupt halt when Josh and a team of armed cops shows up to arrest Tejada on a felony drug charge. That's it--really piss off the ruthless mobster.

Meanwhile Mick and Beth pick up Coraline's blood analysis results at the lab. It turns out the blood is clean--no traces of unusual or illicit substances whatsoever. In fact, it's too clean--the complete lack of accumulated toxins has the lab tech convinced that the sample came from a child. It's also of an extremely rare blood type: AO negative, which just happens to also be Beth's blood type. Hmm...

As they're pondering these mysteries, Josh is arguing in front of a judge to deny bail to Tejada. Too bad Tejada's lawyer presents a more persuasive argument; the judge sets bail at a paltry $5 million. Tejada will be home in time for dinner.

As Mick and Beth leave the lab, Mick suddenly hears something--a bullet sliding into place in a sniper's gun. A moment later that bullet is speeding toward Beth. Mick pushes her down just in time to avoid being hit and then he takes off after the assassin. Unfortunately, the men drive off before Mick can get to them. Returning to Beth she points out that he's got blood on him--he was hit. But it turns out to be Coraline's blood, from the vial he had in his pocket. So much for further analysis.

Back at Beth's apartment, Josh gets the guards in place and then pulls Beth aside to tell her he loves her. Mick listens in, unhappy to hear Beth say she loves Josh too. Then Josh has to get going. Beth watches from the window as he approaches his car. As they wave to each other, we see a man jogging and holding plastic wrist restraints. The jogger then pulls a mask down over his face. Unfortunately, Beth notices the jogger before Josh does. As a car screeches around the corner, the jogger pistol whips Josh, restrains him, and tosses him into the trunk of the car. Meanwhile Beth is inside flipping out.

One of the cops tries to stop the kidnappers but he gets shot multiple times. As Mick starts chasing after them on foot, Beth gets in her car, picking up Mick along the way. A small but appreciated detail: Mick instructs Beth on how to follow the other car at high speed. What--you mean it's not a naturally occurring skill, like shooting a machine gun or spontaneous group dance routines? As they give chase they also try calling Josh's phone. When they realize it's on, Mick calls his techie vampire contact and gets him to triangulate the location of the phone using its GPS. As soon as they're told the kidnappers have gone to Griffith Park, Mick calls Carl (the cop) and tells him where they are.

As the kidnappers are getting ready to shoot Josh, Mick and Beth arrive. Mick pulls some nifty moves to knock the bad guys out and he and Beth start freeing Josh. This is where things started going in an unexpected direction for me. Unfortunately, one of the kidnappers isn't unconscious, and he shoots Josh multiple times through the backseat of the car. This is cool and also sad (and the guy's got perfect aim). This time Mick knocks him out good.

As Beth calls 911, Mick--a WWII medic--performs triage on Josh. The wounds are bad, but Mick knows what he's doing. He cauterizes a neck wound with the car's cigarette lighter (ouch) and uses Beth's necklace to tie off a bleeding femoral artery. This scene: not for the weak of stomach. Beth holds Josh down and talks to him, trying to keep him with her. Josh starts rambling about their anniversary and the first time they met. Then he passes out. Realizing the ambulance is still about a minute too far out, Mick initiates CPR. But Mick no longer hears a pulse or blood circulating. Desperate, Beth asks--and then begs--Mick to save Josh, to turn him. But Mick refuses. Just then the ambulance arrives and the paramedics try defibrillating Josh's heart. But Josh is gone.

I did not expect Josh to get killed off. Maybe I should have, but he seemed like one of those characters that would either stay a part of the show or just fade away. And funny enough, even though I never cared that much about his character, I felt really sad when he was killed. Strange how shows can affect you.

Mick tries to comfort Beth but she angrily rebuffs him, telling him to stay away from her. Mick looks down at his bloody hands and then up at the sky. There's also a really nice long shot of Mick and the paramedic by Josh's body, while in the distant background Beth stands by herself, framed by the men in the foreground. I think that moment was captured beautifully.

At the police station, the kidnapper who's not in intensive care isn't talking. Mick asks to have five minutes alone with the guy, promising he won't touch him--that Carl can even watch from outside the room. Mick goes in. Facing away from the window and hunched so that his face isn't captured on camera, he shows the guy his true face. Of course the kidnapper starts panicking, screaming for them to get "el diablo" away from him. Finally the guy is so afraid of what Mick might do to him he tells him where Tejada's gone into hiding. Leaving the room, Mick lies to Carl about where Tejada is--he's got a score to settle, vampire-style.

Mick heads to Tejada's actual location, standing out like a sore thumb in the dive bar/strip joint. When the bartender pretends he doesn't understand Mick's question about Tejada, things start getting violent. Guns are blazing, fangs are out. None of the gang members stand a chance. Mick finally intimidates one guy into telling him that Tejada is in the office.

Mick bursts into the office looking human. Tejada tries to be badass, but that doesn't last. Mick vamps out, pins him against the wall with a desk, and bites. Tejada is toast.

Beth is at her place, grieving and looking wrecked. Mick shows up but she doesn't want to see him. He tries explaining why he didn't turn Josh, that it wouldn't have been saving his life--it would have been taking it. Beth doesn't want to hear it. She snaps that if it's so awful being a vampire, why does Mick go on living. In a voiceover he says that she makes him want to. Out loud he claims he's not really sure. It's funny how a guy can take down an entire bar of armed mobsters, but admitting his feelings is too scary. Beth then asks him what he would have done if it had been her lying there, seconds from death--would he have let her die? Mick claims he would have done the same thing. Beth breaks down crying. In another voiceover he says that the truth is he doesn't know what he would do. Then in an instant, he's gone.

Now that Josh is out of the picture, I suppose Mick and Beth's relationship could go anywhere. They're free to be together, but maybe Beth's anger and hurt will prove to be too much. Hell, maybe Coraline will even draw Mick back in. Nothing is certain at this point and I've got to say--I like it.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super strength, speed, hearing. Resistant to bullets. Impressive jumping skills.

Weaknesses: Sunlight, self-loathing.

Mythology: Mick desperately wants Coraline's cure for vampirism, but most other vampires would view such a thing as a threat.

Sound Bites

Mick: How does an immortal handle mortal feelings?

Josh: You shouldn't have made this personal. Don't you ever threaten her again.
Tejada: I won't forget this...amigo.

Mick: At the end of the day, not a lot separates life and death. That's what makes it precious.

Mick: When it comes to revenge and vampires--blood is vengeance.

Moonlight, Season 1 Episode 11 "Love Lasts Forever." Written by Josh Pate. Directed by Paul Holahan. From CBS/The CW.

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