You, who like a dagger ploughed
Into my heart with deadly thrill:
You who, stronger than a crowd
Of demons, mad, and dressed to kill,
Of my dejected soul have made
Your bed, your lodging, and domain:
To whom I’m linked (Unseemly jade!)
As is a convict to his chain…
~Charles Baudelaire, “The Vampire”
This week’s episode gives us a look at a human Mick St. John, meeting Coraline for the first time, as well as provides some insights into their early and tempestuous relationship, which we already know resulted in marriage, and Mick being turned into a vampire on their wedding night. And so the episode begins…
A devastating fire in a downtown Los Angeles hotel draws Mick to the scene, ready to assist in any way he can. Already there are Beth, reporting on the story, and Morgan, a crime photographer who’s new in town. However, to Mick’s intense shock and dismay, Morgan eerily resembles Coraline – Mick’s vampire ex-wife, who he killed back in 1985 after she had kidnapped Beth.
In his distress, Mick reaches out to Josef who attempts to calm Mick and counsels that if Morgan didn’t give off the vampire scent, she must not be a vampire and therefore not Coraline. Even so, the similarities are so uncanny that Mick is highly troubled.
Morgan’s apartment is robbed and Beth recommends Mick track down the thief. Mick’s torment and obvious fixation on Morgan eventually make Beth suspicious. However, Mick is hesitant to trigger Beth’s repressed memories of her childhood kidnapping by discussing Coraline in depth.
In spite of all the evidence, Mick can not shake the idea that Morgan is indeed Coraline and begins to suspect that this series of crimes has been staged as a trap for him. Although Josef is worried about his friend’s state of mind, he follows the trail of clues with Mick and continues to provide support, counsel and a little bit of “tough love” in the form of his best no-holds-barred advice.
However, Josef’s words fall on deaf ears. A violent showdown at the cemetery leaves Mick in doubt of his original conclusions about Morgan and later that evening, he makes a shocking revelation to Beth.
Not that I bid you spare her the pain!
Let death be felt and the proof remain;
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace–
He is sure to remember her dying face!
~Robert Browning, “The Laboratory”
Well! What an episode. A lot of “setting the stage” for the continuation of the story of Mick and Coraline’s relationship, and a long look at a side of Mick’s intense and passionate personality we hadn’t seen prior to now. This episode also touched on his feelings for Beth and his guilt over Coraline’s death – All the while, in a series of three or four conversations between Mick and Josef, cuts right to the heart of Mick’s wishes to be human again and wish for a “cure” for his Vampire state. Lots going on, and here are four of my favorite moments:
1. Mick: What do you remember from when you were four? Josef: Well, it was 1603, Mick, it’s reasonable it’d be a little hazy. So! I infer Josef was born in 1599 — the same year as Oliver frickin Cromwell!! This fact may be meaningful only to English history buffs and/or fans of this film or maybe just me.
2. Morgan: I’ve got this ’50s thing I’m trying to shake. Laying it on a little thick there, eh Morgan? Which of Morgan’s head games with Mick did you find most despicable? The staging of the murder, the tattoo, the book, the music, etc.?
3. Josef is the snarky star of this episode, being petulant, sarcastic and plain-spoken all in turn. Which of his smartass lines were your favorite?
4. Mick: I work for an insurance company, I get it. Mick! Hi! I also work in insurance! Not P&C, but… Oh wait, you don’t really work in insurance. Nobody as cool as you works in insurance…
And I leave you with this parting shot… arguably the sexiest cap in the episode (I say that, but I won’t argue too hard, promise):