Monday, November 13, 2006

Demon Days: Season 1, Episode 8 -- "Gimme Shelter"

Previously on Demon Days
  • Lucy finally let her boyfriend Brian have it for cheating on her, and, for all intents and purposes, they’ve broken up. They continue to fight with one another, though, as do Lucy and her roommate, Vanessa, the woman Brian was sleeping with.

  • Lucy’s plan to get lots of guns worked. Well, worked in the “they got lots of guns” sense. In the “no one got shot” sense, not so much. Edgar took one to the shoulder, and Dean took one to the arm. Both were very minor injuries, however. But Lucy blamed herself pretty severely.

  • The Hunters have had dealings with a Bazemore cop named Weathers. More disturbing, however, is his partner, Detective Panam, who is in league with the vampires.

  • They’ve also run into Charlie and Rico, two truly annoying mages, more than once. Charlie is obsessed with making awful threats: “That’s a nice [whatever] you’ve got there. Shame if something were to…happen to it.”

  • And finally, Lucy is recovering from an addiction to painkillers. She recently had something of a relapse after getting shot, but gave her pills to Dean.

“Gimme Shelter”

We open with our first-ever Sports Movie Training Montage, set to (what else?) “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones. Each of the five Hunters spent at least part of the week since the last episode training with the many guns they acquired. Some were more successful than others, though.

On their way to the meeting at the Drowning Swan, some of the Hunters notice some unusual things. Willem sees that the apartment next to his, which was recently vacated, is already occupied again. Movers are loading furniture and boxes, though the new tenant is not present. Dan has an encounter with his mailman, who is having a terrible day—he drops the mail everywhere, he trips and breaks Dan’s mailbox, and his mail truck stalls when he tries to leave. And Dean almost has to watch another screaming match when Brian shows up at Lucy’s apartment…but he only wants his expensive leather jacket back, and he left it inside. She gives it to him. On the car ride to the bar, Lucy thanks Dean for not saying anything to the others about her drug addiction.

DEAN: It was none of their business.
LUCY: Yeah.
DEAN: I mean, if it were putting them in danger…I probably still wouldn’t tell them.

At the bar, Edgar floats an idea Dean had last week: take down Detective Panam. Various methods for doing this are suggested, and finally it’s decided to use Dan’s ally in the Glenville police department. That cop calls Panam and says a witness wants to meet with him at Waterside Park in Glenville.

As they prepare to leave, Lucy—completely unprompted—blurts out, “I’m a drug addict.” This announcement is met by Willem with what could be considered either blasé acceptance (after all, every one else in the group is an addict of something or other) or callous apathy, depending on one’s point of view. The others hardly even notice, upsetting Lucy a great deal.

The Hunters head to the park to wait him out. On the way there, they buy some walkie-talkies, so they can communicate when split up.

And indeed, they split up on arrival. Dan and Edgar hide under a bridge that runs over a small, shallow pond; Lucy and Dean wait in a playground; and Willem camps in a tree with the group’s sniper rifle. And they wait.

Willem spots several wasps in his tree, and for a moment, is horrified by memories of what Dean told him regarding the wasp-throwing vampire he encountered (“The Sting”)—but there’s merely a wasps’ nest in the tree. He climbs another one.

Under the bridge, Edgar and Dan are accosted by an angry homeless man, who demands change and speaks in gibberish. Fighting with them, the man falls into the pond. Dan pulls the man out, but happens to glance into the water again…and sees two glowing red eyes staring back him. He tries to explain it to Edgar, who doesn’t believe him. But before the conversation can get much further, a giant hulking thing blasts out of the water an races away into the night, moving so quickly neither Hunter gets even a good glance at it. They recognize simply that it’s big.

And at that moment, Detective Panam arrives at the park. He comes alone, and seems to expecting the Hunters. He calls out to them, asking them to come out from their places of hiding. Dean and Lucy do, calling back to him. This provides just enough of a distraction for Willem—he pulls the trigger and plugs a rifle shell into the back of Panam’s head. Just to be safe, Dean takes several shots at the prone cop at close range. Panam is dead.

They quickly leave, hoping no one saw them. And indeed, it appears they get away easily. But shortly thereafter, they notice a big green Cadillac with dark windows following them. To force a confrontation, Willem parks the car outside a bar, but the Cadillac quickly pulls forward after them and blocks them in.

The Hunters (well, most of the Hunters—Dan has passed out in the backseat of the car) get out and wait for someone to get out of the Caddy. But no one does. The car’s windows are tinted completely black, and Dean can’t even use Discern to see through them. He tries knocking on the window, and when that gets no response, hitting the window with a baseball bat, but the swing ricochets off harmlessly and knocks Dean to the ground. He then takes the same baseball bat and uses Cleave to destroy all four tires.

He moves to examine the trunk, but a black tentacle swoops out from under the car, grabs his leg, and tries to yank him under. The tentacle, while it keeps a firm grip on Dean, seems to have little to no physical substance—as though it’s made from smoke, or even…shadow. Dean manages to get away from the thing by removing his pants, but it juts out from the other side of the car and grabs Willem. Lucy severs the arm with Cleave (the part attached to Willem’s leg vanishing instantly), and the car abruptly pulls away, speeding off despite its lack of tires.

Edgar suggests quitting while still ahead, and offers to buy dinner for everyone (his sister, Michelle, gave him a bunch a money, he says, and he’d only spend it on booze). They retire to a nearby diner where they have a friendly discussion. Lucy clarifies her earlier confession, though it’s clear no one in the group is bothered in the slightest. Edgar suggests that everyone disclose some deep, dark secret so Lucy won’t feel left out, but the results (Willem: “I liked Armageddon.”) aren’t really helpful. Edgar tells the group he was born at the Altamont Free Concert on December 6, 1969, the concert that was the basis for the legendary documentary Gimme Shelter. This, of course, would make him just 36 years old, despite appearing about a decade older—“I’ve had a rough couple of years,” he says.

Lucy asks about Edgar’s meeting with Helena, his soon-to-be ex-wife/soon-to-be sister-in-law…

EDGAR: She hates me so much. She gets this look on her face…I swear, I think she wanted to just reach down my throat and yank my skeleton out.
LUCY: Oh, she wouldn’t do that.
LUCY: No. If she took the bones out, it wouldn’t be crunchy. Would it?

After dinner, the gang heads home to yet another (and the last for a while, I promise) Musical Montage, set to Our Lady Peace’s “Life”:

  • Dan arrives home to find his girlfriend, Hannah, waiting for him. She asks where he goes all the time; he answers somewhat truthfully, but doesn’t mention the monsters. She also notices a bullet hole in the fender of his van, apparently received during last week’s shootout. He’s forced to lie about that. But Hannah appears to buy both stories.

  • Dean returns to his apartment alone, but Lucy knocks on his door a few moments later, asking for his help with something.

  • Willem learns the identity of his new neighbor—a gorgeous young woman. He speaks to her briefly.

  • Edgar broods at his sister’s house, surrounded by her menagerie.

  • Vanessa comes back to the apartment to discover why Lucy needed Dean’s help: they’ve taken everything in the place that belonged to Vanessa and thrown it into the hallway.

  • On the balcony, Lucy takes her various keepsakes of Brian, throws them together in a garbage can, and sets them on fire. She also has Dean throw her pills into the flames, along with a bottle of Percoset she herself purchased earlier that week—“But I didn’t take any,” she says, and shows the full bottle as proof. As they watch the items burn, Dean spots a bird land on the railing: it’s white, with a shade of purple on its tail feather. This is the second time he’s seen the bird, but before he can examine it more closely, it flies away again.

As the montage ends, we get our first non-montage cut scene. Brian, alone, drinks away his sorrow in a bar somewhere in Harper Park. He pulls out a cigarette, but when he can’t find a light, a helpful stranger offers one for him.

STRANGER: That’s a nice jacket.
BRIAN: Thanks.
STRANGER: Shame if something were to…happen to it.

Storyteller’s notes: This game was supposed to be a bit longer, but one of our players (I won’t say which, but careful reading of the synopsis should reveal it quite plainly) fell asleep a few times, so I cut it short.

Next week’s episode…doesn’t have a title quite yet.

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