Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Demon Days: Season 1, Episodes 9-13

Yes, the Hunter recaps are back. Largely because I enjoyed writing them quite a bit, and also because they served a good purpose: helping me remember what the hell is going on.

To keep things simple, I've just summed up the eighteen-or-so episodes I've neglected to recap, including "The Black Hand," the three-part episode that kicked off Season 3. Full recaps continue with this week's session, "House of Leaves."

Fair warning: it's been some time since most of these episodes. So I'm going to forget things. A lot of things. Feel free to correct when I screw up or forget something. (Of course, you'll have to e-mail me for now, until I get comments working again.)

To make them a little easier on the brain, I'm posting them in three parts, in reverse chronological order. If you scroll down after this one, you'll find parts two and three.

The last few episodes of Season 1: Some Kind of Monster

When we last left off, the Hunters had just killed a cop and battled a shadow monster that attacked them from underneath a car. You'd think the next few episodes would follow that plot thread. You'd be wrong.

After a caustic meeting with Detective Weathers, who thinks they're somehow involved in Detective Panam's death (perish the thought!), the Hunters investigate the Big Red 16 – the building in Glenville with the gigantic "16" painted on the side. Of course, for years the number was a 17, but it inexplicably switched a few months earlier.

Some internet research reveals a few interesting facts about the building: back when it was still in use (which was some time ago), it was a deli. Old newspaper photographs display two teenaged employees – Charlie and Rico, the two annoying mages. The deli closed after a fire, and the building has stood unused ever since.

The Hunters break into the building to discover a disturbing sight, perhaps waiting just for them: the corpse of their missing Hunter (whose name I've managed to forget again), hanging from his neck with wire.

That's pretty screwed-up, sure, but close inspection reveals the corpse is, in fact, not real – it's a very realistic wax sculpture. The Hunters crack it open to find a CD-R that contains a very eclectic playlist: Johnny Cash, Peter Gabriel, U2, even Jay-Z. They deduce that the songs represent a scavenger hunt-like list of clues; following them leads to a cemetery in Westwood and a VIP membership card for an exclusive downtown nightclub.

The card gets them into the private suite upstairs, where a vampire named Charlie (not to be confused with the Mage named Charlie) is waiting for them. He's got a tattoo of a dragon running down one hand – the Hunters ask if anyone calls him "the Dragon." He says, "Not to my face," which the Hunters see as an invitation. The Dragon says he left the CD to draw the Hunters to him – he wants to help them, he says, but "can't." He can't even say why, but the implication is that he's under some sort of mind control that prevents him from directly betraying his superior…who he claims is the "Haydn" the Hunters know about from the logo they found. (He also says that their missing Hunter is, in fact, quite dead, just like the wax sculpture they found.)

The Dragon tells them he'd like to help them destroy the other vampires, and offers to prove it by giving one of them up: a vampire who lives in an apartment building in Staunton. He gives them a location and assures them a lack of booby traps or decent security into the place. The Dragon informs them the vampire retains the entire fifth floor of the building as his haven.

The next day, however, the Hunters manage to kill the vampire without getting into his apartment when they run into him in the alley outside. Not finished, they break in and investigate the building – there are, in fact, a few security measures and booby traps: the fire escape, for one, is coated with a sharply acidic substance.

Making their way to the fifth floor, they find that yes, the vampire does hold the entire floor…and it's a good thing, too, because the stench of death is prevalent. Dead bodies are everywhere, in each of the floor's many apartments – all but one, that is. The last apartment is, instead, dominated by a large network of lines burned into the carpet. It only takes a moment to recognize it for what it is: a map. And a few more moments allow the Hunters to recognize several of the lines as matching Bazemore's subway tunnels.

More puzzling, though, is the large pile of ash sitting on one of the lines. Even stranger, it pulls itself back together when it's broken apart. And even stranger still, it occasionally moves along the lines all on its own.

The Hunters do a little inductive reasoning. They recall the large red eyes Dean saw in the subway tunnels (way back in the second episode, "Corpses"). They also remember Sunday's dire warnings to stay out of the subways. They infer that the pile of ash could represent whatever mysterious creature Dean saw that night. The bodies…its food?

The next day, they get their walkie-talkies and split up. Willem, Lucy and Dean (referred to for the next few paragraphs as the A-Team) head into the subways, while Dan and Edgar (the B-Team, naturally) remain in the apartment with the map, radioing directions the best they can.

Beneath the streets, the A-Team sneaks from the platform onto the tracks. They follow the line for a distance and eventually find an opening tucked into the wall. Inside, a long, stone staircase takes them far down under the city. Not only is the stairway completely unlit (so only Dean and Willem can see, thanks to Discern) but it's infested – humanoid "Lizard creatures" leap at them from the ceiling. They're dispatched fairly easily, though not without dousing Lucy in their pale blue blood. Yuck.

The B-Team does what they can to guide from their place of relative security. But they're interrupted when an old man starts banging on the door – he yells for the apartment's owner to open the door, and waits only a few moments before ripping the door off its hinges with stunning strength. The B-Team hides in the closet, but that doesn't work. As it turns out, the old man has little problem with them, and doesn't even seem too perturbed that they killed the guy he was looking for. He can't stay too long, though – birds start hurling rocks at him through the window (!), so he turns into a wolf (!!) and leaps out (!!!).

While all of that is going on, they can't instruct the A-Team on where to go, and things go from bad to worse. They have to unlock several hidden doors (pressure-sensitive triggers in bricks on the walls and floor) and avoid more lizard-things. They stumble upon a pit trap, and inside discover a secret room: a small space filled with archaic computer equipment. The Apple IIs still work, but demand a password.

At the end of a long string of hallways, the A-Team comes across a gigantic open space…and inside it, an enormous Godzilla-like lizard monster with glowing red eyes. It roars and attacks the Hunters, who each fight back in their own unique style: Willem runs around the corner and hides, Lucy tries to attack the beast's underbelly, and Dean leaps into its mouth. Willem hides successfully, Lucy gets stomped, but Dean pulls off the impressive gambit – he jumps inside and activates Ward. The massive protective shield rips the creature's head apart. Victory!

As quickly as possible, the A-Team gets out of the tunnels and heads back to the surface. The B-Team meets them as they exit the tunnel, and at that exact moment, Sunday gets off a train: "What'd I miss?"

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