Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Demon Days: Season 3, Episodes 1-3

And now, the three-part arc that opened the third season.

Season 3: Things Are Gonna Get Worse Before They Get Better

"New people are bad."


"Come on, come on

You think you drive me crazy

Come on, come on

You and whose army?

You and your cronies…

Come on if you think

You can take us on

You and whose army?

You and your cronies

You forget so easy…"

Radiohead, "You and Whose Army?"

The Hunters take a month-long break, as Sunday instructed. Dean and Lucy go to Missouri to stay with his parents, then to Colorado to stay with Lucy's father, where they meet up with Simon. Meanwhile, Edgar, Dan and Willem head to Vegas.

During the downtime, Dean proposes to Lucy, who accepts. Also, Willem visits a separatist militia in North Texas and buys more guns.

Unfortunately, trouble finds the group before they can even reunite.

"The Black Hand, Part 1: No Surprises"

[This episode followed Lucy, Dean and Simon.]

Returning from the airport, Lucy spots a corpse walking down the street. This isn't like the other corpses they've seen – it appears human to the naked eye, not a shuffling, rotting zombie. The Hunters follow the corpse on foot as it ventures downtown, and are on the verge of making a move when Simon's phone rings – it's Edgar, calling from Willem's phone. He manages to say that they've followed someone onto a subway train when, suddenly, the phone cuts off with a loud roar and the Hunters hear an explosion. Behind them, a subway grate rips open and fire spills out, flooding the area with choking black smoke.

Dean, without missing a beat, hurls the corpse into the fire, but that turns out to be a misstep: there were two other Hunters following that corpse, Waywards named Olsen and Adam, and they're none too happy to have their lead killed. (They seem less concerned about the explosion in the subway tunnel.) The two Hunter groups argue for a moment, but then catch a man dressed in white walking out of the fire. They quickly follow.

The man (referred to from here on as the Man in White), startlingly, seems to recognize the Hunters as Hunters. He's not human, but Discern doesn't help them figure out what he is. When they try to follow further, he throws up a wall of flame to block their path. He disappears.

The Hunter groups – largely at Lucy's insistence – "work together" for a short while. This amounts to Dean walking around until the Waywards get bored. It works: soon the Hunters are free to head for the subway in an attempt to find Willem, Edgar and Dan…assuming they're still alive. On the way, they spot a mage woman dressed in red – one of the mages who captured Sunday (from here on referred to as the Woman in Red). They make sure they're not seen.

The two Waywards also spot the Woman in Red, and pause to eavesdrop on her telephone conversation: she and someone else (presumably a mage) discuss the possible ramifications of the explosion. She seems to be fairly certain of the culprit. For that matter, so are the Waywards: they think their former associate Spire (a truly disturbed psychopath, even by their standards) was surely responsible. After a brief discussion, they decide to head for the subway as well.

Sure enough, the two groups meet in the tunnels and are forced into each other's company again. During the long, long walk to the exploded subway train, they run into another hunter, a twitchy little guy named Hopper. He's another associate of Olsen and Adam, and is a flaky crack addict. He also doesn't know where Spire is, only that he sent Hopper away.

Continuing in the tunnel, they encounter two individuals walking the other way. Discern reveals them to be werewolves. Olsen uses his on of his Wayward edges to force the others to attack, and they're quickly defeated before they even have a chance to defend themselves. The Hunters demand to know what's going on, but before the conversation can go on too long, Hopper's watch starts beeping.

"Time to take my medicine," he says, and shoots Olsen and Adam, killing them. He claims Spire told him to do that, and says he won't shoot the others. Dean's paranoia is rampant, though, and when a bright light fills the tunnel, he puts a few bullets in Hopper anyway, just to be safe.

The light turns out to be the Woman in Red, teleporting in with some style. She's surprised to see the Hunters, thinking them long gone. She tells them to get out of here, and makes several other vague threats. She casts another spell, but its effects are not immediately apparent.

She disappears again, leaving the Hunters alone – Hopper has suddenly vanished. They decide to head back, but only make it a few steps when Hopper reappears…jamming a knife in Lucy's back. Dean blasts him immediately, but the damage is done: Lucy falls to the ground, blood spurting; she twitches, gasps, and stops breathing.

"The Black Hand, Part 2: In Limbo"

[This episode followed Dan, Willem and Edgar.]

One day earlier, Dan wakes to find a find a woman dressed in white sitting on his dresser. She introduces herself as Faith, and asks for Sunday. But Dan doesn't know where she is, obviously, and the woman starts to panic (though she hides it well). She asks Dan to leave a signal for her when Sunday's found. She then leaves…and Dan never bothers to use his powers to figure what exactly she was. Oops.

Edgar moves into an apartment of his own (he'd been living with his sister), thanks to the large settlement he's been granted by the Bazemore Police Department. The next day, he invites the other two over to check the place out. Willem asks him for money, naturally.

That morning, the three of them head out for some coffee. As they walk through downtown, Edgar spots a man he used to know walking past them – a man he knows to be dead. Intrigued – a non-zombie walking corpse! – the Hunters follow him. The corpse walks into the subway.

Before boarding the train, the corpse is stopped by a man (a non-supernatural man) who asks him to take a backpack to a woman on board: "She dropped it." The corpse, perhaps just to get the man to leave him alone, agrees.

On board, the corpse makes a cursory check for the woman, but doesn't see her, so he drops the bag. The Hunters watch him (it?), unaware that Spire, the psychotic Wayward, is on the train as well. When Edgar goes to talk to the corpse, the bag starts beeping. Dan opens it and finds a bomb.

Dan tries to get the car evacuated, but people start to panic and get nowhere. Spire begins to unsubtly use the other passengers as human shields, Dan tries to toss the bomb out of the train, and Edgar steals Willem's cell phone to call Simon. Willem, for his part, also tries to put a few people between himself and the bomb – one of those people is the Man in White (though at this point, he isn't supernatural).

Despite Dan's best efforts, the bomb explodes. Several people die, more are wounded, and a giant hole is opened in the top of the subway car. (There is also much fire, though most of that ends up outside the car.) Spire calmly exits the train. Willem follows him, Dan tries to help people get out of the train (though the Man in White has vanished), but Edgar has a new problem: he can't see. He hit his head when the bomb went off, and now he's totally blind.

Spire and Willem chat outside the train. Spire asks if the bomb was their idea – apparently, it wasn't his, either. While they talk, Willem hears a familiar skittering noise – one of the little lizard creatures (from waaay back in Season 1) is running across the ceiling. The creature is dealt with swiftly, and when another one is seen poking its head out of a subterranean passageway, the choice is made to follow. Dan has to guide Edgar, of course.

The journey through the labyrinthine passageways is long and arduous. Supernaturals are met and dispatched with ease.

They find another room filled with ancient computers, just like last time, but this room is guarded by a young mage. Well, more like "occupied" – the mage is asleep when they find him. When it becomes clear he has no useful information, Spire uses his most terrifying Edge to turn him into paste.

Further along the passageways, they encounter a locked door. Several of the bricks in the door play musical notes when pressed. They quickly deduce the key – the opening of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" – and go inside.

Down a hallway, they come across a small office-like room. Inside, a disgusting slob of a vampire sits at a computer (a modern computer, not an Apple IIe), watching a surveillance feed of the other three Hunters while hacking gobs of black goo onto the floor. They banter for a while. Spire uses his edges to get some information from the thing – first, that he's not "Beethoven" (remember, the vampire leaders and their composer names) and that he doesn't know where Beethoven is. Spire also gets the password to the guy's computer.

Willem sees, on the surveillance feed, Hopper stabbing Lucy. Shortly thereafter, the Thing shorts out the computer, morphs into a dog, and starts coughing up clouds of acidic green gas. The Hunters retreat into the hallway, wait for the Thing to exit, and slay him mercilessly.

Willem renters the room and removes the hard drive from the computer, in the process disarming a bomb. Before they can decide what to do next, the ceiling in the hallway collapses, raining rocks, bricks and cement onto Dan, Edgar and Spire. Spire is crushed and killed by the falling stones.

A cry goes out from the rubble: "Oh, my fucking arm!" From under a rock comes Simon, and Lucy follows him. Dean looks down from the new hole in the ceiling, shaking his head in disappointment.

"The Black Hand, Part 3: Knives Out"

But how did Lucy survive? She was, after all, not breathing, thanks to a vicious stab wound in the back.

While Simon panics (understandably so), Dean manifests a new Edge – a "Kiss of Life"-like healing ability. Seconds later, Lucy is as good as new, though covered in blood. The Edge takes quite a lot of Dean, so they wait a few moments while he tries to recover.

Simon, though, decides he can't wait, and heads off down the tunnel. He doesn't get far before he stops and calls back to the other two: he's found the wrecked subway car.

Maintenance crews are everywhere. Simon decided to run to the car, Lucy tries to stop him, and the floor beneath them crumbles, dropping them on top of the rest of their group (and killing Spire, of course).

Simon's shoulder is dislocated, but he pops it back in Mel Gibson-style. While discussing what to do next (Dean still standing high above them), they hear the "Moonlight Sonata" and the door opening. In steps a mage, a woman dressed in white, who is puzzled at their presence. They lie about who they are, a tactic which works until she starts to recognize them – at which point, Dean opens fire, and the woman is quickly killed. To avoid the maintenance workers nearby, Dean leaps into the hole.

(An interesting point: Willem, Edgar, Dan and Spire walked for hours under the subway tunnels, frequently going down staircases. At no point did they go up a staircase; yet, they end up no more than forty feet from where they started. No one notices how odd this is.)

The Hunters now have to make the long trek back to the surface. Along the way, they stumble across a fight in progress: a werewolf, in full man-beast form, fighting a…well, it's not clear, because by the time the Hunters get there, the wolf's opponent is no more than a few chunks of flesh. The wolf eyes the Hunters, but before it can make up its mind on whether to attack or not, Dean slays it.

At long last, they reach the surface. The maintenance crews are gone, but four men – ghouls – are attempting to jackhammer through the floor of the subway tunnel. The Hunters investigate, obviously, and learn they're working for a vampire with the initials WAM – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Dan tries to get Edgar out of the tunnel, for obvious reasons, but when they reach the subway platform, they find the Man in White there, alone. He's watching the news on the TV screens in the platform. He watches the news of war, poverty, famine, violence in the streets, and turns to the Hunters with rage in his eyes. "You destroyed everything," he says, seething. Dan puts up Ward, but the Man walks through it like it was nothing. He makes to attack, but police are coming down the stairs, so he retreats. The cops take Dan and Edgar to the hospital for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, Willem uses one of the ghoul's cell phones to call this "WAM." Surprisingly, a woman answers. Willem tries to pretend he's one of the ghouls, but the subterfuge fails, and the Hunters are set upon by four motorcycle ninjas within moments. Unfortunately, they're ghouls, too, and Dean's Ward knocks them off their bikes. They are easily dispatched.

The Hunters reunite at the hospital. Bad news for Edgar, though: there's nothing wrong with his eyes. As the Hunters have been suspecting, his blindness is psychosomatic. When asked how long it might take for him to recover, the doctor is depressingly vague. "It may be tomorrow. Or next week. Or he might never recover."

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