Sunday, June 10, 2007

Demon Days: Season 3, Episode 7 -- "We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Program"

[For earlier recaps, see the Hunter episode guide.]

Previously, on Demon Days...
  • The Hunters had a few run-ins with a Bazemore police detective named David Weathers. At first, he went after them for their suspicious behavior; when he later lost his job and started to see the truth of the evil deeds going on in the shadows, he helped them exonerate Edgar. He was in bad shape emotionally then, and he hasn't been seen since.
  • For all the strange things they've encountered, few have been as unsettling as the mysterious Man in White. They met him on the day of the subway bombing -- he was a normal guy before the explosion, but afterwards he became an unidentifiable supernatural creature, one capable of creating fire from thin air and, most disturbingly, able to sense the Hunters. He confronted Dan on the subway platform and, after watching television footage of strife around the world, told him, "You destroyed everything." Discern reveals only a feeling of heat and the scent of smoke.
  • Dan got rattled when an FBI agent showed up at his door, especially when she turned out to be Hannah's sister. He got away without anything too ugly happening, but he's still nervous.
"We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming"

It's a week since the wedding, and things have been quiet. The newlyweds, Dean and Lucy, are comfortable and happy in their home, far away from the den of thieves that Edgar's apartment has turned into. With four guys sharing it, it's become quite the dark and sweaty shoebox, especially since Dan has gone a little crazy -- he gave his entire marijuana stash away to pay a debt ("Nothing Bad Happened Today": Season 3, Episode 6), and rather than replace it decided to quit. The lack of cannabis in his system, combined with the FBI incident, has made Dan a little unhinged and extraordinarily paranoid. (Yes, not smoking pot is making him paranoid. He's having a bad week.)

While watching TV, the news breaks into regular television to bring the viewers breaking news: at the great big mall in downtown Westwood, an unidentified gunman has taken hostages. Simon calls Dean and Lucy, just to make sure they're aware of it. Dean is thoroughly apathetic...until a "special bulletin" is announced. The anchor reveals that someone inside the mall has just sent them a cell phone video of the gunman. They don't give his name on the air, but the Hunter recognize him just the same -- it's Detective Weathers (last seen in "Not Guilty": Season 2, Episode 10), looking considerably worse for wear. He's holding almost a dozen people hostage,
but has dragged one to the center of the mall floor. Pressing a gun to the man's face, Weathers is seen screaming, "I know who you work for, and I'm going to wait until it (?) gets here!" Hunter powers reveal that hostage to be a ghoul.

And then the news reveals the name of the video taker, and shows his picture...and it's the Man in White.

The Hunters gather at Edgar's apartment to discuss things. Simon and Willem want to go to the mall and find out what's going on; Dean and Dan (in agreement for probably the first time since ever) want to stay far, far away. Lucy is torn. Edgar seems to settle things by calling those who don't want to go "a bunch of pansies." This from the blind guy, who is raring to go in. There is, of course, one problem: there's no way to get inside. The cops have the building closed off, and there are news cameras everywhere. There is one way they could get in, though...

SIMON: Do you have a way of contacting Sunday?
DEAN: Not quickly, no.
EDGAR: Doesn't she have a way of just showing up whenever she's needed?
DEAN: Yeah.
*knock on door* [1]

Sunday explains that she could get them inside, yes, but it would take some effort. Dean is concerned, because he doesn't want their images on TV. Sunday places another call to Evets, who is more than happy to help: he casts a spell that disables all phones and cameras in the mall ("Someone at Radio Shack is going to be pissed tomorrow," Simon says). He does this, even though last time he cast a spell the Mage Police were on top of him in minutes -- they're not going after Sunday thanks to all of the Mage-Vampire-Werewolf drama; maybe they'll leave him alone, too?

Sunday opens a portal to the mall in one of Edgar's closets, and gives them a phone number to call when they're finished, so she can reopen the portal and get them back. Weapons in hand, they go through the door.

Coming from the level above, the Hunters spy Weathers and his hostages. Weathers looks like he's bad shape -- bearded and wild-eyed, he's clearly come a little unhinged. When Dean calls out to him, Weathers spins and trains his gun, but relaxes when he sees the Hunters. "Oh, it's you. Good." They try to talk him down, but he's having none of it: "I'm waiting." He reveals why he's taken this ghoul hostage -- he's been tracking him for several weeks as he receives his orders in a supposedly abandoned warehouse in Staunton. The ghoul is apparently a courier for his vampire masters, running messages and packages back and forth.

Weathers shows the Hunters what the ghoul picked up this time: a black briefcase, locked with a combination lock and -- to the Hunters' surprise -- a magical seal. Weathers decided now was the time to act, and took the ghoul hostage right then and there.

LUCY: So...your plan is to wait for the vampires to show up and take it from you?
WEATHERS: That's right.
DAN: ...In the daytime.

Clearly, he hasn't thought this through. But he refuses to leave.

In an attempt to (I suppose) calm Weathers down, Willem offers to go the smoothie store (which, like all the others, was abandoned by its customers and employees once Weathers started waving his gun around) and make smoothies for everyone. He makes his way to the store, which isn't far away, and immediately gets to the business of taking the money from the register. (Hey, his bar got burned down -- the man's gotta eat.)

While he's counting the money, he gets the unshakable feeling he's being watched. He looks up and sees the Man in White staring at him, a half-smile on his face.

"You're one of them."

The Man in White is certain he's seen Willem before; when Willem confirms they met on the train, the Man in White nods. "Ah, yes. He never forgets a face (?)." The Man in White wants to know how many of "them" there are, but it's not clear what he means, and Willem has no intention of answering him anyway. They have a brief, bewildering conversation, in which the MiW refers to himself alternately as "I" and "we"; when Willem questions this, he's ignored.

When the Hunters call back to Willem, the MiW tells Willem that he's going to kill all of them -- "And you're going to help." A blinding flash of light emanates from the Man in White, and when it fades, Willem finds himself face-to-face with the most terrifying creature yet.

The Man in White is now over eight feet tall, with obsidian-black skin like stone, glowing yellow eyes, and massive black claws on his -- its hands. It is bathed in fire, and giant bat-wings sprout from its back. Willem tries to duck behind the Smoothie counter, but the Thing rips it away and throws it across the room. When it speaks, its voice rattles the walls: "Kneel before me!" Panicked, Willem does so, and the Thing roars some more about placing his "seal" on him. The Thing makes to place its hand on Willem's forehead, but he ducks away and races from the store. The Thing spreads its wings and flies after him.

The Thing finds himself against the six Hunters, Weathers, the ghoul, and several hostages. The Thing informs the Hunters that they're about to die -- it also says that "They can't help you." "Who?" is the question fired back, but it isn't answered.

Dan tries to save the hostages -- he tells them simply to run the fuck away. They do so, but the Thing demonstrates another power: telekinesis. The hostages suddenly fly apart like so many bowling pins, spreading across the floor of the empty mall. One of them, though, sails directly into Edgar, sticking a Shawn Michaels-like flying forearm into his face. Edgar goes down hard, cursing at the innocent guy who hit him like a spear. But when he recovers from the shock, Edgar discovers something else -- he can see again!

What follows is the most futile encounter the Hunters have had yet. Dean tries his mind-weakening power, Insinuate, against the Thing, but it does nothing. They fire guns, but they have little to no effect. It materializes fireballs that only miss because of the handy Bluster Edge. They throw bombs, but the Thing uses telekinesis to defuse them or throw them back. They finally get one to go off in its vicinity, but it only does moderate damage.

And it pisses it off.

The Thing roars and starts telekinetically ripping the large marble floor tiles up and hurling them like fatal frisbees across the room. Everyone runs and hits the deck, or tries to get out of the area altogether. Dean hatches a plan and starts crawling under the tiles, trying to get close enough to the Thing to use Cleave, but out of the corner of his eye sees Lucy running for the door. She's going to make it just fine, but slips and stumbles. If she had stayed upright she'd have made it; if she had just fallen to the ground, she would have been fine. Instead, she touches the floor and springs up again, heading full speed for the exit. She's right in the path of one of the deadly tiles, and doesn't see it coming. Dean does, and is helpless to stop it.

Edgar, though, just got his sight back, and he sees it, too. He leaps from safety to shove Lucy out of the way...

...but takes the tile meant for her, in the chest. Blood sprays everywhere, and he's thrown to the floor as if shot by a cannon.

No time to worry about him -- Dean makes it to the Thing and uses Cleave, wincing through the pain from the flames that surround the enemy. This attack actually works -- the Thing roars in agony, and once again flares with a white light. When it goes away, the Man in White is back, badly wounded and looking terrified. Dean kills him immediately with a Cleave to the face, only realizing too late that he no longer registered as "supernatural." Oh well -- the crisis is over. Dean makes sure it's over by killing the ghoul, too (once again, Cleave to the face). Victory?

Lucy is sobbing over Edgar, who isn't moving. Or breathing. Dean pulls out the tile, to use his healing power, but the wound isn't bleeding, either. He's--

"You can't be dead," Lucy sobs.

Willem calls the number Sunday gave them, and she opens the portal again. Grabbing Edgar and Weathers (who initially refuses to go, but is coerced), they head back. When they arrive, they show Sunday what happened to Edgar, and ask if anything can be done. Tearfully, she says no. He's gone.

The Hunters have a pair of discussions: one about the Thing, the other about Edgar. Sunday has not idea what the Thing is, but based on appearances, the Hunters can draw an educated conclusion. Wings. Fire. Appeared to have possessed someone. Wanted to be idolized and moved to place a "seal" on someone. Sounds awfully...demonic.

Regarding Edgar, they're torn. They obviously can't go Weekend at Bernie's with him: he's good and dead, and people are going to notice, namely his sister, Michelle. What to tell her? The truth? How much of it?

Dan finds Michelle's phone number in Edgar's phone book. He also finds a note there, left by Edgar (theoretically before he lost his sight): If I'm dead, tell her everything.

On the television, the news anchor is announcing that the police finally gave up trying to negotiate and sent the SWAT team into the mall. They found the "two gunmen" dead, the floor horrifically damaged, and the hostages mostly unharmed, but badly shaken and with no memory of the events inside.[2]

The anchor wraps up the coverage, saying that the nightmare is over. "We now return to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress."

Dean abruptly turns the television off.

Footnotes: [1] This has been well-established, and is a result of her powerful Fate magic; such magic has also been well-established in previous encounters. [2] This isn't just convenient storytelling -- it's World of Darkness canon. Supernatural powers cause regular humans to freak out and later forget. And the Thing's powers were very, very supernatural indeed.

Storyteller's Notes: Demons 1, Hunters 0.

You understand now why I wanted a lighter episode last week. Response to this one was swift -- not fifteen minutes after its conclusion, I was dismissed by FRINAN as "mean" for killing Edgar off. This sentiment was seconded by the rest of the group, though Steve only thought it was mean to kill him mere seconds after he regained his sight. To them, I say: well,
yeah. Of course it was mean.

The subtitle of this season is "Things Are Gonna Get Worse Before It Gets Better/Everybody Hurts," and it's an appropriate one, I feel. 'Cause things haven't finished getting worse yet.

Next week, the inexorable march to the season finale continues, with episode 3.08, "Not Dark Yet."

1 comment:

  1. Guess9:12 AM

    Point A) Willem wasn't getting smoothies to soothe anybody.

    Point B)He wasn't getting smoothies for everybody. He was getting a smoothy for himself and the stoner i believe.

    Point C)Edgar didn't take the tile to the chest he took it to the arm.

    And as a besides or whatever)When the Dean and Lucy saw the news report Dean immediately said leave him, and was ignored as per usual.