Monday, December 10, 2007

Hunter: a quick (?) and dirty recap

If everything goes to plan -- and there's no reason at all to suspect that it will -- our Hunter game's final episode, "The Beginning," should be concluded in about seventeen hours. There isn't much left to do -- our last cliffhanger left the Hunters climbing a long black stair that (presumably) leads to their final confrontation with Wilhelmina Mozart, the self-proclaimed Vampire Goddess of the World. Of course, robbing the world of the sun and casting all into darkness -- to which she can give form and substance with a thought -- certainly gives her credibility.

Of course, I haven't written a recap in ages, missing the end of the third season, the entirety of the fourth, and now almost all of the fifth. How quickly and concisely can I wrap up everything I haven't done? Let's find out!

When we last saw our heroes, a Demon had just killed Edgar. The Hunters put him to rest, telling his sister the truth and fulfilling Edgar's last wish (that everyone team up to kick his brother in the balls). The rest of that season unfolded with the following bullet points:
  • The briefcase that they took from the ghoul ended up containing a book, filled with ancient lore on how to deal with demons. The Hunters use this knowledge to dispatch the Man in White. (It involved Lucy singing to him. No, really.)
  • Faith, the woman in white who arrived looking for Sunday, contacts the Hunters again. She claims to be Sunday's "niece," though Sunday has never heard of her before. But Faith says a password that Sunday only offers to close, personal friends (something about a monkey with a red hat, and I can't believe I forgot it). Faith finally reveals the truth: she's from the future, sent back by a "crazy, angry old mage." She needs Sunday to help her get back. Sunday eventually does, though not before Faith reveals something else about herself -- she's a fucking ninja, with preternatural speed and dexterity, and she wields a silver sword with stunning skill and precision. She's also "shy" -- she suddenly starts wearing a mask around Lucy and Simon, and will only talk to Dean on the phone. Hmm. In the season finale, she's finally sent home, after imparting a few nuggets about the future: humanity and the supernaturals end up in a full-scale war. Big surprise, huh?
  • The subway bombing? It gets pinned on the Hunters. The feds show up to take them into custody, but our heroes slip away, as expected. This creates a dilemma for Caitlin Graves, the FBI agent who showed up in town only trying to find her sister (Dan's former girlfriend Hannah, who was turned into a vampire). The Hunters tell her everything, which she doesn't believe, of course. But while they're talking, a pack of werewolves arrive to slaughter them, and that kind of visual aid goes a long away. (The Messengers speak to her during his fight, attempting to Imbue her, but in her terror she fails to answer the call; this makes her a Bystander.) In the end, she decides that the Hunters are fighting a necessary battle, and abandons her job to join them.
  • The political situation between the supernatural factions -- vampires, mages and werewolves -- becomes lethal. All sides blame the others for the escalation and violence, and everyone accuses everyone else of assisting the Hunters. Sunday and Evets lay everything out, and tell the Hunters that the only way to save them is to...kill them? The plan involves faking their deaths, and sending them way, way out of town. There are remote places in the world where the natural energies that run through everything have frayed (where the world has moved on, you might say), and it would be hard for even the Queen to find the Hunters if they hid there. So they implement Operation We Have to Kill the Hunters or They'll Die.
  • But not before a group of magical bounty hunters find Evets at Wal-Mart (he's a wanted criminal, sentenced to death, remember). The Hunters fight them off, but one of them unleashes a nasty attack spell on Evets, causing his blood to erupt from him in torrents and practically killing him on the spot. Sunday manages to use her magic to heal him, but barely. Before Faith left, she told Sunday to "eat lots of chocolate" -- apparently, chocolate consumption can help a mage's healing spells, and its only that boost that saves Evets. While she's trying to heal him, Evets starts shrieking about his parents, calling for his mother and apologizing for his father. In the aftermath, Sunday confesses the truth: Evets is her son. She doesn't let him call her "mom" out of fear that other mages can use that kind of emotional connection against them. As for his father -- Evets's awakening (the moment he learned magic) occurred when he was a child, immediately following a horrible car crash with his parents. Without even thinking about what he was doing, Evets picked up his mother, used his magic to commandeer a car, and took her to safety. Unfortunately, he left his father behind, and he died. Though Sunday has always tried to convince Evets that it wasn't his fault, that his father was already dead and beyond saving, he still carries the guilt. This bit of backstory isn't really important in the overall arc, but I really like it. So there.
  • The plan goes off without a hitch: Evets gives the Hunters his Hummer and they quietly depart, while Sunday and Evets pretend to have betrayed and murdered them. The Queen, however, is unconvinced.
In Season Four, the Hunters hide in a (very) small town in West Texas called Resurrection for several months, slowly going stir crazy. The main plot arc dealt with a cursed werewolf-like creature kidnapping pregnant women to use in a ritual to regain her original form. Of course, the Hunters found her and put a stop to her. Some other notable events:
  • In a secret lab beneath an abandoned military base, a group of scientists working for Privera (Privera being the evil, vampire-linked company behind a lot of bad, bad shit) are trying to create a zombie army. Why? 'Cause they were told to. By whom? Who knows. The important thing is that one of their experiments goes awry and starts a full-blown zombie outbreak, which the Hunters are able to stop. At some point during this plot, Willem blows up a silver mine and Dan gets an Army jeep. Dean puts the evidence of Privera's evil activities on the web, where it has an immediate impact.
  • They find a mage reading tarot in a trailer the next town over. Her name is Julia, but everyone (to this day) calls her by her professional name, Madam Shostakovitch. Evets spent some time in this town while on the run, and he and Shostakovitch are, erm, "friends." She supplies the Hunters with firearms and explosives, and gives Lucy an awesome silver sword. Hey, wait, silver sword?
  • Lucy starts writing down everything that's happened, a book she calls The End of the World. She's not sure if the title is a joke or not.
  • Dean learns an Edge that lets him use a flame to track down supernaturals. He, Lucy and Dan (I think?) follow a trail to an isolated house. Inside, they do indeed find a vampire. Unfortunately, they also find his terminally ill mortal wife and his precocious, adorable daughter Laura. The vamp emphatically demands to be left alone, and (if memory serves) the Hunters are about to comply, when his wife suddenly dies. The vampire, lost in grief and rage, frenzies and starts wrecking the house. The Hunters grab Laura to make sure she doesn't get hurt, but the vampire -- not within ten city blocks of his right mind -- thinks they're trying to abduct her, and attacks. The Hunters are willing to let him be, but he presses on, and eventually uses his vampire powers to summon a horde of brown recluse spiders. One bites Lucy, and she very nearly dies. Dean can be reasonable, but not when you try to kill his wife -- the vampire is destroyed. Laura is left behind, thinking that (surely) local law enforcement will show up to investigate soon, and they'll find her. Right?
  • Willem drinks. There's a story Stephen King tells in On Writing, about an alcoholic who goes to counseling. "How much do you drink?" the doctor says. "All of it," the man responds. Yeah, that's it, pretty much.
  • Hey, you know what we need? An unrequited love triangle: Simon likes Caitlin, but she likes Dan; but Dan is still recovering from the loss of Hannah (who, of course, was Caitlin's sister), so there's nothing happening there.
  • Lucy discovers she's pregnant. She and Dean do some math and some deductive reasoning, and confirm their suspicion with Sunday: Faith is (will be?) their daughter.
  • While doing, uh, something or other, Lucy spots Laura all alone in an abandoned neighborhood. Dean wants to leave her there, but Lucy puts her foot down. It turns out to be a trap set by that cursed werewolf-thing I mentioned before, but they fight their way out of it and rescue Laura. They take her to the sheriff with thoughts of having her sent to CPS, but in the short time they spend together, Dean finds himself enchanted with the girl. With Lucy's agreement, he asks Laura if she'd like to stay with them. She cautiously accepts. (They did kill her father, but Laura is smart enough to realize that her father was different, and not in any way that was good.) Over the next few months, the three of them become a rather oddball little family.
  • A vampire shows up one night to take Laura, claiming to be her uncle. Laura confirms that he is, but she doesn't want to go anywhere with him. Of course, the vampire (and his gang of Kindred) don't take no for an answer, and are slaughtered.
  • Remember the big red number on the wall in Bazemore? They find something similar in Resurrection, and Shostakovitch tells them that they're werewolf rituals -- "prophecy counters," she calls them. They, essentially, count down the events that must occur in order for a prophecy to come to pass.
  • The Hunters destroy the werewolf-thing, gather together their belongings, and return to Bazemore. (Just missing the battalion of vampires sent by the Queen, who finally managed to deduce their location.) Shostakovitch comes with them.
In Season Five, everything steamrolled to its conclusion. Here are the necessary events, in extraordinarily brief fashion.
  • In an effort to circle the wagons, Dean brings his parents to Bazemore, where he can protect them. Lucy and Simon's father comes along.
  • The Hunters go on television and kill a vampire, showing everyone definitive proof of their existence. War is more or less declared.
  • The vampires respond very quickly, with a televised announcement of their own. The Queen delivers a "If it's war you want, than war you shall have!" statement, and Mozart uses her shadow tentacles to turn an entire news studio into a bloodbath. Evets tries to teleport the Hunters to that studio, but someone has erected a magical shield to prevent exactly that -- a shield so powerful that the attempt to break it shatters Evets's avatar (the awakened part of his soul that allows him to do magic). Since then, Evets's magic has become completely unpredictable, often firing off spells without intending to, and occasionally casting spells he doesn't even know.
  • The vampires disappear. They can't be found anywhere. There are suddenly zombies on every street corner, though.
  • Crazy human bastards drop a biochemical weapon during a baseball game and kill thousands of people. They threaten to kill even more the same way if the vampires don't immediately surrender (with no food, obviously, the vampires would die). The threat is a bluff, of course -- the humans don't have that much of the virus. The Hunters discover that their leader is none other than Weathers, who was last seen madly waving a gun around a shopping mall. They make sure the bluff is nothing but a bluff, but Weathers makes a mistake common to NPCs is this chronicle: he tries to kill the Hunters. Well, so much for that asshole.
  • The Hunters find a werewolf, a young boy named Joey, who is incapable of controlling his shapeshifting. Dan takes him to the only werewolf they know of that hasn't tried to kill them: the woman in the parking garage who keeps the chingas. (From way back in season three.)
  • Dan finds a vampire, wandering alone. He kills it and steals its briefcase, which contains a program that allows them to decode those Byzantine e-mails between Bach and Mozart that they found months earlier. Essentially, they were plotting to overthrow the Queen. And the giant lizard monster under the subway tunnels? It was only the first of two -- the second is much bigger, apparently. The purpose of the creatures is still unknown, though. The e-mails also contain a cryptic reference to Edgar, which they don't understand. Also, Mozart is trying to acquire an object from the Queen.
  • Willem steals a military truck. It turns out to be a trap, left there intentionally for him to find and bring back to the Hunters. A squirrel, controlled by the Queen, hides inside, and it sneaks out and lets the Queen talk to Lucy's father (who, of course, is/was her husband). The next morning, Dad is gone. All that remains is the squirrel, who delivers a note from the Queen inviting the Hunters to "finish this" that night. When the time comes, the Hunters arrive to find the Queen waiting for them...along with her husband, who she's turned into a vampire. Without hesitating, Dean kills him. The Hunters gang up on the Queen, who fights hard, but ultimately falls. Hey, no more Queen -- that should mean it's all over, right?
  • Just as a side note, Dean has now killed the fathers of both his wife and his adopted daughter. No mercy, huh?
  • After the whole biochemical weapon thing, the mages apparently feel that the vampires are a liability, and kick them out of astral space. So there.
  • Several months later, Joey shows up at Dan's door. He says that the lady werewolf was killed by other wolves in league with the vampires. He also found the prophecy that the Big Red Number is linked to (the number having dwindled to zero), and it basically boils down to the world ending. Evets has a vision (or perhaps a dream) which focuses on Mozart and the phrase der schwarze vorhang steigt. Simon translates it from German to "The black curtain rises."
  • Laura finds something that helps Joey control his shapeshifting: bananas. As long as he needs bananas regularly, he's fine.
  • Mozart talks to Willem telepathically and offers to save his life in exchange for one thing: Laura. He doesn't accept the offer, though he doesn't really reject it, either.
  • The aforementioned Giant Lizard Monster -- the size of a Brachiosaurus -- emerges from the sea and starts stomping through downtown. The Hunters track it down and destroy it when it gets a giant foot caught on a subway track. It bites one of Dean's arms off, but he manifests another Edge that lets him grow it back.
  • Joey explains that to complete the prophecy, Mozart needs a few more things: a ton of captured souls, and a stone artifact -- the object she was trying to get from the Queen? But where would it be? They remember after the subway bombing, how Mozart's goons were trying to drill into the ground beneath the track. Could it be there? And -- wait, the GLM walked into the subway track...the trains have stopped...!
  • Sure enough, more of her goons -- including a few werewolves -- are already there, and they retrieve the artifact. To try to track them, they find a den of wolves. No one there can help, and when the Hunters find that the werewolves have several children locked up in cages (for various vile reasons), well, the violence starts and doesn't stop until there are no more moving targets.
  • Remember all those zombies? It turns out their undead nature is spread by nanomachines (probably created by Privera). Could the zombies be Mozart's way to capture those souls she needs? Maybe. The Hunters stop the zombies -- with the help of another Hunter, Bookworm55 -- but, again: too late. Mozart captures all television signals so that the world can watch her climb to the top of the tallest building in Bazemore -- in the daytime -- and cast her spell. Whoosh -- her inky black power flows from the artifact and fills the sky, choking out the light and covering the world in night. The skyscraper becomes a solid block of darkness, practically pulsating with evil.
  • To protect them, Dean has Sunday send his parents and Laura into astral space; Dan sends Joey along, too, with a bunch of bananas. Sunday wisely has Lucy stay behind -- she's nearly nine months pregnant at this point, and could go at any moment. Dean, Dan, Willem, Caitlin and Simon load up into their vehicles and head for the Very Definitely Final Dungeon for the final confrontation.
  • They battle their way through the tower, fighting off the various creatures with little difficulty. In the end, they dispatch Mozart's two werewolf henchmen and head for the staircase to the roof. As they prepare to ascend, Sunday calls Dean's cell phone: Lucy's gone into labor. 'Cause he needed to have that on his mind.
And that's everything. Sweet lord, that story is dense.

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