ITV1 - 24th January 2009 - 7.45pm
This is such a frustrating series. Lucy Watkins' script is half-decent, certainly the best one we've had so far, and she finally goes for the one thing that the series has definitely lacked so far; characterisation. And she deals a winning hand by taking the only decent character in the series, Mina Harker, and gives us back story, emotional motivation and positions the woman in a moral limbo. Mina, if you already hadn't guessed, is the Mina Harker from the Bram Stoker novel and Watkins logically develops the character from the book - she did get infected by Dracula' blood, she did have a son called Quincey - and spins a rather sad tale out of her desperation to save her son from the horrors of the First World War. To do so, she makes him a vampire and this week's episode primarily concerned the return of her prodigal son. What solidifies the drama are the two flashbacks to the war when Mina visits her son in a hospital as he dies. It adds dimension to a background that we kind of suspected in the first place.
the story dumps the feral nature of such creaturesRevived to the strains of AC/DC, Quincey prowls around London, attempting to persuade his 'half-life' mother to join him. Ciaran McMenamin is obviously channelling Spike from Buffy but does turn in a rather charming performance and a good chemistry is established between him and an exceptional Zoe Tapper. What's lacking is some genuine neck-biting! Quincy is a bit of a lame vampire - posing as a doctor to drain old patients dry in a blood donor clinic - and he smoulders wonderfully but, along with the traditional means of seeing off blood suckers, the story dumps the feral nature of such creatures. And he has a side kick, Zippy, who can unzip his head. What exactly is the purpose of this? Sure, it makes for rather a daft bowling match, but is that how Zippy threatens people - by throwing his head at them?
He needs to be kicking ass and not sitting on it.What also spoils these intriguing and engaging developments is the presence of Luke and Ruby. The series is clearly not benefiting from their presence and both Christian Cooke and Holliday Grainger remain irritating and one dimensional. Ruby's function seems to be to get one over on Galvin and bitch at Mina and Luke just simply seems to train at fighting and forget all his moves when it comes to the real deal. He points guns, pouts prettily and that's the lot. There are hints from Quincey that Galvin certainly has something to do with the death of Luke's father but like Mina's true nature, we kind of guessed that from day one. Galvin now seems to mutter his way through each episode in his mid-Atlantic strangulated accent and actually does very little apart from blunder in to each situation and get captured. There's no sense of this man having real power, of being a threat to the various beasties that roam the city. He needs to be kicking ass and not sitting on it. Again, poor old Glenister goes through the motions but doesn't seem to be able to imbue Galvin with any depth.
all the characters assume they've been funny and laugh their socks offThe story moves along slowly and as it isn't about smiting creatures every five minutes a younger audience may well have been bored senseless by now. The reveal in the final act, that Quincey is Mina's son and she is a vampire who dampens her urges by treating her own blood, is worth waiting for. It seemed reasonable that to get Galvin and Ruby out of a sticky situation she would need to become a vampire to fight her own son. This leads to quite a good action sequence, a first for Demons as much of the action to date has been badly shot and choreographed, and I liked the fact that she can see in her vampire state. Bet she was glad she clapped eyes on Luke and Ruby, then. But again, it's another facet to her character that adds interest and is reasoned out. I didn't like all that nonsense about only vampires being able to kill vampires - it simply pisses all over established lore for no logical reason - and humans using living DNA to kill them just seems a very silly way to dispatch them. Stick to stakes and garlic - far more potential for drama. The death of Quincey is quite sad but then it's back to the 'stacks' for some light-hearted banter and a toe-curling conclusion where all the characters assume they've been funny and laugh their socks off. Didn't know it was a comedy.
Best episode so far then but the series has some very serious problems - two uninspiring young leads saddled with irritating roles, an experienced actor who has misjudged his playing of a central role, thin plotting and poor guest villains. It has to try much harder.
Cathode Ray Tube Demons Suckers