Over on the ICONS group at Google Plus, John McMullen asked if I'd ever posted the characters from my Owlcon one-shots. In fact, I haven't. Until now. One of these is a repost, and another is partly out of Hero Pack 1 (though I provided a background and Aspects for him, so I'm including him as well). Without further ado, here they are, that hot new team ready to save the world...
Power Expert (Elemental Control)
Elemental Control Device 5 (Cosmic Energy) - The Star Gem
Fast Attack Device 3 - The Star Gem
Motivation : Protect the weak
Connections : Teenagers From Outer Space
Epithet : The Silver Sentinel
Catchphrase : "By the stars!"
Personal : Feels responsible for Immaterial Girl
Social : Unsettling Cosmic Being
Once, Jennie Chen was a normal girl from Seattle. That was before the UFO crashed in the park near her house. The government said it was an experimental airplane, but that didn't explain the small silver stone Jennie found under the monkey bars. The stone talked to her in her sleep and told her she was needed for a great destiny. It also served as a beacon, one the Teenagers From Outer Space recognized. They arrived one night, in the sky above her house. They recognized the great power she now possessed and offered her a chance to go with them.
This being a comic book, of course she went along. As Cosmo-Lass, Jennie had many fantastic adventures, eventually becoming one of the most important members of the team. But she was also homesick and decided to return to Earth, to see her family, who had since moved to Meridian. And, as a favor to the rest of the team, she brought Immaterial Girl along.
Just keeping tabs on I-Girl would be a major task in and of itself; Jennie decided the best way to channel her enthusiasm would be to form a superhero team. And so the Young Sentinels were born.
Aerial Combat Expert
Blast 4 (Blasting) - Heat Vision
Motivation : Made to be a Hero
Connections : Timothy Chase - Boy Genius
Identity : Artificial Superhero
Catchphrase : "I'm here to help!"
Secret : Is actually a robot
Personal : Trusting and naive
Weakness : Can only heal half stamina. The rest must be repaired.
Hyperion! Hero to kids everywhere! He's strong, he flies, beams come from his eyes! He's here to help and he's the greatest hero ever.
Everyone knows his story: Trapped in a mystic crystal from ages past, Hyperion was freed when the stars aligned in a cosmic conjunction. Now, he uses his powers for the good of all!
Well, that's the story, anyway. The truth is, if anything, even more far-fetched. Young Timothy Chase was born with an incurable neuromuscular disorder. But no wheelchair could confine his genius. Working in his basement laboratory, he built a robot code-named HYPER-10n. He programmed it to be a hero, to have adventures and record them.
Sometimes, Timmy "rides along" using Hyperion's camera eyes and microphones, but most of the time, Hyperion just does what he's supposed to do: be the hero he was made to be.
Blakatoa (created by Justin Davis)
Aura 3 - Heat
Elemental Control 5 - Earth and Fire
Epithet : The Soul Volcano
Catchphrase : "I'm Too Hot To Handle!"
Identity : Former Detective Noah Turner
Connections : Street Contacts
Social : Uncomfortably Warm
Personal : Always a Cop at Heart
Enemy : Mag-Maa, the Molten Manhunter
Enemy : Little Augie Caesar
Noah Tanner: Meridian's youngest, baddest detective. A man like him did a powerful amount of good. A man like him made some very powerful enemies. When Noah went up against Little Augie Caesar's mob, the self-styled King of the Urban Jungle decided to put him down for good. He brought in Mag-Maa, the Molten Manhunter to bury Noah so deep even the Underdweller wouldn't find him. But maybe that wasn't the best decision. Turns out that Mag-Maa's lava attacks didn't kill Noah Tanner. They changed him, turned him into something different, stronger, more powerful.
On that night, Noah Tanner didn't die. But he was given a whole new life. On that night, Blakatoa was born!
Bad folks better watch out: the Soul Volcano is on the job.
Affect world while phased
Motivation : Girls just want to have fun, and kicking villain butt IS fun!
Identity : Kaylee! (Celebrity Extraterrestrial)
Catchphrase : "You're stuck in the material world, but I am Immaterial Girl!"
Social : Stuck in the '80s. Out of sync with current culture
Rival : Cosmo-Lass
Weakness : Strong Magnetic Fields
My origin? Ohmygawd, how many times do I have to tell you this story? I mean, gag me...
Anyway...I was born on San Dimas. No, not IN San Dimas, that's a city on your world. I was born ON San Dimas, it's this totally nowhere planet about 35 light years from Earth. Seriously, it was totally gross. No decent malls or anything. The only good thing was that my dad was like this important astronomer guy, so we had this massive satellite dish in our back yard instead of a swimming pool. Most of the time, the dish picked up noise, but it we pointed it at this one spot in the sky, we got this thing called EmpteeVee, which was from Earth. And it was like, totally bitchin! And I was like, "Dad, we need to go there for vacation," and he was all like, "No can do, Princess." (He totally called me princess.) It was like totally too far and we didn't have the technology to get there. No fair!
So one day, these gnarly dudes called the Klinzhai showed up. They were like space bullies and they wanted our lunch money or something. As if. But they were like totally buff and had guns and bombs and totally wrecked San Dimas. One day, I was at my school, trying to explain EmptyVee music to my friends (they totally didn't get it) when a bomb went off. It destroyed the school and hurt and killed a lot of people, which was pretty sad even though they WERE lame, but get this: I DIDN'T GET HURT AT ALL! At first, I was like "Ohmygawd! I'm a ghost!" but no, I just had superpowers. Go me.
Like a week after that, the Teenagers From Outer Space showed up. They're like this superhero club from all over the galaxy and they were here to kick Klinzhai butt, and they totally asked me to join them. Well, except for Cosmo-Lass, but she's totally jealous of my style. And the best part? They had a ship that could travel super fast, AND they knew how to get to Earth. Bitchin'!
Anyway, when we got to Earth, it turned out that like a century had passed since the good Emptyvee was on. And the stuff they play now? It's totally not music. But there's some cool stuff too. Like lots of supervillain butt to kick. And that hunky Surfer Dude guy in Westguard. Do you have his number?
Mind Shield 8
Epithet : The Master of the Unreal
Connections : Black Dragon Dojo
Catchphrase : What's that behind you?
Social : Mutant
Personal : Has trouble with authority
Luis Munoz was thirteen when his mutant powers of illusion manifested. Rejected by his family, he ran away and lived on the streets, using his powers to scam people in order to keep himself fed. One day, he encountered a mind he couldn't trick, the mind of Randall Ellison, better known as The Black Dragon. The Dragon talked him into coming back to his dojo, where a regimen of martial arts allowed Luis to perfect his control and instilled in him a badly-needed code of honor. When Black Dragon learned Cosmo-Lass was forming the Young Sentinels, he recommended Luis to the team. Taking on the name Phantasm, he uses his mastery of illusion to fool their enemies.
Rich "Thrill" Seeker
Flight Device 7 - Flying Skateboard
Sleep Device 7 - Knock-Out Gas Capsules
Motivation : Thrills
Catchphrase : "What a rush!"
Identity : Rich "Thrill" Seeker, Extreme Sports Champion, Millionaire
Social : Ridiculously Famous
Enemy : Widowmaker II
Personal : Incredibly Easily Bored
"So, there I was, working on my ramp, trying to nail a clean 760 Ollie when I thought...Dude! What if the skateboard had no wheels? You could Ollie all the time!
Anyway, the whole X-Games thing was getting kind of lame. I thought about going into MMA, because I've been training like crazy for the last few years, but then it hit me: superhero. I mean, it's like the most extreme game ever.
Besides, after that guy parachuted from space, all the conventional stuff is lame. So, I decided to put some of my endorsement money to a better use. Tricked out the board, got myself a rad battlesuit, and I'm totally stoked. My agent hooked me up with the Young Sentinels. I know I've got a lot to prove and all, but how hard can it be?"
Sunday, February 3, 2013
I had a pretty busy weekend and my wife wasn't traveling for the first time in almost a month, so I've had other things to do. But now, it’s a bright, sunny Sunday, and nice out, so of course I’m staying in to watch episode 4 of Kindred, “Romeo and Juliet.” Can’t say I’m all that optimistic with that title.
It’s evening in San Francisco and Cash has come a’ callin’ on Jailbird. Or, more properly, he’s taken her to his crashpad. She’s unimpressed with the décor, but we all know why she’s there.
Anyway, Jailbird’s all, “You don’t have to play shy and sensitive with me. I’m all yours.” Because she’s subtle like that. But Cash, to his credit is trying to maintain. But the power of Jailbird is too strong and we fade out on the makeouts.
Meanwhile, we’re back at the Dock Workers’ Union office/warehouse. Beef McBrujah’s long black wheels are parked outside. Inside, it doesn’t look so warehouse-y this time. More like a normal (by Hollywood standards) business office. Beef is at his desk holding court with a number of (I assume) Brujah consigliere, all wearing three-piece suits. Seriously, I must have missed that part of Clanbook: Brujah. Anyway, Minion #1 says there’s trouble on the streets and they had to take down a Gangrel last night. Minion #2 points out there hasn’t been a Clan War (Bingo!) in years. Beef thinks that’s just what they need. Minion #2 isn’t keen on the fact that Lobes and the Nosferatu are allied with Julian, but Beef says they’re a bunch of wimps.
Beef monologues for a while about how Julian keeping things “clean” has cost them too much business. How he has to dance like a circus bear (seriously, he said that) at Julian’s whim. And how Alfred is old news, but they have to deal with Julian once in for all.
(Could the title have been wrong? Could this actually be some sort of bromance, an “Eddie and Julian” sort of tale. I suspect not.)
Minion #1 cautions Beef about Julian’s anger. Beef decides his perfect plan will be to make Julian’s anger go all the way to eleven.
(The part of me that likes to second-guess the plot kind of sees what’s coming from a mile down the road. Should be an interesting train wreck to say the least.)
Back at The Cashpad and clearly Jailbird’s had her way with the lad. He’s dressing and if there’s a getting dressed equivalent of the Walk of Shame, he’s totally doing it. Jailbird, on the other hand has that look on her face like you’ve just had a quickie before your friends show up and they can’t figure out what you’re so happy about.
There’s a pounding on the door. Cash grabs his gun and runs to open it. It’s that Buffy-looking Gangrel chick from episode 1. She starts to tell Cash what’s going on, then sees Jailbird. Awkward. But she tells him Jamie’s dead.
“Brujah killed one of our Gangrels?”
Sadly, they’re still going with the Gangrel singular Gangrels plural thing. Sad, that. Anyway, Cash tells Jailbird to stay at Julian’s compound, it’s too dangerous on the streets. Since it’s not Opposite Day, I predict that Jailbird will do exactly the opposite of what Cash tells her. This can only end well.
During the establishing shots, before things start up again, I couldn’t help notice a couple of taxi cabs with tobacco advertising on them. I’m not sure that would fly today, even for stock footage.
Anyway, we’re at Haven. A massive stretch limo is parked out front, and it looks like Beef and a bunch of extras from The Sopranos are walking in.
From a balcony overlooking the main floor, Julian and Lillie look on. “Something’s wrong. The Brujah didn’t bring their women.” WHAT IS THIS? I DON’T EVEN…
And, right on schedule, here comes Cash, along with a couple cast members from “The Lame List.” Cash does the old “Bump and Glower” on one of Beef’s entourage and attempts a staredown with the well-dressed table of anarchists.
Oh hai, Jailbird. Of course she comes walking in. The Brujah, who are clearly here for a Boy’s Night Out, objectify her in the way of all douchebags in three-piece suits.
“You shouldn’t be here.” “You’re here.” Well, she’s got you there, Cash. She’s able to locate you in physical space.
Julian and Lillie are still voyeuring it up upstairs. Lillie is all, “They’re totally doing it.” And Julian is like, “But it’s badwrongfun.” Because…hell, I can’t figure it out. Besides, with the way this things inexorably progressing, the whole Kindred/Human angle is about to get mooted.
Jailbird wants to dance. Judging from the music in the background (a wailing blues number), she’s either deaf, or the sound department didn’t actually read the script when putting music into this episode. Cash tells her to go home. She starts to leave, but only gets as far as Brujah Mook #1, who says he’ll dance with her. Ah, the jealousy ploy.
They dance. They dirty dance. Well, what a Spelling production would consider dirty dancing, I suppose. Not in any sync with the music I might add. Mook #1 pulls her close and the makeouts are about to commence.
When Julian shows up with his Immaculate Cockblock Technique that he borrowed from a draft copy of Exalted he found in Lobes’ cellar. He throws the Mook aside as Jailbird flees the club, then plays Enigmatic Staredown with Beef. As Julian and Cash leave the club to follow Jailbird, Beef smiles a little. This is going entirely to plan, BWAHAHAHAH!!!
Back at Julian’s compound, Cash comes walking in to…I don’t know. It’s probably the same room they use for the meetings, but Julian’s up on a balcony looking down. Julian tells him he knows the Brujah want war. Cash tells him there are no Brujah on the streets.
Cash talks some sense. If they wait for the Brujah to act, the war will come on their terms. Take them down now, before they’re ready. Oh, also, he’s banging Jailbird and wants to Embrace her. This goes over with Julian about as well as you’d expect.
It’s daytime now and we’re at the San Francisco Times. Katelyn is meeting with Julian, who is the most hands-on guy ever to buy a business via three cut-out corporations and a blind trust. The paper is investigating strange doings afoot at a children’s hospital. A bunch of kids with anemia. She thinks the attending physician is involved. Julian looks at a picture of the doctor and his eyes get all silver glowy like he’s activating a power. But it’s nothing covert. Maybe he was just copying the graphic to an internal hard drive of something.
And, we’re back at the mansion at twilight, in the tunnels underneath. Julian needs Lobes to check out this doctor, and we immediately transition to a hospital at night. Maybe Lobes has a SEKRIT PASSAGE into this one as well. Doctor walks down an abandoned hall (because hospitals have those in the middle of the night, right?) and as Lobes looks on from the shadows, enters a room. There’s the sound of a child’s scream.
The doctor leaves, wiping his mouth. We see another kid peering through the window in his door (seriously, this hospital has some really odd features), then runs and hides under the bed. But DOCTOR BLOOD must have heard or smelt him or something because he goes straight for the kid’s room. But as he starts to look for Victim #2, the lights go out and the music gets all weird. The whole floor is lit only with red light and Lobes is waiting out in the hall. “For the horror you bring to the innocent, your Prince sentences you to Final Death™.”
There’s a brief attempt at suspense, but Lobes totally catches up with and dispatches Doctor Blood. Of course, he must be slipping up, because a kid saw the whole thing, but I’m sure that won’t become a plot point.
Now we’re in the basement and Lobes is feeding Doctor Blood to the furnace. Oh, and here’s the kid.
I find it interesting the kid isn’t wearing hospital robes. At first glance, it looks like a button-down shirt, but maybe it’s those pajamas that look like street clothes. Anyway, he wants to know if Lobes is a monster. Lobes wants to know if the kid is afraid, but he’s not. Because guys with weird ears disposing of bodies in a furnace is perfectly normal.
And, we’re back in the tunnels under the mansion.. Lobes has brought the kid back with him. What. The. Fuck.
Also, the kid is definitely wearing jeans and a shirt. And now, Lobes has abducted him from the hospital, where apparently the only person on staff was a vampire doctor.
The kid wants to know why Lobes offed Dr. Blood. Would’ve thought that conversation starter would have come a bit earlier in the relationship, really. Lobes tells him it was to protect him in the kids, while mixing something with his chemistry set, possibly a rum and Coke. “Do you drink kids’ blood?” “No.”
Turns out the kid’s mom just kind of left him at the hospital. He has some sort of terminal illness, so he lives there full-time. Seriously, that’s what he’s saying. HEY, KATE-LYNNE: IF YOU REALLY WANT TO INVESTIGATE SOMETHING, HOW ABOUT LOOKING INTO THIS FUCKED UP HOSPICE ORPHANAGE MASQUERADING AS A HOSPITAL WITH NO NIGHT STAFF TO SPEAK OF. THAT SEEMS LIKE A GOOD THING TO FIND OUT AND PUBLISH STUFF ABOUT.
Kid has this creepy Detect Vampire power going. Dr. Blood isn’t the first one he’s seen at Phuqtupt Hospital. Julian turns up and gets and after-action report from Lobes. He tells Lobes the kid (LITTLE TIMMY) has to go back. But the kid is all, “I want to stay here, with your valet/spy/assassin.”
Julian tries to talk sense, but Lobes is all, “He has no one. He will die. I want to help him. Oh, also, if I embrace him, he’ll be all icky like me, so you have to do it, Julian.” But Julian is all, “Man, have you even SEEN ‘Interview With the Vampire’? Take the kid back.”
We’re back at Haven. The stretch limo from the opening shot is still there, just pulling away from the curb. I’ll bet you a shiny nickel this fact has nothing whatsoever to do with whoever is actually in the club at this particular moment.
Not that it matters, because the real focal point is Jailbird, who just rode up in a super-short skirt and leather jacket. I’ll admit, I’m not a motorcycle person, but I’m pretty sure bare legs and hot engines are, traditionally, a risky combination if not a completely Bad Idea. Then again, Jailbird is pretty much the walking incarnation of Bad Ideas, so maybe it’s her thing. Though she WAS wearing a helmet.
She plops down at Julian and Lillie’s booth. She tells Julian that she and Cash are in LURVE. Julian, who probably had plenty of time to read Love and Limerance back in the 80s asks what she actually knows about Cash, which amounts to diddly and squat. He then asks what she knows about him. Same answer, really, but she knows that he and Lillie and Cash are different from her. She wants that too. She kisses his hand all Vampire Fealty style, while bad imitation Enya plays in the background. Lillie’s all, “Sounds to me like she’s just joined the family” and Julian looks conflicted.
We cut to an exterior set we haven’t seen before. Moolight and columns and trees. Probably part of Luna Acres. Anyway, Cash is there and Julian drops the bomb that he’ll allow him to Embrace Jailbird if she wants it. Cue the tragic twist…
Back at the C(r)ash Pad, he knocks for Jailbird to open up. No answer, so he rolls well on his Break Doors check and busts in. Jailbird’s on the bed, with a vampire on her throat. As Cash rushes in, he gets jumped by a couple of Brujah suits. Looks like Minion #1 is about to sire another Brujah.
(Does this mean Jailbird will have to start wearing suits, read the Wall Street Journal, and vote Republican? I’m still terribly unclear on Brujah culture as depicted in this show.)
Apparently, the Embrace doesn’t take too long. Because Minion #1 finishes draining her, gives her a five second swig off his wrist, and the two of them are good to saunter out while Cash looks on like a whipped puppy. “She’s Brujah now, she belongs with us.” Called it!
(Also, the whole thing is terribly terrible. Seriously. Basically, it’s claiming a woman by right of rape. Really nice there, Spelling Productions.)
Back at the mansion, Julian interrupts Alfred’s nap. OK, maybe he was just resting his eyes. Anyway, the dude is wearing a Mister Rogers sweater, and looks like he just wants a nice warm blood pudding and his slippers. Apparently Alfred is on his way out…somewhere and Julian is worried about what he’ll do when he’s gone. But before we can expand on that possible character arc, Cash comes in and tells him the news.
And then storms out. Seriously. Bodyguard, head of security, and he just drops that in his boss’s lap and walks back out.
Cut to Beef’s office. Julian busts in, sending suits flying. He pulls this, “In my city, against my blood” speech while the Brujah pull gats and hold them on him 90s sideways gangsta grip style. Because they’re totally street, yo.
Beef is all, “Simple economics. We need to replenish our numbers and I don’t buy your argument that you get to say who we embrace and when. So, go soak your head.” Or, words to that effect.
Julian’s all, “Give me Jailbird, and the head of Minion #1 or I’ll have yours.” Looks like war is coming to Kindred Town. It’s all very tense. Also, Beef loves it when a plan comes together.
Back…I don’t know, it’s a bedroom. Maybe Lillies, maybe Julians. Anyway, he’s all mopeygoth over Jailbird being Brujah now, and blaming himself (because, honestly, he did insist on her sticking around).
Hey, we’re at the hospital now. It looks a lot more lit up than the last time we saw it. And here’s C. Thomas Hero and Exposition! Man, I’d forgotten they were even on this show. Anyway, they’re investigating the furnace. Well, Exposition and another cop are. And Hero wants to know what’s up. Seems a doctor and a kid vanished and they were poking around, noticed the incinerator was running, BUT THEY DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING.
That’s not good enough for Hero, who decides to take a look. Other cop disapproves. HE DISAPPROVES WITH GLOWY SILVER VAMPIRE EYES. So we’ve got two vampire cops and C (for Clueless) Thomas Howell.
OTHER VAMPIRE COP (OVC) starts to make a move at Hero, but Exposition warns him off. CTH pulls a skull and some bones out of it. YEAH, YOU SURE DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING.
Down in the Lunacellar, Lobes is painting a picture of Little Timmy. NOT CREEPY. They hear someone coming down and the kid runs and hides. No way this isn’t going to end poorly either, I suppose.
It’s Julian. He wants to know what the Nosferatu will do in case of Clan War™. Lobes points out that Julian could, y’know, not fight, but Julian is all “R-E-S-PE-CT FIND OUT WHAT IT MEANS TO ME” so yeah, it’s totally on. But if that’s the case, the Nosferatu spill blood for no one.
(Of course, to date, we’ve only seen one of them. Stealthy buggers.)
Luna finds the kid (not that it’s hard) and tries to use Lobes keeping him around as leverage. No dice. Also, Little Timmy needs to go back to the Puppy Store.
Back at the hospital, Lobes is trying to explain to Little Timmy (who may actually be named Abel because that wouldn’t be a Vampire thing at all) that he won’t be safe if there’s a war. The kid’s all “I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to die. You have magic. Can’t you help me.?”
And Lobes is all, “Damnit, Anne Rice! Why’d you have to do a thing.”
And, as Lobes vanishes, up wander the nurse who probably should have been working when the kids were getting attacked, along with Hero and Exposition. And yeah, Little Timmy’s name is Abel, but too late now. I named him, he’s mine. We see lobes standing in the darkness, shedding bloody tears.
They ask Little Timmy what happened, but his Vampire Sense is tingling when he sees Exposition, and he keeps shtumm. Exposition gives Hero a little, “Kids, what can you do?” shrug, and we cut…
To Haven. Jailbird is outside with her new Brujah sire. She’s still wearing her biker chick look, so I guess they haven’t scheduled a makeover and night spa for her. She doesn’t look too happy, truth be told. Cash comes tearing up on his bike (also wearing a helmet), knocks over Minion #1 and Jailbird jumps on the back of the bike. They tear off. The Brujah draw pistols, but Minion #1 stops them from shooting. “We’ll get them later.”
Looks like we’re in a park somewhere. Cash gets to give Jailbird a Kindred 101 Orientation speech (I guess her Sire had problems getting his PowerPoint version to work). Anyway…oh lord, now they’re doing this, “Gangrel and Brujah are enemies. But I love you. But how long can you with their blood in you?” bullshit.
Manufactured bullshit drama is what this is. You know, I don’t remember seeing this episode when it aired, but I remember hearing about it and thinking, “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.” And I was right. Utterly unnecessary melodrama.
Anyway, eventually they proceed to making out until we fade to commercial. God, that was painful.
Back at Haven. Julian, Lillie, and Alfred are having a confab in a booth. It must be after hours, because the joint looks closed. Julian says the streets are full of Brujah, even out of towners. Lillie doesn’t think Beef means to go head to head with Julian. Alfred points out that Beef is stupid.
Lillie advises Julian to back down and offer an olive branch. Julian is all “Nuh uh. I HAVE RAGE! IF BEEF WANTS BEEF, LET’S GIVE BEEF BEEF!”
Sunup. Cash and Jailbird are behind some slummy buildings but totally outside. She’s hungry and hurting (and about to get worse if she doesn’t find some cover, I should hasten to point out). Cash slashes his own wrist to feed her (like you do) and she’s all crying and grossed out.
Back at the Hospital, Hero is still trying to get answers from Little Timmy. Exposition tells him it’s been days (FLEXIBLE NARRATIVE TIME) and it ain’t gonna happen. Hero continues to chat the kid up and the kid’s not saying nuthin’. But he looks off to the side and in the shadows, there’s Lobes keeping an eye on him. Aw, bless.
Hey, that’s right, K8Lyn is in this episode. She wants to talk to Little Timmy as well. But before that, she tries to grill Hero. Who wants to know if she told Julian about this case? Because he just wrote a big-ass check to the hospital yesterday. Nothing suspicious about that, nosireebob.
While that’s going on, Little Timmy runs off. Hero tries to catch up with him, but it looks like he took the stairs. Catalina tries to follow, but she’s wearing heels or something. Hero tracks Timmy to the basement, where Lobes totally jumps him and has him in a Byrne-Lock. But Little Timmy jumps in to stop him. And then Exposition runs in, CALLS LOBES BY HIS NAME, and tackles him off Hero. Which leads to big conversation about how Hero is under Julian’s protection and that if Lobes destroys him, he’ll have to destroy Exposition too!
All of this, by the way, right in front of Hero in the open. Assuming he hasn’t blacked out from the Byrne lock, he now knows Exposition is a vampire.
Lobes leads Little Timmy away while Exposition tends to Hero. Sure enough, he knows. YOU’RE ONE OF THEM! But Ex clearly took a few dots in Dominate (always handy) and resets Hero’s memory. Handy, but totally in-keeping with the game, so that’s a win.
Back at the Mansion, after dark (so I guess an entire day has passed, again). Ceightline is there to talk to Julian. It’s not the best time for him because business is chaotic. He starts to put the moves on her, but she totally steps out of it with the old, “I need to put my purse down” ploy. She confronts him about the hospital. She wants to know if he’s Batman. Or Tony Soprano. Either way, he acts all wounded pride and righteous indignation and she backs down because she’s the MOST FEARED INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER IN THE CITY!
We’re back at the hospital and it’s daytime. Lobes is down in the basement with Little Timmy, who’s dying. Lobes has been crying and he gives Little Timmy a Cure Disease Potion. He’s not sad because Timmy’s dying, he’s sad because he won’t see him anymore. Lobes cannot have a BFF.
Timmy wakes up. Apart from blue lips, he seems OK.
And we’re back at Lunaworld and it’s night again. Or maybe day-for-night. Anyway, we’re in that same columns and trees place as earlier and Caitlin is calling on Luna once more (assuming it’s another night). She’s here to tell him Little Timmy has been found and he’s in remission. MAGIC!
Julian says he’s glad, but his eyes don’t show it. And Miss City Editor Most Feared Reporter on the Coast is all “Sorry about those true things I said about you.” And he’s all, “S’okay, I’m an enigmatic dude.” And then they’re all FEELS and HUGS.
Cut to a warehouse. An army of dudes in suits have formed a Reservoir Dogs Walk flash mob. No, wait, it’s the Brujah contingent in “Wall Street on the March.”
Oh, and there’s another gang coming. It’s Julian and Alfred and Exposition leading a crew of their own. Lots of Gangrel biker types, as well as Other Vampire Cop and what look like a couple of SWAT guys.
Is there going to be a dance-off? I really want to see a dance-off!
Not present at the moment: Cash and Jailbird.
Julian and Beef walk out to the middle. Are they gonna kiss?
Julian tells Beef that if this goes down, Brujah’s days are over. Beef says, “Same to you, wit’ knobs on it.”
Before the DJ can drop mad beats, Lillie interrupts. She’s got Cash and Jailbird in tow. And a couple more guys with her. Does this mean there’s more Toreador out there? They do kind of look like they showed up after a “Fame” cast party.
Jailbird tells Julian she’ll go with the Brujah to stop the war. Julian is all, “NO WAY! RAGE!” and Beef calls her. When she doesn’t go over to his side, the Brujah pull their gats. Lots of those goofy phosphorous guns in evidence.
And then…it actually got kind of cool for a second.. A weird wind comes up and the assembled flash mobs find themselves surrounded by a flash mob of Lex Luthor cosplayers. Or House Nosferatu, I suppose.” Apart from their clawy fingers and lack of hair, none of them look particularly hideous, leprous, horrific, or in the least bit Schrecky. But, I suppose if you aren’t going to devote your makeup budget to a primary character, why spend it on extras.
Alfred and Exposition are grinning. They know the score.
Beef tells his boys to stand tough in the face of the sewere scum, but they’re scattering like the wind. He, somewhat pointlessly, notes the Nosferatu are neutral. Lobes is all, “Yeah, but we can be bought.” And his price? Minion #1. Handy, that. Minion goes running but gets caught in a mob of bald mimes. Or Nosferatu. Either way, he’s donezers.
Julian’s guys disarm Beef and Cash takes him into custody.
Jailbait talks with Uncle Julie. He tells her that regardless of Clan, she’s still his blood. And Cash? Give him time. Smiles all around, we’re a happy vampire show.
Cut to daylight, outside. A limo tears up to an abandoned stretch of ground. The door opens and a body is pushed outside. It’s Beef, and he’s not too happy, what with the sun being out and all. Personally, I figure at the rate these guys burn, he’s got like four or five hours, so he really shouldn’t panic, but he seems pretty pissed all the same.
Actually, he started burning straight away. I guess that’s what happens when you’re the big bad and there’s less than two minutes left in the episode.
But wait, the limo pulls back up. Beef pounds on the door to be let in. He begs. The door opens and Julian gets out. “Know this, you brisket, you only continue to live at my sufferance.” Or words to that effect. He gets back in the car and the trunk opens. Beef crawls in and lives to scheme another day.
So yeah, that’s another one down. I figured from episode 1 that Sasha (Jailbird) was going to get turned, and from the episode title, it was pretty clear by which clan. I’m sort of surprised Beef didn’t do it himself, but maybe that would put her too high up on the Brujah org chart. Of course, funny thing is, she’s closer to by-the-book Brujah material than any character in the show. That said, the whole manufactured melodrama still pisses me off as well as the forced Embrace, but I suppose that’s television for you.
I particularly liked the relative lack of cops and could’ve done with less reporter girl. The sick kid was an interesting plotline, though I find it weird the writers seemed to want to try to humanize the arguably most human character.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Episode 3: Nightstalker
"Kindred. Where the Gangrel act like the Brujah, the Brujah act like the Ventrue, the Ventrue act like the Giovanni, the Nosferatu act like the Tremere, and C. Thomas Howell doesn't act at all." – jadasc, from RPG.net
Haven at night. There’s the usual mix of bikers and cars parked out front. A mournful fiddle and a steel guitar wail. Inside a girl on stage is singing an equally mournful rendition of “House of the Rising Sun.” Because the sun is deadly to Kindred. Unless they’ve fed recently. Or the script says otherwise.
Lobes is looking on from across the room. Luna tells him he needs to sit down. Apparently, he’s got Bouncer duty tonight. The girl finishes the song.
And then Lobes tells Luna he’s in love with the singer.
A waitress confronts a dude who’s kind of passed out on the bar. Luna (who I think I may start calling Julian, just to cut down on the L names), Lillie, and Cash are looking on. Cash identifies him as Kindred, but they don’t know his Clan, and I have to say this is really a very true to the game moment. In old-school V:tM, Clan was the first, last, and most important thing to know about any Vampire, PC or NPC. It’s like character class in D&D. So, a tip of the hat to the writers.
Cash strikes up a conversation with New Dude using the old “What’s your name?” ploy. Simple and direct, I like it. Turns out this guy calls himself Starkweather, another name that should set off alarm bells to anyone with a basic knowledge of history. I suspect it’s just set dressing, though.
Cash figures out Starkweather here is newly-embraced. And then, he totally goes into Vampire Guidance Counselor mode. Seriously, I half expect him to pull out a list of resources and a copy of “Ten Things Every Kindred Should Know.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep Starky from going apeshit and throwing a table. Girl Singer (who I think may be the Buffy-looking Gangrel chick from episode 1) runs off stage and panic starts to break out. Lillie tells Jullian they need to get it under control before someone calls the cops (see, he is playing bouncer). Oh, and hey, Alfred’s there. I guess he comes out to Haven for Blues Night.
Meanwhile Starkweather is using his Vampire muscles to tear a brass rail off the bar and get all menacing on everyone. Julian’s way of taking care of it is to have Cash take him down as the cops roll in. Cash will go to jail with him to protect the masquerade.
Backstage, the girl singer finds a note in her dressing room. It’s obviously from Julian. HE FEELS HER PAIN. As she gets called back out on stage, he appears from behind a piece of furniture. NOT CREEPY!
(Also, I no longer think Girl Singer is Kindred.)
Still hanging in her dressing room, Lobes finds a strand of her hair. He picks it up and smells it. SO NOT CREEPY! (To be fair, this is the most Nosferatu-y thing he’s done so far, so I suppose I’m good with it.)
This one is written by PK Simonds and our old friend John Leekley Hey, according to Wikipedia, Leekley was one of the creators of “Wolf Lake.” I really like that show. But I digress…
It’s dark and a woman walks into an apartment we haven’t seen before. Oh, it’s Girl Singer, home from the gig. Oh, and there’s Lobes, totally stalking her. She pricks herself on a piece of jewelry and Lobes can smell it from all the way across the room. She starts undressing and singing and he achieves Satori or something. Anyway, he remembers his Stalker Manners and walks away before she notices him. Still, she knows something’s up, and she closes a conveniently open window.
(At this point, we’ve gone eight minutes and no sign of C. Thomas Hero. I consider this the most positive development in the series to date. Also, we’ve got two mysteries: Who made Starkweather? Is the Nightstalker of the title Lobes, or someone else? My money on the latter is that it’s a red herring.)
So, the scene shifts and we’re outside what looks like a fancy nursing home or convalescent hospital called Suncrest. Nothing ominous about that name, I’m sure.
Oh, wait. It’s a mental health facility. While Cash gets taken out of a straitjacket, the doctor explains that his friend is a violent psychopath who thinks he’s a vampire. Cash manages to convince the doc that he’s not crazy and gets walking around privileges, but he can’t leave yet.
These privileges seem to include visiting potentially dangerous psychopaths. Starkweather’s in his room, wearing a straitjacket of his own, but the door’s just standing open. Cash wants to know who embraced him. Some chick he met in the Therapy Ward (ALARM BELLS). So, I’m guessing Starky here was already bonkers before he got changed. Now who on Earth would do something like that to a crazy person.
Starkraving’s hungry, he hasn’t eaten for days. If only there was some way to fix that. Enter Orderly Victim #1. Cash closes the door and we hear a muted scream.
(Honestly, this episode has been the best of the bunch so far. We’re a quarter of the way in and it’s been all Vampires all the time.)
Anyway, we have a brief cut away from Starkweather’s room, but now we’re back. Orderly Victim #1 is leaving, like nothing happened. Well, not nothing, exactly. He looks confused and he checks his watch. Oh, and there’s a little blood on his neck. That’s sloppy. Cash should really be teaching him better. It’s the first lessons that stick.
On the plus side, Cash is giving him Vampire 101 lessons now. He tells Starkraving about the Masquerade. “If the humans knew of us, they’d hunt us down until we’re all dead.” “Well, I’ll hunt them down.” Yeah, nothing ominous about that.
Back at the mansion and it looks like the crew is using Day for Night filters. Julian and Alfred are having drinks in the garden and Julie wants to know about this Starkweather. Alfred’s checked the Bat Computer and says Starky was originally in another nut-house where he was diagnosed as a dangerous schizophrenic. There were Kindred working at that facility. Ya think? Anyway, they can keep Cash locked up in there for another 60 hours, I guess that’s important because he’s the only one keeping an eye on Starkers.
Jailbird interrupts. Apparently this is all about her being hot for Cash and that’s why Julian has him locked up. He says it’s for her protection. She asks if he and Cash are mobsters. Hey, she’s only off by one letter. Anyway, it’s another standoff at Maison Luna.
Back at Suncrest, Starkweather is still in his straitjacket, but he’s lying down while a shrink asks him about his childhood. It’s the standard list of the Build Your Own Psychopath methods. Locked in a basement for two years, you know the drill. Cash is listening in via his Vampire Superhearing. Starkweather is all, “I’m not afraid of your locks and keys. I’m already free.” Doc asks him if he’s just going to walk out. “No, I was thinking of wading.”
He totally rips the straitjacket off and then it’s Murder Time in Observation Room 4.
The doc who talked to Cash earlier tells him Julian is here to spring him. Looks like there’s some cops and Jailbird with him. Looks like she’s winning the battle of wills with Uncle Julie. Cash runs over to Observation Room 4 (it’s just next door). The door is locked! When they open it, they find the body of the shrink (throat torn out) and a very improbable exit path. Improbable unless you’re a vampire, I guess.
Oh, and the words “BLOOD BROTHER” written on the wall. In blood.
After the commercial break, we’re back at Suncrest. It’s night now, and that means night-shift cops are on the case. Here’s C. Thomas Hero, checking out the murder scene. He’s asking about some sort of stress monitor old Starkraving was hooked up to. The doctor says his stress levels never increased. Because, crazy. Vampire Detective Exposition is checking out the bloody writing. He runs his fingers over it and you know he wants to lick them.
Oh, and guess who else is here? Kaitlynn, our Spunky Girl Reporter. Funny, I thought she was City Editor now. Seems she should have people for this. As she pulls out a cell phone the size of her shoe, CTH asks her just that.
(OK, seriously. If the writing on this show is going to improve, it’s going to be a lot harder for me to provide quality snark.)
Apparently, her twenty pound cell phone is her desk. Not sure how that works, though it might be big enough to sit behind.
Anyway, we’re back at Stately Luna Manor. Looks like all the big guns are here, with the possible exception of Beef McBrujah. Exposition is along for the ride. Everyone’s worried. If Hero Cop catches Starkraving, then it could blow the Masquerade wide open (I don’t entirely follow this logic, but I’ll let that go for the moment). Obviously, they have to catch him first. But Cash says that won’t be easy, he’s crazy and fears nothing.
Who embraced him? Cash says it was a Gangrel, but he doesn’t know who. Really? How does he know? Seriously, I get that Vampires all have a mishmash of powers, but I’m pretty sure Detect Gangrel never made it into the splatbooks.
(See? I complain about the writing getting better, and then stuff like this happens.)
Julian needs Exposition to keep Hero off the scent. Ex doesn’t know if he can. Lillie implies if he can’t she’ll find a way. I guess she’ll Art at him or something. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s probably very dangerous, but she’s spent most of the series so far wearing sexy clothes and saying “Careful, I’m dangerous.” Show, don’t tell.
Cash picks this, of all times, to try to talk to Julian about Jailbird. Really, kid? That’s your moment? Anyway, Big Julie isn’t having it. He wants all the Gangrel on the streets for Bloodhunt III – The Bloodening.
I really dig how through this entire scene, Lobes is just sitting in an easy chair reading a book. While I really think they could have done more with his physical appearance, I do look the way he lurks. He just gets up, and walks out with his book as Cash and Ex depart.
Turns out that must have been a social misstep, because now we’re down in his cellar and Julian wants to know why he left like that. Turns out Lobes is all embarrassed over a desire for humans. He’s weak! And how could a woman love a man who looks like him? He rummages nervously through an ominous looking wooden box.
(Hey, Lobes is named Daedelus. I swear I never picked that up before. I presume not THE Daedelus. Then again, still waiting for Rasputin.)
Julian warns him about using Alchemy. Some things were never meant to be changed. Lobes says nothing he just sniffs a beaker.
The scene shifts to a suburban home. Looks like we’re in the garage and some guy is working on his hobby of restoring antique weapons. I see a couple of katanas, but no trenchcoats. A wind blows up, and hey, there’s Starkweather, sitting on a trunk. Hey, weapons restoration guy is Starkweather’s dad! Considering he has at least three katanas, which is the equivalent of a briefcase nuke, you’d think he’d be less afraid of his son.
And…the first rule of bad stunt choreography, folks! Dude has an arsenal of sharp weapons laying around, and what does he pick up to defend himself? A blunt rifle stock. Starkweather intercepts it effortlessly, which seems to impress Dad, who has that beefy ex-Marine thing going on. Starweather’s eyes go all vampire and we cut to the exterior so the viewing audience is spared violence and the effects department can go on working on ways to make people’s eyes glow instead of, I don’t know, PROSTHETIC FANG, MAYBE!
Back at Luna’s joint, Keightlin is meeting him for dinner. His flunky asks what wine she’d like and she asks for the most expensive thing in his cellar. I guess she figures if he’s going to buy her, she ought to run up the price. Julian shows up and makes a crack about her spending his money, she comes back with one about him spending her time. Ah, young…whatever this is.
Lobster used as an analogy for wanting what’s bad for oneself. Ah, Spelling Productions…never change.
She totally wants him. But she’s CONFLICTED. Because she’s driven and work is her life and she has to be objective. Note: they haven’t even touched the lobster or the expensive wine.
Back at Singer Girl’s place, she’s just gotten out of the shower or something. One her counter, she finds a pendant. NOT CREEPY. She calls out, “I know you’re here,” and shudders a bit (because, y’know, INTRUDER). And Lobes, bless his not pointy little head replies. He won’t hurt her. He left her the note. He’s a friend. A friend she’s never met. A friend who enters her home unbidden. You know, a stalker.
She’s all “Show yourself,” and he’s like “No, that’s not possible,” as he uses his Nosferatu Powers to hide behind a curtain.
“What do you want from me?” “Just to be near you.” Now, see, that seems perfectly reasonable. Or, y’know, not at all.
Meanwhile, she’s looking around and not seeing the guy standing there silhouetted agains the backlit window. So maybe he is using POWERS. She decides to do something reasonable and call the cops, but he steps up behind her and passes his Roofie Hands™ in front of her face and she’s all “Sorry 911 operator. I made a mistake.” Anyway, all of the sudden, she’s like “You’re a gentle soul, let me see you.” And he goes with “No, I’m HIDEOUS!” and backs away. She turns around, but he’s already booked for the sewers.
Change of scene. It’s daylight now, at Starkweather’s dad’s place. It’s swarming with cops and Hero has just arrived. There’s an old-fashioned trunk in the middle of the garage with lots of swords stuck through it, like the old stage magic trick. The other cops open it for Hero, presumably to view Daddy Starkers. Hero asks if blood is missing and the ME says there should be more with this many puncture wounds. A CLUE! Ex looks on, as if he’s wondering how long he can stay outside before tapping his spare thermos of Type A.
Oh, and hey, there’s BLOOD BROTHERS again, on the fence. Hero thinks he’s killing his past, and now that he’s got a cool logo, he’ll keep on killing.
Back from commercial and we’re apparently in the City Editor’s office at the Times. Khaetlin is there with Luna, remarking that Starky has killed nine people in seven days. “Who could cut people open and drink their blood?” she wonders. Julian coughs and does a spit-take. OK, he doesn’t, but I’d pay good money to see it.
Also, the paper has dubbed him the Night Stalker. Julian thinks this is sensationalistic, but Editrix is all about the TRUTH.
Meanwhile, down in the cellar, Lobes is playing with his chemistry set (or Chimerstry set? I kill me.). He mixes some red stuff with gold stuff and drinks it, then checks the mirror. Nope, same old Lobes. He gets angry and breaks his toys. Lillie must have been curious about the rotten egg smell, because there she is coming down the stairs. Lobes is all sad because he’s ugly and Lillie’s all, “Hey dude, no heart is pure. Stop putting this girl your stalking on a pedestal. Just go for it.”
Oh hey, it’s a Hero scene. He’s alone in the diner, except for sassy blonde waitress. She stops to deliver a lecture on the evils of caffeine addiction. Maybe she saw that episode of “Saved by the Bell” and took it to heart. He’s steadfastly studying the tabletop. When he looks up, there’s Julian.
They have a lovely chat wherein Hero blames the vampires for making Starkweather and Julian blames humans for abusing him. Julian offers to help. Hero gets his back up like he always does. In the end, it doesn’t accomplish much except tell us that the Vampires and cops are on the same side, which we kind of already assumed, what with the Bloodhunt and all.
Back at Girl Singer’s place, Lobes is being stalky again. She was asleep but woke and knew he was there. My wife wants to know why no one in this show sleeps in sweats. I pointed out it’s an Aaron Spelling production. Anyway, she calls out to Lobes and he answers back. He goes on about how her music touches his soul and she goes on about how he’s right, she’s been alone for so long and has given up finding anyone who understands her. And then, she walks toward him and strips off her nightie (because, I don’t know, really) and wants to see him and there he is, revealed in the light wearing like the WORST WIG EVER. And then the makeouts commence.
And then, she’s asleep and he’s caressing her and he looks in the mirror and the wig’s gone and he looks…well, he looks like he did without the wig, which I maintain ISN’TBAD. But he panics and flees and she’s still asleep. But she gets up whil he’s still dressing and sees him and screams as he jumps out the window. TRAGIC.
And back from commercial: We’re outside Singer Girl’s place, there are cops and reporters everywhere, and K8lin is interviewing her about the monster she encountered. Way to go, Lobes.
By the way, her description of him? NOTHING LIKE LOBES. Seriously, the dude does not have black and empty eyes. Ex and Hero overhear this, and Ex says, “She’s not describing the Night Stalker, she’s describing the Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Or, your buddy Lobes, amirite?
Oh, and hey, there’s Starkweather in the crowd. EVERYBODY DAYWALK! It’s a pity none of the cops around recognize him from the photos or descriptions. And he’s all, “She’s lying, that wasn’t the Night Stalker, it’s a trick.”
Back at Haven, and the joint is…well, it’s always pretty sedate. We’re back to the sultry jazz soundtrack. Julian and Lillie are up in her office/boudoir. He’s wearing a suit, she’s wearing pajamas. Is there a wonder no one takes her seriously? They’re talking about vampires desiring humans. It’s a thing this episode. Lillie points out that like Jailbird, Kjetlan will either need to be Embraced and lose everything she knows or grow old and die and Julian loses her. But Lillie? Lillie has always been there for him (except when she was doing bidness with Beef, who’s been mysteriously absent from this episode).
Back at Singer Girl’s, place, there’s a cop car parked outside and Lobes is staking things out from across the street. Singer Girl comes out and is getting in the cop car. But she notices it’s a different officer. No worries – just a shift change. Uh huh. He even promises he won’t bite. Yeah. I see where this is going. They drive away.
And suddenly back at the mansion, Lobes is in the basement putting away his My Little Alchemist kit. Julian comes strolling through, presumably having grabbed a bottle of wine from the adjacent chamber. He also has a newspaper with him, displaying a picture of Starkweather, who Lobes recognizes as the cop with her.
Hero’s place: the phone rings. It’s Julian, filling him in on the situation. He’s on his way to Haven. And he’s packing his Vampire Killing Gun. Subtle.
Huh, Haven’s closed. Odd, but I guess you can’t have a climactic fight scene involving vampires if the general populace is out and about. Singer Girl is there to get her music and Starkweather as cop is hanging around pretending to be a nice guy. Stupid Starkweather! Nice guys stalk girls and leave them notes and trick them into sex.
And Hero comes down the stairs into Haven, toting his killgun. But instead of immediately opening up on him, he tries to be clever. But Starkweather, with the power of CRAZY VAMPIRE easily disarms him, then leaves him hanging with his own tie. It’s rather hilarious, actually. Julian shows up, sporting a nifty kukri, but Starkers has the phosphorous gun, so standoff.
I’m not sure where Singer Girl is in all of this. But Julian manages to whack the nutcase’s head off with a single blow. He tells C.T. Hero to take credit for it, and Hero’s all, “I came here looking for the girl, and found this dude pre-whacked.” Smiles all around.
And, back to Caitlin’s place. Julian walks in and she’s, making dinner. The only room of her house we’ve seen is the kitchen. Anyway, she has great news, they got Starkweather. And Luna’s all, “Yeah, I took his head off myself.” OK, not. But it kind of strikes me as odd that this is news at dinner time when it happened sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Seems to me this would have been the major news of the entire day starting at 7 o’clock. But hey, I’m no journalist, and Julian pretends to be surprised. But our Spunky City Editor is too clever and figures out he’s faking; he already knew. Maybe because it happened in the club run by his “Business Associate”? But apparently the story just broke. Not sure how that works really, but she’s suspicious that he already knew and he’s all, “Hey, I have connections. Also, I cut the dude’s head off.”
I made up that last part.
Anyway, she’s all “I’m curious about you, and frightened.” And he’s all, “Don’t’ be scared,” and then they make out and probably more food goes to waste and the credits roll.
So, anyway, this was the best episode to date. Less emphasis on obsessed cop, more emphasis on the interesting things. While I joke about the pernicious stalking, it’s totally in character for a Nosferatu. And seducing the City Editor of the local paper is also pretty much Masquerade 101. I would’ve liked a shout-out to the Malkavians as far as Starkweather was concerned, but I can see why the showrunners didn’t feel like complicating things with another clan.