Bitten Episode Review 1×13 – “Ready”
Show creator Daegan Fryklind's script was spellbinding in the level of shock it delivered, while some cracking directing from T.J. Scott really drove home the fierceness of it all. There were some outstanding acting performances from Greg Bryk, Michael Luckett and Laura Vandervoort in particular.
I'M SORRY I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE DEAFENING SOUND OF MY PAIN. #RIPPhilipMcAdams
A Bloodthirsty Battle For Survival Brings Forth The Biggest Bad of All in Season One Finale of Syfy’s “Bitten”
Having reached its apex, the battle for survival between the Danvers pack and The Mutts has hit fever pitch as both sides finally go head to head in “Ready”: the debut season finale of Syfy’s “Bitten”. After being separated for so long, Jeremy and his pack are finally about to face their foes: the Mutts, currently masterminded by the enigmatic James Williams, who this week it appears will finally come out from beneath the shroud of lies surrounding him, to reveal his true motives for declaring war on the Danvers pack. Logan meanwhile must choose finally whether or not, in saving Rachel and the baby, he is prepared to let his family go down without him: a family he knows is already running short on wolf power, not to mention morale. He, like Elena, has now fled Toronto entirely, as – apparently – has Philip if the reports of Danvers allies are anything to go by. Tensions run deep and nerves are standing on end as our beloved pack waits, now, for what will either be a new beginning, or their end. One thing’s for certain though: nothing and no-one will ever be the same once it’s done. So with all that in mind, let’s dive in shall we, and take a look at this formidably moving and shocking season finale. Because my goodness. What a finale it was.
Truth or Consequence
The illusion of impending power – as well as the prospect of attaining Elena – has had Daniel Santos fraying at his mental and emotional seams for a while now. But after he came on the scene as a slinking, evil man on a vengeful mission, you could just as well say that he left us this episode as little more than a diabolically misguided boy, dangling at the end of James Williams’ evil strings like some utterly pathetic puppet. One that is wildly aware by the end that his strings are about to be well and truly cut.
Marsten to Santos: “Don’t worry. You’re going to get everything that’s coming to you.”
Santos’s desperation was palpable as he pleaded arrogantly (something I didn’t consider was really even possible until he did it, to be honest!) with Jeremy to see – as Santos stood surrounded by a circle of people that included his former ally Marsten (who has conveniently had a crisis of good conscience) – that it was the English turncoat who could never be trusted and that Jeremy would regret letting him live despite his betrayal. We always knew I think that Daniel Santos would pay for his evil actions and treachery with his life, and after all he’d done it seemed like a moment that we’d ultimately leave with nothing but satisfaction in our hearts that he was dead. But were you like me? Did you, too, find it still a kind of sad moment? Because it felt impossible to feel completely happy about that death in that moment when we realised, as Elena sunk her unrepentant fist into his chest and stopped his heart, that you could still see there on his dying face that he was still in love with his executioner, even as she killed him. Indeed it made for a dark but just end to the power-hungry madness that was Daniel Santos (whom it must be said had some of the lines of the night in this ep) and much credit here has to go to Michael Luckett, who has done a wonderful job of portraying this conflicted character. His heady mix of foolish egotism and boyish charm pretty much made up the heart (sorry – too soon?) of the Mutt rebellion for the vast amount of this season, and I for one actually will kind of miss him.
Clay and Elena returning to the relieved and loving arms of each other in this episode was a beautiful thing, even despite the pain, torment and heartbreak – and not just theirs – that occurred along the way. It was a beautiful scene as Elena tended to the still raw wounds of Clay, where he laid back in the bath, seemingly relieved beyond words to be feeling her affectionate touch again after all this time.
Elena: “You sacrificed our love for my life.”
Even though to us, we may have thought that Elena would have worked out sooner why Clay bit her – i.e. to save her from Jeremy’s pack-law-dictated death sentence – she has taken the longest time, so one can only imagine how much longer that time would have felt for the brooding professor she had once so cheekily chided a lifetime ago for sassing her about the correct spelling of ‘tlingit’ in his cluttered office. Clay’s love of her has been so absolute, so founded in selflessness and grace that really, no matter how much you may have liked Philip, you can’t help but acknowledge the fact that Clay’s is the embrace in which she belongs. Indeed, in the midst of all the bloodshed and chaos, their happy ending (brief though it was in the end) was a rare moment filled with joy and the beautiful familiarity of home, in an episode otherwise haunted by loss, shock and the prospect of the vast unknown that now lays ahead. Greyston Holt and Laura Vandervoort from the very first moment they locked eyes on each other in the form of these characters, were spellbinding, and neither their chemistry or charisma together has waned once this entire season, not even when they were just contending as fellow soldiers in this war as opposed to the fated lovers they are. What they gave us on the whole has been a riveting emotional dance that has kept us all swept up in the tune, even though the last note of our leading lady finished with a grief stricken scream for another. It’s been magic, and I for one have loved every second of it.
Home is Where The Heart is
Even as he’d fled at the end of last episode, you kind of always knew that Logan would come home to his family to help them fight for their survival. And wherever Logan goes, Rachel would have to follow. After all, how could he truly be the family man he wants to be if he abandons his own family in their greatest hour of need?
Logan: “I didn’t come back because you’re my pack alpha. I came back because you’re my family.”
Logan’s growth as a character has been stunning, especially when you consider that the bulk of it has really come over the last three or four episodes. In the beginning, do you remember him? Mild mannered, polite, measured, polished: not a hint of the fear-crazed but courage laden father to be and brother that blazed through that battle in what was an absolutely ripping final portrayal this season, of a character I honestly did not expect to care this much about in the grand scheme of things. I mean good grief. By the time he realises Rachel is missing, and he and Nick go darting wildly out into the woods to try and find her, my heart is pounding for him. For them both. Indeed, Michael Xavier these past few episodes did not simply capture my attention as Logan: he demanded it, then proved why he was worth my every second of time. In regards to Rachel, having her there locked in the cupboard as the battle rages outside was always going to be a highly vulnerable weak spot for the Danvers family, who it would appear have now stretched their bounds to include her and Logan’s unborn son, seemingly about to bend the pack law that has protected them for centuries, around this new little life and his needs. This of course was not aided by the fact that she literally has the worst timing of any human being that has ever lived ever, when it comes to doing stupid things. I mean seriously. I get that you wanted to escape the super gross symphony of horizontal honky tonk going on in the motel room next door – hell, I’ve had to escape a few picture-rattling neighbors of my own! – but LADY. THERE IS A TIME AND PLACE FOR DUCKING OUT TO BUY A SNICKERS. And on the run from a pack of evil dudes who are quite obviously trying to kill you, is NOT THAT TIME. In all of this, it must be said, Genelle Williams did a marvellous job of playing this terrified and rattled mother to be, and I was literally beside myself when I realised just where she’d ended up. Because what I didn’t expect was the newly revealed Evil Daddy Dearest of Malcolm Danvers to rock up and rack off with her as his prisoner. And to do so with the IT guy who so geekily ensnared Philip into the whole thing with that wolf footage, all those episodes ago. You know. Back when our souls weren’t shattered because of all the emotional torment caused by the last ten seconds before the credits of this season finale.
The Brutal Goodbye
If you’ve read these reviews since their inception, you’ll know that I’ve always been a Clay Danvers girl. But that is not to say that the loyal and genuinely lovely Philip did not also steal a place in my heart fairly on in the piece too, as he did I think in the hearts of the majority of viewers. His earnest love of Elena; his support and grace under pressure – particularly when Clay showed up and crashed on his couch, when Philip well and truly knew that Clay was more to Elena than she’d let on – was exemplary. He was a beautiful soul, who deserved far better than to know the horror he experienced in the end with Elena. And what a brutal end it was. Maybe in some ways we always suspected that Philip would ultimately be a victim in some way of this supernatural war, but I don’t know that we ever could have predicted that that would be how he’d fall. After all, we were lulled into that false sense of security when Jorge told Jeremy that Philip was in fact safe on a flight to Paris, and far away from the bloodshed about to surround his beloved. Maybe there was that part of us that thought somehow he’d come back and try to fight for her. That somehow he would re-emerge, not quite so hopeless as we may have believed he was. But no. Instead – right there with Elena as she glanced behind her in the mirror back at the bed, seconds after replacing her beloved Clay’s ring onto her left hand, only to see a familiar but now severed head tangled there in the sheets with eyes still wide in disbelief – we were left to suddenly, and bitterly, mourn the passing of the bright, bright light that was Philip McAdams. I’ll be honest. I almost retched. I gripped either side of the screen and said ‘No’ over and over for a full ten minutes until I knew how to speak again. I mean how. How could you snuff out a character with so much promise and with so much still to offer this tale love and survival against the odds. But one thing we have to trust here is that the writers and creators of this show know what they’re doing. We think we care about what happens to Elena & Co.? Seriously. Think about what it would have been like to write him out like that. So, for all our sadness, our disbelief, I guess we just have to let it go – somehow – and believe that there is a plan and a good reason for it. In the meantime, I don’t think the last tears have been shed for this horrible loss. And it is here, too, that we must regretfully say goodbye to the delightful Paul Greene from the show as well. I think, sir, that I speak for more than myself when I say we all hope we see your wonderful self on our screens again, very soon. Because lord knows you will be sorely missed from this one.
For weeks they have been dropping hints. A passing mention here. A family crested signet ring in a dusty warehouse box, there. Indeed, the true identity of the nefarious James Williams has hovered like a black cloud of mystery over much of this season: ever since he appeared all too smoothly in what seems like a lifetime ago as he offered up a tasty morsel of intrigue to Philip in the form of that blasted wolf footage, from an IT guy who never existed. But then the penny dropped. That IT guy? Curious that he should come, as Jeremy said to Jorge, from the exact same place where his father was meant to have died. Suddenly all the pieces clicked, and so it was that finally the malicious Mr. Williams revealed his true identity: the brutal, cruel and previously thought dead Malcolm Danvers. I have to admit here that I guessed this twist was coming a while ago, but I must say that in no way did that guess remove even a splinter of the viciousness from the revelation as it happened for Jeremy. Indeed, as Jeremy stands there with Santos’s broken body in his arms and suddenly finding himself staring his father and former Alpha in his cruel face, I was beside myself for what this means for the Danvers family going forward. Worse still that his end game was and has always been gaining Elena – formidable, fierce, perfect Elena: the only woman ever to have survived a werewolf bite – for himself, to his own evil ends. But for my part? I don’t care how strong Malcolm stands at present. Jeremy’s declaration is absolute: you want her, you’ll have to go through me. And for all Malcolm’s hideous taunts, one cannot doubt that Jeremy will contend with his father on an equal footing for the sake of his family. What remains to be seen now, here in the aftermath of this battle, is just how much higher the body count goes when they finally come to blows. Acting wise, Greg Bryk absolutely dominated yet again in his role as Jeremy Danvers, playing him with a level of eloquence and strength that never diminished once in the expanse of this episode. His compelling emotional turn this week was equally matched by a brutally honest physical performance, and for me it was just the icing on the cake of what has been a star performance on the whole for this actor.
Jeremy: “We will win here, or we will die here. But we are strongest here. Together.”
So there you have it, kids: a dark, unrelenting and brutal final narrative to a close out what has been an extraordinary debut season. Daegan Fryklind’s brave storytelling – and I don’t use that word lightly, because lord knows just how much these characters must mean to her – was a heart rending, mind bending experience from start to finish. It must have taken so much for her emotionally and creatively to see this season through to this formidable end in particular, and – even though I am blown away that someone like Philip won’t be there for season two, and I struggle to see how killing him off was maybe the completely best move at this point – I cannot help but applaud her creative integrity in the way she has chosen to bring this chapter to a close. It was extraordinary as it was shocking, and – in keeping with the high standard of the series across the board so far – no less than I expected from her or her team. T.J. Scott likewise had an absolute blinder with his directing this week. His keen eye for details on both a macro and micro scale meant his work absolutely shone in this episode, to the point of where the staging was arguably almost its own character. In amidst his brutality, there was beauty; and indeed sometimes he meshed the two together so boldly that it was easy to become lost in determining whether what you were watching was one or the other. D. Gillian Truster’s editing also played a huge part in how this episode was able to make the viewer really feel the shock waves of what was happening onscreen, right down to their bones. One of the best features lay particularly in the use of slow motion sequences to really draw out the magnitude of particular moments within the battle. That moment where Rachel comes tearing out of the forest, bound and gagged with the wolf at her heels…I mean watching Jeremy sink the axe straight between that Mutt’s eyes was absolutely stunning in its visual impact. Clay and Elena’s fight scenes as a whole, that absolutely visceral fight scene in the bath between Jeremy and that Mutt…the list of extraordinary visual moments goes on, and indeed across the board, the slow motion sequences teamed beautifully with those electrifying action scenes, all of which made for a dead set sensory feast of fright. But now, dear Wolf pack? We wait. We wait until someone finally puts us out of our misery and confirms for us what we already know needs to happen: a renewal and second season for this utterly gripping story and cast of characters. So farewell until then, dear friends. For after all: who knows what will lay ahead once this battle smoke clears?
Final Thoughts & Questions…
- I had to come out of a post-Philip’s-head-induced foetal position in order to write this review. Know this.
- “I actually feel sad for you Erin. You’re in a state of naivety at the moment.” – Actual Quote from Fellow TVAD writer Jayne Balke as she and our fearless editor Rom watched my live Facebook chat feed during this episode.
- “NO I HAVE TO GO AWAY FOR A MINUTE I WILL BE BACK THIS IS WORSE THAN UNDERTAKER AT WRESTLEMANIA LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE OMG.” – Me, twenty seconds later.
- LOVED the nod to all the legend and mythology in this episode. Are these werewolves just slow ageing beings, or are they in fact immortal? Could this play a part in season 2? Is there the potential for an ancient evil to arise being hinted at here?
- Karl laying the fashion smackdown and telling Santos that his shoes are about as Italian as Chef Boyardee. OMG SAYS THE GUY DRESSED LIKE A GIANT GRAPE. #notinapositiontomockbro
- Look out bitches. Jeremy’s wearing his FIGHTIN’ VEST.
- Speaking of which, HI SHERIFF MORGAN. #seasontwosexytime #callingitnow
- In all seriousness, how beautifully done and in character were the costumes this season. Elena’s and Philip’s were particularly gorgeous. I mean Laura and Paul would look stunning wearing potato sacks, but their outfits were deadset tailored to perfection every week.
- And, well, you all know how I feel about Santos and Jeremy’s get ups. #allthelove
- Can we please clarify just HOW tall Greyston Holt must be in order to have fully filled that giant bath? Because HELLO.
- LeBlanc got guillotined, therefore reducing the number of serial killers in velcro on our television back to zero. In other news, the old lady who’s glasses he’s been wearing is really looking forward to getting them back now.
- Jeremy reveals he not only met Nick’s mother once, but that he KNOWS WHERE SHE IS. #YES
- SERIOUSLY THO, THERE WAS LESS BLOOD IN THERE WILL BE BLOOD.
- Don’t forget we will be having our Scene Stealers posts going on over the hiatus, as we look back at each episode and discuss just who burned brightest in each one. Philip wins the finale (in other news, BRB SOBBING FOREVER) but will he be our ULTIMATE SCENE STEALER? Who knows! But make sure you keep on checking back at TVAD to find out Wolfpack.
- And be sure to comment away – we would LOVE to hear your hiatus thoughts, as we look forward to season two!!
- Speaking of which, I finish this in his honor when I say that I believe my beloved editor tweeted it best: “Damn! The guts to write the end of that scene. RIP Phillip you made mirrors, towels & ties a happy place to be.” You will be missed, Paul Greene. Very missed.
Oh. And before we go. Dear People In Charge of This Stuff. Yeah. Renew, or we riot. Sincerely, THE WOLFPACK.