The following review may contain some mild spoilers, I’ll try not to go into too much detail but I feel it’s necessary to examine certain developments, so use your discretion when reading.
A ‘heretic’s fork‘, we are told early on, is a piece of torture equipment that was a rather effective way of getting people to divulge their secrets. It’s an interesting choice of title that points to a more morally ambiguous atmosphere running throughout the entire episode.
We begin where last week left off with the human assassin, who is now strung up in a basement and is sweating profusely. As he justifies his actions, we have an interesting scene with possibly the most polarized version of a good cop/bad cop routine ever to grace the screen. On one hand we have the good Father Jack and on the other is the sociopath mercenary, Hobbes. This little moral dilemma plays out rather how you’d expect, but this doesn’t make it any less of an adrenaline rush. Suddenly the show has it’s very own Jack Bauer, only unlike Jack, Hobbes is always a complete bastard.
There were several moments tonight where Hobbes, as shallow a character as he is, totally overshadowed the rest of the cast and without him, the resistance is really just a Priest a Mum and an Alien (that is definitely the new name of my band). He provides little more than a bit of grit and violence, but it really adds to the feeling of desperation for those who are burdened with the truth and creates a greater sense of urgency. Whilst we are discussing the atmosphere of the episode, I couldn’t help notices the way the writers seemed to have turned up the notch with the B-Movie vibe. The episode is littered with phrases like ’hybrid baby’ and ’soldiers bred to fight‘ and I for one, absolutely loved it. The show was never going to be a serious action drama and it’s relieving to see them get comfortable with the alien invasion clichés.
One point I did draw attention to in the previous episode, was the lack of focus surrounding the Ryan/Val, lizard baby storyline. Heretic's Fork contains a good amount of screen time for the conflicted duo, however, the way their situation was concluded was incredibly unsatisfying. Their interactions were extremely formal and didn’t feel like a woman betrayed or a man fighting for his relationship, but instead like an awkward first date where you both agree not to see each other again. Having said that, there’s obviously a lot more of the story to tell and maybe the writers are simply buying themselves some time to explore the other characters.
Anna has turned from a passive and relentlessly smiling robot into what can only be described as a total bitch. At one point she explains that she would like Val and her baby to be dissected and destroyed and then she simultaneously stabbed a kitten and drop kicked an orphan (artistic embellishment may have occurred). The woman is not happy and on learning the existence of a Human/V hybrid, that could threaten her pursuit of power, decides to dispatch one of her newly hatched super soldiers. Now this is where I started to get excited. It sounds good doesn’t it, albeit in an incredibly cheesy way? However, the super soldiers are really just cheap Terminator rip-offs, minus the cool robot skeleton and silly accent. My reaction on first seeing the soldier was ‘Really… that guy that looks like my Dad?’. The only difference I could discern between him and my Dad, was that the soldier saw through a fish eye-lens and had a heartbeat sensor like the ones in Modern Warfare 2, just in his eyes. Oh and he can get hit in the chest with an axe and not have to take a break, my Dad would definitely need a rest. But all joking aside, it was a really poor effort, void of any sort of real tension and generally just a huge disappointment.
Another development worthy of note is Chad’s strange change in character after the surgery performed by the V’s. Seems they may have added a little something when they went in his head routing around for the mysterious aneurysm. This was only mildly touched upon and it was quite a nice way to keep the audience guessing and gave Father jack a chance to say his second line of the episode (obviously not a fan favourite). Lisa is also developing quite the conscience and seems to be more in touch with Erica’s feelings than her son and I am genuinely quite intrigued to see how her conflicting feelings towards Tyler and her Mother will play out. As for Tyler, I hate this character so much that I’m actually starting to enjoy screaming at my TV, which may mean I am actually in love with him and secretly gay, but the jury’s still out on that one.
Hobbes is excellent and makes a huge difference in the episode with some simple minimalist thuggery and his last line tonight was priceless. The atmosphere is still getting darker and grittier and all the characters benefit from this in different ways. There were a couple of unsatisfactory moments involving Ryan, Val and the unveiling of the super soldier. However, all in all, this latest installment feels like it’s more comfortable in its own skin (pun intended) and it’s great to see the writers having fun with some of the more ludicrous events in the story. The pace is a lot more fluid and although it still moves at break-neck pace, the different plot-lines are starting to link up and don’t distract from one-another.
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