Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Moonlight 1.01: “No Such Thing as Vampires”

“And the other thing you’ve got to deal with, when you live forever, the past always catches up with you.”
- Mick St John

So back in 2007 when Moonlight premiered, I was a huge fan. I found Alex O’Loughlin very charming and I was just very into the whole vampire craze (I’d recently watched Buffy and Angel, too). It is always fun going back and watching something that you know you enjoyed the first time around. And being older and having seen more TV, I can recognize more guest actors as they appear. But enough about that. Let’s dive in to the pilot. We begin with a faux interview between vampire Mick St John and a reporter where he dispels much of the myth of vampirism. For one thing, he sleeps naked in an industrial freezer. And he doesn’t hunt people. He gets his blood for a guy at the morgue. Mick works as a private investigator and it’s his profession that pulls him back into a story he didn’t think he’d see ever again.

A young college student is found murdered and one of the first reporters on scene is Beth Turner, a young 26-year-old reporter who is excited for her first live assignment. Mick is at the scene and Beth catches sight of him after she gets shooed away but a cop for trying to take photos of the body. Beth swears she’s met Mick before but he denies it, claiming he just has one of those faces that is recognizable. Before Beth can ask more questions, Mick disappears. He’s off to pay a visit to an old friend of his, Josef. Josef, like Mick, is a vampire but has about 310 years on our leading man. And he’s also played by perpetual bad boy Jason Dohring (of Veronica Mars fame). I will admit, I was late to the Marshmallow party but even now, Jason is just so damn charming and attractive. This show did spectacular casting for its main cast. I’m convinced the only real reason for this scene is to introduce the character of Josef and his relationship with Mick.

Beth’s editor wants her to keep running with the story and so Beth heads off to break into the dead girl’s apartment to look for clues. Mick of course has the same idea and gets knocked on the head with a vase for sneaking up on Beth again. He reveals his PI credentials and then bugs out when he finds a tiny vial of blood hidden in a necklace that is linked to an Ancient Egyptian blood cult. Creepy! With a little more snooping, Beth and Mick (independently) end up at the funeral of the dead girl where they witness a young student attack a teacher. Beth makes the executive decision that she and Mick should work together and so she sends him off to take the teacher while she takes his attacker. It should also be noted that after Mick paid a visit to the morgue he was certain this wasn’t a vampire killing (too much blood left behind and the neck wounds are actual puncture marks made by something other than teeth. And as the case moves along, Mick reminisces about a case from 22 years earlier when a distraught mother came to him, begging for his help in finding her missing four-year-old daughter.

Mick ends up chatting with the teacher’s wife where he learns that the guy used to be a serious academic but now he’s kind of a loon and claims he’s a vampire. Beth gets a similar story from the student about a cult and blood drinking. So of course Beth goes undercover to the class without telling anyone. That’s so smart! Not. But hey, she gets an invite to the study group so she seems happy about that. And then she pays a visit to her cop buddy who is not pleased with the way she’s been running with the story. But she confirms a few interesting facts about the girl she spoke with.

Mick pays the professor a visit and the professor says that he isn’t a vampire in the usual sense. He feeds off certain types of energy. Yeah, okay. Back at Mick’s place, he gets home to find Josef waiting for him. Josef is not happy to see the so-called vampire experts crawling out of the woodwork and he basically demands that Mick solve the problem, even if it isn’t another vampire leaving messes around town. He doesn’t have much time to formulate a plan because Beth shows up with the other student’s address and shares her plan to infiltrate the study group. Mick warns against the idea but Beth being all strong-willed is going full steam ahead. Mick goes to talk to the other student but finds she’s been murdered, too. So it is a race to save Beth. Along the way, we see that Mick finds the little girl in the dangerous clutches of his ex-wife, Coraline. She wants to make a family of vampires to win him back. Clearly he’s not interested.

On campus, Beth shows up and things go wrong very fast. The professor takes her into a private session which involves trying to synchronize their heartbeats and he finds the wire she is wearing. She takes off and finds his TA (played by Dean O’Gorman who I’ve come to know quite well from his stint as Anders on The Almighty Johnsons) who is the real killer. He drugs Beth and drives off in his car. Mick is hot on the trail now, though and after putting the professor in his place on the existence of vampires, Mick races off at super speed (because that’s a vampire skill) and ultimately saves Beth. Just like he did when she was a little girl (yep the little girl was Beth). This time at least Mick doesn’t have to kill her kidnapper. He staked Coraline and set the place on fire. Here, he just beat the crap out of the TA. Beth wakes up at Mick’s place, seemingly having remembered her link to Mick in her childhood but he brushes it off as after effects of the drug and the car crash. Still, it doesn’t appear Mick will be able to step out of Beth’s life any time soon.

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