Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer TV Rewind: Moonlight 1.02: "“Out of the Past”

“You know, since you met that guy, screwed up has started to seem normal.”
- Josh

It seems the moment Beth came back into Mick’s life, pieces of his past have come back to haunt him. The latest trip down memory lane involves a case he worked in 1983 where one of his clients was killed by a man name Lee Jay Spaulding. Lee Jay was the woman’s husband and Mick revealed himself as a vampire. He’d intended to kill Lee Jay for what he’d done but the cops showed up and he never got to finish the job. Needless to say Josef was not pleased with Mick’s screw-up in present day. All of this drama comes flooding back because Lee Jay has finally secured his release from prison. He has plans for his release. He’s going vampire hunting.

Beth is friends with the reporter who wrote Lee Jay’s tell-all book and this sets things off for Beth and Mick. Well, okay so first Beth is reliving her abduction and rescue in the form of a nightmare. Her boyfriend, Josh, suggests it is just her mind’s way of handling the near-death experience. Obviously we the viewers know better. Anyway, back to the case. Beth gets an advance copy of the book and sees Mick’s photo in the book. Clearly Mick has to lie to Beth and so he says that the PI involved in the case back in the 1980s was his father. He begs Beth to convince her reporter friend that Lee Jay is dangerous but she’s not having it. Before heading to the release party for the book (it is still unclear how Mick got an invite), Mick pays a visit to the cop who worked the case with him. They apparently had some evidence that wasn’t admitted in the trial previously. Apparently Lee Jay had a first wife who also died and it appeared to be suicide. I’m sensing a pattern here! I guess Mick is lucky that his old cop buddy has gone blind or else he would have some serious explaining to do about why he hasn’t aged!

The situation doesn’t get any better at the release party. Things are very frosty between Mick and Lee Jay when they are introduced. Sure Lee Jay can appear all charming and impart what on the surface sounds like a good message for at risk youth. But underneath, it’s a not-so-subtle threat to Mick. I’m coming for you and I’m going to win this time. Of course, you can’t kill off to the titular hero, especially not in episode 2, so you have to assume Mick is going to be fine by episode’s end. But Lee Jay is definitely going to put up a fight before that. Mick corners the creep in the bathroom but Lee Jay is ready for him and stakes Mick (it only paralyzes vampires in this mythology). And then because Lee Jay is nuts, he smashes his head into some glass and runs out screaming, ensuring that as many people as possible see him bleeding and hear him yelling about how Mick attacked him. I’ve got to hand it to him. He totally set Mick up.

Lee Jay isn’t done setting Mick up either. As Mick contemplates the case of the woman Lee Jay killed (she went to Mick for protection and Mick beat up Lee Jay pretty bad before he ended up killing his wife), Beth does a little more digging of her own. She can’t figure out why Mick is so hot on Lee Jay’s trail. Oh, it was interesting to see Mick drinking from pretty women and hanging out with Josef in the past. Then again, any scene with Jason in it is a good one for me. So following her own leads, Beth pays the cop who worked the case a visit and learns some surprising information. Mick didn’t have a son and Mick Sr. (as it were) is still alive and kicking, despite what Mick told Lee Jay at the release party. More than just a little awkward. At this point, though, Beth is more willing to read the police reports that weren’t admissible at Lee Jay’s trial.

Mick gets home to find Lee Jay has broken in and found his blood stash and his spare gun. Not surprisingly, Lee Jay shoots himself with said gun and calls 9-1-1, accusing Mick of shooting him. The prick really does know how to set the stage. Mick thinks he has no choice but to run at this point which leads to a rendezvous and car swap with Josef (where the older vampire chides Mick for not just killing Lee Jay) before Mick winds up on Beth’s doorstep. He needs her help but things are awkward because Josh is actually a DA. So having Mick around is very dangerous and could potentially cost Josh his license and his job. But they have the idea to film Mick denying everything and pointing out all the stuff that makes Lee Jay dangerous. The situation doesn’t look too good for Beth’s friend when she picks up Lee Jay from the hospital. He ends up kidnapping her and calling Beth so he can threaten Mick. If Mick doesn’t turn himself in, Lee Jay will kill the reporter (he might kill her anyway but Mick already knows that). Josh is actually helpful and calls in a few favors to get the news outlets to report that Mick had turned himself in. While he’s doing that, Mick and Beth track down Lee Jay. Mick goes in and takes out Lee Jay’s buddy for the bastard is ready for our hero. He shoots Mick with silver buckshot (silver is poisonous to vamps) and then starts taunting him with a blowtorch. Beth, having been left in the car and told to stay there (seriously, she has a point in questioning why the girl always gets left in the car), disregards orders and ends up saving Mick’s life. She shoots Lee Jay in the throat (all the while flashing back to her childhood trauma).

Mick takes off before the cops arrive and Beth goes to find him, ignoring the police trying to get a statement from her. Mick barely makes it home and starts sucking on some blood to cure himself when Beth walks through the door. Mick is horrified that she’s found him in this state but he can’t ignore the truth anymore and as the episode comes to a close, he reveals the truth about what he is. Looking back I wasn’t entirely surprised they didn’t reveal his identity to Beth in the pilot. But I think doing so in the second episode was a good choice. It let the viewers get established with the characters a little before altering their core relationship.

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