Good Morning, Snowflakes! Are any of you Drop Dead Diva fans? The show is silly, but fun, and this weekend the original Nick Knight himself guest-starred! That’s right: Rick Springfield was on as an aging rock star trying to keep his band together. It was a touching story of friendship and Parkinson’s disease, and the whole hour, I made Forever Knight jokes.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
We open on a department store makeup counter. A woman approaches, and the pushy-ass saleslady is in her face immediately. The woman gets all weirded out, and ends up shooting the saleslady. For which I can hardly fault her. Pushy salespeople make me break out in hives, yo. The woman gets shot by a mall cop, which – what? Canadian rent-a-cops have guns? This sounds like a terrible idea to me, and I’m not anti-gun. Anyway, she’s dead at the makeup counter, and the credits roll.
Nick examines her purse at the crime scene, and he surmises that the sheer effort involved in trying to live up to arbitrary and misogynistic beauty standards made her snap. There’s some conversation with Schenke about why women do it to themselves, and then Schenke starts drooling over some model who, Natalie shows up to inform us, is fifteen years old. Natalie also tells us she’d prefer to “grow old gracefully”, which is really only possible if you have amazing skin and are pretty beautiful to begin with. Then no one minds your grey hair, especially if you keep slathering on the makeup. (I did warn you guys there would be ranting, right? Because this ain’t gonna stop. Sorry, not sorry. I have opinions.)
Anyway, this kicks off Flashback Time, to what seems to be Regency England. An “older” – maybe in her 40s – woman is entreating Nick not to let her get any older. Nick plays dumb, but the Baroness is not to be deterred. She wants him to “make [her] one of you”, so she doesn’t have to age any more. Hey, it’s not the worst reason for vampirism.
Back in the present, Schenke asks Nat what her secret of youth is, and she gives him a mysterious look and walks away. Oh, Nat. So diplomatic.
Out in the parking lot, the lady’s toe tag fell off. When Nat puts it back in the bag, a considerably older woman is in there. Still looks like Norma – our perp/vic – but with grey hair and wrinkles.
Nick and Schenke go to Norma’s house to inform her roommate of the death. She’s also a young, thin, pretty girl who’ll be rewarded for her beauty until it fades. The decorating of the apartment, though, is very eclectic – antiques and old photos – and Schenke says it reminds him of Nick’s place. Reminds me of hipsters. Can we blame Toronto for hipsters?
Nat finds a grey hair on her own head, and has a moment that I’ll interpret as “Oh shit! Grey hair! Wait, why am I stressing about this? This is dumb. Stupid beauty standards. Fuck the patriarchy!” Which is probably not how it goes, but whatever. My version’s better.
Schenke’s not happy that they have to go inform Norma’s employer – the closest thing she has to family – while bad guys are out committing crimes. He blames it all on Nick feeling sorry for her, until they show up at the gym where Norma worked. Then he’s all, “Let’s interview every one of [these young hotties],” and wants to sign Myra up, until a ripped guy walks by and Nick reminds Schenke that Myra is a human being who would enjoy her own eye candy. Damn that Nick, ruining all the fun by (occasionally) thinking women are people!
Norma’s boss is pretty broken up about the news. Meanwhile, Nat’s started her autopsy, and the woman on the slab is probably 50 years older than Norma was.
Back at the gym, some trainer is fat-shaming a blonde girl, and she goes all weird, just like Norma did. The trainer literally picks her up against her will and puts her on a machine, but we’re meant to understand that it’s the weirdness that makes her brain him with a weight. Sure. OK.
They take her in, and it looks like a repeat: “Witnesses say she just snapped.” No evidence of drugs or mental illness, and this is too much of a coincidence. Everyone looks grave about this murder spree.
Nick goes down to the morgue, and the old lady on the slab is definitely Norma – Nat’s run a shitton of tests. After figuring out it’s really Norma, she ran one more, and there’s an unknown virus in Norma’s blood. But the virus is dead, so it must have been injected that way, like a vaccine. Also weird? Norma’s Social Security check hanging out in her back pocket.
Schenke’s interrogating Norma’s boss, and he’s really laying into her. Nick tells him to ease off, and then offers her a ride home. But she doesn’t want to go home: she wants to let off steam. So he brings her to the Raven, because this episode just got AWESOME.
Nick and Janette watch the kids today dancing. Nick says someone should bottle this – “youthful vitality.”
“It’s not vitality,” says Janette. “It’s desperation. Look at them all, dancing as if Father Time were shooting bullets at their feet.” God, I love Janette. Nick wonders if she doesn’t envy their enthusiasm, and she rightly points out that it will fade, as each new generation comes to turn their belongings into artifacts and store their pictures in dusty attics. Oh, Janette. Marry me. Your cynicism and wine-drinking will go perfectly with mine. Also, then we can share gloves and hats.
Flashback time! The Baron takes younger and younger lovers, because youth is considered beauty and a powerful man can have what he wants, even if he’s not as discreet as the Baron. Nick suggests that the Baroness should take a lover, and she’s all, “Sure, I could buy one”, and yeah, with that attitude? She’d have to. I mean, I know why she has that attitude. It’s difficult not to, when everything you see every single day of your life tells you that you’re not attractive, you’re not the right shape/age/color/height/whatever. I sometimes think it must be even more terrible for women who once did meet all the criteria. Like, I’ve never been rewarded for my looks, ever, so I’ve always shrugged off all that shit. But if I’d been given a feedback loop about beauty, and then lost all those privileges? Yikes. That must be awful. Especially if it’s 18-oh-whatever, and you don’t actually have anything else to fall back on – no career to throw yourself into, literally no other worth than beauty. It’s all very well and good to say, Take a lover, have some fun; but this woman can’t see past her age and what she must take as her failure as a woman.
This episode is fucking bleak, you guys. Before we go on, here’s a bunny:
Okay. I feel better.
The Baroness goes on about how Nick’s a vampire, and of course, he denies, denies, denies. She says she’s smart and well-read enough to figure things out, because her intelligence is all she can rely on, but then goes on about imperishable beauty. And if Nick won’t make her a vampire, surely he’ll make her his mistress, because if she should be content to grow old and ugly, he has to throw her a bone about how intelligence is sexy, or something. But then some young chicky comes to take him on a walk in the garden – certainly not his mistress, because mistresses didn’t go to balls in 18-oh-whatever, and I can’t see him taking up with some protected virgin of the haute ton, can you? Anyway, he leaves with young chicky, obviously. Nick’s no Commander Riker.
So. Janette tells Nick that the boss-lady and her friends – Norma and Agnes – come in a few times a week. Dun dun dun!
Nick drives the boss-lady home, and she seems really out of it. So this is the perfect time to start interrogating her! Oh, but after a couple of questions, he sets up an interview time for tomorrow night. He starts talking to her about death, and she goes all weird, but thanks Nick for taking care of her and gets out of the car without incident. She also mentions that Norma was Miss Calgary Stampede once – just after “the war”. Nick drives off, and she drops her keys down a grate, so she shoots the lock off her door. Why are all these old ladies so good with guns?
Nat’s heard from the CDC. The virus – a strain of flu – has been extinct for 200 years. The latest sample, before hers, came from a 300-year-old body. Nat wonders if Norma could be a vampire, or something else, but Nick says not a vampire, and he’s never encountered anything else. Schenke comes in and says that Norma’s SS payment was legit. Nick and Nat go down to lockup, where the chicky from the gym – we’ll go with Agnes – is demanding to see Dr. Jurgen, because she needs her. But she doesn’t know where to find the plastic surgeon – she does consultations at the gym. Agnes is a little frantic.
Nat and Nick go down to the gym, and boss-lady – Bernice – is sitting in the dark and trying to make them go away as she puts on makeup. Nick ignores her personal boundaries and obvious body dysmorphic disorder and tells her she looks fine without makeup, and gets all in her face. She’s got mascara running down her face, and he’s all, “OMG, what happened to you?!” Um, what? She doesn’t look any different than she did last night, except for the makeup thing. Nick, if you really can’t see that, you maybe were actually blind when they made you a vampire. WTF.
Bernice tells him he doesn’t know what it takes to be beautiful, and he flashes back. The Baroness found a vampire to turn her – Janette. “Sometimes it takes a woman, Nicolas, to understand another woman’s plight.”
Which – Okay, let’s talk about female vampires for a minute. Back in the day, the age of maturity was usually 18 or 21. Women were married off and having babies around then; they were considered full adults. Some were brought out into society even younger. I mean, we’re talking about teenagers, here. Can you imagine, being a full-on adult at 21, and then being made a vampire? What if you were younger? Think about how that might hinder you in the coming years, when people can say with a straight face that a 27-year-old is “just a child, really” and people can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
The actors on the show are obvious adults, but really, I think we can safely assume that Janette was probably not very far into her 20s when she was changed, if that old at all. Same for the Baroness – if the actual character was over 30, I’d be shocked. How deeply entrenched is Janette in the beauty myth to chain another woman to such youth? I mean, probably it wasn’t something quite so pressing in 18-oh-whatever, but really, they’re only going to seem younger and younger as time goes on. Youth is not a bonus to vampirism, not for women. It just becomes another cage, forcing them to rely on hypnotic tricks to talk their way into ownership of things, into places to hunt, into adulthood.
I suppose when all women were owned, it didn’t make much difference, did it? But if we asked Janette, would she do it again? Has she found her youth to be a hindrance? Would she go back to a time when it wasn’t? Does she surround herself with those who would protect her for it, simply to make it easier on herself?
Is youth really something we should long for, on a practical level? Is having a young face really such a bonus? Or in a world that’s moving on from such overt patriarchy, is being young a detriment?
Agnes is freaking the fuck out in her cell, when Dr. Jurgen shows up. She’s the Baroness! Holy shitballs!
Nick leaves Bernice to her grief, or whatever, to take a phone call. Turns out Agnes has escaped, and he has to head back to the precinct. Nat says she’ll stay with Bernice to keep an eye on her.
The uniform in charge of the lockup doesn’t remember Dr. Jurgen showing up, probably because she put the mojo on him. Schenke’s grilling the guy when Nick shows up, and from the look on his face, we know he knows it’s another vampire. Nick puts the mojo on the uniform, and he says that Agnes’s doctor came to visit her, told him to unlock the door, and told him to forget. Mojo beats mojo. Good to know.
Bernice has locked herself in her office, and Nat’s trying to convince her to talk to someone, but no dice, yo. Nat goes into Dr. Jurgen’s office, which is unlocked, and starts snooping, just as Dr. J and Agnes roll up. Nat hides in a closet, and watches as Agnes complains about what’s happening to her and Dr. J prepares an injection. Which is, of course, her blood. Dr. J hears Nat’s heartbeat, though, and leaves the room…? I don’t – why wouldn’t she just confront her?
Anyway, she goes down to the pool, where Nick has just walked in, and says that her way is better than just turning people into vampires. But she never told them they were having injections of vampire blood, and what has she really done to them? What are they?
She wants him out. She thinks they’re better than vampires, and that Nick should assuage his guilt for “spurning Athena in his quest for Venus.” But Nick won’t take the blame for a lifetime of “vanity”, because ultimately, it’s the Baroness who devalued her own less-fleeting gifts.
Hey, lady, here’s this game that’s totally rigged against you. If you don’t play by the rules, we’ll make your life hell and you’ll probably die alone as an outcast. If you do play by the rules, you’ll come to hate yourself when all your “fleeting gifts” are gone, because the rules state that in them lies your only value. When you complain about playing by the rules, we’ll tell you it’s all your fault, and you should have played better. If you try to change the rules, we’ll tell you it’s impossible, this is all preordained biology, and you’re just bitter and ugly.
Everything ends up fine. Agnes gets shot, Nat gets rescued, Baroness runs away or gets staked or something – I don’t know, I was raging too hard to pay attention. But this is Forever Knight, so you know everything’s back to status quo at the end.
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