SNOWFLAKES! It’s the season finale! Are you ready? Can you handle it? The episode synopsis promises to reveal “the ghastly event which turned Nicholas against Lacroix forever.” Huh. And here I thought it was spelled “Nicolas”, being as he’s French, and all. Oh, well. Onward!
Ooh, “sexy” “music” and candle-lighting. Rose petals in a bubble bath. I remember this one, though not the “ghastly event”. A woman is dressing, or being dressed – her nails are painted by someone else – and then she’s in a park, sitting on a bench. Of course, she’s dead. Some kids playing pickup stickball find this out, and I’m sure that’s not going to result in any therapy bills at all.
Nick checks his mail, then goes into the precinct where Schenke is being gross about a Victoria’s-Secret-esque lingerie catalog. Nick’s just in time for the “Jane Doe Slide Show”, which turns out to be crime scene photos. The woman from the open was a model, reported missing four months ago. She was a catalog model from “Classy Intimates”.
Schenke goes on a rant about how the catalog is getting more risque and now Myra won’t leave them around the house.
Schenke. Whut are you doin, talking about your masturbatory habits. Schenke. STAHP.
Apparently, the vic wasn’t stalked, and all the staff associated with her shoots check out. Her body was still in prime condition, which casts doubt that she’d been held captive for the last four months by a kidnapper. They can’t decide if the body was staged as part of the killer’s vision, or if he wanted to make it look like she was alive so he could get away more easily. Basically, they’ve got nothing.
They flip through a few more slides until they get to someone who makes Nick sit up: Lucy Preston. And of course, it’s Flashback Time!
Lucy – who won’t be Lucy now, of course – is a ballerina. Looks like Swan Lake, but doesn’t sound like it. Nick and Janette are in a box, and Janette says that tonight, they go backstage. Nick is all, “No! Forsooth, I shall not taint her with one such as I!” and Janette’s all
“But this is so. fucking. boring. Just bone her already!” and Nick’s all, “I cannot! For I am terrible, and must not do such a thing to her!” And then Janette rolls her eyes some more and we’re back at the precinct.
Lucy Preston is apparently the “queen of lingerie”, says Schenke, “every husband’s soft-core fantasy.” Schenke. STAHP.
The first model – Stephanie – was expertly made up, only three hours before she was found, less than an hour after her death. Her stomach is full of champagne, paté, and caviar. She’s been living in luxury, and nothing on her body suggests otherwise. Is Nick sure she was kidnapped? (Josephine says yes, here. Excuse me, I mean, “Fuck yeah she was! Genteel captivity is still fucking captivity.” I bow to her expertise.)
Schenke comes in to drag Nick to a catalog photo shoot. At The Raven. Awwww, yiss.
Janette is wearing another fabulous pair of gloves – lace, this time – and says she wanted to show off her new decor. She asks Nick what he thinks of Lucy, and doesn’t she remind him of Ballerina Girl? To which Nick flashes back, of course, and he’s explaining to Lacroix that what he sees in Ballerina is “purity. Absolute purity. She’s the closest thing to an angel that I’ve ever seen.”
Oh, gross. I am not in the mood to take on the purity myth this morning. So I’ll let my links do it for me. Probably. We’ll see.
But back in the club, Nick says that Lucy Preston is “just a model,” all sneery, and that even though it’s been 100 years, he still won’t talk about Ballerina.
The photographer has no ideas. Lucy comes in while he and Nick are talking, and then there’s a crash and an assistant comes in, looking all nerdy and scared when he tells the photog it’s another flash umbrella, but they can just bend it back. Photog takes him and goes back into the main bar, leaving Nick with Lucy. She thinks that he’s from a nudie mag, and she hasn’t said yes yet, so Nick flashes his badge in a scene from the opening credits. Nick tells Lucy that Stephanie’s dead, and Lucy gives him a card in case he has more questions, then goes back to the shoot. Schenke hasn’t found anything, either, and he and Nick leave to see if Nat’s gotten any of her test results back.
But the shoot goes on. The photog is harassing Lucy about letting her robe fall open to show more skin. Lucy’s not thrilled, and makes no move to adjust her clothes. Photog tells the nerdy guy – Murdich – to adjust it for her. He does so, timidly, apologizing with a gesture to Lucy.
I guess Nat had no results, because Nick goes home to brood and flash back some more. He finally goes to Ballerina’s dressing-room, but the scene ends with him snapping himself out of it and putting on some “rock” “music” to change his mood.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s leaving the shoot. She separates from the other girls, and someone shoves a cloth over her face. She’s gone.
In the precinct the next night, Nick gets the news of Lucy’s disappearance – right before Janette walks in, offering to redecorate the place. Nick shoves her into an interrogation room; turns out, she’s been called down for questioning in Lucy’s disappearance. Nick wants to know if vampires killed Lucy, and Janette lets slip that none of the vamps feed on humans anymore. Well, hardly ever. This is fascinating. I mean, I suppose in a big city, there are enough butchers to supply everyone with their own barrels of blood and their own gravy boats, but you have to wonder what the exclusive reliance on bottled blood might do to the vampire psyche. Make them more violent? Less? More or less human? Is it repression of a natural instinct? Does the bottled blood satisfy in the same way? What happens to vampires who go rogue – are the Enforcers always called in, or can it be handled locally? Is there vampire AA? Bloodaholics Anonymous?
Just some things to think about.
Janette is delightfully sarcastic about all of this, and I love her so much for it. Nick takes everything so damn seriously, it’s nice to see someone having fun living forever.
Lucy wakes up in a beautifully-appointed bedroom with bars on one window, a brick wall for the other, and a locked door. As she flops on the bed in fear, someone looks on from the other side of the bars.
In the 1890s, Lacroix is berating Nick for his ballerina obsession. “What can you possibly hope to gain by gazing on her from afar?” He thinks Nick should go introduce himself.
“I would only repulse her,” Nick says. “Purity is always repulsed by pure evil.”
“Purity is an illusion,” spits Lacroix. Team Lacroix 4EVA, you guys.
Nick thinks Ballerina embodies his humanity. Lacroix outlines three paths for Nick: love the girl like a human, which is right out; continue to moon over her and drive everyone else crazy; or take her. Kill her. Nick looks all put out at Lacroix, who wonders where Nick gets these ideas. The ballerina isn’t anything special. She’s a dancer, and if we don’t know what that means, he elaborates: “She’s nothing more than a common whore. Take her when it’s your turn.” I suppose I can quibble with his wording, here, but really, Lacroix is a man of his time – all of them. At least he’s got a much more realistic view of a woman on the stage – and at that point in history, many actresses and dancers did make at least part of their living being mistresses. There wasn’t much choice for them in the matter, of course, but they certainly weren’t “angels” who should have been pedestalized.
Nick goes home to find Janette in his apartment. “Something is troubling you,” she says, and Nick tries to pass it off as his job, and nothing more. She tells him that no matter how deeply he buries himself in this mortal world, he can’t deny that they’re both still the children of Lacroix, and lately, that connection has been humming. She wants to know what happened to the dancer, because obviously Lucy Preston has brought all this up.
Lucy’s huddled in a chair in her lovely room, when a gift-wrapped box comes through a slot in the door. She recoils from it, and asks that “Whoever you are, just please tell me why I’m here!”
Nat’s tests are finally back. Stephanie’s skin had photo-developer on it, and Schenke says that Photog threatened Stephanie before her death, since she was talking about leaving his employ. Nick and Schenke go to Photog’s to talk some more, where they find him hanging in his dark room, an apparent suicide. The note admits to killing Stephanie and maybe Lucy, too, but Nick’s not convinced.
Lucy’s screaming at her still-unseen captor, throwing the dress he gave her across the room and then smashing the mirror with a soup bowl from her dinner. It reveals her captor – Charlie Murdich, the nerdy guy from the shoot. He didn’t plan to kill Stephanie – he wanted to protect her – but she didn’t know what he wanted. Lucy begs to go home, but he says no: “Someone has to protect you.”
Lacroix baits Nicolas about his ballerina some more, telling him what a whore she is, just as two men leave her dressing room. Nick bursts through her door, convinced he’ll find a weeping, just-raped woman, but Ballerina looks up at him and smiles, pleased to see another fan. (She also does not look like she did anything but talk to those dudes, so, you know.)
In a couple of short scenes, Nick tells Nat his doubts about Photog’s suicide, and Lucy decides to put on the dress Charlie gave her, to curry favor and get the hell out of her prison.
Nick goes to The Raven to finally tell Janette what happened. He says he was tricked, and then we’re back in Ballerina’s dressing room. He says he wanted to make sure she was all right, and she says that she’s had so many visitors that night – and calls him by name. She recognized him from all the performances. Janette says he must have been very flattered, and he says no – “For a moment, I thought I was worthy, and it was painful, knowing it was all an illusion.”
He tries to leave the dressing room, saying they should never have met. Ballerina asks him to stay and kisses him, saying she loves him. She’s been watching him, knowing it would come to this meeting someday. Nick denies her – “How can you love me?” – wondering how she can tolerate evil. She looks a little put-out by that, like, “Um, dude? What?” Nick decides she can’t possibly be pure, and kills her.
“I killed her for betraying my fantasy,” he tells Janette, and thank God he recognizes what a dick move that is. I didn’t want to flip any tables today.
Nat calls. Photog’s suicide wasn’t a suicide, duh. But there was no sign of a struggle in the darkroom, which gives Nick an idea of who might have murdered him.
Lucy’s all done up in Charlie’s present, and she invites him to have dinner with her, “in this beautiful room you made for me.” She says that Stephanie didn’t know what he wanted, but she does.
Nick gets Charlie’s address from Schenke, even though his alibi checked out. He’s flying across the city as Lucy is trying to play Charlie by confessing she’s always felt the same way about him. Charlie says that they took advantage of her, and she says they did, when all she wanted was to be with him. She kisses him, and he flips out – “You’re not like that!” – and tries to kill her. She beans him with a champagne bottle and bolts for the door, running out into the night until she comes upon a pitchfork she threatens him with. He takes it from her, but Nick shows up. He breaks the tines off the pitchfork, which leaves Charlie with a stake. Charlie confesses everything. He lunges at Nick with the stake, but Nick dodges, and Charlie impales himself on the pitchfork tines.
Over Ballerina’s body, Lacroix tells the two men who’d just left her room – who are vampires – that “It worked. We have our Nicolas back.” Nick proclaims he hates Lacroix, who says, “Good. Hate is a step in the right direction.”
Nick is telling the story to Janette, who says she never knew what happened, just that that was when Nick started drawing away from them. Nick says it did him a favor: it made him realize the hypocrisy of killing only the “guilty”. Vampires are the guilty; humans are innocent. It made him quit killing altogether.
Janette says that Lacroix’s trick backfired, but then, she supposes Nick got his revenge – and we’re treated to scenes of Lacroix’s death in the second part of the pilot. “Oh yes,” Nick says, as the scene cuts to someone being drained of blood, “I got my revenge.”
The vampire doing the draining turns around.
It is, of course, Lacroix.
This was a heavy episode, you guys. I love the ones with Janette not only because she’s fabulous, but because they always seem to center on these big themes: killing, betrayal, the very nature of vampirism and how one lives in the world, century after century, tied to other people whether you like it or not. She’s always so sane and centered. Lacroix is great fun as a villain, Nick is an utter bore of a hero, but Janette is always the very reasonable glue that holds them together, that makes the show actually work as more than just a string of vampire and cop cliches.
I’m looking forward to season two!
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