The still for this episode is a pic of soldiers. I’m making this face right now:
I hate soldier-centric stories. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t like heavy violence, or I don’t like war, or just because they’re usually boring. But let’s get to it, shall we?
Some dude in a pickup truck pulls up to a little shotgun house with a chain-link fence around it. He pulls groceries out of the truck bed and goes to the gate, where there’s an intercom system. Floodlights blaze; the guy on the other end of the intercom – Mr. Linley – tells the kid he’s late, he should have been by before dark, but he lets the kid in anyway. Linley meets the kid at the door with a shotgun, which he proceeds to – rack? Cock? He does that pulling-down-the-barrel thing. Obviously, I know shit about guns.
Kid asks if he can put the gun down, and Linley says he never puts his weapon down, not even when he sleeps. Kid drops the groceries, and Linley pays him, with a generous tip. He then asks the kid if he went to see Casey Brooks. Kid says he called, but Brooks said he never heard of Linley. Linley’s all, “I called him already! He knows me! GO SEE HIM!”
Kid promises he’ll go and runs out of the house. Linley follows, saying that the kid should tell Casey that if Casey doesn’t come to him, he’ll go to Casey.
And then Linley gets killed by something that flies out of the sky at him.
Turns out whatever flew down at Linley killed him with his own knife. Nick finds some Asian writing on a wall inside the house, and it’s immediately Flashback Time. Nick’s driving a jeep through tall grass – at night, of course. He stops at a fallen tree, which has the same symbol on it. Nick comes back to the future and says what sounds like “Bin lock.” Twice.
Schanke’s all, “Wevs, weirdo,” and brings Nick up to speed on Linley. Guy’s got roughly a million guns, and he was American. There’s a note on the phonebook about correctional services, so Nick asks if he was on parole. Nope. But maybe he knew a parole officer?
They bring the grocery kid into the precinct, and he tells them about Casey Brooks. They try to pin the murder on the kid for a second, but honestly, that’s a dumb theory. They head out to see Brooks, who runs seminars for kids on probation and is highly regarded in the community.
Nick zones out in the car, and it’s Flashback Time again. He’s a doctor in Vietnam, giving kids vaccinations. One of the parents speaks English, and he asks her about the writing on the tree. She says it’s an old script, one they don’t use anymore, and it means “Clean”, but no one knows who wrote it.
At the youth center, some entirely wholesome-looking “troubled youth” are waiting for Casey to show up. Are troubled teens in Canada like the strippers? Like, not really troubled, completely well-fed and well-clothed? Man, this show makes Canada look like paradise – except for all the murders and the vampire infestation.
Anyway. Casey drops from the ceiling and then drops some wisdom on the kids before Nick and Schanke walk in. He says he doesn’t know Linley, but obviously he’s lying. News of Linley’s death rattles him, but he passes it off as a reaction to the crime-scene photo which is all Nick and Schanke have to show him. He returns to the kids, and Schanke’s all, “Dude knows we know he’s lying,” and Nick says that at least they have his fingerprints from the photo so they can compare them to the murder weapon.
After the kids leave, Casey has a PTSD episode about the war. Obviously past-Nick is going to run up against Casey and Linley’s war crimes. Yay.
Nat fills Nick and Schanke in on the details of the murder. Linley was killed while looking up, and someone cleaned blood off him. He also had a Vietnamese tattoo on one arm, which sends us back to the war zone with Nick.
He’s driving through somewhere, again, when he’s stopped by a roadblock. Some dude with a gun pops up from the brush and tells Nick not to move, but Nick’s already got his hands in the air when dude starts talking. Oh, check it – He’s been stopped by Linley and Brooks – whose name wasn’t Brooks, but Drake. Why Brooks didn’t show any recognition when Nick showed up at the youth center, I have no idea. Nick asks what unit they’re from, and Brooks says they’re called the clean-up crew – just like the symbol on the downed tree. When he comes back from the past, Nick tells Nat to get a rush on those fingerprints.
At Brooks’s house, Casey cleans off a sword and then has his own flashback. Jesus. If we could just solve a murder, here, I’d be so happy.
He and his men are “cleaning out” a village – the same one where Nick was immunizing kids. Everyone gets pulled out of their homes and herded into the street, and it’s mostly women and children. So Brooks and his men terrorize them thoroughly and start pistol-whipping when the villagers tell them there are no Viet-Cong in the village.
The prints are delayed, but Nick’s convinced that Brooks is the killer, so he runs out of the precinct to pick him up. Schanke goes with him, but keeps reminding Nick that they can’t make a case, they have no evidence, and there’s actually very little reason to suspect that Brooks did it. Why is Nick so convinced?
“Experience,” says Nick, and it’s back to Vietnam, obviously.
Nick goes down into a hidey-hole where all the soldier-vampires are staying and demands to know who’s feeding on the kids. I don’t know why this is his concern, because the writers haven’t told me this is even a plot-point, but fine. It gets Lacroix into the story, and he’s desperately needed. But we only see him for a second – “Complain, complain, complain. Is that all you ever do?” – before we’re back to Brooks’s flashback.
Some dude who wasn’t dragged out of his house comes out, and one of Brooks’s men is all, “VC! VC!” and starts shooting. Brooks – who two seconds ago pistol-whipped a woman in front of her children because she wasn’t giving him the answer he wanted – is suddenly all heroic and just and starts screaming at them to hold their fire.
In the present, Schanke’s still trying to get Nick to give it up, but Nick’s all lost in memories of yelling at Lacroix about eating kids. Lacroix is all, “I’m not hurting them”, and talks about how he takes a little from many instead of a lot from one, so that he doesn’t make them so weak they succumb to other illnesses. Then they hear gunshots, and he tells Nick that it’s probably all moot, anyway.
Up above the hidey-hole, Brooks is the only one not shooting or setting shit on fire. He looks so tortured, but, you know, pistol-whipping. Lacroix is right: the village will be gone by nightfall.
Nick and Schanke get to Brooks’s house, just as Brooks is leaving. He locks the door on them and runs back into the dark house, but of course Nick catches him and tells them they have to talk about “Bin Lock and the Clean Up Crew”.
Turns out that Brooks’s men have all died – 5 in-country, and all seven others since then. His entire identity is fake; he was court-martialed after the incident in the village – called Bin Lock. (Yes, I’m sure I’m spelling that wrong. I don’t know how to fix it, though, so apologies.) He didn’t want to have anything to do with Linley because he was afraid that Linley would draw the killer to him.
The prints finally come back, but the ones on the murder weapon aren’t Brooks’s. Captain Cohen’s all, “This case is a mess.” She tells them to sort their shit out before the end of their shift, so Schanke hits the paperwork and Nick goes to talk to “a source”.
In the village, Lacroix is lamenting that the soldiers couldn’t wait until later in the day to shoot everyone, because then at least he could have finished off the wounded. Nick’s all pissed off, and Lacroix asks what he’s going to do to bring these criminals to justice – the implied answer being, of course, nothing, because that’s what Nick does.
Nick heads out to The Raven. Janette makes a lovely quip about how taxes are inevitable – like death. Sometimes, I wish this show were just about Lacroix and Janette’s adventures.
Nick asks her if Lacroix ever mentioned Vietnam. Only that it was nicer under the French, and he had plantations there, she says. Nick asks if he mentioned any vampires he might have made, and Janette says no. So Nick leaves, and of course turns on The Nightcrawler in the car. Lacroix says that he knows “you” hunger for justice. “Come to me now.”
Nick does. Nick follows orders really easily. He walks into the studio and accuses Lacroix of making a vampire from the village. Which of course Lacroix did, in order to secure justice for them. It was one of the few men of the village, gravely wounded, but alive enough for Lacroix to work with. Isn’t vengeance what Nick wanted? What about the victims? What about Lacroix’s plantations?
Nick doesn’t want it this way. And Brooks has changed! To which Lacroix says that well, if Brooks can be forgiven, Nick can be, too, right? “It’s not about me!” says Nick. “It’s ALWAYS about you!” says Lacroix, and dude – he has a point.
Look, we can talk about how killing is wrong. Yes, it is. But these are vampires. They don’t follow a human moral code, and even for humans, the justice system is often no balm for those who have suffered terrible crimes. Some hearts long for vengeance – and some creatures can offer it. Lacroix made it possible for a victim of horrors to have revenge, to have a form of justice. I don’t know if Lacroix’s version of it is right. But he thinks it is, and he’s not as myopic as Nick, constantly trying to follow someone else’s arbitrary set of rules in order to atone for crimes committed centuries ago. I would almost go so far as to say that Lacroix’s moral code is, if not better than Nick’s, at least more accommodating of the grey areas of life. Nick likes black and white, because it means that he can come back from things he’s done, that he has a playbook to follow, that he doesn’t need to think too hard about moral ambiguities. That’s nice for you, Nick, but that’s not how the world works.
Anyway. Schanke calls Nick to tell him that Brooks has been released. Nick’s pissed, so he goes to find Brooks, and does, at the airport. He offers Brooks protective custody, and Brooks gives him a speech about living with guilt and how he tried to stop the massacre at Bin Lock. (Lac? Like French?) He’ll take his chances elsewhere.
Fine, says Nick, and offers him a crucifix to take with him. Brooks is all “Buh?” about it, but has no opportunity to ask questions because the villager-vampire shows up. Brooks recognizes him, and then recognizes Nick, finally.
Villager tells Nick to stay out of it, and of course Nick doesn’t. There’s some lame vampire fist-fighting, wherein Villager breaks a window in the hangar and exposes some sunlight, but before Nick can kill him, Brooks stops the fight because he wants to know if the dude was actually VC. Villager tells him to ask his family, his friends. Oh, but Brooks fucking can’t, can he, because they’re all dead.
Brooks pulls a gun on Villager, but Villager’s all, “You’re gonna shoot me again? OK. Have at it.”
Brooks says he’s sorry, and then turns the gun on himself.
Villager thanks Nick for his service as a doctor, and says there’s just one more thing to do, as he pushes the button to raise the hangar doors. He asks Nick not to interfere, and Nick doesn’t, so Villager goes up in flames.
Of course, everyone thinks Brooks was the killer, and this is all wrapped up really neatly. Schanke and Nick are talking about the report, and Schanke keeps calling him “Drake”. Nick says he shouldn’t do so: “By the end, he really was Brooks.” Because people can change, and anything can be atoned for.
Next week: Flatliners! But with vampires! Not Keifer Sutherland vampires!
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