by Mark Greig
Congratulations to everyone who has stuck with The Fades this far. Your perseverance has finally paid off and you are being rewarded with three stellar episodes, starting with this one. Unlike those that came before it, this episode had focus and drive. All the tedious teen drama from the first three episodes has finally been put aside as The Fades finally becomes the show I hoped it would be.
Because of the way the plot worked it is very easy to break this episode down into three distinct acts.
Act One – Revelation
This act was mostly all exposition. A good chunk of it was spent on the hospital roof as Paul, now experiencing how the other half live following his accident, gets to know John, our regenerated big guy. John's arrival gave us some much needed insight into the Fades and their motives. From the start of the series, they've been portrayed as just a bunch of one dimensional monsters. A threat for our heroes to deal with and nothing more.
John gives the them a face and a voice. Turns out they aren't the bad guys after all. Sure, they've killed a load of people and fed on their corpses, but it's really the Angelics who are the true villains or something. His backstory was a tragic one so I'm not surprised that it made Paul more than a little sympathetic towards him.
Act Two – Retribution
This act was a mini horror film as Paul, winner of this year's Adric Award for Excellence in Gullibility, lead John to where the Angelics were holding Natalie. Unsurprisingly, this lead to a tiny bit of carnage. In Paul's defence, John did promise not to hurt anyone. And if you can't trust the word of a serial killing ghost turned zombie turned immortal then I don't know what the world is coming to.
Paul's 'death' finally pushed Neil over the edge. With Sarah, Helen and now Paul gone, he's truly on his own. He put all his hopes on Paul saving them and he's a vegetable. The Easter Bunny is dead, time to breakout the Jack Bauer playbook. First, become slightly unhinged. Second, torture your enemy, Third, alienate your friends. Fourth, become even more unhinged and start shooting things. And fifth, no matter how crazy it may seem, go along with your friend's questionable scheme to infiltrate the Fades.
As glad as I am that Sarah has finally broke free of the depressing Mark storyline, I can't help but question her motives on this one. I'm pleased that she's managed to escape the Mark storyline, but does she really want to bring down John and the Fades or does she see this as her only chance of being reunited with her husband? Forget him, luv. The guy's a complete plank.
Act Three – Resurrection
Dealing with Paul's return to life, via Phil and Alice's spiritual liver transplant, this was the best part of the episode. I could drone on about this act all day. Everything about this scene works: the acting, the direction, even the low-key FX. But I'm going restrain myself and make a shout out to series composer Paul Thomson. His music is simply brilliant during these scenes. You really get the sense, despite the obvious low budget, that something monumental is taking place.
Notes and Quotes
--John speculated that the dead stopped ascending due to the sheer number of fatalities resulting from World War II.
--Anna got some much needed character development in this episode. It was nice to finally see her as something more than just a mean spirited selfish bitch.
--John kills and eats three people in this episode, yet miraculously doesn't get a single drop of blood their clothes
--As of this episode, Joe Dempsie replaces Daniela Nardini in the opening credits.
Phil: “So he's really dead, then.”
Neil: “Yep. He's really dead.”
Neil: “And you know what? It's a good thing.”
Phil: “A good thing?”
Neil: “Because it's not relying on some sort of rescue package now. Okay, Superman is dead. God is dead. The Easter Bunny is dead.”
Mac: “I found some really clever wizards! I found the exhaust port!”
Paul: “I'd rather spend forever up here than... I wouldn't help you even if it cost me everything!”
John: “Cost you everything? You don't know what "everything" means. For seventy years I watched my wife suffer while my Fade body rotted away from me. You're a fucking child. And I will not be lectured by you!”
Neil: “Sarah, am I a... am I good man?”
Sarah: “You're a principled wanker who gets confused sometimes. You're also one of the best men I know.”