The Gates Watch: Dog Eat Dog

After watching several episodes of The Gates, you might think that being a vampire or werewolf is cool, or mysterious, or romantic. It’s not. Well, actually, it sort of is. But being a vampire or werewolf isn’t all full moons and free-range humans; it also comes with some seriously messed up domestic relationships.

Take Dylan and Claire for example. From the outside, they seem like your average upper-class husband and wife. Two car garage, loving adopted child, refrigerators full of blood – all the essentials of today’s modern suburban family. But delve a little deeper, and you’ll find a strained, possessive relationship absolutely devoid of trust.

Dylan doesn’t trust Claire because… well, why should he? She’s previously killed from inside The Gates (after promising not to), and this week, Dylan discovered she’s been hunting on the outside as well. And with Dylan’s best friend, no less! Granted, there wasn’t any specific implication of romantic entanglement when Claire finally admitted her dealings to Dylan, but maybe hunting has some special significance to vampires. That, or Dylan just doesn’t like being kept in the dark.

On the other hand, while Claire trusts Dylan, she also has plenty of reason to fear him. After being attacked by an increasingly jealous Christian, Claire admits the extent of their affair to Dylan. Dylan promptly leaves and doesn’t return until the next morning. When Claire asks what he did, Dylan merely answers, “I fixed it.” Yes, that’s one way of putting it. Another way would be: “I brutally murdered your paramour by leaving him to burn to death in the sun after tying him to a tree and washing off his sunscreen.” But I guess that would have taken too long to say. Dylan ends the episode by telling Claire that, her mistrustful ways aside, she’s still his wife. I guess so, but I think they still need to book an appointment with the Vampire Marriage Therapist.

What the Radciffs need are some good, wholesome couples in The Gates to emulate. Too bad there aren’t any to be found – at least not among their werewolf neighbors. In this episode, Simon Ford continued his campaign for Father of the Year; he’s previously smacked around his 15-year-old son, and this week he similarly shows his love to his wife as well. He rounds out the episode by brawling in public, getting intoxicated, and at the end, abandoning his family. But not before asking Nick to tell his son how proud of him he is. What a champ.

Lukas, presumably fed up of all the beatings thrown his mom’s way, finally takes it upon himself to return the favor. When Simon comes home inebriated late at night, Lukas confronts him. Simon takes a swing at his beloved son, which Lukas evades and answers with repeated punches to the face.

Since Simon was the previous pack leader, Lukas becomes the new alpha wolf of the pack. This makes him a target for any wolf in the pack looking to usurp his leadership status. As a result of this, Lukas keeps his involvement in his father’s “attack” unknown, and the Pack believes the assault to be the work of the vampires (with whom Simon brawled with earlier in the episode). This would break the truce between werewolves and vampires in The Gates.

However, we never do get to see that Underworld-inspired throw-down, since Supercop Nick once again cracks the case in the “Nick” of time (sorry for the horrible pun). Nick discovers it was Lukas – not a vampire – who attacked Simon, and he learns Lukas’ predicament in the process. He turns to Coach Ross for advice on the matter… probably because he’s one of the only two werewolves Nick knows (having only learned of their existence hours before). Coach Ross, who is the beta wolf of the pack, agrees to tell the other wolves that he was the one behind the attack in a play for pack dominance (which apparently is completely kosher in the werewolf community).

Though Simon Ford has left The Gates, Brett seems determined to maintain the unfavorable male werewolf stereotype in his place. Having recently learned about Andie’s half-succubus nature, Brett has been pushing more and more for Andie to give in to her temptation. She’s already been reckless by refusing to take her medication, which causes Charlie to get hurt; now, with Brett’s coaxing, she seems willing to pursue yet another relationship with physical contact. Brett believes he would be immune to Andie’s succubus powers, since his lycanthropy allows him to heal faster than humans. Sounds like it could work, right? Well, we also learn in this episode from Witch Doctor Peg that without her medication, Andie will die. Uh oh.

You know what? Maybe Simon Ford isn’t the worst father of the year; Thomas Bates is. If he were more honest with Andie about the severity of her condition, and about the importance of taking her medication, she wouldn’t be in the life-threatening bind she currently finds herself in.

Quick Hits:

- Mia, Peg’s daughter and Andie’s best friend, was discovered this week to be the secret pupil of Devon -- everyone’s favorite witch and seductress. We also learn Devon has a supply of Devil’s Weed in the store… and while we don’t exactly know what that is, I’m assuming she’s not baking it into a batch of brownies and heading to a Phish concert. This adds to Devon’s ever-increasing list of “foreboding things that will probably pay off in the season finale”. This season only has four episodes left, and it remains to be seen what shenanigans will take place as the story arrives at its zenith, but one thing is for sure: there’s no doubt Devon will be heavily involved in the episodes to come.

- This episode marks the second time in four weeks Nick has been forcibly pulled through a broken window. Nick may be a bit of a pain sometimes, but it’s hard not to feel bad for the guy. He’s clearly out of his league, at least from a physical standpoint.

- Nick has, however, built diplomatic relationships with both tumultuous factions of The Gates, much in the same way as his wife. He’s already quite chummy with Dylan – a very influential vampire in The Gates – and now he’s earned the respect of the wolf pack’s new alpha.

- ABC could stand to pump a little more dough into the effects budget of The Gates. As Simon runs off into the night in the last shot of the episode, he transforms. This would be cool to see, but unfortunately for us, this transformation occurs in the split second he runs behind a brick pillar in Nick’s back yard.

- Before skipping town, Simon Ford imparts some advice to Nick: the truce between vampires and werewolves won’t last forever, and when it breaks, he won’t want to be there. He says vampires and werewolves just weren’t meant to live together… and you have to admit: for a wife-beating, child-abusing, alcoholic, power-hungry jerk, he’s got a point. Just why in the heck do these two factions have to live in the same gated community, anyway? It’d be much easier for all involved if one lived in The Gates, and the others lived elsewhere. Of course, that would make for far less compelling TV.