We’ve been waiting for it all season. Devon has been scheming since Week 1 of The Gates. For weeks, we’ve seen countless shots of dimly lit rooms, weird spell components in jars and all sorts of creepy crap on the walls. And this episode, in the two-hour season finale, we finally get to see what she’s been up to.
Devon, it seems, had been planning to kill her ex-husband’s current wife: Vanessa Buckley. In her grand plot, Devon would use the bewitched Sarah Monohan to poison Frank, who would then pass on his anti-vampire disease to his wife while leaving him unscathed. Devon’s plan worked; Frank became a carrier for the disease, and when Vanessa attempted to turn Frank into a vampire (at his behest), she shriveled up like a prune.
Now Devon is living the high life, right? It’s not like there’s a whole group of vampires who would kill her if they could trace the source of Vanessa’s death (this wouldn’t be hard to do, as the murder was a work of witchcraft, and there are only two witches in that entire town). And besides… with Vanessa dead, no doubt Frank would realize he loved Devon all along, and would come crawling back to her.
This appears to be Devon’s logical assessment of the situation, anyhow. For all the weeks of scheming she did, I’m surprised this is the best plan Devon came up with. At any rate, she certainly didn’t anticipate how grave Frank’s reaction would be after he inadvertently killed his wife. Saddened over Vanessa’s death, Frank ended up taking his own life.
Devon’s behavior may appear irrational – and it is – but this laughable sort of behavioral pattern has almost become a running gag in this show. In The Gates, short-sightedness and illogical thought processes are the modus operandi.
Another prime example of these mannerisms in practice is evident in Thomas Bates – who is the father of Charlie’s succubus girlfriend, Andie. Thomas has known for Andie’s entire life that she carries the succubus gene. As such, she is prone to sucking the life force out of many a hopeful suitor. However, he neglects to Andie this until she is far after the age where boys stop being “icky”… and then, only after she already causes harm to Charlie. Perhaps this one major oversight could be forgiven… but even after this talk occurs, Thomas has almost zero involvement in his daughter’s life. He doesn’t know if Andie’s dating anyone, or where she is half the time… he doesn’t even know if she’s taking the meds that keep her from harming other people! As a result of Thomas’ poor parenting skills, doom has constantly been foreshadowed around Andie and Charlie’s relationship.
After Charlie learned his family would be moving away from The Gates, he and Andie ran off together into the woods. Their exchanges with one another from this point on will no doubt go down in history as the most gag-inducing lines to be uttered during primetime network television. Don’t believe me? Here are two of my favorite lovey-dovey lines from their dialogue this week:
- I’m drawn to you like gravity.
- You were thinking you can’t live without me… which is exactly how I feel about you.
At this point, I attempted to kill what remaining functioning brain cells I had with alcohol. Charlie and Andie’s interactions in this episode may perfectly capture what it is like to be sixteen and lovesick, but I challenge anyone born before 1990 to watch those sequences and not become violently ill. But I digress.
As anyone could no doubt guess, things end poorly for Andie and Charlie. Andie depletes Charlie of so much life force that he can’t replenish it on his own. This prompts the Monohans to contact Peg (after they’re done chewing out Thomas for his ineptitude at parenting). Unfortunately, Charlie’s condition is too severe for Peg to cure. After much trepidation, they contact Devon, who may be able to save Charlie with Dark Arts.
Devon comes to the Monohan’s home and tells them that in order to save Charlie, she must kill him first. After many assurances from Peg that this is the only way to save Charlie, the Monohans agree to this procedure. They don’t, however, ask just what effects the Dark Arts will have on their son in the long term. Mistake!
Devon smothers Charlie and brings him back to life. However, the Charlie that comes back to life is not the same, sniveling, wimpy kid who died before. Strange, new powers emerge in Charlie – particularly after he learns that Andie has left The Gates in an attempt to keep him safe. Charlie, seeming to act under some sort of trance, is able to knock back his father using only the power of his mind and of his newfound evil grin. Devon, clearly pleased with herself, reminds the Monohans that she only promised to bring Charlie back – she never said he would be the same.
This is where Season 1 of The Gates comes to a close. Due to the relatively low ratings of the series, it is possible that this is the last we’ll see of The Gates at all. If this is not the case, I can’t help but imagine what the writers have in mind for The Gates Season 2. I imagine the Monohans will remain in The Gates, because they now have a “special” family member to keep concealed. That, and because if they left the community, it would be weird to have a show called The Gates when the Monohans don’t live there.
Closing Quick Hits on The Gates Season 1:
- We finally learn more about the mysterious ornamental box that Leigh keeps in her house. After an inquisitive Marcus goes poking around in Leigh’s house uninvited (he takes after Nick), Marcus comes across the box and opens it. Leigh comes home, and after a heated confrontation between the two, she comes clean about her secrets. Leigh admits that a jilted ex-boyfriend performed an evil ancient magic on her which removed her heart, so she would never love again. The box is all that remains. This is a bizarre subplot to tack onto the end of an already crowded season finale, but I thought it was worth mentioning all the same. And not at all because I totally called it a few weeks back.
- Marisol Nichols, who plays Sarah Monohan on the show, turns in perhaps the best performance of any of the actors this season. Late in the second hour of the episode, Sarah’s son Charlie is missing. She believes him to be in danger, and she has no idea where he has gone. Marisol’s nervous pacing, body language and strained voice all perfectly match that of a hysterical mother, and it was perhaps the most genuine I’ve seen any character behave on this show to date.
- I feel like the writers are doing all they can to make the audience favor the vampires over the werewolves. In The Gates, we see much more of the personal lives of vampires than we do werewolves; Claire and Dylan Radcliff are prominently featured, and the Buckleys have a few touching moments as well (before they, you know, die). The werewolves, however, all seem to be viewed in the show as rash, impulsive, territorial beasts. Sure, the vampires often behave in similar ways as well, but their tactics are more elegant, and their emotions are more romantic and passionate. Coach Ross is a likeable werewolf, but his character is not expanded on past his relationship with his pack; we don’t see the personal side of Ross. And the closest thing we get to a romantic werewolf in The Gates is Brett Crezski – the hot-headed, stubborn jerk who stalks Andie and dilutes her medication.
- On the inverse, the vampires (specifically the Radcliffs) are the real stars of this show. The relationship and story arch of Dylan and Claire has progressed all season, and culminated nicely in the finale. There was one moment I thought particularly stood out concerning those two; when Claire admits to have unintentionally helped Devon make her poison (by providing her blood under threat of blackmail), Dylan at first looks like his usual terse self, then unconditionally forgives his wife. This is a growth point for Dylan, as he is now more understanding of his wife and her motivations. It is likewise important to Claire’s growth, as this is the type of information that she would have concealed from her husband at the beginning of this season. Dylan and Claire end this season in dire straits – under persecution from the other vampires for attacking their own kind – but their relationship has finally evolved into a loving and trusting partnership.