Season 2, Episodes 1-2
Airdate: Friday, April 18, 2015, 9/8c on Syfy
It’s been months since the season one finale of Bitten left viewers at the edge of their seats with Philip’s (Paul Greene) shocking death and the kidnapping of Logan’s (Michael Xavier) very pregnant significant other, Rachel (Genelle Williams). In a whopping two hour season premiere, Bitten returns with a vengeance in both “Bad Blood” and “Scare Tactics,” delivering action packed story lines as well as introducing some new characters along the way.
The Big Picture
As the alpha for the North American werewolf pack, Jeremy Danvers (Greg Bryk) has his share of troubles, his twisted and homicidal father Malcolm (James McGowan) among them. Bryk manages to deliver a very cool demeanor in his interpretation of Jeremy even when the scenes call for violence; there is an understated element in his acting that doesn’t make Jeremy into an exaggerated sort of character.
The first part of the season two premiere, “Bad Blood,” focuses heavily on tying up the loose ends from the season one finale, “Ready.” Considering how Philip was Elena’s (Laura Vandervoort) fiancée, and the manner in which she discovered his death — his decapitated head in her bed a la The Godfather — I expect the guilt she feels about dragging him into her werewolf world may play a big part of how she acts this season.
Even though the source of Elena’s wrath is clear, “Bad Blood” doesn’t waste time in showcasing the significant change in her behavior. In season one, Elena fought against her animalistic instincts, refusing to kill unless necessary. In “Bad Blood,” Elena goes on an impulsive killing spree with Clayton (Greyston Holt) by her side trying to keep her in control. Yes, Clayton; the guy who notoriously tortures people for the truth is keeping tabs on Elena. It’s great seeing the tables turn for Elena who used to be conscientious about her dark side, but now embraces it for all the wrong reasons. Vandervoort does a great job of expressing Elena’s sorrow while struggling to contain her violent urges against the people responsible for Philip’s death.
Complicating matters is Malcolm’s involvement with a mutt uprising, and the subsequent problems it poses on the entire werewolf community. Mutts are werewolves who are not associated with any pack and are often feral in nature, making them much more dangerous. Unfortunately for Jeremy, the leaders of the Council of International Alphas question his leadership, and find the penalty for his father’s actions falls unto him.
Meanwhile, all the members of Jeremy’s pack, Elena, Clay, Logan, and the charismatic Nick Sorrentino (Steve Lund), desperately search for Malcolm’s location when a mysterious series of events presents an even greater problem.
The second half of the premiere, “Scare Tactics,” outlines more of the events that will set the pace for the rest of the season. When circumstances lead Malcolm into Jeremy’s custody, the episode really picks up the pace. Apparently, Jeremy isn’t the only one interested in Malcolm. The introduction of supernatural elements in the premiere expands the mythology with a lot of fascinating possibilities for story lines this season.
By the Book
Some may or may not be surprised to learn Bitten is based on the “Otherworld” book series by Kelley Armstrong. This fact plays such a crucial part in understanding the tone and direction for season two. The “Otherworld” is a supernatural plane where non-human entities exist in our everyday world but are hidden in the shadows. In line with the book series, “Scare Tactics” follows the events in Armstrong’s “Stolen,” which includes the spellbinding realm of witches. Significant characters, like the women from the Winterbourne family, make an appearance, but the extent of how the TV series plans to stay true to the source material remains to be seen. Considering Rachel’s precarious situation, I have a feeling there will be many parallels between the book and the TV series.
A lot happens in the sophomore season of Bitten, and so far, my feelings are a bit torn. Normally, I love it when a series stays true to its literary source material, but the transition of the events that ended season one to the present state of affairs in season two of Bitten feels a bit rushed. The premise of Bitten concerns Elena’s journey, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment. I have no problem seeing the focal point shift away from Elena; I just wish we saw more of Elena processing Philip’s death in “Bad Blood.” I understand the main conflict of this season revolves around a deadly supernatural force, and that it must be introduced in the beginning of season two to establish the drama; however, I don’t think it would have hurt to slow things down just a little bit.
Another issue I have concerns the problems some viewers may have if they are unfamiliar with the books. Although there are hints in season one about other supernatural entities, bringing together the Winterbourne witch story line and the explanation of “Otherworld” is a lot to process, especially when Rachel’s story line alone is enough to fill several episodes.
What I love are the flashbacks to Clay’s childhood and the extent of Malcolm’s devastating impact on his life. Malcolm is the kind of villain who loves to mess with people’s emotions. Holt and McGowan are terrific in their scenes together, adding to the great cast of actors in Bitten.
Even though I have some problems with the pacing, I did get a little giddy when Paige Winterbourne (Tommie-Amber Pirie) shows some of her powers as a witch. I have read most of the series and Paige is one of my favorite characters. I can’t wait to see how faithfully the magical elements in the books translate onscreen.
Overall, the good outweighs the flaws. “Bad Blood” and “Scare Tactics,” written by Daegan Fryklind and Will Zmack, have no shortage of great action scenes with suspenseful moments. I appreciate the way the cast acts their hearts out, whether it is violently ripping someone’s throat apart or breaking down in complete fear. I am anxious to see what awaits Malcolm and the rest of the Danvers’ clan as their world gets much more dangerous with the threat of death around every corner.
What did you think of “Bad Blood” and “Scare Tactics?” Post your comment below or on Twitter @conallen.
Follow the series on its official site on Syfy: http://www.syfy.com/bitten, where you can also watch videos and clips of the episodes.
Follow Bitten on its official Twitter @bittentv, as well as the cast: Laura Vandervoort (@Vandiekins22), Greyston Holt (@greystonh), Greg Bryk (@gregbryk), Paul Greene (@paulgreenemedia), Steve Lund (@leven_stund), Michael Xavier (@michael_profx), Tommie Amber Pirie (@TommieAmber), and Kiara Glasco (@kiaraglasco).
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Photos ©2015 Syfy, a division of NBC Universal, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Connie Allen. All rights reserved.
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