Praise God! If you were like me and committed to ITV’s [[Demons (TV Series)|Demons]] in the hope of top notch supernatural ass-kicking fun, then you may be feeling a bit short changed today. We (you and I) sat through six episodes of dumb plots, dumb characters and some of the most sub-standard fight scenes ever shot.
So I tuned into the last episode of Demons yesterday evening in the hope that ITV would pay my patience back with a gripping finale. Did I get satisfaction? Not on yer nelly.
But before we get into that, how many elements of tonight’s episode were barefacedly pinched from [[Philip Glenister]]’s other series, [[Ashes To Ashes (TV Series)|Ashes To Ashes]]? There was the scary clown character at the start, the dark childhood secret revealed (Luke’s father wanted to mate with the half-lives), and to cap it all: baby Luke being saved from a car explosion by a shadowy figure who turned out to be…Philip Glenister’s character.
Anyway, Luke and Galvin are hunting down a clown in broad daylight, when one of the clown’s balls bursts and sprays Luke with green jizz (it’s really not as perverted as it sounds. really.) So Luke starts to have strange dreams about his father and a car crash, and a mysterious figure who stands and watches. And so, with an 80’s VHS tape of his father’s last warning: “watch out for something nasty posing as something nice”, Luke begins to suspect Galvin is not all he seems (A ridiculous character, a piss-poor demon hunter?)
His paranoia is helped along nicely when Mrs Doyle from Father Ted comes along looking for “Luke Van Helsing” despite his real name being Rutherford. But poor dumb Luke doesn’t bother to question her on this point, instead lapping up her charlatan psychic act and accepting it as more evidence to damn Rupert Galvin. By pretending to be chanelling the second-last Van Helsing – Luke’s father – Mrs Doyle and Gladiolus Thripp (who clearly didn’t die in the first episode) convince him to kill Galvin.
The feeble attempt at a story arc has been building throughout the series, with hints being dropped about Galvin, particularly zombie priest Father Simeon’s warning to Luke in the second episode.
Being charitable, the rest of the episode kind of blah, blah, blahs along until the ‘dramatic’ showdown between Luke and his mentor. Ruby and Mina show up, Gladiolus Thripp shows up. It’s a wonderful, homicidal reunion, but without the booze to make the party go smoother.
Mina breaks the sad news to Luke that his father was the betrayer – that Daddy Van Helsing was planning on breeding a race of hybrid creatures: half-human, half entity. She describes Galvin’s lie of omission as a brave move to make Luke think well of his father…even after everything that happened.
And so, Mina takes her vampire juice, rushes Thripp (who’s been taunting from the sidelines) and sinks her teeth into him. In response, he promptly turns into a CGI puddle, presumably dead. Luke stands looking gobsmacked with the big doe eyes: his default stance throughout the entire series. Later on, Galvin shows Luke the ‘unedited’ tape of his father ranting on about being the ambassador between the humand and the half-life. The nation collectively yawns. The episode ends on the widow Harker looking hot on top of London’s rooftops, and hopefully the curtain falls on this tragic series.
I breathed a sign of relief when the series ended. All the high hopes of the early episodes faded away to the blandness of the mid-series, and the ultimate disappointment of the finale. It’s tempting not to blame the cast – they had precious little to work with. Frank comments that:
Christian Cooke isn’t able to emote properly via the often terrible dialogue he’s given. He tries to make us feel for Luke’s predicament but I think the audience doesn’t give a hoot.
This vamp-lover also feels that the series producers had no understanding of the source material. It’s fair comment: Mina had some hybrid condition where she could filter her blood and despite being a vampire, walk about in daylight, and is blind until she drinks her vamp potion. Luke has some kind of super-reflexes, whereas I associate Van Helsing with bookish knowledge of the underworld. Luke’s intelligence was missing in action for the entire series.
So ITV’s six-part experiment in supernatural fiction failed pretty miserably. Hopefully there’s no danger of a return from this dull crew of smiters. I can even live with the one remaining mystery the series didn’t seem to answer: why didn’t Ruby have a second name?