Flashback, flashback, flashback! It’s time to see where Elena (Laura Vandervoort) and Clay’s (Greyston Holt) fairytale romance went astray in the past as things get more desperate in the present.
Let’s bitch it out…
Bitten divides its fifth episode (awkwardly named the same title) between two very different stories: the murder investigation in the present and Elena and Clay’s backstory in the past. In the present not much has changed as the “Psycho Mutt” gang continues to move against the Pack by leaving dead bodies in and around Stonehaven. This week’s casualty is Michael Braxton, who very publicly fought with Clay and whose body threatens to bring the town residents to the gates with pitchforks. Because Jeremy (Greg Bryk) is determined to avoid arousing suspicion, he muzzles Clay by keeping him in the house, forcing Elena to take action and move the body herself (in wolf form – naturally).
A late in the hour meeting with Santos (Michael Luckett) doesn’t reveal a great deal of new information (Side Note: are we not supposed to know that Santos is evil? Because he is ten shades of creepy…like those twins from The Following). Of course, shadiness from Santos aside, there are two big pieces of information that we’re meant to take away from his explanation of what’s occurring: 1) Clay is wild without Elena around to control him and Elena’s lone female status makes her a high profile target (this was clear from last week’s threat on the wall of the motel, and is repeated again when Noah Danby’s Cain recruits Patrick Garrow’s Victor by name-dropping Elena).
The past and present scenes don’t really gel until the end of ‘Bitten’ when Elena uses her recent actions to justify (once again) her retreat back to Toronto. This is problematic for a number of reasons, the least of which is that this is the same old argument we’ve heard every episode since the show began. What may have worked in the book is becoming tiresome and repetitive in the series and there’s no drama in Elena’s protests since we know that she’ll return to Stonehaven (and choose Clay) in the near future.
Barring that complaint, the flashbacks are constructive for finally making explicit what has previously only been inferred (or used as verbal ammunition). We journey back four years to when Elena became Clay’s typist at a Canadian university (presumably she’s a graduate student? As much as the cutesy skirts are an attempt to make Vandervoort look younger, she’s awfully old looking for an undergraduate student). There’s little in the way of courtship as we see her hired, boinked on the couch and then introduced to Jeremy as Clay’s fiancé before she’s bitten and left to survive or die in the cell in the basement. It’s barely more than cursory overview of their relationship, which is fine if you’re feeling the chemistry between them and not overly helpful if you’re not.
I unfortunately find myself in the latter camp as I just don’t feel the chemistry between these two (I feel like Vandervoort and Byrk work better together than she does with Holt). Of all the flashbacks scenes, however, I’ll readily concede that Elena’s first transformation is exceedingly well done, especially for what it reveals about the fatherly/mentor relationship she has with Jeremy (Clay is noticeably absent for her first time). CGI effects aside, this scene works because it feels like Vandervoort finally taps into the pain and confusion that the role requires. Unfortunately these flashback scenes present us with much more agreeable versions of both Elena and Clay, which only serves to highlight how aggressively unlikable she is and how irrational he is in the present.
- I died a little inside when Elena references the story behind the Zeus statue, which is clearly symbolic of Clay’s inability to come to her in his “true form”. Subtlety thy name is Bitten.
- Elena looks genuinely afraid of Clay as they pack up his office – it’s meant to be romantic, but until they take each other’s hand, it kinda looks like she thinks he’s going to kill her and bury her body in a shallow grave.
- Just in case you’re ever bitten by a werewolf, please note that your must dramatically alter your wardrobe. Skirts are strictly verboten; once bitten you can only wear skin-tight pants.
- In the goddawful Philip (Paul Greene) / vodka story, Elena’s fiancé is asked to build a campaign around a video of what is clearly werewolves playing in the woods. It suggests that there’s a more malevolent component to this campaign against the Pack, but all I really want to know is whether the coffee shop they’re in is the same as the one from Being Erica.
- It’s fun to see Joel Keller again (Peter, killed back in 1×03 ‘Trespass’). There’s a lovely camaraderie between him, Clay and Nick (Steve Lund) in their brief flashback
- Finally, no sign of Logan (Michael Xavier) after his meeting last week with Santos. Hope he’s doing okay!
- Elena (when Clay asks how to spell Tlingit): “Does it start with FU?” Take note kids: this is not an appropriate interview technique.
- Cain (propositioning Victor following his release from prison): “Have a seat. I promise I won’t bite.” Let’s do away with these kinds of lines, shall we?
What’s your take on this flashback heavy episode? Do you feel more informed on Elena and Clay’s tortured backstory? Are you getting tired of Elena’s repeated desire to no longer be a wolf and return home to Toronto? Is Santos playing both sides or is he just straight-up messing with the Pack? And what has happened to Logan? Sound off below
Bitten airs Saturdays at 9pm EST on SPACE in Canada and Mondays at 8pm EST on Syfy in the US