This Blood Drive review contains spoilers.
Blood Drive Episode 13
Blood Drive ends the season in as much suspense as the series itself. Will it be renewed? Can it be renewed? Should it be? The Bleeders, which is what the fans of the show call themselves, are a small but vocal group, are already calling out for SyFy to make a commitment. The series took all this into consideration when they mapped out the first season arc. Blood Drive takes as many TV executives’ lives as they do drivers.
The ultimate soulless executive is Karma, Grace’s sister, nemesis and reason for living. South African actress Alex McGregor (Of Kings and Prophets), who plays Karma, has run the gamut of extremes this season. She was the innocent corrupted by sensuality who now runs the show, because she fought for it. She leaves behind a vast expanse of road kill, most are still surprised they’ve been run over. The best line read of the night goes to the half-man, half-nothing, left to die in a subterranean corridor. Told he’s not half the man he used to be, he screams “She cut me in half? That bitch.” As if it’s the first he’s hearing of it. Flawless delivery in a show defined by its flaws.
Not so the former LAPD cop and once and future Primo. Arthur has a magical dick, and won the love of Karma’s overshadowing sister. And still Grace blows herself to kingdom gone in the show. For a period of time where everyone looks out for themselves, the post-scar people are always willing to sacrifice themselves. Even the guy with half a body still uses his intact pointer finger as a last minute gesture, not the middle one. Arthur is all compassion as the walls move in on the dying half man. The Primo hasn’t lost his humanity.
“Humanity, so sorry for you,” Slink tells the former sexbot who got a taste for real flesh. Aki is no longer a unit, she’s a human. She’s found consciousness and it knocks her out. Christopher is so happy to see his former partner he chokes him on the way up, no longer knowing his own strength, being all tech and awesome. They go back a long way, back to days when people still quoted their grandmothers’ versions of feminism. They’ve both shared, separately, new lives and loves since they gook on Heart Enterprises. Aki feels bad for all, well most, of the pain she’s caused Christopher. She hates what she did to him while he was a mere mortal recruit. Looking at the poor embattled ex-cop in the bandages, we see a willing Frankenstein monster. All that do-good bullshit he’s had to swallow from his ex-partner. Arthur wasn’t good. He is a coward in Christopher’s electric eyes. He looked up to him, listened to him and now he’s going to kill him. Let him write that down in his little book.
To be or not to be, that’s some question. Slink stands like a piglet among Hamlets holding not Horatio’s head, but his own, as he ponders his legacy. Slink always knows he’s being watched. He knows all the rules and the best ways to get around them. There are no rules for getting around death, though, after Aki severs Slink’s spine. But it gives him Shakespearean pause. “All those people I killed,” he realizes for the first time. “This is what it felt like.” People start taking things seriously when they’re dying and Blood Drive gives us a lot to think about as it goes out.
Blood Drive is renegade TV. It was created by James Roland, a guy who was bringing coffee to directors before this. He must never have shut up about this idea he had until finally someone didn’t assign him to a second unit at a remote location. He’s more Slink than Grace. Maybe he was putting something in the coffee that made someone in a suit accept his challenge and put something truly stupid, in the maddest and most brilliant way, with language, nudity and situations to gag for on basic cable TV, where anyone can see it. The show has episodes called “The Fucking Cop” and “The Fucking Dead” scratching holes in the heads of Cable Guide transcribers in fifty states trying to figure out how many asterisks to use.
The world is a different place, even here where the Scar never happened, we’ve seen nudity and heard curses on TV for years, in small doses. But the farthest commercial entertainment ever comes to anything kinky is S&M. It’s painful how much S&M goes into TV, domes are like cops, they’re on every show because they’re the safest stand-in for deviance TV, and commercial film to a large extent, have the balls to imagine. Not so on Blood Drive. They got anal sex, fisting, necrophilia, snuffrofilia, weird multicolored fetishes that I don’t know the names for, on top of, unless they’re bottoms, a raunchy race written in red. Blood and sex are taboo. I know this from personal experience because I tried to put up a stage show that had blood and sex in the same scene and found it Giuliani made it illegal. But Blood Drive pushes that boundary too. Sometimes just for the comic effect.
Now, I called it stupid, and there are probably a lot of Bleeders reading this that are just waiting for me to piss them off, but A. You know I’m right. And 2. You know that’s part of what makes this show so enjoyable. There’s nothing to think about. If you do think about any of this, the scenarios, the fate of the world, the environmental effects of the Scar, the goddamned engine that runs on blood, you’d go nuts in a whirlwind of useless justification. Rihanna said it best when she sang “Shut up and drive.” No amount of thinking is going to make this show make sense and that is so much why it’s so much fun. We’re all unboxed carney freaks in Little Rascal shorts grinning “yum yum eat ‘em up” when we watch Blood Drive.
It looks like it will be an impossible task to bring back all the players for a second season. But this reviewer is reminded of a story about the ending of the John Huston film Across the Pacific. The renowned director was about to head off to shoot movies for the military during World War II and left the hero of the movie he was working on, played by Humphrey Bogart, in a similar situation. Alone, surrounded, outgunned by at least two squad’s worth of personnel, Huston gave only one instruction on how to get the hero out of it. Ask Bogie, he’ll know, he said. The new director had to pull back the attacking forces. That won’t happen in a series where Slink, Arthur and Grace are the stars. I only hope Blood Drive is renewed so we see how they get out of this one.
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