This Blood Drive review contains spoilers.
Blood Drive Episode 5
Blood Drive, episode 5, “The F*cking Dead” episode opens with “The Slinks,” a black and white fifties-style sitcom starring Blood Drive’s very own emcee, Slink (Colin Cunningham). Here he is a family man, with unique family problems. I’m not talking about how his young son keeps a sheet of condoms in the sock draw, though that might have been problematic for Donna Reed’s kids. But hey, fathers know best and this daddy knows beasts. There is some vague foreshadowing in the Night of the Living Dead homage, but the real point of the classic TV throwback is to show how far TV has come since those innocent carefree days.
Blood Drive is taking series TV to new levels in different ways, not all of them high watermarks. The show knows the limitations of televised content and shrugs it off, happily. The titles alone are enough to give most executives palpitations. Then there is the language that comes out of the mouths of babes. This episode is also filled with some questionable content that might go into those mouths.
“The F*cking Dead” takes place during a pit stop rather than in competition. Two of the regularly featured attractions of the race are on display, Club Mayhem and the Suck Bus. Club Mayhem is the roaming club that is assembled at the finish line of each leg of the race. I still haven’t figured out how the entire set-up can beat the racers, who are going at full speed, to each destination, host and treats included. The Suck Bus itself looks like it couldn’t get it up over 45 miles an hour. The traveling motorhome companion is where the competitors get treated like rock stars on the road, at $2.99 a minute.
The Suck Bus is a marvel of modern engineering. On the outside it appears a trashy pothole covered in dank graffiti and sin. But inside it is danker, trashier and surprisingly moisture-resistant. By the end of the episode the suck bus is overflowing with love juice.
We get two new characters this week, Jack and Diane. The two American kids from the heartland are doing the best they can to find Slink, who apparently has a long past checkered past to go with the checkered flag. This isn’t a surprise, nor is the way they roll it out. Slink isn’t only a DIY dentist, he kept his amateur standing while on staff at the Kane Hill mental institution. He knows more than he’s saying, and it also not surprising that he kind of enjoys Grace’s (Christina Ochoa) heavy handed interrogation methods. Grace is single-minded in her search for her missing sister, and her captive is double jointed in his evasive tactics.
The real surprise is Arthur donning the top hat and feather clothing, welcoming the Mayhemers for Race Day 5. He turns out to be a real dud, telling lame jokes and taking eggs while talking muffins. He’s a big hit, though, when he throws down. It’s enough to knock you out of your shoes. It’s good to see the buttoned-down cop enjoying himself in his true element, bashing and beating. The best is when he knocks an old lady right out of her shoes. Everything stops in the ad hoc encampment. Whoop ass girls wait. Rowdy rough boys gasp. And, as the now toothless old lady gets up to give a gummy grin, everything is forgiven and forgotten as the hated cop becomes one with the crowd he finally wins over.
It’s okay to kill when it’s for love, says the paper fortune teller, and it’s even better when it’s a kid’s game. Slink makes a lot of retro references when talking with the bedeviled post-trauma twins, who keep up their bland façade with an understated humor. They are cartoons living in a cartoon world and have no problem with that. We all know something’s not right with the Ozzie and Harriet of the post-Scar-world, so it’s a relief to see them brighten under the blacklights.
The siblings are carriers of a disease that was started in the bubbly repression fuckatorium labs of Atlas Bottling, where satisfaction is just a sip away. The Dionysus Strain starts at Stage 1 with euphoric abandon. Blood Rage depicts this clearly enough, with the orgy on the Suck Bus spreading to the dance floor. Arthur is one of the first to contract the ailment, while he himself is still in the throes of his fist orgy. It’s fun to see the cop pop the buttons on his trousers over his partner, but Grace has less than no interest. Ain’t that a kick in the nuts?
With his kundalini rising, Arthur has to keep it together, occasionally even punching himself in the groin to keep the thin blue line from erupting into disorderly chaos. Tonight’s episode is a mini-tour de force for Alan Ritchson. First, he gets the chance to play the most coveted role on the show, Slink, poorly. Then he gets to win over a hostile crowd. Now we see the poor patrolman fight the good fight below the belt. Ritchson doesn’t make it particularly poignant, but there is a tragedy under that comedy.
When we first see Arthur’s partner Christopher Carpenter (Thomas Dominique) this episode, he is broken, cowering, cold and scared. He’s not quite ready for breakfast under the table. But Aki (Marama Corlett) is very understanding now that he is a Heart Enterprises asset as Christopher 2.0, the 20 million dollar man. She’s also a great joiner-inner, as she joins his anguished screams with a happy harmony of hair-shaking approval.
Dominique plays perfectly shy of over-the-top. You can see the kid inside him playing this role like a schoolyard game with friends. He looks completely lost, though, when he starts his first day at Heart Enterprises. It might be because the waiting list for promotion is so long. It might be the unimaginative tie. When Christopher learns that Arthur never betrayed him, Dominique again plays it like he’s a kid who just learned he didn’t lose his best friend. Christopher wasn’t the most sympathetic cop on the blocks of LA, but now that he knows he was collecting teeth for a sinister corporation, he has a new zest for the job.
Marama Corlett’s Aki is probably the best incentive for working at the evil growing empire. She is so upbeat she is listed as one of the company perks. I don’t buy for one second, though, that Christopher would be able to hide his naked ambition from the woman’s whose been monitoring his nocturnal erections. To move up through the company, a person has to get more and more body modifications, usually to accommodate the new job, but also to further indebt the employee to the firm. The bionic add-ons are done seamlessly, especially when you can see the seams.
The closing effect is very impressive. The gravity resistant water door is a subtle touch of subversive camera placing made perfect by the punch line we know is coming, Slink retrieving his hat. The top hat is becoming quite the character. It has a very special hat box and Slink is brimming with love over it. He also loves the Blood Drive. It’s his baby, but also his lover and best friend. He is obviously as concerned about its welfare as he is his own. Maybe more so, because without the Blood Drive what is he? An ex-psych ward ward?
You might be tempted to think this is a sexy entry into the Blood Drive erogenous zone, but we get more foreplay than penetration. Sure, we see a soft and sensual side to Grace that didn’t show up in the during the pilot episode’s hurried anal-sex-for-the-win scene, but there is no time to dawdle, the zombie apocalypse is about to come. She successfully seduces the sex-starved siblings, and when she administers the antidote to the yearning masses, it is a full on ejaculation.
Stage 2 of the Dionysus Strain is bluege, which is the neon discoloration of the excessive discharge that will ultimately flood the suck bus. Stage 3 of the disease is when the sufferers fuck each other to death. Sadly, we don’t quite get that happy ending. “The F*cking Dead” is a fun diversion from the hot wheeled terror tracks.