This Blood Drive review contains spoilers.
Blood Drive Episode 7
Blood Drive, season 1, episode 7, “The Gentleman’s Agreement,” casts asides any doubts of loyalty in the series. There is none. Loyalty is weakness, even to Heart Enterprises, producer of the most horrific extravaganza to hit network TV.
Blood Drive is extremely self-referential. It is self-aware, self-deprecating, occasionally self-defecating, and positively narcissistic in its allegiance to itself. Self-referencing is a wonderful artistic conceit. All the best artists do it. The Beatles did it. The Simpsons do it. This reviewer does it all the time. He’s doing it now. The most glaring examples come during the board room meetings, which might be a stand in for the Syfy channel offices. The Blood Drive race is more than entertainment to the man at the top. Sure, he started it as a way to test a new propulsive technology that went on to restructure the world economy, but that is not enough.
“This race is the greatest sacrifice in human history,” the CEO of Heart tells his sycophantic supplicants. “It’s a blood-stained altar. The gore-soaked peak of a Mayan temple. The smoke from an erupting volcano on Mount Olympus. And that pleasing aroma is not for a god, it’s for Heart Enterprises, the most powerful corporation in the known universe.” This guy doesn’t think much of himself, he thinks less of Slink, and he’s only giving The Gentleman enough rope to make a cravat for himself.
There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s fucking gorgeous. He’s also a gentleman. Not just any gentleman. But The Gentleman. As The Gentleman, Andrew Hall has his tongue so far up his cheek it might take The Scholar (Darren Kent) to get it unstuck. His smirking restraint is contagious, but his manners are impeccable. He even gives lessons. This is where he comes undone. Power goes to his head, which is a good trait for a Heart Enterprise employee, to the point that he wants to blow up all the heads around him, if only to ensure the Master of Ceremonial Top Hat doesn’t find a better fit.
Slink (Colin Cunningham) is off the Blood Drive. Demoted to janitorial duties, he decides to clean up Heart Enterprise. He does it in the most enterprising way. He enlists the very man whose sole mission in life is to bring the Blood Drive down: Officer Arthur Bailey’s (Alan Ritchson) partner Christopher Carpenter (Thomas Dominique). This is exactly the kind of strategy that made Slink Slink. He is always thinking a few steps ahead in the chess match of life. He’s taken the queen and locked her up in a psych ward just to lure Grace (Christina Ochoa) into a hard life on the road.
Aki (Marama Corlett) has Christopher totally brainwashed, Slink says. Indeed, we saw a complete breakdown of the cop’s personality before he got in debt to Heart Enterprises with that $20 million eye, under the undulating underminer. The eyes are the windows of the soul, but as Aki is a sexbot and therefore has no soul, Slink gives Christopher a window into her own video feed channel. “The Slinks,” a retro family horror show from the black and white fifties, is always playing on channel 691.
Last week we learned Christopher has a crush on a friendly Fast Food Drive-Through Girl (Frances Sholto-Douglas), giving us a rare glimpse into his pre-Blood Drive life, and an insight into his relationship with Arthur. This is enough of a glitch in Christopher’s new system for a street-level coup de tat at Heart.
Slink unearths a monster. Created as a toss-away during secret genome enhancer experiments, he is an unstoppable force. His creator, Dr. Vermaak, put all Heart Enterprises most potent chemical compounds together in one beaker and shook. What came out had the potential to be more addictive than smack, stronger than Red Rapture, more destructive than the atomic bomb. Or the end result could have been just a bunch of shit mixed together. What the compound creates is a way to put Blood Drive back on a fast track to debuting at number one when it hits the networks.
Sadly, or happily, we get the last memo from Heart executive Stacey Fung, and it’s a post-op production note to Slink. Natalie Mendoza, who plays Fung, led her friends down the most grueling sperlunking track as Juno in The Descent and its sequel, and after the guy at the top, has the most commanding presence at Heart Enterprises, Her voodoo doll face has been the only force on Blood Drive to subjugate Slink.
A less interesting curve we’re thrown comes early, Grace agrees to be Officer Arthur Bailey’s (Alan Ritchson) eye witness in the case he’s building against Heart Enterprises. Her sister’s gone, so she figures what’s she racing for? We saw Grace break down at the end of last week’s episode, opening her up to the possibilities of breaking free. She’s doing the right thing, and it scares me. Right things tend to go wrong when wrong is right. A more interesting twist would be Grace let Arthur cloven hoof it out of there and have both their brains blow up.
But Blood Drive is not Game of Thrones. They throw Red Weddings like wrenches every week, they even bring cake.