Episode 6: Nothing Like Nebraska
It’s been a long six weeks, during which a lot of time and a much bigger wordcount than it deserves have been dedicated to this mess of a programme. And while there’s a malicious sort of satisfaction to be gained in being relentlessly mean, this reviewer was really hoping to find something nice to say about Demons this week. So, can the series finale win the Geek world over? *
After a run-in with a demonic clown, Luke is having vivid and disturbing dreams in which he sees his father, Jay Van Helsing, and himself as a baby trapped in a burning car. A mysterious man witnesses the scene from a distance, but does nothing to help. Father Simeon (Richard Wilson) also appears to him with a warning; beware of something nasty pretending to be something nice.
Luke soon identifies Galvin as the mystery figure in his dream and suspects that his mentor can no longer be trusted. Then, while watching the video Jay made for him just before his death, Luke becomes convinced that the his father died at Galvin’s hand.
Enter Karen Speedwell, ‘The Happy Medium’, who tells Luke that she brings a message from Jay (but since she’s played by Pauline ‘Mrs Doyle’ McLynn, this reviewer was half-expecting her to force a cup of tea and a little cake on him as well).
Luke, utterly convinced by both Karen’s ability and sincerity, becomes oddly excited at what he seems to think is a fascinating twisty-turny plot. “It’s brilliant,” he gushes to Ruby, “like The Da Vinci Code.” Yes, that was poorly-written, self-important, incredible garbage too.
Of course, all is not what it seems; Karen is in the thrall of Gladiolus Thrip (Mackenzie Crook), who survived his smiting in Episode 1 and now appears to be after a bit of revenge. So when Luke believes he is hearing his father’s voice speaking through Karen, it’s really just Thrip imitating Jay-V.
He confirms that Galvin is a murderer and means Luke harm, but not before he has an utterly bizarre go at describing death. “It’s very flat,” he says in a matching monotone. “At first I thought it was like Nebraska. But it’s nothing like Nebraska.” Oh. OK, then. Except that’s a) about as helpful as saying that love is nothing like Hemel Hempstead or a banana is nothing like a penguin and b) possibly the weirdest line ever scripted.
After Luke strops at Galvin that he intends to “go (his) own way”, Galvin goes on the hunt for some answers, first stopping off for a tense encounter with Father Simeon, then attempting to glean information from Karen by disguising himself as a Pennsylvanian psychic researcher. I’m reluctant to bring up the accent issue again, but if he insists on pretending to be from Pennsylvania while affecting a voice which can only be described as ‘Generic Southern Hick Chewing Own Tongue’, he’s just asking for it. Please hire a dialect coach, Phil, or at least buy a map.
A short while later, both Father Simeon and Karen are found dead, which only makes Luke more convinced of Galvin’s guilt. Blind to all reason, The Chosen One is scaling such lofty and hitherto unchartered heights of idiocy that an encounter with Thrip himself doesn’t prompt him to smell a rat. This is where the already hole-riddled plot completely falls apart. No one would believe that Thrip had their best interests at heart, even a numpty who, when presented with a gun, asks, “What’s that?”
Meanwhile, poor Ruby is not only given bugger-all to do again, but she’s treated even more appallingly by Luke than usual. Two minutes after he hugs her like she means the world to him, he’s telling her that Karen is the only person he can trust. She shows tremendous restraint and loyalty, not only by refraining from punching him repeatedly in his pouty face, but by enlisting Mina’s help to save the ungrateful swine.
On to the showdown… After finally working out what it is and locating the dangerous end, Luke aims his gun at Galvin while Thrip looks on. Our hero having gone completely insane, it’s up to Mina’s exposition skills to save the day. She reveals that Galvin rescued baby Luke from the boy’s turncoat father; Jay-V planned to hand his son over to the demons and envisaged a future of ‘hybrids’, where half-lives and, er, whole-lives could live and interbreed in evil, evil harmony.
But Luke has a severe case of the Inigo Montoyas and refuses to listen, so Mina is forced to go vamp-tastic again, attacking and killing Thrip (who all of a convenient bloody sudden is a vampire too).
And then… nothing. It’s possible that this reviewer simply did a very, very long blink and missed the bit where Thrip’s death made Luke come to his senses with a thorough and plausible explanation, but that was the worst dramatic climax in a series of ridiculously bad dramatic climaxes. Not only was it cut too short as per flippin’ usual, but it simply made no sense.
Within seconds, Galvin, Luke and Ruby are making friends again over a pizza and a movie; the unedited version of Jay-V’s tape in which Mina’s revelations are confirmed. But the fourth member of Smiters United is strangely absent from the party…
Cut to Mina, standing on a rooftop beneath the full moon, baring her fangs to the camera. Tragically underused as a good guy, perhaps Zoe Tapper would make the kind of glorious and frightening villain this show lacked throughout its debut run.