This review contains spoilers.
5.15 Skin Deep
So beauty’s just skin-deep? Age is just a number? Yeah, right. This week we were treated to the creepy, Wesen version of Extreme Makeover, where those obsessed with youth and beauty will seemingly pay any price to maintain their looks.
Here, a local photographer scouts young, beautiful and naive victims at the local mall, showering them in flattery and promises of a successful modelling career. Fittingly, his true form shows him to be a Predator-like Wesen that uses its oversized mandibles to pierce the face of its victims and suck the youth out of them.
The creature, a Musasat Alsh-Shabab, then sells the substance called Yanbue on to to a local snake oil salesman of a doctor who specialises in keeping his clients looking unnaturally youthful. This ends badly for the victims, which is where Nick and Hank get involved.
Everything begins to unravel for the shady doctor when greed takes over, with lines of middle-aged women outside his surgery all demanding the new wonder treatment. Which, of course, means more victims are required.
The cautionary tale is one of self-destruction in the pursuit of perfection. Or the possibility becoming a monster when you value the superficial so highly. Or just not to mess around with your face too much.
But it’s sort of difficult to care. The doctor was a caricature to begin with, leering like a lizard at his own reflection. The victims were stupid and vain, so no great loss there. But most of all, it was just all so predictable, with Nick and Hank going through the motions of tracking down the killer, leading to an ending you could have seen coming from the opening titles.
As an aside, the cheesy photo shoot scenes were straight out a made-for-TV movie, complete with cheesy music, and dialogue.
On the plus side, some of the special effects were great, and the Musasat Alsh-Shabab, was a pretty gruesome creation. In addition, when the doctor himself starts getting high on his own stash, he morphs into a creature usually only seen on Botched. Or The Real Housewives…
So with a couple of exceptions, nothing was done to progress any of the continuing plotlines any further.
Renard did announce his candidacy for mayor, though both Nick and Hank are now suspicious of their boss following a prompt from Eve.
However, we saw no more of Adalind’s returning Hexen-skills, and Wu’s potential transformation into Were-Wu after last week’s bite by a Lycanthrope wasn’t referred to at all. There was also nothing on the Stick of Destiny (as it shall be know unless anyone has any better ideas?) or the Jeremy Kyle Show instalment that is Renard and Adalind’s parenting situation.
Elsewhere, Eve has been dabbling in the dark arts again. She’s dusted off the witch’s hat – first used by Adalind as part of a polyjuice potion to imitate Juliette in Season 3’s The Inheritance – with plans to find out Renard’s involvement in Black Claw. The big twist, though, is that the spell is successful and Eve transforms herself into a copy of the Captain himself. This should prove interesting as she imitates Renard in a bid to discover who’s behind his mayoral campaign.
All in all, we could have done with a bit more pace, and expanding on some of the more major plots this season, but hopefully next week will definitively answer a few more questions than ‘what harm could it possibly do to use this on my face?’
Read Christine’s review of the previous episode, Lycanthropia, here.