Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Law & Order CI “Lost Children of the Blood” Recap & Review

All photos from USA Network

This is one of those rare instances where I have to say that I hated an episode. Law & Order CI “Lost Children of the Blood” hit on just about everything that I don’t like – a story that is too dark and too ridiculous, lifeless acting from the leads, stiff dialog, and anything with vampires. When Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) makes a reference to Carl Jung , saying that all disturbing thoughts should written down and filed away, I found myself laughing, thinking that is what the writers should have done with this episode – filed it away…in the circular file.

The series is doing a terrible disservice to Jeff Goldblum. I thoroughly enjoyed most of his episodes last season and I anticipated the same spark to carry through this season. Instead, they’ve paired him with a character that adds nothing to the show and writing that drags viewers into a coma. I am starting to believe that the problem is not Saffron Burrows but more her character Serena Stevens, who seems to be too low key and too sleep inducing. But before anyone attributes my dissatisfaction with this episode to the absence of Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe, this episode could not be saved even if it were Vincent and Kathryn in it.

If you are a vampire fan you may love this episode, but if you are a fan of the Law & Order brand, you may be better served by passing up this episode.

Here is the recap:

A Goth-looking college student, Sarah Price, is found dead in her bed after a night of partying with a guy. Later, with Detectives Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and Serena Stevens on the scene, ME Rodgers determines Sarah has been exsanguinated. Nichols sees a new edition of a book by Carl Jung called the “Red Book” and it has a note inscribed from “K.” When Sarah’s sister Caroline, and father, an Ohio congressman (Dan Butler) arrive, her sister says Sarah like to read about the occult and thought her recent attire meant something was wrong. Her father thinks it was a phase. Caroline said Sarah hated her father’s world, the public life, and she longed to escape. Her father thinks whatever she found killed her.

Back at Major Case, they discuss what they know with Captain Zoe Callas (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). They think they need to uncover her missing life and go back to her professor at East Side College, who speaks very highly of her but doesn’t know anything about her life. Stevens gets a message that Sarah’s phone records are in.

Back at Major Case, Nichols watched a TV interview with Sarah’s father and comments that he used the word “phase” several times in the interview. Stevens has a record of a Kyle Wyler (Christopher Abbott) making several calls to Sarah. He dropped out of school last quarter and they decide to bring him in. Later, they have him in interrogation and ask him about the Red Book and he says they were both into Jung. He says he was not with Sarah that night and was in his dorm room all night. He said he liked Sarah and is upset she is dead but says lately they have not been in touch. When they confront him the with cell phone records he admits she met her at the club – "The Holy Mother” - but they went separate ways. They ask about the inscription in the book and said it was just about exploring boundaries. He seems very upset.

Back at the club, Kyle talks with his friend Virgil (Matt Burns) and says he doesn’t know what drugs they took but his recollection is blank. Kyle said he confronted her in the alley and things got a little heavy but he is not sure what he did. Virgil says to tell them he was with him. Virgil says what they did was part of the beginning and Sarah is part of the past.

Back in the morgue, Rodgers tells the detectives that she had sex a few hours before her death and there was DNA that belonged to Jeremy Parks, who had been in Rikers for selling club drugs. When they speculate she was poisoned, Rodgers tells them the tox screen requires blood and Sarah was completely drained. The blood they found on the scene with vomit did not belong to Sarah.

They bring this news to Callas and said the blood in the vomit was rare Duffy negative, which belongs to people of West African descent, which may help them in identification. Nichols brings out a similar case from Florida and she tells them to check it out, and they will also look at dorm security tapes.

On a security tape from Kyle’s own building, they see Kyle stagger in and he looks wasted and no blood is on his clothes. There are no security tapes from Sarah’s building because their system had been down since September. Stevens said they do have a match on the Duffy negative from a Harlem blood bank that buys rare types. The blood belongs to a man from Senegal whose last address was a flop in the Bowery but the clinic said he has not shown up for about a month. They wonder if he was selling his blood on the streets.

Later, they go to the flop house and talk to the guy from Senegal, who is there with his wife and baby. They question him about him selling blood and ask if he knows Jeremy Parks. He knows him, but knows him as Anton, who buys from him as his blood is clean and rare. They meet outside the clubs and he wears strange clothes.

The detectives arrive at the Club Stigmata and ask a woman about people who drink human blood. They show her Jeremy’s photo and she won’t say she know shim but when they threaten her with arrest she says she knows him as Anton and tells him where he has a loft. They arrive there and see Anton/Jeremy (Clayne Crawford) in some sort of ceremony. He says he has nothing to hide. They ask him about Sarah, Nichols looking into the refrigerator and seeing blood, and Jeremy admits he drinks human blood.

In interrogation at Major Case, the detectives speak with Jeremy about the blood they found in his refrigerator which matches what was found on Sarah’s body. He admits he had sex with her and they drank blood after meeting at the club. They ask him about his clients in his address book, and says that after Sarah, he was with another lady by the name of Michelle Lindon. When Nichols stops out to confer with Callas, while they are talking, the Congressman and Caroline approach and insist on seeing Jeremy. The Congressman bursts into the room and argues with Jeremy, who blames people like the Congressman w ho send their daughters to him. When the Congressman gets upset they yank him out of the room, and Jeremy laughs with glee.

At the apartment of Michelle Linden, she seems shocked her name is in Jeremy’s address book and denies being with him. Nichols notices she is wearing a thick choker of pearls and she moves them away to show bite marks. She then admits that she was with Jeremy until dawn. She said she met “Anton” through someone named Virgil, and she gives them his contact information.

Back at Jeremy’s, Virgil is there and he’s brought some special blood, saying it is to prepare Jeremy for the demands from beyond. He has Jeremy drink the blood which he says is Sarah’s. Virgil embraces Jeremy and says he will not die.

Back at Major Case, they find Virgil is really Jonathan Parish who has a record for lewd behavior plus indecent exposure. His father spend much of his life in jail and his mother was employed by Vogel Meat Packing. They wonder if this is where he got his fixation on his blood and he may have a fixation on his mother. Stevens gets a message telling her where Virgil is currently employed.

At Prescott & Sons funeral home, the detectives speak with Virgil and says he met Sarah and Kyle but was more taken with Kyle, and calls them groupies. He says at the time of her death he was home. Nichols comments that his mother bled dead pigs and now Virgil is working with dead bodies. Virgil says people should respect what he does.

Later, in Jeremy’s loft, Virgil is cutting into Kyle’s back to draw blood. He pours what looks like alcohol on Kyle’s back and Kyle writhes in pain.

Back at Major Case, Nichols tells Callas that Virgil is a psychotic but is also delusional, thinking he is a vampire. Stevens says that it is Virgil who leads, and “Anton” follows.

Back at Jeremy’s loft, Virgil seems to be giving Kyle the sendoff, saying Kyle is brave. Kyle makes a video recording saying that he is doing this of his own free will and is releasing his blood for others to share. Later, with Kyle dead and police and the detectives on the scene watching Kyle’s video, Stevens says it is an idiotic waste. Jeremy is there, he apparently found Kyle dead and called 911.

Later, at Major Case, the detectives question Jeremy, who does not know how Kyle got into his loft. He seems to think there is no crime. They show him the photo of Sarah, and tell him the needle and tubing used on Kyle also had Sarah’s blood on it. He does not know where that came from. They tell him they think he is innocent and think he is being framed, but the DA will lay a murder case on him just like Virgil planned it. He won’t believe it, but they tell him Virgil has no feelings and that he is psychotic. Nichols walks him though the phases of how Virgil is using him and has now abandoned him because Jeremy can’t reach a higher level and he is being sacrificed.

Later, Jeremy comes to Virgil’s place where he is with a woman, and Jeremy says he was questioned by police. He tells them they showed him evidence, and Nichols and Stevens make their presence known. Virgil says he just wanted Jeremy to know martyrdom. He tells Jeremy that he failed him and he was weak. Nichols says Virgil is delusional and Stevens tells him that planted evidence cuts a lot of family ties. Nichols tells Virgil he is alone but Virgil says he will always have the power of darkness. Nichols says he will always be the light that shines upon him.

Back at Major Case, Virgil is brought into the interrogation room, dressed in jail attire, where Nichols and Stevens are waiting. Stevens comments that it is the real him, and he says his power is not diminished. Nichols says with soap and water, his power has vanished. They suggest he make a plea but he refuses. Nichols asks if his act means that much to him and Virgil says knowing he is eternal means he has nothing to fear. Nichols says he may be wrong about that, locked in an 8 X 12 cell with no human contact, no hope of parole, and time slowing to a glacial pace, and there he will sit, being eternal. As the detectives leave the room and close the door behind them, we fade to black.

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Lee Gibson said...

Saffron Burrows is a perfectly competent actress who doesn't always appear to be so lifeless in her roles, as anyone who has seen Enigma, Tempted or Deep Blue Sea can attest. So her snooze-inducing turn as Serena Stevens is an interpretive choice on someone's part. Either she or the director/producer/show runner is playing this character in this way on purpose. And it ain't workin'.

Jachelle said...

You know that old saying "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". Well...

Joshua Morton said...

Hell no! Last night's episode BROKE ME, I thought I was going to stick around and watch the show this season - pass!

I rank the ep. "LCotB" - 1.5/5, 3.4/10!

BOTH characters were out of character! Goldblum/Burrows obviously don't mind either! I wanted to kick those actors asses and shove my television on the floor! And next Tuesday's episode looks of another 'thriller'!

Walon Green and John David Coles need to go now, they broke me! Bye LOCI, nice knowing ya'! - Time to go to fanfiction (Which these days is more real than our show).

Anonymous said...

Who plays Michelle Linden? She is beautiful! She never gets credited on L&O.

Anonymous said...

The goth club at the outset was really quite realistic other than being brightly and evenly lit (which makes since, otherwise you wouldn't be able to see the screen). It's probably one of the best ever depicted on screen. The fellow leaning in to seduce the young woman is the kind of sleazeball you find at such clubs, and his purple prose fits nicely.

Then after that... well, at least it had a nice opening. It would have been a good episode had they dropped the vampire and goth in all the other scenes and just had that as the shtick they used to pick up victims. They could have delved more into the psychological side of things. A serial killer who uses pop psychology as a template and rationale for his crimes versus Nichols and his odd relationship with psychology *does* have the potential to be an intriguing war of words.

This wasn't it.

Shelly said...

So I read All Things' review (but not the recap) before we watched, and stupidly, decided to go ahead and watch anyway. To quote a character from the last season or two of the Mothership, "well, that was pretty stupid, wasn't it?"... sigh...

I wasn't sure if I should be laughing or crying during this mess. Laughing that it was so stupid, and crying because, while I haven't completely warmed to Nichols and Stevens, the first few eps this season held promise. But the last couple eps just haven't been very good, and I'm curious and concerned how the rest will be. They should have either given Stevens a personality or kept Wheeler to partner with Nichols, because at least she had a personality.

Thanks for the review and recap All Things. I don't envy you doing all this when the eps are good, but when they're bad, I can't imagine the ordeal you go through to post something.

John Stodder said...

You are dead-on about the way the show has altered Goldblum's character. It's a disaster. The show will probably be canceled after this lousy season, but I sure as hell hope that if it isn't, they bring on a more competent team of writers and show runners. The Goldblum episodes last season were uniformly excellent. This whole season is a lifeless as a pack of vampires.

Shelly said...

LOL.... aww John, is that a nice thing to say about vampires?

Agree with everything else that you said!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Goren and Eames have a vampire episode earlier? Where they locked a girl in a coffin and filled it with dry ice for some reason?

janethyland said...

There was a similar gothic episode called "Collective" in Season 4.