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Review: ‘Moonlight’ – Sleeping Beauty

The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Moonlight” episode “Sleeping Beauty.” After three weeks of no “Moonlight,” I found myself, the world’s biggest “Moonlight” skeptic, actually excited about this week’s new episode. It was worth the wait! The dying wish of 93-year-old real estate developer, Richard Whitley, to kill the man who took his daughter […]

The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the “Moonlight” episode “Sleeping Beauty.”

After three weeks of no “Moonlight,” I found myself, the world’s biggest “Moonlight” skeptic, actually excited about this week’s new episode. It was worth the wait!

The dying wish of 93-year-old real estate developer, Richard Whitley, to kill the man who took his daughter Sarah from him. The man – or monster – who he wants dead is Josef (whom he knew as Charles Fitzgerald). Whitley hires mercenary assassin Ralf Martan, who finds Josef playing poker with some of his vampire friends. Using military-grade explosives, Martan blows up Josef’s place, poker players and all.

Elsewhere, we find Beth and Mick at the hospital with Coraline, who is in critical condition from being staked by Beth. Beth wants to admit that she did it, but Mick tells the nurse in attendance that it was an accident, because he didn’t want the police involved.

Coraline is back, and she’s human. Mick wants to know how she did it, but could get no answers about it from her except that she did it for him. While Coraline is unconscious, Mick takes a sample of her blood.

If Coraline is really human, why did we see her fangs when the attended her? Is she really still a vampire, hallucinating, or is she caught somewhere in between human and vampire?

Mick also seemed to distance himself from Beth over Coraline, and again when he discovers her covering Josef’s death for her job, but then Mick apologizes to Beth for overreacting; however, his grief over the death of Josef was premature, for as we were destined to learn, Josef was undead and well and hanging out in Mick’s apartment.

What is Josef’s story, and why is the old man hell bent on killing him? The answer is in New York City, where Mick and Beth end up following Josef. They end up at a house where Josef is watching over the body of Sarah, a human woman he fell in love with in the 1950s.

She disappeared in 1955, after a year with Josef. She knew he was a vampire, and wanted him to turn her so that she could spend eternity with him. After resisting her pleas for months, he finally gave in and tried to turn her, but instead, she fell into a coma, and never came out of it — or aged. She was stuck between being human and a vampire forever, and Josef made sure she was always taken care of.

Now we know why Josef keeps telling Mick that a relationship between a vampire and a human can’t work.

Old Man Whitley knew that Josef, who went by the name of Charles Fitzgerald in New York, was a vampire, and spent years searching for him so he could destroy him. Instead, with the help of Mick, the hit man ended up dead, and Josef decided to stay with Sarah for a few more days.

With the case closed, Mick invited Beth to spend a night on the town in New York, but she turned him down, instead opting to go back to Los Angeles to smooth things out with Josh, who all but broke up with her as she was leaving for New York.

Finally, Coraline woke up and left the hospital. Is she still human, a vampire, or something else?

What Worked

The relationship between Mick and Beth is so finely nuanced that the transition between the scenes where he is angry at her and the scenes where his attraction to her is obvious is not unbelievable. The entire episode dealt with why a relationship between a human and a vampire isn’t such a good idea, and Beth knows she still has a lot of relationship issues to work out with Josh, and yet I can hear the collective moans and sighs from Mick/Beth shippers everywhere.

The parallels between Coraline, Beth, and Sarah were well done. We don’t know exactly what the story is with Coraline, but even if she is human, her vampire self seems to be trying to emerge again. Beth is fully human, and the sexual tension between her and Mick is palpable, but everywhere she looks, there are warnings not to give in to them. Sarah gave in to them, and ended up stuck in between worlds. Each, in their own way, is a “sleeping beauty.”

Shooting vampire Josef was a pointless act, because shooting a vampire does nothing; however, it was a clever way to display Dohring’s newly sculpted shirtlessness.

The story behind Josef’s warnings about vamp-human relationships was actually very touching. Jason Dohring was in his element as the long-suffering lover who can never quite be with the woman he loves. For the first time since the series began, Josef’s character really got to me!

What Didn’t Work

It was completely unbelievable that Josef was dead. A mainstream network show doesn’t cast a rising star as hot as Jason Dohring only to kill him off in the first few episodes. Worst way to alienate his huge fan base! Besides, he wasn’t wearing a red shirt! Did I mention newly sculpted?

Seriously, though, I felt like I was playing a waiting game to see when he would show up. When he did, I was finally able to focus on the story.

Also, minor point, but wouldn’t somebody notice that Mick killed a human being? True, it was a scary mercenary hitman, but he was still part of the human world. Was he taken by The Cleaners? Will there be any consequences for this, or do we just move on with the story and forget the rotting corpse that was once Ralf Marten.

Ultimately, though, I liked this episode. Unfortunately, this was the last new episode well see of “Moonlight” for a long while. While CBS is being merciful and showing reruns starting next week, none of us will know what Coraline is up to, what will happen when Beth meets with Josh, and where Mick fits in to all of this until the AMPTP settles with the writers.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“Sleeping Beauty” was written by Ron Koslow and Trevor Munson, and directed by John Kretchmer.

“Moonlight” airs on CBS, Fridays at 9 p.m.

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