The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for “The Mortal Cure,” the latest episode from the CBS show, “Moonlight.”
“The Mortal Cure,” the final pre-strike installment of fledgling vampire show “Moonlight,” managed to bring the series to a new height, where we find quite a cliff to hang on to until the next installment — whenever that will be. My arms are aching already!
We learn that vampire history merges almost seamlessly with human history, and that not all vampires are created equal.
Lance (Jason Butler Harner), a vampire with one black eye, not only hails back to the time of French King Louis XVI, but is part of the same royal bloodline. In the Moonlight mythology, King Louis XVI was a vampire, and so were his descendents, including seven siblings. Lance is one of those siblings. So is Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon).
Lance and Coraline seem to have more abilities than the average vampire. They can regenerate if they have been burned by fire, which explains how Coraline survived the fire Mick (Alex O’Loughlin) supposedly killed her in; however, decapitation can still kill them, and therein lies the motivation to find a way for vamps to appear to be human.
During the French Revolution, rebels who came into power soon went after vampire royalty. They tested for vampirism by burning people to see if they simply burned, or disintegrated as vamps do. If a vamp was identified through this method, he or she was sent to the guillotine. It turns out it was because of vampires that the guillotine became the execution method of choice back then.
To evade being detected, vamps found a plant that made it possible to make them human temporarily. If they were caught, they took the herb before they were tested. Those who were able to do so, were spared the guillotine.
Some vamps, not happy with the temporary nature of the “cure,” continued to seek out ways to make the transition to humanity permanent. Coraline, in more recent years, has been among them.
Meanwhile, back in Beth World, we find the journalist is trying to cope with the death of boyfriend Josh. She’s still angry with Mick for not turning Josh to save him, and yet, she can’t help but scrutinizing Joshs belongings for any clue about what his final days were like.
Beth finds an entry for an 8 p.m. dinner with a woman named Celeste (Bitsie Tulloch) in Josh’s calendar that has her reeling and suspicious. Of course, she never locked lips with Mick behind Josh’s back, but nobody said she was consistent!
It turns out, Celeste is a jeweler who had the stone from his grandmother’s engagement ring set in a ring for Beth. He had planned on proposing to her, but death got in the way.
Mick also has his hands full trying to find Coraline, who has gone missing from the hospital. He enlists the help of Josef (Jason Dohring), who does not want to be on Lances radar. He does, however, lead Mick to Cynthia Davis (Meredith Monroe), a vampire who is Coraline’s best friend, who is also a biochemist. Can you imagine a vampire sitting through college and graduate school to get such a degree? I wonder if any of my students are vampires.
Cynthia has been experimenting with a cure for vampirism, testing each attempt on unsuspecting vampires, who’ve ended up dead because of it. As the basis for her research is the cure that Coraline stole from Lance.
Coraline, who seems obsessed with getting Mick back, gives him a dose of the temporary cure. She wants Mick to run away with her, but evil stinky old brother Lance appears and wants his cure back. In what becomes an intense stand-off, Coraline offers to return the cure to Lance and go with him as his prisoner, so Lance would leave Mick alone. He agrees to this, and takes Coraline away with a paralyzing stake-in-heart.
Mick quickly learns the down side to being mortal. In his violent conflict with Lance, he sustains numerous injuries which don’t instantly heal themselves.
The following day, after sleeping on his couch instead of in a freezer, he shows up for Josh’s funeral, bruised, bleeding, limping, and with possible broken bones. Beth figures out whats happened to him, that he’s human again, and you can see she’s still drawn to him, even before Josh is in his grave.
There’s so much all this can lead to. The search for mortal cure is likely to be a recurring theme in the series, as will the question as to whether it is better to live as a human being with all his/her frailties, or to live as an immortal monster. The flirtation between Beth and Mick can also go in a number of ways, but we probably all know it’s not going to be toward happily ever after – even if that’s not what we want.
While historians are probably balking at the way the French Revolution has been worked into the shows mythology, it’s exactly this kind of clever twist that makes this show better than any of us expected it could be. No wonder the peasants rebelled! The royalty were all vampires!
Also something that I get a kick out of is the cast of minor support vampires that Mick relies on. In the past two episodes, he has sought the help of a vampire computer geek — sort of like the “Moonlight” version of the Lone Gunmen — except there’s only one of him.
As a de facto season finale, this episode has left open so many possibilities for future story lines that CBS better renew this for at least another season. Enough seeds were planted for intriguing stories for years to come. Let’s hope thats the way it goes!
What Didn’t Work
One recurring character that I was looking forward to seeing more of was “The Cleaner.” When she appeared early in the season, she was the first real sign that this show had potential. She showed up again in this episode, but she was played by a different actress (Jill Latiano). She simply didn’t have the commanding presence that actress Molly Culver had. The character just doesn’t work as well as a pretty, flirtatious, sexualized being. I want the stern, gruff, almost Klingon-like Cleaner back.
Another issue I have is with the idea that Josh made a dinner date with the jeweler to get the ring he was having made for Beth. Who makes elegant dinner dates for this? This is the kind of business transaction that happens over a glass showcase.
Some of Lance’s dialogue was kind of clunky. How many brothers would really call their sisters “incredibly sexy?” Come on! I can’t believe that even vampire siblings would say that – even if their sisters are incredibly sexy!
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“The Mortal Cure” was written by Chip Johannessen and directed by Eric Laneauville.
“Moonlight,” which is scheduled to return with reruns on Feb. 1, airs on CBS, Fridays at 9 p.m. ET.