Episode Two of the insane series Blood Drive evolves into a different beast from the pilot episode. We are given a history lesson that fills in a lot of what has happened to America. We are given multiple separate storylines with the Heroes bonding, Julian Slink at an employee evaluation, The Gentleman and the Scholar’s relationship problems, Tortured Cop’s ordeal AND a small peek at the villains of this episode, the Cannibal Diner Crew. A shit-ton is going on and yet no plot line feels lost or tacked on.
In fact, there is much going on that it is impossible to discuss a lot of it without doing a blow-by-blow of what happened. Instead of that, I just want to touch on them briefly.
First of all, the Orientation video for Tortured Cop explains that fracking caused a giant earthquake rift to open up in America. A company named Heart explored the ‘Scar’ and found “new minerals, morally questionable fuel alternatives, unnatural gases and deep wells of unidentifiable glowing goo.” From this, Heart was able to become the most powerful company in the world.
The “morally questionable fuel alternatives” has to be those shredder car engines that run on blood. How do you find car engines that run on blood in a hole in the ground? My guess is that the Scar goes straight to Hell. It would certainly explain why the engines look like they were designed by Pinhead from Hellraiser.
That is my best guess. The answer I am hoping it will be is that the Scar opens into the Hollow Earth filled with sadistic Dero.
The second thing of note I want to focus on is the arc of Julian Slink. He runs the Blood Drive and in the first episode, he comes across as the Chief Villain of this evil race. In this episode we see him go to his bosses, at Heart, and sit for hours in the lobby. He is being put in his place and he knows it. This person who have come to know as the tormentor and villain is literally middle management in a bigger enterprise. not only that, but we see him suffer and go through insecurity. This transforms him from a villain into another victim. The fact that he murders someone he perceives as his competition just includes us in his struggles.
This is quite unexpectedted and I applaud it. Julian Slink is a charismatic character and I hope we see more of him.
Speaking of unexpected, Rib Bone, the main thug in the first episode, stops a huge brawl to find out who locked their dog in a truck with the windows rolled up. He wants to know so he can rescue the dog and kill the former owner. This promotes Rib Bone straight from Forgetful Thug to Monster-With-A-Heart. That is a clever and delightful surprise. Go Rib Bone! I hope he sticks around forever.
Which brings us to the couple who gets as almost as much screen time as our heroes. The Gentleman and the Scholar have an unhealthy relationship of abuse, homosexual sex and humiliation. Most other fiction in the ‘Grindhouse’ genre would have used the genre as an excuse for homophobia. They would have played up their homosexuality as a campy thing or something that is gross, but Blood Drive manages to treat it as just another bad relationship without getting offensive. Heck, the Scholar becomes a genuine sympathetic character. There is show of affection near the end that will warm your heart if you forget these guys kill folks for fuel.
Speaking of the Heroes. I don’t think I said much last time but the dynamic between these two is good. Grace is certainly the brains and maybe the muscle while Barbie is the heart and and more muscle. Can I say how much I love that the pretty guy is the one who gets stuck with the nickname, Barbie? That rocks. Barbie is a bit too naive for a cop but I am sure that he will get that beaten out of him.
Meanwhile, Tortured Cop keeps getting seduced and tortured by Evil Robot Lady. I enjoy their exchanges, especially as Evil Robot Lady is a quirky looking brunette instead of a statuesque blonde like something from Battlestar Galactica. It is a shame that the one prominent black character spends most of his time in bondage getting abused but I am sure he will have a thrilling arc later when he is turned into a Cyborg Hunter of some sort.
Last we have the killers. I am not a big fan of Cannibals in fiction. One of my problems is that movie cannibals are always filthy and disgusting. How are you supposed to catch anyone if your place looks like a sewer? I was pleasantly surprised to see these cannibals keep a tidy place and hygiene becomes a running theme. As someone who has worked in restaurants, it made my soul feel good to see someone die from not mopping enough.
All in all, this was the episode that really hooked me into the series. The explanation of the Scar does a lot of heavy lifting for the universe, while quite a few potentially shallow characters like Julian and Rib Bone were made into elevated into something special. So far the show appears to really aspire to be something interesting as opposed to just throwing gore on the screen.
RIP Fat Elvis. We never got to know you but then again, I guess being called Fat Elvis and dressing like the King is all we need to know.