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02 June 2014 @ 10:23 pm
A Few Thoughts on "Fatal Mistake"  
I think that Forever Knight's "Fatal Mistake" (season 1, episode 21, originally aired February 23, 1993) may be an underrated, underconsidered episode. I've been thinking about it on and off since musing on prompts for this year's rarewomen game, and finally fit it in this evening during dinner (now pondering prompts for [community profile] fkficfest/fkficfest).

Of course the episode does have drawbacks. In three separate scenes, at least one actor misstates a line such that it too obviously doesn't mesh with the lines around it (e.g. "You'll never let me live it down, will you?"/"Not if I don't let you, partner." was probably meant to be "I'll never live it down, will I?"/"Not if I don't let you, partner."). Alexandra does come across as less than bright in the present, not that everyone in the world must be clever, yet certainly not justly deserving her "bimbo barmaid" sobriquet from fandom. There's no Janette, little Natalie and no sight of the inside of the loft. The firm focus on the "cop plot" is not to every taste. The episode's title unsubtly garnishes some dialogue. And as we all know, the script set the flashbacks circa Chaucer, when Nick was near his darkest, while the costuming sets them circa Cromwell, when Nick was well into his "only the guilty" code, making an interpretive mess all around.

Yet think of the connections with other episodes! This overlooked corner of first season may be a fountain of incipient ideas that later bloomed in second season. What fun! Does Alexandra ("Fatal Mistake") foreshadow Serena ("Baby, Baby")? Both women were happy to have sex with Nick, but were taken by cruel surprise by his vampirism; both despise their vampirism and blame Nick for it (Serena more fairly than Alexandra). Does Lacroix's lecture on the staircase about Nick's guilt and fear foreshadow the flashbacks of "Curiouser & Curiouser"? They sound highly akin to me. Does Alexandra's pining for all the world that Nick has seen and she hasn't hint at Fleur's interests come "Be My Valentine"? And how about the actions of the perpetrator bent on vengeance and those way ahead in third-season's "Night in Question," also luring by voice mail, distraught from the loss of a partner-in-crime? Sadly, perhaps, looking toward "Black Buddha," when Nick asks how Myra deals with the dangers Schanke faces on the job, Schanke says that they never talk about it. And looking back to first season instead of forward, consider Nick staking Alexandra with a metal exhaust pipe. Does it recall staking Lacroix on the metal grate in "Dark Knight"? Finally, how does Nick's susceptibility to the idea that Alexandra is a ghost connect with "Last Act," "Dead of Night" and "Francesca"?

Those are all fun to play with across the series, but of course the merit of the episode unto itself is in the paralleling between Nick and Stonetree. The episode builds this not simply from guilt over a life taken, but in recognition of how dangerous it is to be what they are. When Stonetree muses that maybe he wants out, to not be this anymore, he echoes Nick's quest, and Schanke firms up the connection (just in case we missed it) by saying that when they catch the other perp, "Stonetree walks in the sun again."

Of course there's a great deal one might analyze around the storytelling use of Alexandra and why it feels so ham-handed next to episodes like "If Looks Could Kill" and "Baby, Baby." But not tonight. Tonight, I'm just tickled to play "spot the FK trope."

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