Amy R. (brightknightie) wrote,
Amy R.

Rewatch: S1E01 "Dark Knight" (May 5, 1992)

Premiere time! Forever Knight launched in spring instead of the traditional fall, the first of its many airing oddities. Part of CBS's idiosyncratic "Crimetime after Primetime" line-up, FK showed its first two episodes on sequential nights, cut many minutes from the US airings compared to the Canadian (never mind the German), and took almost an entire calendar year to get through its first season.

Tonight, I rewatched both the Region 2 (German) and Region 1 (US/Canada) DVDs of S1E01 "Dark Knight." I won't do that every week of this rewatch project! But I may repeat for S1E02 "Dark Knight, the Second Chapter" next week. I find the missing footage extra irritating in DK. I've seen all the cut "Dark Knight" scenes in English on the taped-from-TV VHS tapes slowly degrading in my closet; there's no justification for leaving those scenes off the Region 1 DVDs! (Granted, "anything is better than nothing.") Other episodes, later in first season, have snippets that I've only seen on the German DVDs; the lack of those true "Eurominutes" doesn't bother me the same way.

The "They were always our prey" scene

While both scenes with the suit of armor in the museum are missing from the R1 DVDs (both "These old museums..."/"How long has Schanke been here?" and "That's right. You're a knight with a 'k,' aren't you?"/"The guy wouldn't be able to relieve himself"), plus two Alyce scenes (including the bit about the bullet holes in Nick's jacket being a reminder of his mortality), the marketing call on Nick's answering machine, and a few sentences from the Nightcrawler, I believe that the biggest loss is the second half of the scene in the loft in which Nick tells Natalie about Lacroix:
NICK: Lock up when you leave, will you? I've got to sleep.

NATALIE: But why the street people? He killed the guard at the museum to get the cup. The Indians, to halt the dig. This still doesn't explain why he'd be killing these homeless people.

NICK: They were always our prey. No one cares about them. No one notices when they're gone. It never bothered Lacroix. Only me... This is his way of calling me out, Nat.

This scene shows Natalie reasoning through the case, applying the data she has and coming to the same conclusion as Schanke has, from the other side: the supposed pattern doesn't cover all the victims. At the same time, it gives valuable expositional insight into Nick — still a stranger to us in this first episode of his story; we're supposed to have been suspecting him as possibly the murderer — and his perspective on Lacroix's motivations and patterns, as well as Nick's own value system and preoccupations.

The rebec

Of course Mr. Mollin used the rebec-evoking sound in his composition of FK's theme, and the rebec is also part of the story as Lacroix's instrument.

I think that I recall reading an excerpt from an interview with Mollin in which he talked about finding that sound, contriving it, making it part of the FK theme. I thought that the quotation might be from the liner notes for the first soundtrack album, but I looked and it's not. Instead, there's a quotation from Mr. Parriot about asking "a dozen prospective composers" for "an ancient string instrument. Something lonely that sounds like a cello. Something gothic" that "moves."

What occurred to me about the rebec and the theme music, during this particular rewatch, is that if Mollin indeed created the rebec association for FK, then Parriot could have fully put the rebec into Lacroix's hands — into the script, into the prop department — only after the theme was composed and accepted. Or is it that the "medieval stringed instrument" was already in the script when Parriot named those parameters? (The instrument wasn't in the original Nick Knight pilot with Rick Springfield and Michael Nader.) In the copy of the "Dark Knight" script that I've seen, Lacroix plays a "violin," which would have been an anachronism in 1228 (the violin we know was invented in the 1500s).

The "Spidey-sense" bit

DK1 is (thankfully) the only episode in which Nick seems to have some sort of super-sense that draws him, unsummoned, to a crime-in-progress blocks away, via a red haze over the buildings. In my opinion, that sudden turn (on the heels of Schanke's "in-tu-ition" remark) makes little sense, and, if continued, would have put Nick in danger of "Superman syndrome" (aka "Kryptonite syndrome"), in which Nick would have been too perceptive, too powerful, for the normal twists and turns of story plotting. Of course FK vampires have stronger senses than FK humans do, but a supernatural awareness of every violent crime in the city as it happens? Constantly scanning all conversations within a mile?

The scene that follows this diversion is in many ways just as incoherent. What does the strung-out man with the uzi want? We never find out. Where did he come from? Who are the people he murders and takes hostage? We never find out. His "I know you have it" refrain is — from this end of history — creepily similar to the equally incoherent, unexplained, self-repeating gunman in "Last Knight." And of course Schanke doesn't actually see Nick pull the guy out the window (Schanke is in the hall, not looking around the doorjamb to get shot), though he later tells Stonetree he did, and Nick for some reason swoops on the guy from the air when he already has him on the ground.

In the original Nick Knight pilot, the parallel incident sets up the confrontation between Nick and Lacroix right there where the parallel gunman had his hostage. There, it's possible to suppose that Lacroix baited this trap with the strung-out gunman to lure Nick in. Here, Lacroix is nowhere around, so that explanation isn't coherently available.

Miscellaneous random thoughts
  • Why does Nick ask whether Alyce has a "drawing" of the jade cup, rather than a "photo" or "picture"? Of course she does have a drawing, a very nice one, exquisitely colored! But does the phrasing of his request show a familiarity with academic archaelogical practices, or careless scripting?
  • Why does Stonetree ask Schanke whether he's ever been "bit" by a scorpion, instead of "stung" by a scorpion? Too much "vampire murders" on the brain just then?
  • Why does Lacroix smash the glass to take the jade cup first, before murdering the guard? I imagine that it must be to terrify the guard, for the evil sadistic pleasure of causing terror as well as death, when Lacroix could have easily sneaked up and dispatched the guard before the guard knew what was coming.
  • In Nick's loft, the cactus sticks around for the rest of the season. The dead plant in the blue pot doesn't.

What do you think? :-)

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Tags: foreverknight:canon, rewatch, rewatch:foreverknight

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