As might be expected, the second episode of ABC series The Gates suffers from a bit of a sophomore slump. The pilot introduced the larger mysteries of the series, and now viewers are expected to patiently watch them unfold.
That is not to say we didnt get any answers this episode. On the contrary, we learned quite a few things! We know the former police chief, whose dead body was found at the close of the last episode, was on the take. We know that vampire Claire Radcliffe (Rona Mitra), as well as werewolf Simon Ford (Louis Herthum), both paid him to lose arrest reports. We also learned that Andie Bates (Skyler Samuels), who seemed like a normal girl, is a succubus, as was her late mother.
There are plenty of new mysteries in this episode, as well. Devon (Chandra West) is obviously exerting some sort of power over residents of The Gates, and it may have something to do with the teas she makes. And why exactly does she need Claires blood? Police officer Markus Jordan (Justin Miles) has a chance encounter with Teresa (Shannon Lucio), which may be of significance at some point.
The tension between Claire and her husband Dylan (Luke Mably) seems to be heating up. However, one of the chief drawbacks of this episode was the lack of screen time for Claire.
The tension of juggling so many characters and story lines could easily overwhelm this show. While this episode did suffer somewhat from that standpoint, I am still interested to see what happens next.
This episode was strongest in the area of character development. Police chief Nick Monohan (Frank Grillo) seemed a bit less one-dimensional this time around. The revelation that Andie is a succubus was a nice twist, making her character much more interesting. The growing tension between the Radcliffes was also very effective. Finally, while I didnt find Devon to be very interesting in the pilot, this was her episode to shine. I suspect she will prove to have a larger role in some of these mysteries.
What Didnt Work
Claire Radcliffe is by far the most interesting character in this show, and any time she is missing, the show will suffer. The sheer number of characters and plot lines may put off some fans, especially if they have to wait several weeks to see their favorite character or story line return.
The pilot seemed to have a Desperate Housewives feel to it, in terms of direction, editing and soundtrack. However, this episode had more of a CW atmosphere, which I believe is a step in the wrong direction. Two CW-style music montages, as well as a cut to the school bell at the beginning of every high school scene, are among the elements that made it feel more like an early episode of Smallville. Alas, a perusal of episode director David Barretts IMDB page reveals episodes of Smallville, Veronica Mars and The O.C.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"The Gates" stars Frank Grillo, Marisol Nichols, Rhona Mitra, Luke Mably, Travis Caldwell, Skyler Samuels, Colton Haynes, Chandra West and Victoria Platt. What Lies Beneath" was directed by David Barrett, and was written by Grant Scharbo.
"The Gates" airs on ABC Sundays at 10 p.m. ET.
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