In the second installment of ‘The Fades’, it’s looking as if the good guys more than have their hands full. After Sarah, an Angelic, was killed within the first five minutes of the series premiere and Neil, her partner, lost his eye to that same wraith, Helen looks to have suffered Sarah’s fate. IF we’re keeping score, that’s 2.5 bad guys to zero for the good guys. After finding Helen’s torn up body, Neil burns down the safe house before making his way to Paul.
For Paul, the craziness gets a bit crazier. His visions of the apocalypse turn towards those in his life, and as he makes his way through the house, Paul’s visions show him the lifeless bodies of Jay, Anna and his mother. He shares the disturbing visions with Mac whose tangential thoughts questions Paul’s sanity and jokingly centers on Anna half naked in Paul’s bed in the vision. It’s Mac’s way with things; using humor and misdirection to combat his own fear and discomfort when things get to be too much. When Neil shows up at the school, Paul leaves with him.
Getting a bit more into the mix this week is Mark. He’s initially warned for his behavior towards a rambunctious student and is less than patient later on when Paul and Mark are talking during class. Later in the episode, Mark finds pictures that detail a life Sarah had that Mark was completely unaware of. And while he has no idea just how different she truly was, it’s only a matter of time before he is pulled into the world of the fades.
Catching up with the episode’s focus, Neil takes Paul to a former orphanage in search of a particular fade. To cover more ground, the two split up and Paul runs into Natalie, the ghost he’d seen in the previous episode. Though doesn’t say a word, Natalie shows Paul a picture of Neil as a boy from the orphanage. She then runs and Paul chases her; in a surprising move, Natalie’s able to manipulate the electrical controls, nearly electrocuting Paul in the process. When Neil finds Paul, he questions Natalie and she runs off. Though not yet detailed, Natalie is an important cog in the wheels leading to the potential apocalypse and her ability to interact with the environment is more than a little disturbing.
Neil leads Paul to Eric, probably the oldest fade around. A former Angelic dead since 1944 with a body that’s been “aging” ever since, Eric wants to meet Paul. When Eric touches Paul, the Angelic light shines out from the teen. When Neil tells Paul how special Eric thinks he is, Paul is overwhelmed, running out of the building. He makes his way back to school, picking up a dead crow on the road. Color him surprised when the crow, flies out of his hand. Before Paul truly gets a chance to figure out what happened, Jay comes by and they idly chit chat. If things weren’t obvious before, they are now as Jay’s expressed interest in Paul is on display. There’s an awkward comfort between the two of them—oxymoronic, I know—that sits perfectly well with their personalities.
On his return to class, Paul is surprised to see Sarah’s fade in the room with him. She says nothing but it’s further proof to Paul that he’s not going to be able to escape the things going on around him. Still, he tries to maintain his normal life when he and Mac join the dance committee Anna’s in charge of. After the meeting, he and Mac have lunch where Paul shares his experience with Natalie. It’s an extremely entertaining exchange and highlights just how the banter between the two best friends will provide the necessary levity necessary for the somber mood of the show, not to mention the fact that Mac’s dialogue is reminiscent of the sharp, witty quippage of ‘Buffy’.
After a quick interlude showing Sarah following Mark, Paul is walking through the park when he is surrounded by Natalie, the wraith and several other fades. Though sparks fly from his palms, it’s Neil that rescues him. Shaken to his core, Paul’s doubts once again creep up but Neil reminds Paul of all the times he could’ve run away but instead chose to run towards things. He is connected with things and, more to the point, Eric believes Paul is the most special of Angelics.
The next morning on their way to Ascension Point, Neil tells Paul that he needs to part with everyone. They come across Natalie feeding on the bodies of the two adolescents that had teased Mac and Paul the day before. Neil realizes the fades are becoming more powerful by ingesting the flesh, allowing them to interact with things.
As things become more obvious to him, Paul knows he needs to say his goodbyes. In a very poignant scene with Mac, the latter’s father, the police detective investigating Sarah’s disappearance, explodes on Mac, pushing him down. Mac shows the vulnerable side of himself he hides behind the snarky wit. During this scene, more of Paul’s power comes into play with him unintentionally healing Mac’s arm. It’s here where Mac bears his soul; acknowledging how special Paul is as well as pleading with his best friend not to leave him behind.
When the bodies of the two teens are found, the headmaster wishes to cancel the dance but, with Mac’s insistence, Anna finds a way to make it happen. Paul admits to Neil he needs time to push off from his normal life and decides the last go round will be the dance. He stumblingly admits his feelings to Jay and she reciprocates, kissing him in the process. While they are away doing teenage things, Neil, at the dance watching out for Paul, idiotically follows Natalie out of the dance and into a deserted barnyard where he’s attacked by the wraith and other fades. He holds his own before being overwhelmed.
When Anna comes looking for Jay, she pushes Paul away. She admits her own weakness and duality as popular kid versus the one that likes him. Paul gets inspiration from this and tells her he can be two people as well. Energized, he calls Neil telling his mentor he can be the Paul his friends and family know and then the one tasked to fight evil.
The show ends with a battered Neil looking up at a surprisingly whole Helen—assuming she is now a fade herself—who demands Neil to tell her about “this boy”.
Two episodes in and ‘The Fades’ is really starting to pick up. The sharp dialogue coupled with the slow unwrapping of the plot and how the characters interact with the world has made it a welcome addition to the sci-fi/horror genre. As Paul gets more comfortable with his destiny and powers, the stakes will continue to be raised culminating with the revelation of just who is behind the fades incursion.
If you missed the first episode be sure to read our ‘The Fades: Series Premiere’ recap.