October Faction

Fred and Dee go vamp hunting while Viv and Geoff are beginning to suspect that their lives could be even less normal than they realize.

If there was a miss in my review of Episode Two, it was my dismissal of Fred asking Hannah (Michelle Nolden, Saving Hope, Impulse, Red), his Presidio contact, to stay after handing her the dead-drop samples for analysis. Call it naivete if you will, but despite the obvious signs of history beyond the professional, I didn’t expect Fred as one to step out on Dee. And this was not just a one-night affair.

Based on their familiarity with one another (and Fred’s ‘will I see you again?’), this thing with Hannah seems like an ongoing thing. As one of the main protagonists, it’s a curious development for Fred, giving him such a massive character flaw that will understandably be a bitter fruit for many viewers. But just as this shows another side of Fred. Hannah’s subsequent meet with Edith Mooreland is more proof that the Presidio is planning something big and the Allens, despite their contributions over the years, may be a threat to Edith’s Initiative going forward.

Though not on Fred’s level of infidelity, Dee falls into her own exploration into the past. For the second time in as many episodes, she tries to bridge the chasm between her and Baz (Joris Jarsky, Bad Blood, Private Eyes) and again coming up empty. When she finally tells Fred about her history with Baz, the latter’s resentment doesn’t hold up. Maybe it’s because she left town a week after the fire happened but unless there’s more to the story, Baz’s anger towards Dee is a product of someone who can’t take responsibility for his own actions. He made the choice to play the white knight for Dee and his mistakes caused the fire that burned down the pharmacy. But even in saying that, something has to be missing from the equation though I’m not sure whether we’ll get more of the story or if Baz (and this plot line) will remain an open thread.

Geoff is far too quick to dismiss Viv’s concerns on her premonition. Then again, he is a self-absorbed jerk.

While Fred and Dee are out doing their own thing, Viv and Geoff are having their own separate crises. For Viv, it’s the idea that she may possess some type of precognition, suggested from her sketching a picture of the exact truck that ran their bus off the road before it happened. While, like Geoff says, that could be dismissed as coincidence (we know it’s not), his own ordeal is more on the visually tangible side… at least to him. In his irritating drive to become king of the school crowd (deposing Phillip in the process), he reaches out to Steve, a varsity athlete who stands apart from the crowd. But when Geoff delivers Steve’s message to Phillip with nearly disastrous consequences, he learns that Steve was killed in a car accident. The disbelief, shock, and fear Geoff exhibits add some much-needed depth to his shallow character while also giving Gabriel Darku a chance to provide more substance to his character’s arrogant façade.

There are some compelling questions October Faction has raised in the first few episodes that could help the series reach its potential. From the sketchy nature of Edith Mooreland’s initiative and how it relates to the symbol Fred discovered, the burgeoning powers of the twins, or the force that eviscerated the five vampires, they all play like a serious prime-time supernatural drama. Yet there is a glitch in this matrix that goes beyond the boring high school narrative. It took three episodes for me to pinpoint why, with all the positive nuggets sprinkled through the first few episodes, October Faction seemed to be lacking. I’ve already mentioned that, aside from the principal players, the acting has been C-level at best. Even a fun character like Cathy (who reminds me more and more of Shazam! character Freddy Freeman) is missing some special ingredient that goes beyond Anwen O’Driscoll’s talents. “The Horror Out of Time” has finally made it clear; too many scenes and character moments are cut off before they’re given the chance to breathe.

Instead of effectively using dramatic pauses, the show hastily moves on to the next scene. As a viewer, it pulls me out of the moment before I can properly connect with the emotional throughline. It’s as if the series is afraid that extended minutes of dialogue is a negative and the edits should play out with the frenetic cuts and pacing of a music video. My hopes are, once the series settles into itself, the gaffs we’ve seen so far will fade and October Faction can get in touch with its monstrous roots… with a bit of family drama thrown in for good measure.

October Faction – “The Horror Out of Time”
5.5 out of 10