Now that the truth has been revealed, the Allen twins are caught up in the righteous indignation while the warlock Alice’s plan is slowly revealed.
As reactions go, Viv and Geoff’s righteous indignation at discovering their parents are monster hunters is both understandable and expected. One thing I take issue with is that Fred and Dee’s lie is giving the twins carte blanche to act however they like. They have every right to be upset and while a portion of their behavior lies with the vast immaturity of high schoolers, it’s a tiresome trope that the person (or persons) wronged are allowed such a blatant disregard of respect and civility. It’s one of the more aggravating points of “Truth or Consequences”, an episode that does little in furthering the plot while encased in an overly predictable narrative.
Taking a break from the truth now in the open, Viv becomes the target of another lie when Rob reports her for assault and the principal believes it without question because, of course, she would. Viv’s reaction of punching Rob (one I wholeheartedly approve) gets her suspended for two weeks and adds little to her arc, save for the free time to go traipsing into the woods in search of the Kano-lookalike that saved her from Rob’s handsy assault. I’m sure this mystery man will play a bigger role in what’s to come, but sadly his character design, one more at home in a cheap Syfy flick, makes it difficult to take him seriously.
Back onto the episode’s predictability, nothing is so blatantly expected than the fallout from Geoff’s confession to Phillip regarding ghost Steve. Despite being so tight with his sister (one who already shared with him her own unexplained issues), Geoff unburdens himself to a guy who’s been nothing but an ass to him from day one. It’s clearly a case of plot needs, one the writers must think okay since the two young men shared a powerful moment on the rooftop. It goes beyond Geoff believing he has the right to lecture Phillip on self-acceptance but the end-result — Phillip initiating their make-out session soon after being preached to — barrels into the chasm of ridiculously scripted drama, lacking any sort of satisfactory setup and is far out of place in October Faction. Darku and Akilla make the most of the material and the chemistry between them is stronger than Phillip’s purported disgust for Geoff. But that doesn’t change that the expediency of this romance combined with it interrupting the more important story arc is a major disservice to the larger narrative, one that should focus more on the monster plot line than on the teen drama.
On the subject of monsters, Alice’s nature is finally revealed; she’s a warlock that stole the ashes of other dead warlocks to help rejuvenate herself. Though her plans for the Allen family are still up in the air, she comes out of the woodwork just as Gina (who believes Fred and Dee are killers on the run) is putting the cuffs on Dee. The moment Alice enters the clearing and approaches the two women, it’s obvious how things will end: with Gina becoming a casualty to forces she and most of the human race is ignorant about. It’s curious why Alice doesn’t remove Dee from the equation but suggests that Alice needs something from the Allens before ending them. Either that or the tried and true narrative convenience.
We’ve hit the midway point now and, while October Faction has done a relatively good job maintaining interest by spoon-feeding viewers snippets of information, it’s also riddled with some shockingly bad and ineffective execution. “Truth or Consequences” is the biggest offender with its predictability and, while it’s not a bad episode, it’s by-the-numbers approach deflates the energy that should spark the second half run of the season.
At its most effective, “Truth” continues to build on the strife between Fred and his parents, taking another jaunt into the past that foreshadows the consequences of not telling Viv and Geoff the truth. Every interaction between Fred and his folks is effective, making me, as a viewer, uncomfortable. Throw in Maggie’s advice that the kids should know everything that’s out there adds more to the strife because, in this case, she’s right. How often in shows like Buffy, where monsters are not just things on TV, does someone find themselves in danger because they don’t know the truth? Fred and Dee are doing what they think is best for their kids but, in that, they can’t rectify that with the truth that Viv and Geoff are in a family of monster hunters and it’s only a matter of time before said monsters target them as a way to even the score… or worse.