october faction

After the much needed kick start from the last two episodes, “Bonds of Blood” continues the positive momentum as Fred and Dee face the consequences of their bloody actions throughout the years working for Presidio. It’s disappointing for these two characters that, until Alice forces them to relive the pain and suffering they’ve caused (albeit much of it being for the betterment of mankind), they exhibit little remorse for the damage they’ve caused. While werewolves, vampires, and the like may prey on unsuspecting humans, there’s no excuse for their slaughter of the warlock community where women and children were cut down like weeds. I had hoped “Bonds of Blood” would offer some sort of redemption for the couple but instead it solidifies them as, while not the out-and-out villains, far from the paragons of virtue they initially appeared to be. This direction is not a bad thing either. Instead, it highlights the gray area people may walk when combating the forces of evil. That lesson may be October Faction’s greatest legacy, though there’s still some story to be told and though much of it revolves around Alice’s shadowy plan, it also hinges on Viv and Geoff’s acclimation to their new reality.

“This is who we are.”

Even with the lameness of the entire high school angle and, at times, sketchy performances, Viv and Geoff have always been the most interesting part of the series. Granted, both characters have cliché traits of the high school outcast (Viv) or the snarky and arrogant new student whose attitude hides the fears and uncertainty of a messed-up life (Geoff) but the two actors, Aurora Burghart and Gabriel Darku respectively, have shown the greatest promise in those moments of angst and fear.

Though their arc is the best of the episode, it’s curious how quickly Viv and Geoff fall into trusting Alice, biological mother or not.

This still holds true in “Bonds of Blood” where the two confront those students that have accepted them—Cathy for Viv and Phillip for Geoff—but still carry tension and uncertainty about the specific relationship. Where Viv discovers that her visions of the future can be changed, saving Cathy from a fiery death and then making amends, Geoff is given the eye-opening lesson that just because you feel something, doesn’t give you the right to slam others for their reticence. Though two of the three students he outs have done heinous things, a third—Madison (Sara Waisglass, Holly Hobbie, Degrassi) — wears a similar façade as Geoff, trying to keep up this image others expect of her, fearful of the reaction she’d face if the truth about her home life was revealed. Similar to the gray areas of the adult protagonists, this (and Phillip’s eventual decision to come out) highlights a truth in this world that you never really know what’s going on it the lives of others and highlights the Biblical lesson of Matthew 7:1; “judge not lest ye be judged”.

With the high school drama seemingly put behind us, there’s still the confrontation ahead. Hannah leads a cadre of Presidio agents, prepared for war, into town ready to take Alice down while Samuel’s experiment with the Kano-knockoff Dante (Calvin Desautels, Condor, Murdoch Mysteries), who we discover is now Seth. When Moshe realizes his family’s murderer has been given a second chance, like me, he doesn’t believe it’s justified. Only Seth’s ability to lead Fred and Dee to their kids stays the would-be executioner’s hand.

There’s still so much up in the air with this finale lead-in. Still hampered by a lack of emotional connection in some parts (Moshe’s reaction to the Seth reveal falls flat), “Bonds of Blood” does good work examining that fine line between justice and revenge, or the muddled nature of fighting the good fight versus the justification of evil acts. As everyone converges on Barington and Alice drafts that now familiar warlock symbol around the Gate Night festival grounds, the lack of clarity between who the good guys are versus the bad will ever go away. And if that becomes October Faction’s finest trait, it’s a powerful one to have.