Bitten may feature the lamest werewolves in entertainment history

Illustration for article titled ​Bitten may feature the lamest werewolves in entertainment history

First of all, let me say Bitten episode 2 was much better than the premiere. It came packed with all the interesting info and questions that the first episode completely failed to mention, set up the stakes, and gave us a glimpse of what being a werewolf is like in this universe. As it turns out, it's a lot of paperwork.

What I'm trying to say is that, now the plot has finally begun, I find myself questioning the basic premise of the show's setting — but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me recap the episode, since it's mainly just an info dump on Elena and her family:

• Jeremy — The leader. He has daddy issues, in that his dad hated him. But, it's also obvious that his issues translated into trying to care for his family, as opposed to seeking another father figure for himself. Indeed, he wants Elena back for this reason.


• Clay — Jeremy's (adopted?) brother. The bad boy who dated Elena, is still obsessed with Elena, follows her around everywhere (ostensibly for her safety), and has some kind of hold on Elena, even though he's creepy and douchy.

• Antonio — Jeremy's second-hand man and group chef. He seems pretty reasonable.

• Nick — Antonio's son and the wacky member of the family, who's happy either challenging Elena to a fight or jumping into her bed shirtless to wake her up. I'm pretty sure the show meant this to be wacky, but it comes off as super, super creepy.

• Pete — A former roadie turned into a slacker werewolf, although he also seems like an all right dude. He's loyal to Jeremy because when Pete accidentally transformed into a wolf in front of a girl and had to kill her, he was going to be executed by the Alpha — presumably the High Poobah of all Werewolves — until Jeremy stepped in.

• Logan — The psychologist we saw in the first episode, and Elena's pal. He's good-natured and has nothing to do this episode except show up at the house.


And here's what we learn about Elena: Apparently she first came to Stonehaven as Clay's girlfriend, got bitten, survived — possibly the first female to ever do so — and started working for Jeremy. A year ago, she was sent to stop a man named Jose Carter from exposing the clan by selling a werewolf arm he'd managed to acquire. Jose won't sell it at any price (so why did he even meet with her?) and Elena is forced to kill him.

This makes Elena sad, even though it's Werewolf Law that she had to kill him if there was no other choice, and the guy was kind of a dick anyways. She's sad because she felt she lost her humanity in that moment, which is clearly important enough to her that she immediately fled to Toronto to try to pretend to be a full human as much as she could. Obviously, the family knows werewolves shouldn't kill people (e.g., Pete) unless it's the only way to save the pack, so they have a hard time comprehending why any werewolf would be so upset about killing this asshole.


But therein lies my — I don't want to say problem with Bitten, because I'm not sure it is one yet — my confusion. This is a show about a werewolf who doesn't like to kill people at all. Okay, Elena's trying to contain the monster inside her; that's standard tragic monster operating procedure. The problem is that none of the other werewolves seem to be monsters. They're all really upset when someone murders people near their house. They express no desire to kill anyone or anything — not even the Mutt, really — which makes it look like Elena's murder problem is her problem, not a werewolf problem. It's hard to get too invested in Elena struggling between two worlds when she's the only werewolf apparently having these issues.

If that were all, I wouldn't mind, but the whole werewolf society is strange, man. So werewolves either adhere to the Pack, or they're loners and called Mutts and regarded with suspicion if not outright hostility? That seems kind of were-racist. Isn't Elena a Mutt, seeing as she abandoned her family to go live alone among the humans? (I imagine the show has an answer for this, but I'm going to avoid researching the books while I do these recaps, because I want to see how the show handles it).


And even that would be cool if it weren't for the fact that Jeremy keeps a shit-ton of files on all the Mutts in the basement of Stonehaven. Not only is this super Big Brother, this is the first time I've ever seen a show about werewolves who keep paperwork. Jeremy tells Elena all her old research is in the basement, just as she left it. She pours over files to see if she can guess who the Mutt who killed the girl is… instead, of, you know, turning into a wolf and going hunting.

There is a reason for this, in that there are hunters about and Jeremy wants to wait a day until Logan arrives and the whole family is together. So they wait, and when Logan arrives, they wait some more until night comes. Elena eventually finds a shanty shack where the Mutt/killer lives (he's gone for the moment) but once they find it, she, Clay and Nick all immediately head back to Stonehaven to figure out what to do next, as opposed to just catching the dude.


To be fair, even the show realizes this is a terrible idea, because the next morning, a new body is found right outside the Stonehaven grounds — that of a little boy. The hunt is officially on, both for the killer and any wolves unfortunate enough to be seen by the increasing numbers of hunters. Hopefully Elena has something in her files about how to deal with this.

Illustration for article titled ​Bitten may feature the lamest werewolves in entertainment history

Assorted Musings:

• I get the feeling there's a lot of Axe body spray being used in the Stonehaven household.


• The first thing Elena does when she hits the Werewolf Hall of Records is start picking up scrolls — specifically, the Scroll of Exposition, which explains how werewolves are made, followed by the Scroll of Sexist Exposition, which explains there are no female werewolves because women are too weak to survive the bite and transformation process. And holy crap was that voiceover ridiculous.

• Why is there a cage in the basement if nobody turns into an actual werewolf, they can turn into wolves whenever they want and they stay perfectly lucid? Is it for prisoners? Why keep them among all the files?!


• Syfy should really just follow its bliss and let Bitten be the first non-pay cable show to feature nudity. You can't really do a show that's about sex and werewolves justice if you can't ever show the sex. Besides, the first cable station to take this risk will hit a ratings goldmine — and nowadays, I really doubt many advertisers would pull out.

• I can't tell you how disappointed I am Bitten uses the word Mutts to describe rogue werewolves and not "wereholes" or "asswolves."


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Oh Rob. The entire book is actually about Elena coming to realize that the parts of her personality she doesn't like about herself have nothing to do with being a werewolf, that its just her personality. And that its okay to accept that people love her anyway, even if those people happen to be werewolves who occasionally kill people to keep that a secret. That's why you're confused - Elena is confused.

Coming to grips with who you are and what you want out of life are pretty much major themes in Armstrong's books to date, and I don't think that's exactly exciting tv material, even though she includes a certain amount of both violence and sex to her stories.

I think the reason this book, which was written in the 90s and published in 2001, was never adapted for tv before is because its hard to adapt. There's a lot of introspection. Much of the book is Elena's internal monologue and her choice between "normal" and werewolf life. So I am afraid this show is just to capitalize on the sexy supernatural trend and will probably suck no matter what.

Its a shame, because the source material is really good. Bitten is a little rough, but it is a debut novel. The series really kicks into gear with the 3rd novel, Dime Store Magic, although much of the set up for that book starts in book 2, Stolen.