Not all supernaturally abusive relationships are as simple as they first appear

Loads of TV shows have given us supernatural creatures as metaphors for abusive relationships, but I'm at a loss to think of one that turned our expectations on their heads like The Gates did last night, in another great episode.

Minor spoilers ahead, but I'll try not to give away too much, because it's actually worth watching in full.

So one of the annoying things about The Gates originally was the way Brett the football-playing werewolf acted so overbearing and possessive — and borderline stalkery and threatening — towards Andie, his sorta-ex girlfriend. And now we're seeing a whole new side to their dynamic, and learning that all along, Brett was terrified of hurting Andie with his super-werewolf powers, and that was the main reason he was so uptight around her all the time — he was constantly worried he was going to do something wolfy and damaging. And now that he knows she's a "freak" too — and more to the point, that she can hurt him too — all bets are off and you can see how relieved he is to be on an equal footing with her after all. It's so not where I thought their storyline was heading, and it's fascinating.

And meanwhile, the big secret about Simon Ford, the alpha werewolf, turns out to be an abusive relationship of a different sort — and the whole vampire/werewolf war we were promised/threatened turns out to be a red herring. (And nice detective work by Nick, who is once again gratifyingly good at his job.) And yet, we also learn more stuff that makes the werewolf pack seem like one big abusive family, who are willing to slaughter a 15-year-old boy just to maintain the pecking order. You start to think, by the end, that maybe Simon is right about werewolves not being able to live among normal people in polite society.


And then finally there's the whole Claire-Christian thing, which finally goes from creepy to horrifying. I'm not even a hundred percent sure what he did to break her "bond" with Dylan, but I guess we'll find out soon — it's a fucked-up situation that's so barely metaphorical, it's skin-crawling. If you substituted a situation where a woman went out to tell her lover that she was ending their affair and then he raped her, you wouldn't have to change too many of the details. What the vampire lore added to this particular story were some of the grace notes, plus the feeling that there's something intrinsically broken about Claire, that Christian is just bringing out.

All in all, this was another great episode of a show that's hitting its stride more and more. Well worth watching the most few recent episodes and getting caught up.


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