Season 1, Episode 6
This review contains massive spoilers, including the images. You have been warned!
“Ascension’s broken. I’m gonna put it right.”
Paul may be dead set on fixing ascension, but both his mentor Neil and his arch-nemesis John have other plans for the Angelic teen. Neil, who has been going progressively mental since episode one, has kidnapped Mac, Anna, mum Meg and Jay in a mad last-ditch effort to force our boy hero to his way of thinking. Neil wants John and all of the Reborns dead, and he doesn’t care whom he has to kill to make that happen, even if it means offing the love of Paul’s young life. As for angry dead boy John, he wants Paul dead so that the Reborns can finally move on to better things, like world domination.
Reborn Sarah just wants her old life back, but the uncontrollable urge to eat human flesh keeps her from fully realizing that happy family reunion that she wanted with hubby Mark. And Mark has decided that maybe having his dead wife back again isn’t what he really wanted after all, and skips out of town with his new girlfriend by his side. The heel.
“What’s the point of seeing the future if you can’t change it?”
Paul’s transformation from nerdy teen to invincible Angelic complete with wings and fiery bolts of lightning took just six short episodes – proof of the blazingly fast plot development SOP for this series. But the first half of the finale episode was more about Paul’s inner struggle over the life or death decisions he was being forced to make. Of course, the end result was never really in doubt, it was more a question of just how Paul was going to get to where he could settle in and “do the right thing.”
Even Mac and Anna found some quality time alone in which to examine their love/hate relationship, albeit while chained up together in a storage container awaiting what they think is certain death. The character of Anna has softened a little since the first episode, and now sees Mac as an equal, or perhaps as just less of an aggravating annoyance than before. Sharing leads to caring, as it were. And Mac has surely proven his mettle by standing by his best friend through thick and thin, including life, death and rebirth, all in perfect superhero sidekick fashion, including amusingly nerdy wisecracks.
“I told him. You don’t f*** with Ascension.”
Going full circle we end up back at the deserted shopping mall where the series began. Paul’s premonitions have all led up to this moment, and he finally gets his bloody knockdown drag-out showdown with John. Although profoundly beaten in their fight, he eventually unleashes several fiery bolts of lightning, which ultimately reopens the Ascension portal. Fades everywhere start glowing and are set free to evaporate into the hereafter, and all is right with the world again.
Or is it? It looks like putting the Fades back where they belonged has opened a whole new can of worms for our hero, his sister and his best pal. The skies are darkening ominously and we can only wonder what lies in store for Paul and his friends. Here’s hoping that the BBC is smart enough to give us a season two so we can find out.
Where do we go from here?
THE FADES is simply genre television writing at its best. True, there were a couple of loose ends here and there in this episode that hopefully will be addressed again should a season two materialize. The subplot involving Mark and his dead wife Sarah seemed to just peter out; it’s possible that more of their relationship development was cut for time. Some niggly questions were also left unanswered, like why did Jay, and for that matter all of the people killed and eaten by the Fades, not turn into Fades immediately after death? Shouldn’t Paul, the boy who sees dead people, have been able to see Jay’s ghost if she were dead? Why couldn’t he “fix” her injury the way he fixed Neil and Mac? What about all those unexplained tremors? How exactly did Mac and Anna get out of those handcuffs, or know where to find Paul? And that final confrontation between good and evil went on a wee bit longer than was really necessary…
But as the finale included some lovely shiny CGI as well as a bittersweet cliffhanger ending, I am inclined to overlook the incomplete bits and award highest marks for both content and effort. Only one real question remains, and that is how long must we wait for news of this excellent series’ renewal?