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A Beautiful Day for CHLOE KING? Nah.

banner_recapTHE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING
Season 1, episode 10: “Beautiful Day”

So, it’s the summer finale. We know we’re going to have a dark tragic ending because it’s just that kind of show, right? So what better way to set that up than with the contrasting cuteness of the carnival photo booth?

OK. I’ll take it. I know we’re dealing with teenagers here. And yes, the carnival setting is a good contrast from the rest of the show. And for the record, I’m slightly impressed that this episode uses new establishing shots of San Francisco. I think the producers finally got to the point where they’re sure we know where we are…

And Chloe says something in the opening teaser that I thought was note-worthy: “I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know what it means.” She’s talking, of course, about her relationship with Alek, but it could very well apply to the show, too. Even though they’ve been telegraphing all sorts of things throughout the season. I’m pretty sure astute viewers know where this is going already.

Anyhoo, whilst our intrepid heroes make merry, good ol’ double-crossing Zane is in the back, talking on his iPhone to Simone. He’s just waiting for Valentina to get back into town. Muwahhahah.

(I really can’t stand the show’s “day-for-night” process. I don’t know what AfterEffects plug-in they have, but it stinks.)

Now, in the first commercial break is the spot for Abduction, reminding me again that I’m not the target demographic for this show. Taylor Lautner looks like he’s made of plastic. There’s just something about his face that bugs me…

Back to the show, and our first of many iPhone product placement shots! It’s Kitty Hat, calling Chloe to go to Grandma’s house. After a “Gilmore Girls Lite” moment with Mom, Chloe’s out the door. (And Mom’s eating bacon. Mmmm, bacon…)

Simone and Rezza have a little chat in the Evil Rich Guy’s office (which must have been the only set they could afford to build all season..) and tells him “There’s nothing more dangerous than an assassin with a grudge.” Uhm, really? Besides sounding trite, doesn’t an assassin with a grudge become less effective because of the emotional involvement? Don’t assassins have to be cold and calculating to get the job done right? Nevermind…

Over at the fancy apartment, Valentina makes her return! Yay, Alicia Coppola! But she’s not happy because Jasmine’s been spending time with the Boy From New York City and trying to have, like, you know, a real life (geez…) and Valentina doesn’t care too much for Zane. Oh, no, she does not. Meow. Zane leaves, but outside the apartment we get a “soap opera” style lingering shot of him as he sends a text and then mugs for the camera with an evil smirk – you know, just so we’re very clear he’s the bad guy and all…


And where’s Chloe? The Hoodie Crew doesn’t know, because Chloe’s not answering her iPhone. Don’t the Mai have a super-secret technology that can find anyone’s mobile device via GPS? No? Maybe that’s in the budget for next season. Chloe’s with Kitty Hat, gone to Grandma’s using a Happy Driving Montage up the coastal highway to the Fancy House with the Gate, where they find Grandma after jumping the fence and trespassing on the property and alerting the Big Scary Guard Dog.

Grandma tells Kitty Hat pretty much what he already knows: Dad is a Very Bad Man. He started out good, but wandered onto a dark path that made him start to do bad things, and it seemed to get better when he met a girl, but the darkness was too much for him. Anakin was a good friend… oh, wait. I knew I’d heard this story before.

Whilst all this is going on, Mom is getting ready for a big dinner with a Super Important Potential Investor. This will be important later.

Now, here’s where we start to get into major spoiler territory. You’ve been warned.

Really. If you don’t like spoilers, CLICK HERE FOR AN ESCAPE HATCH.

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Grandma isn’t all she appears to be. When Kitty Hat and Chloe leave, Simone comes out of the woodwork! OMG! Actually, it’s not a surprise. Because nothing on this show is a surprise. But it’s clear that since Grandma and Simone are working together, and since Simone held back information from Rezza, and since Grandma and Rezza don’t take too kindly to each other…a double-cross is in the works.

And then we get a Chloe & Amy in the Kia Soul spot. Ick. I hate these. They’re starting to crop up more and more. It’s a commercial, but the actors are still in character. “Chuck” did it, too, and it’s annoying as all get-out.

So, after the Kia Soul suck-up … erm.. commercial, there’s the next iPhone ad within the show as Alek takes Chloe to task for disappearing. More badly done day-for-night shooting here. Chloe gets put in her place by Paul and Amy, who now know that Daddy King is still alive and Chloe kept it from them and how could she?!

While Chloe talks her way out of Best Friend Anger territory, Zane does the Rambo thing and arms himself with all sorts of sharp pointy things.

Kitty Hat goes and confronts Evil Rich Dad about his mother’s death, laying the ring on the table but not revealing that Grandma’s still alive. Rezza, of course, freaks a bit  (there seems to be a lot of that in this episode…) and kicks the boy out of the office. Brian goes, but only after he issues a Super-Serious Warning that he’s not going to stop until he gets answers. Smolder and hold the camera shot as he makes an Exitus Dramaticus.

Chloe confesses to Mom that she might be in love with Brian, but doesn’t want to be (that whole “kiss him and he’s dead” has really been playing in this episode) and of course Alek the stalker-eavesdropper hears everything and goes AWOL just as…

Zane shows up at Valentine’s apartment, and makes nice with her while they wait for Jasmine to get home. Only Jasmine went to go meet Zane and got stood up, and sends a text to Valentine. And this gives her alarm bells just as the poison dart hits her in the back. Ker-thunk.

The body count starts to rise at this point. Zane does his obligatory Bad Guy Monologue while Valentine bleeds out on the floor, and Alek is still MIA.

Chloe, in the meantime, has gone to the park to meet Daddy King, who told her where to go using a clue from the children’s book she made. Of course, Brian follows and wants to know what’s going on. Chloe plays the “if you trust me” card and like a sap, Brian the college boy lets the sixteen-year-old go into the building by herself in the middle of the night.

Now, at this point, I have Admiral Ackbar in my head: “It’s a trap!” Of course it’s a trap. Because we have to have one more action sequence in the blue HMI lights that simulate night-time before the show’s over. Right?

But wait! We don’t get just one badly choreographed fight sequence, but two! Because by this time, Jasmine’s come home to find Valentine on the floor and Zane waiting for her. So Chloe fights Bad Guys, Jasmine fights Zane, and we go back and forth, back and forth until Chloe wins and Jasmine loses.

Two down. Alek is still MIA.

Chloe is on her way out of the building when she’s met by Simone, who has a gun. And she uses that gun, shooting Chloe three times. Apparently, she’s testing to see if Chloe will wake up. Brian hears the shots, runs in to the rescue! Thus begins the slow-motion montage of things happening all at once: Chloe bleeding out and falling to the stairs, Brian running into the building, and Mom getting into a limo with her investor:

OMG! So, is Rezza in on the entire plan, or is he following some agenda of his own without knowing exactly what’s going on with Simone?

And Grandma has Daddy King’s copy of the children’s book Chloe made. So, is Daddy King dead? Captured? Still missing?

Back at the park, Brian’s too late. Chloe’s dead on the steps, and he confesses his love over and over and over and then finally the Moment happens that we knew was going to happen.

Yep. Kitty Hat kisses the Chloe just as she’s waking up from being dead. And she kisses him back, until it hits her that she’s just killed him. OMG!

Now, as I write this, it just hit me that I didn’t see Simone exit the scene. So now I’m wondering if I missed something or if the producers did.

Amy and Paul come into the building, because they’ve been following Chloe after she lied to them, too, and they find Chloe on the steps, alive, with Brian also on the steps, dead. Thus ends my getting creeped out because a college boy is interested in a sixteen-year-old. I don’t know why this bothered me so much through the run of the show, but it did. Does.

And Alek finally shows up back at the apartment to find Valentine and Jasmine on the floor, Zane standing over them, and we get the reveal that Zane and Alek are brothers. OMG!

How very soap opera formulaic is this?

So, predictions:

  1. Given the secrecy and angst surrounding the death of Brian’s mother, I suspect she was Mai. Which means Brian is half-Mai and he’s going to wake up.
  2. Jasmine and Valentine weren’t actually finally dead at the end of the episode, so there’s still a chance Alek opens a can of whoop-ass on Zane, gets the antidote (because Zane is stupid enough to have it with him OR Valentine has some in the apartment), and the girls get saved at the very last minute, thus bonding Jasmine and Valentine in another “Gilmore Girls Lite” moment.
  3. Rezza will reveal the existence of the Mai to Chloe’s mother.
  4. Grandma has Daddy King somewhere. Either that, or she killed him a long time ago.
  5. The show will introduce another non-human race, maybe based on tigers?

Either that, or Chloe will leave San Francisco on a Great Quest to find herself, find her father, discover her roots, and return to her home years later to mete out justice and fight the cowardly lot… oh, wait. Never mind.

If the show gets picked up for a second season, I also predict that the story – while it holds up as a cohesive piece, for the most part – won’t get any better in its execution. They clearly don’t have a huge budget, and the writing feels like it’s been done by college students who really haven’t done a whole lot yet. The show also needs a new director of photography, someone who knows how to light scenes properly and shoot ‘day-for-night’ like day actually looks like night.

Now, a lot of my predictions are based on the show itself. I’m ignoring the fact that there are three books in the series, and Chloe ends up with Brian, and Chloe’s mother was a Pride leader of some sort, yadda yadda yadda. This is an instance where ignorance is bliss. And I don’t have enough bliss as it is, so I’m remaining carefully ignorant of the books.

Now, I’m off to find my bliss. Happy place, happy place, happy place…

[Official Show Site at ABC Family]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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