Review

Review

Television Tourniquet: We Enter 'The Gates' Episode 1

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The Gates Episode 1.1
"Pilot"
Written By: Grant Scharbo and Richard Hatem
Directed By: Terry McDonough
Original Airdate: 20 June 2010

In This Episode...

Welcome to The Gates, an upper-middle-class planned community that goes beyond the typical suburban McMansion.  The Gates is like its own protected city.  There are houses, parks, shops, even an elite private school, all within the carefully guarded community. 

Our focus is upon two families: the Monahans and the Radcliffs.  Nick Monahan has relocated his wife Sarah and kids Charlie and Dana from Chicago, where he was a homicide detective who resigned after a controversial kill.  He is now the chief of police for The Gates, despite the fact that there is little crime.

The Radcliffs are Dylan, Claire, and daughter Emily.  Dylan is a biotech CEO; Claire is a housewife with an addiction – to blood.  Claire is a vampire, desperately struggling to quell her urges.  Though Dylan keeps her in blood bank blood, she misses the hunt and has a hard time assimilating.  She reminds him that he was the one that turned her – her addiction is his fault.

A contractor crashes his truck in front of the Radcliff house, and Claire brings him inside to clean up his bleeding head.  The site of the blood is too much for her.  She seduces the contractor, and while making out on the kitchen counter, rips his neck open.  She is both sated and guilty.  When Dylan returns home from his business trip that night, he instantly smells the blood on her and is furious.  The cops – who saw the contractor enter The Gates on security monitors, but did not see him leave – are sniffing around.  Dylan dumps the contractor and his truck by the lake and makes it look like a wolf killed him.

Nick is highly suspicious of the Radcliffs, even going so far as to creep around their home late at night when he couldn't get a search warrant.  Sarah is pissed off – apparently his "instincts" were what got him into trouble in Chicago.  Nick vows to put the case to rest.

The kids are doing their best to fit in at a new school.  Charlie has made instant friends with cute girl Andie, but her football-player boyfriend, Brett, is instantly jealous.  Turns out he has good reason to: Brett is a werewolf, and with his super-sonic hearing he overhears Andie confessing her attraction to Charlie.  His jealousy gets the better of him, and he goes wolf, but one of his teammates – and fellow werewolves – tackles him and tells him not now, not like this.  Apparently it's forbidden in The Gates.

Nick gets called out to a crime scene outside The Gates, under the possibility that it is their missing contractor.  It's not.  It's the old police chief, who was supposed to have retired to Mexico.

Dig It or Bury It?

Pilots are usually terrible, but this one was pretty good.  I feel like the characters were introduced in a natural way that wasn't stilted.  The instant attraction between Charlie and Andie was a little weird, but they are teenagers – it's always weird.  I was particularly impressed with the way the story was handled.  When you have werewolves, vampires, and witches all living together in uneasy harmony, it could very easily turn into an episode of Scooby-Doo. The Gates treats the "creatures" like normal human characters.  It was not quite as gory as I had hoped, but I think this one has a chance to go the distance (or at least a full season).

Tasty Treats

Claire loves to cook.  This week, she made a welcome-wagon lasagna for the Monahans, and a pie for the guard at the front gate.

Entree

The only murder in the first episode was that of the contractor – though the former police chief did show up in a body bag at the end.  Mr. Contractor was exsanguinated into the kitchen sink, and later had his blood bottled and stored in the Radcliff's wine cellar.

Creature Feature

Besides Claire the vampire and The Gates High's werewolf football team, the town also has two witches: Peg, a holistic healer and "good witch"; and Devon, who runs the day spa and is a "bad witch."

Fun fact: In The Gates, Claire is protected from the sun by slathering herself in a special body lotion before stepping outside.  I think it is SPF 1,000.

Prophecies?

I'm eager to see what other monsters show up in this show.  I'm hoping for a gargoyle.  I don't know why, but why wouldn't you want a gargoyle to show up?  The Radcliffs made mention of Emily being adopted.  I suspect Dylan and Claire ate little Emily's mommy and daddy.  I hope the werewolves make life hard for Charlie and Andie because their shy flirtations are already annoying the hell out of me.

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