“There’s a new sheriff in town, and he is f**king gorgeous.”
Old Man Heart (Sean Cameron Michael) smells something majestic in the seventh installment of BLOOD DRIVE (premiering new episodes on Syfy Wednesday nights). It is a scent that surmounts dignity, eclipses entertainment—it’s the sweet smell of success for Heart Enterprises. Old Man Heart recognizes that the Blood Drive is the pinnacle of human achievement, but it needs new blood. As he waxes poetic, he offers the position of wrangling and leading the Blood Drive to none other than the Gentleman (Andrew Hall). The Gentleman, swollen with Old Man Heart’s praise, accepts with zeal.
Meanwhile, Arthur (Alan Ritchson) struggles to repair Grace’s (Christina Ochoa) car. He stumbles across an entry in his diary and flashes back to his time with partner Chris (Thomas Dominique): Chris finds Arthur’s diary and ribs his partner, but after reviewing the pages, he changes his mind and calls Arthur “the real deal, a f**king hero in blue!” Back in the present, Arthur is encouraged by the memory.
Grace, however, is not handling the death of her sister well. She slow-dances with a bottle of booze and wallows in her misery, vacillating between self-pity and fury toward Slink (Colin Cunningham). She finds what she thinks is Slink, only to discover he has been replaced and that the Gentleman is now master of ceremonies and controller of the box of destruction. He reminds Grace who is in charge and sets the rules, and Grace challenges him as a lookout spots the last three racers from the Bad Lands approaching. As a demonstration of his new authority, the Gentleman lights up the trio’s brain bombs. He then turns his attention on Grace with the intention of doing the same to her; the rules prohibit this action, but the Gentleman promises to spread Grace’s face “all over that awful car.”
As Grace returns to Arthur’s side, she finds him bleeding into her vehicle’s engine. He is bent on bringing down Heart Enterprises, and Grace decides to tag along and joins him in providing the crimson fuel. Arthur worries about getting past Slink, and Grace informs him that Slink is no longer the issue.
Slink himself is reveling in his new position at Heart Enterprises. He explains the Scar, the geological phenomena that ripped open the heartland of America, and hints at its possibilities, be they supernatural, scientific or otherwise. He ominously proclaims that he has stared into the Scar and seen the reward it offers, and promises that the Blood Drive will reveal all.
However, Heart Enterprises executive Stacey Fung (Natalie Mendoza) has no patience for Slink’s antics and irritably snaps at him—though she does enjoy the fact that Slink’s new position at Heart has him toting a mop and bucket and a swell hairnet. Slink’s exposition is a pitch to send the Blood Drive through the Scar; Fung wants no part, even as she admits that she favors his new look. Slink, ever the trickster, promises, “You can steal fire from a god, but he will get his revenge.” Their exchange of barbs culminates in the Gentleman’s revelation to Slink and Fung’s promise that Heart Enterprises plans to reduce Slink to a mere cameo. Suffice it to say that the announcement over the speakers, “Cleanup in the cafeteria,” says enough about Fung’s fate. Slink now works on how to get someone new to do his bidding. Enter Chris and Aki (Marama Corlett).
While Fung is busy bleeding onto the cafeteria floor, the Gentleman is working on establishing a new direction and tone for the Blood Drive by holding an intimate dinner. His guests, however, are not overly receptive.
Grace and Arthur find the Scholar (Darren Kent) and work on convincing him to remove the brain bombs. The Scholar informs the pair that this is beyond his ability, and Grace decides the best idea is to get control of the brain box. This plan puts Arthur in a naughty, compromising position: He presents himself at the Gentleman’s dinner party with an unbuttoned shirt and exposed abs. The Gentleman welcomes this distraction.
Back at Heart Enterprises, Chris encounters Slink and offers to beat him senseless. Slink has other plans, and offers him quid pro quo: Chris has to simply open a door, and Slink will give him the power to see through Aki’s eyes. He leads Chris to a door with the ominous warning, “Do Not Open on Pain of Death.” Behind it is another of Heart’s mistakes. Chris opens the door, not realizing Slink is videotaping the whole incident (this all takes place in the ’90s, don’t forget), and demands Slink follow through with his promise. Slink taps at his artificial eye and informs him that channel 694 is Aki Vision, then tells him it’s time to run, as the growling from the dark room grows in intensity.
As we return to the dinner party, Arthur works hard at convincing the Gentleman of his sexual proclivity, and the effect is awkward and painful. While the Gentleman is distracted, Grace stealthily infiltrates the dinner and tries to gain control of the brain box. The Gentleman has other plans and exposes the racing pair to the brain box, intent on frying their grey matter, when a fleshy portal opens outside the party. It disgorges an cannibal ogre of great shoulders and muscles, an absolute nightmare of dumb, unstoppable barbaric strength. The beast rampages through the gathering, leaving parts and pieces in his wake.
Exit the Gentleman, who confronts the Scholar and demands he modify the brain box. He abuses the Scholar, telling him, “Share in my spoils, or you can be alone.”
Chris channel-surfs to 694 and spies on Aki, witnessing her seducing Chris’ boss Sergeant Gower (Altovise Lawrence). In her ecstasy, Gower notes how fun it is watching Aki seduce and manipulate that idiot Chris—who is justifiably angered by this revelation. He strikes the wall, leaving quite a dent, and his outrage is replaced by surprise as he realizes his new strength.
Grace and Arthur are working on both the best way to manage the ogre and where to go once the brain box has been retrieved. They decide on Los Angeles, to testify against Heart Enterprises. Enter the Gentleman with a deal—quid pro quo: Kill the giant, win their freedom.
While the racers wheel and deal, Old Man Heart is busy reducing an executive’s head to pulp. With the Blood Drive out of control and an 8-foot-tall monster tearing its way through the racers, Old Man Heart is outraged. Slink enters on cue and reminds the executive corps that carnage was in the cards for the Blood Drive, showing them the videotape of Chris releasing the ogre. Slink offers to manage the situation in exchange for his full reinstatement to the Blood Drive.
Said ogre situation finds Grace and Arthur in a very unfortunate place. Crowbars and swords to the gut aren’t doing the trick. Arthur and Grace bury a machete in the ogre’s body, which seems to stop the behemoth momentarily, but the murderous pile of muscle expels the blade in disgusting, flatulent fashion.
Aki and Gower are busy getting busy when Chris interrupts, but declines the offer to join. Gower explains to Chris that she, not Aki, is responsible for his transformation, and reveals that Heart Enterprises’ designs led Arthur to the Blood Drive. Chris succumbs to his rage and snaps Gower’s neck. Aki tells Chris that this murder is too early in his conditioning, removes his security protocols and allows him to leave.
The Scholar, meanwhile, works feverishly on the brain box. While he fumbles, the Gentleman continues to heap abuse.
The ogre is busy with his own abuse, and poor Arthur is sent flying all over the garage. Grace does not take kindly to this. Enter the Scholar in heroic fashion, ramming the ogre with the Gentleman’s car. The mountainous monster is not easily put down by a mere vehicle, however; the Scholar pops the hood and the ogre loses a limb, and even this doesn’t do much to slow the creature down. Fortunately, Slink enters just in time to help stop its rampage.
The Gentleman, angry about this use of his car, subjects the Scholar to more abuse and then turns his wrath on Slink. Slink promises that the Gentleman can’t “out-dandy” him, then offers the racers his two cents’ worth. Everything and everyone has been affected by Slink. Grace’s sister, the Gentleman pairing with the Scholar—all Slink. He is 100 steps ahead of everyone, and proves this with a show of force against Grace. Slink is back in command.
Arthur takes Grace back to the car, and to the race. He promises to drive for a while, and hopes Grace will dream of better days. The Scholar, lost without the Gentleman, joins them, and the duo is now a trio.
Next stop, the edge of the Scar.
A few observations about this episode:
• Who knew blood engines could explode with such intensity?
• Slink continues to engage with comedy and sinister appeal.
• Seven episodes in, and good cop Arthur is a surprisingly likable character. Bad cop Grace is a close second.