“It all started with the Scar.”
It’s high noon on BLOOD DRIVE (premiering new episodes on Syfy Wednesday nights). Grace (Christina Ochoa), Arthur (Alan Ritchson) and the Scholar (Darren Kent) are alone in the desert hills, racing like mad to make their way to the peaceful little town of Red River. They catch the attention of local Sheriff Leon (Danny Keogh) and are forced to pull over. Arthur, playing good cop/good citizen, tries to talk his way out of trouble, but the lawman won’t have it and tells the racing crew there is only one road through Red River—and he guards it. Quid pro quo enters the race. The sheriff, of course, is not all he seems to be; behind those mirrored sunglasses are burning holes of scariness.
At Heart Enterprises, Aki (Marama Corlett) awakens and finds herself alone. Her normal sadistic smile is marred by trouble. She clicks through the various cameras at her disposal in a search for Christopher 2.0 (Thomas Dominique), but he’s nowhere to be found. In fact, he has covered his expensive artificial eye with tape so Aki cannot locate him, and is finding a way out of Heart Enterprises.
The racing crew find themselves on the outskirts of Blood River. Cars are not allowed, so they walk into town. As they pass the barricade barring vehicles, they feel a tingle and a hum on the backs of their necks. A nearby mechanic explains that the town is covered by an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) dampener thanks to Sheriff Leon’s orders, and all electronics, including vehicles, sputter and die within the borders of Blood River. The crew thinks this is a great opportunity to remove Heart Enterprise’s brain bombs, and do so.
As the bombs come off, the Scholar recognizes a covered car and is overcome with excitement. The vehicle, it turns out, is nuclear-powered and gets a million miles a charge. Only 12 were made. The mechanic explains that this is a vehicle to be admired, an acknowledgement the Scholar can’t help but fall in love with. Then the sheriff arrives and details the plan he has in mind for Arthur. Seems the Scar has polluted electricity (“People got sick, went crazy”), and some of the town began using the power as a weapon. So the sheriff cut the power: No juice, no weapon. The problem: A group of citizens hoarding electricity are growing in numbers, and that is a threat. Arthur’s face is unknown, and he could sneak into their camp and shut down their power source.
Sheriff Leon sends Grace and Arthur to the hotel to freshen up, and there, Grace not-so-subtly offers Arthur a good time. Arthur refuses, and Grace wonders why he has to overthink everything.
Chris finds himself on the mean streets outside Heart Enterprises, and they’re a mess of graffiti and trash with nary a person in sight. The one he sees flees in fear.
Back in the garage, the Scholar and the mechanic continue to fall in love. Both are misfits, outcasts and mechanical geniuses. The mechanic is alone and weird, the Scholar is alone too and their smiles alone offer a road map where these two are going.
After her rejection, Grace finds her way to the saloon and orders whiskey. The barista (Chad Phillips) offers her sun-ripened Ethiopian espresso. Grace is understandably put off and demands whiskey. A bottle slides down the bar—slung by none other than Slink (Colin Cunningham). Time for a heart-to-heart talk.
Sheriff Leon details the plan for Arthur’s infiltration: Once the power is disrupted, the fences will go dark and the sheriff and his boys will storm the compound. Arthur suits up, and finds Grace discussing her feelings with Slink. Arthur wants Grace’s help—he has reservations about Sheriff Leon—while Grace wants Slink’s head. With an impasse at hand, Arthur leaves for the compound alone.
Chris finds his way to a police headquarters. He remembers a conversation with Arthur, and how they used to be cops. Inside, the phone rings, and Christopher, eager to become a good cop, answers. A woman pleads for help: “They’re coming! They’re going to eat me!” Cue the growl, and Chris hits the deck as a gang of thugs enter. He tears the tape off of his eye and connects with Aki, who realizes he’s in trouble and speeds to his rescue.
Arthur approaches the compound, offering to trade electricity for water distilled from the Pacific Northwest, which apparently is in high demand. Once he’s let into the compound, Arthur sees families and children, not the bogeyman Sheriff Leon alluded to. Arthur plugs his pack into the compound and, as expected, shuts the grid down, allowing the sheriff and his men to overwhelm the place and place the families under arrest. Arthur realizes he has made a huge mistake, and tries to intervene on behalf of the people. The sheriff won’t hear it, ordering his men to build a gallows and warning Arthur to shove off unless he wants a turn at the end of the rope.
Chris has a chat with the thugs. The town has been destroyed, and that was fun, but now everything is channeled into fracking tubes and that isn’t fun. One of the gang (Carlito Brigante) promises Chris a short time of fun with a knife, and Chris has a curious reaction: A little steel arm pops out from his eye and stabs the creep in the forehead, demonstrating how much blood can pour out of a human cranium (it’s a lot, apparently). The rest of his group make themselves scarce as Aki swaggers in. She tells the dismayed and distraught Chris that he is “becoming,” ignores his question of what he’s becoming and tries to make sense of her feelings for him. She tells Chris she loves him and will take care of him, draws close and removes her collar, and they explore their newfound humanity. In the throes of their exploration, Aki’s robot eyes transform into human ones.
In the bar, Grace’s conversation with Slink is not progressing in Grace’s favor. Arthur implores Grace for help, but she is too distracted with Slink to offer anything but a rebuff. Arthur confronts Sheriff Leon and finds himself waiting for a rope.
Flashback, thanks to the clock in the saloon: Slink slides Grace the bottle of whiskey. They begin their conversation, and as Grace listens to Slink’s chatter, she eyes a knife on an adjacent table. Slink doesn’t miss a beat, and offers to draw on Grace in traditional spaghetti Western fashion. Grace dives, but Slink is faster. He shoves Grace (she crashes into coffee beans), takes the knife and pins his hand to the table.
Arthur’s earlier interruption plays out, and Grace and Slink continue their conversation. Time for a little game: 20 questions for 20 punches. Slink asks questions, and Grace slugs him. It’s a remarkably Neanderthalic game, and leads to more drinks and more punches, eventually resulting in Slink proclaiming, “Your life reads like one long depressing country song.” With the bottle gone, Grace asks her own question: Why the interest in her and her sister? Slink yammers about production notes and boobies and stupid tool belts, confessing that Heart Enterprises is ruining his show. Grace tells Slink he’s a freak who wears too much makeup and thinks he’s an artist; Slink smiles and offers his own punch for the question.
The flashback catches up to Arthur imploring for help with the sheriff as Grace and Slink continue their conversation. Slink offers Grace a new question: Why Blood River? Grace scoffs and points out that stopping there allowed her to remove her brain bomb. Slink snickers and points out that there are no cameras, and that he can kill her without executive intrusion. Grace does her best to kill Slink, but to no avail. Her real target is Slink’s knife. She throws herself through the saloon window (this is a Western-themed episode, someone has to go through the glass) and hurls her blade.
Flash back to Arthur, waiting in the town jail for his and the others’ impending execution. They explain that Sheriff Leon is duplicitous, that the Scar changed him and not the others. Arthur realizes he has made a catastrophic mistake trying to serve what looked to be the right cause.
The Scholar cements his attraction to Terra the mechanic as Aki and Chris begin to explore their new human relationship. Aki seems more vulnerable now, more jittery. The new romantic pair decide to “get the hell out of this city.”
At the gallows, Arthur intervenes yet again and is first to the noose, and apologizes to the family he has condemned. Just as the sheriff says, “Drop,” Grace explodes through a window and hurls her knife. The executioner goes down, and a fight ensues. Arthur makes his way out of the noose as the sheriff sets his sights on Grace. Arthur tackles the lawman as a shot rings out, takes his gun and accuses him of murdering children. The Sheriff sees no law without spilling blood, telling Arthur that this will become apparent soon enough. Arthur pulls the “You don’t know me” line, and the sheriff responds that thanks to the Scar, he sees Arthur clearly. He knows why Arthur carries his diary and what he did to get it. Arthur shoots the sheriff, and Slink smiles a small smile as Arthur collapses. He caught the sheriff’s bullet.
Grace rushes Arthur into the car; there’s a doctor down the road. She says goodbye to the Scholar, the new sheriff in town, and he tells her he will be happy there. Grace has final words with Slink, who reminds that good cop Arthur killed Sheriff Leon in cold blood. Grace promises Slink that if he follows them, she will find a way to kill him.
Grace races off and comes to a fork as Slink watches. Left she lives, right she dies. Grace goes right. Slink twirls his cane and walks into the town nonchalantly.
Next stop, Arthur’s salvation.
A couple of observations about this episode:
• Sheriff Leon spits his chaw several times throughout this episode. Somehow, he hits his chin every time but avoids his shirt. Must be more of the Scar’s influence.
• The good cop blew away the bad cop. This is the catalyst for an existential crisis? OK…