DEADtime TV: Bitten ‘Hell’s Teeth’

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Since Bitten began, the running plot has involved Malcolm, a werewolf on the outskirts of what the Danvers family consider the Council; as the show has continued to morph from werewolf pack serial killers to witch and wizard magic shows, Malcolm has maintained his presence as the arch-villain forcing the Danvers’ to make bad decisions while hunting him down because of Logan’s girlfriend Rachel’s kidnapping. At first, Bitten made Malcolm into a formidable opponent, a foil for head werewolf Jeremy and an enemy for both Elena and Logan. But into season two, as the show moves away from its initial arc, Malcolm has dropped in the food chain, now just a nuisance instead of a full-blown bad guy. “Hell’s Teeth,” the third episode in season 2, finally decides to do something about it.

I’ll admit that while I’m not a huge fan of Bitten in general, this second season has had a lot more going for it. It’s still lacking the main thing one would expect a show about werewolves to have – werewolves – but at least this time it’s trying to incorporate more supernatural elements into the mix. The witch arc is, though flawed, a more interesting approach than the dances-with-werewolves mobster story the show was working with during its premiere. The least interesting thing about the show is the Danvers family turmoil, because its characters aren’t written well enough to sustain a more dramatic tone that’s character-driven alone.

The witches add much-needed action to a show that I would graciously label as “slow.” However, as I stated in previous reviews, the witches feel much too overpowered so early in the season, to the point where the werewolves are obviously outclassed and forced to do their bidding. At least in “Hell’s Teeth,” Bitten makes a play to involve the witches, particularly Paige and Ruth, on the Danvers team.

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Paige and Ruth also want Malcolm, mostly so that they can trade him to a powerful witch (wizard?) named Aleister (Sean Rogerson) to get back a young witch-in-training named Savannah. Malcolm has really become an annoyance because of Bitten‘s overreliance on him – he is, ultimately, the reason for all of the plot lines that the show has explored thus far. So it’s nice to see Bitten deciding to deal with him once and for all, switching enemies in the process. Aleister is much more terrifying anyway, harnessing the power of the dark arts, and his intentions are less clear than Malcolm’s have become.

In true Bitten fashion. though, much of “Hell’s Teeth” is a lead-up to the big fight at the end of the episode. Jeremy gets a visit from a guy looking for his Alpha, who is actually dead in the group’s basement; what ensues is a Benny Hill-like performance to get the body cleaned up before he comes looking for it, and quite literally the guy smells something a little fishy. The thing about Bitten is that it really doesn’t understand its werewolves very well; with Elena and Clay using bleach to clean up blood, it seems quite unrealistic to think that any wolf worth his weight wouldn’t be able to detect both odors still hanging in the air.

But alas, the show doesn’t require that much thinking. The rest of the episode attempts to play up the witches, in the process prompting some emotional release from Logan and Elena. They both want Malcolm dead for various reasons, but they’re held back because working with the witches is not really a choice. Logan and Elena are still only driven by one thing, and Clay is still the hotheaded hot bod that is really only around for muscle. Bitten, in all its attempts to craft a compelling narrative about werewolves attempting to live non-violent lives, falters because it can’t create interesting characters; they simply exist with either no motivation – Nick – or one driving force. They don’t feel real.

The same is true of Aleister, Paige, and Ruth, because we still don’t know what they really want. The witches have the potential to be an intriguing concept, but the show has to lock down what exactly they’re doing, especially now that Aleister has taken position as main baddy. There’s more time for this season to figure out where it’s headed and what Aleister’s motivations are, but an episode like “Hell’s Teeth” fails to deliver anything of substance. Instead, it opts for an elaborate fight that does set up things to come now that both Logan and Elena are separated from the rest of the Danvers clan. Yet there are still no freaking werewolves in this show about werewolves.

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