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Bitten - Dark Arts - Review

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Bitten, “Dark Arts,” was written by Michael MacLennan and was directed by Rick Bota, whose other credits include Haven, Beauty and the Beast, and Supernatural. First, my apologies for the lateness of this review due to illness and travel. I considered skipping my review entirely for this episode, but it was just too good not to at least briefly sing its praises! It’s an action packed episode that really ratchets up the tension. We get a fantastic fight scene – as only werewolf against werewolf is! The episode also features terrific performances from Greg Bryk (Jeremy), Laura Vandervoort (Elena), and particularly Greyston Holt (Clay) – who actually does double duty as Clay and Al-Clay – my name for possessed Clay.

The episode begins with a flashback that shows Ruth (Tammy Isbell) and Bridget (Angela Besharah) destroying Clara’s (Debra McCabe) talisman for taking money to kill people with her spells. We then see that she’s the one who set Aleister (Sean Rogerson) on his path. When she finds him, he’s doing cheap spells on the street as a busker.

In the present, we see Al-Clay fool Jeremy and Nick (Steve Lund) into thinking that Eduardo (Mishka Thebaud) got the drop on him. Holt is terrific as he plays Clay just slightly off – his speech patterns and delivery aren’t quite the same. He smiles a little too much. And he keeps touching his chest, like Aleister is looking for his missing talisman. It’s all very subtle.

Al-Clay argues for Ruth and Paige (Tommie-Amber Pirie) to do Savannah’s (Kiara Glasco) ritual at Stonehaven rather than going back to Boston. The ritual itself was really rather cool. I liked how Paige, in particular, reassured Savannah, especially about her choice of familiar. In the end, her black rat is adorable – in addition to no doubt being as Paige says, clever, alert and intuitive! I also really liked how her talisman is made.

While Al-Clay puts his plan into action, we see Clay, locked in his own mind, struggling to get out. It was fun to see Malcolm (James McGowan) back. It makes sense that he and young Clay (Tristan Culbert) would also be part of Clay’s mind. After all, Malcolm bit Clay and made him a werewolf. I liked how the mind sequences were shot, giving them a completely different atmosphere. Bota began his career as a cinematographer – notably on such shows as Tales From the Crypt. I will say that I knew right from the beginning that Clay would have to harness his wolf form to escape. It’s interesting however that he keeps that part of himself in the cage and is clearly also worried about it getting out. Does he not trust that side of himself even yet? Or is it that Aleister was the one to cage that part of Clay’s mind? Are the tears in Holt’s eyes there at seeing this part of himself in a cage? It’s a very interesting scene.

Meanwhile, Elena is slowly but surely unraveling what’s going on – as we – and Clay – knew she would! She recognizes something off about him when he touches her shoulder and kisses her. It’s also completely unlike Clay to go against Jeremy’s orders on where to build the ritual structure. It’s also unlike Clay to be so brutally rude to Nick and Paige by calling her a witch-whore. It was nice to see Nick defending Paige’s honor – the two clearly have more than just a really hot physical connection, despite Paige saying it would be their last time together! The fight with Nick and then Clay trying to force himself on her is the final evidence Elena needs that something is going on with Clay despite Paige’s assurances that she’s seeing magic where there is none.

Al-Clay almost convinces Jeremy that he should be more concerned about Elena, but one of the things I love best about our Pack is that they are rarely, if ever, stupid. It doesn’t take much for Elena to convince Jeremy of the evidence she’s found in the spell book. Also terrific writing to remind us that Elena was in charge of the records and in charge of hunting – and researching – mutts at one time. She’s got the skills, and we see her use them.

I loved seeing Jeremy and Elena working together to try to save Clay. They’re too late to find Aleister’s body, but find the evidence they need to support Elena’s theories. Aleister gets away with his body and Savannah in the trunk of his car.

Ruth and Paige tell Jeremy that there is no hope for Clay. Bryk is terrific in this scene as we see him lose his carefully guarded control at the thought of having to kill his son. He doesn’t tell either Nick or Elena the whole truth, trying to spare them, but of course, they sense that he’s holding back. Elena continues to believe in and fight for Clay. She’s determined that despite the odds, he’s strong enough to break free. It’s a great fight scene between Bryk and Holt with enough slow motion to show us they did a great deal – if not all – of the stunt work. I was sad to see Elena cut her hair – they’d better not let either Bryk or Holt cut theirs!

Jeremy manages to stab Clay – though Elena stays his hand enough not to kill Clay – just as Clay opens the cage in his mind and turns into his wolf form. I loved that Elena immediately recognizes when Clay if fully in control again.

Meanwhile, Ruth and Paige search for the missing Savannah, and Aleister is thrust back into his own body. He has Savannah’s new talisman, and he still holds the lock and key spell over her. Anyone else hoping that her familiar will chew that worm out of her? Aleister forces Savannah to drink Elena’s blood – setting off the spell that will end all witches. We see both Ruth and Paige feel the shockwave, though only Ruth develops a nosebleed. Ruth announces ominously that it is the beginning of the end.

I thought this was a terrific episode. Great acting, writing, and fights! What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.

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