When last we were in the company of Grace and Arthur, they were staring down at a black and white photograph of the staff members of mental asylum Kane Hill in 1957. Among the doctors and nurses was Julian Slink, looking exactly the same as he does in present day. Questions, questions.
Race Day 5 begins with a black and white sitcom called “The Slinks,” produced by Heart Enterprises. It follows your typical American TV family. Julian, the working man with a wife and son, deals with exasperating and hilarious domestic issues. As the family discusses the pack of condoms founded under son Melvin’s bed, they are suddenly attacked by a horde of zombies who literally punch through the walls of the house. As the creatures devour his family, Julian calmly sips a cocktail before intoning:
“And now, a word from our sponsor.”
Like some of the best stories ever told, we begin with pain. Specifically, Julian’s pain. As Arthur watches, Grace punches Julian viciously in the face as the Blood Drive host is handcuffed to a chair.
Hard cut to a map detailing this week’s Finish Line in Meadeville, Colorado. At the warehouse headquarters of the Atlas Bottling Company, there’s a party in full swing. Backstage, Grace pounds away on Julian’s mug. She wants to know what Heart did with her younger sister, Karma. And why Kane Hill went from a relatively normal psychiatric hospital to a “sugar fiend shit show.” Grace confronts Slink with the photo of his younger self as the hospital administrator at Kane Hill.
Grace confronts Slink with the photo of his younger self as the hospital administrator at Kane Hill.
“How the hell is this even possible?”
“I wear many hats.”
Just as she’s about to beat him with a nail-studded board, Arthur steps in and tries the old fashioned police technique. He opens up his notebook and begins asking questions in a rational manner. Outside, a wholesome looking Jack and his sister Diane watch from a catwalk above as the crowd awaiting Julian chants his name. The siblings have been looking for Slink a long time, but they have no idea what he actually looks like. They have an eerie habit of finishing each other’s sentences.
Wait a minute…Jack and Diane? Weren’t they in a Mellencamp song?
At the Heart Laboratory, Aki brings Chris Carpenter new clothes. He’s a shivering mess after the last round of incredibly invasive sample gathering. She removes the bandage covering his surgically installed eye implant, and the results are perfect. Perfectly hideous.
The skin beneath the bandage is bloody and scarred and the eye is a creepy light blue, like Aki’s abnormal peepers. Carpenter is shown a mirror and screams. Mocking him, Aki screams back.
Back at the Finish Line, Slink asks to be set free so he can deliver his usual psychotic speech to the gathered devotees and racers. While Arthur attempts to get to the truth about Heart’s misdeeds, Julian points out a savage truth:
“The world has gone to Hell, Officer Krumpke. We’re the norm now. You people are the anomaly. Why don’t you just accept it.”
“Because that’s not true. Not everyone is as bad as you.”
“Show me one unsullied thing on this septic tank of a planet.”
Arthur taps his own police uniformed chest.
“Gracie, can you hear this poster boy? Well, that Action Man costume isn’t fooling me for one second. Arthur, dear, I think we both know who you really are.”
Rather than release Julian, they try something infinitely more entertaining. Arthur puts on the top hat and raven feathered overcoat in an attempt to appease the crowd as a Slink replacement. He is greeted with crickets, jeers, bottles and finally a torch thrown onto the stage. Meanwhile, Jack and Diane approach the stage arm in arm. She’s excited that they finally found Slink, but Jack isn’t so sure.
“I don’t know, Diane. He doesn’t look like a mass murderer.”
In order to decide whether or not to kill Julian, Jack consults an artfully folded Origami Fortune Teller. In grade school, these paper objects were used to answer questions about dating and life by performing a series of finger movements beneath the labeled sections. This particular one has four colors written in pen on each of its four parts. But this antiquated and rather childish method of decision making isn’t the only odd thing about this pair. They look like they came from another era, possibly the 1950s, and they stick out like sore thumbs in the unwashed, greasy race crowd.
Jack’s Fortune Teller answers the question “Is it okay to murder?” with the reply: “When it’s for love.” He and Diane agree to do it for their deceased Mother and Father. But first, they have to get to their prey, which means taking out some Blood Drivers. Diane licks her lips.
“We’re gonna have to thin the herd.”
Jack is resistant to harming anyone but Julian, but Diane has other ideas.
“They might try and stop us. Why don’t we give them the kiss and let the virus do its job? And then we take him out when there’s nobody left to stop us. Now remember, lay it on thick.”
They enter the crowd to the dulcet tones of 1950s pop and begin making out with various cretins of all genders. As Diane tongue wrestles a mohawked woman, her irises glow and something white and icky transfers from her mouth into her makeout partner.
At the laboratory back in Los Angeles, Carpenter has calmed down. He’s still not a fan of his new cyborg eye or Aki telling him that he will mindlessly serve Heart as a small component in the vast machine of the corporation. He wants to go home, and Aki tells him to go right ahead…after he pays his debt.
“That eye costs 20 million dollars.”
In Meadeville, Arthur is still taking abuse on the stage while Grace looks for Julian’s weak spot. She settles on his crotch and rams her fist down. Surprisingly, she meets metal.
“What ARE you?”
“I told you, I exist for one reason and one reason alone. I am the the Master of Mayhem, Captain of Chaos, God of the Stage. What do you say we wrap this up, hmmm? Or if you prefer, we can both watch your Barbie doll die.”
Out on the stage, Arthur is telling the crowd a joke involving two muffins talking to each other as they bake in an oven. So Julian is probably right. Officer Bailey hasn’t got long to live with this PG material.
For the record, here’s the joke:
“Two muffins are sitting on the baking rack. One muffin turns to the other muffin and says:
‘It’s getting hot in here.’ The other muffin says: ‘Oh my God, a talking muffin!’
A heavily used toilet is thrown onstage as the crowd begins chanting: “Kill the Cop!” A reveler walks onstage with a broken beer bottle and lunges for Arthur, who swiftly knocks him out. The crowd goes wild at this taste of violence, so Arthur invites audience members to come fight him. Now he’s a hit!
Jack approaches the Suck Bus, a rusted out sex club on wheels. He watches as four women in miniskirts take off their panties in unison and eagerly enter the dimly lit bus. A girl pops out of the crowd and kisses Jack unexpectedly. His eyes glow as if exposed to a black light as he transfers the virus into her.
He is a carrier of the Dionysus Strain, an engineered virus Jack and Diane’s father brought home from work. It turned their pop into a sexual maniac who ravished his wife, and it’s having the same effect on the Blood Drivers.
As Jack and Diane sit atop the Suck Bus, we see the orgy of escalating sexual abandon inside. The Strain has three phases: Euphoric Abandon, during which life is good and sex is everything. Blueges, which involves the ejaculation of tons of white stuff, and the final self-explanatory stage named Fuck Each Other To Death.
Diane becomes aroused listening to the frantic lovers below and begins to seduce Jack, but then pulls back. Jack turns to his Fortune Teller and quietly asks two questions:
“Will I ever find the One?”
FT: It is certain.
“How will I know it’s her?”
FT: She’ll be your sister.
Ha! Brilliant! He is elated by this news. As they prepare to kiss, something explodes wetly inside the Suck Bus and Arthur dives off the stage to fight the crowd on their level. He’s really getting into show business. The cretins cheer him on as he brutally brawls any and all opponents, including an old woman. After slugging her to the ground, he holds up her walker and screams in victory.
Julian tells Grace that a top level Heart employee has designs on Grace and has been manipulating her life up till now. While they talk, he is stealthily removing Arthur’s handcuffs. When he’s free, he quietly slides a hidden dagger out of his sleeve.
During a commercial break, we see a commercial for Heart Enterprises advertising employment opportunities. Makes you wonder exactly where Jack and Diane’s father worked. (I think we know.)
Aki gets Carpenter a job to pay off his debt to the company. He’ll be working in the corporate mail room, and in 961 years he will have paid off the eyeball. Better get cracking.
The Suck Bus, which has a usage fee of $ 2.99 per minute, is really hopping. As Arthur dispatches a combatant, he turns to receive applause and adulation from the crowd and discovers he’s completely alone. The masses are either bumping and grinding inside the Suck Bus or making out outside of it.
Two women with glowing vomit on their chins and luminescent irises lick and kiss Arthur. His eyes light up as he becomes a Lust Zombie, too. Inside the backstage tent, Slink smells something strange: sex. He advises Grace to have a look outside, and she spies a kaleidoscope of grunting animal lust. Slink tells her to look for two people who don’t fit in, and she notices Jack and Diane dancing on a catwalk above the rutting zombies.
“I see a couple who look like grown up versions of the Bobbsey Twins.”
Julian warns her about them and says they’ve unleashed something deadly. Jack and Diane are the sole survivors of an experiment Heart conducted on the uptight, wholesome family suburb of Meadeville to gauge the effectiveness of a synthetic “passion potion” that has deadly results. The final stage of the virus involves violent death. Julian tells her that the bottling plant they currently occupy holds a secret laboratory with the instructions for an antidote that has never been tried. He needs her to get inside the chamber and retrieve the data without getting kissed or humped.
Jack and Diane, carrying a spiked baseball bat, approach Arthur with the intention of killing Julian. He drunkenly explains that they have the wrong man and gropes Diane. Grace intervenes and confirms that Bailey is not the Captain of Chaos. While she talks, her driving partner flicks her ass repeatedly with his fingers. After the Twins head off in disappointment, Arthur makes several clumsy attempts to seduce Grace. He gets a knee to the groin for his trouble. It clears his mind.
Christopher delivers mail around the office. He overhears an office drone discussing that Blood Drive has been picked up as a television show. Carpenter’s eye begins getting transmissions from other Heart cameras, and he sees the interrogation of Julian Slink in Meadeville. The drone does cocaine on his desk and then takes a tablet containing Blood Drive television data to the corporate Hall Of Secrets as Christopher follows.
Grace instructs Arthur to watch a series of lab films detailing the antidote. During the chat, he is staring at her breasts and gets a hard kick to the boys again. He stumbles off in pain to find the cure.
Diane discovers the real Julian and shows him a tattered business card she kept all these years. It reads:
Atlas Bottling Company
Director of Development
And then comes the deadly kiss, which has zero effect.
“I’m immune, just like you.”
“Oh, I know. I was just kissing you goodbye.”
Jack enters, carrying the spiked bat. Is this finally the end for the Master of Mayhem?
Episode 5 gives us a gloppy, often hilarious spectacle of depravity. When Grace enters the fray of sex crazed maniacs during the Fuck Each Other To Death phase, we see how beyond bad it’s gotten.
I loved the use of captions in this one, such as when Arthur finds two dusty rabbit skeletons in a cage who were exposed to Dionysus. A caption pops up reading: BUNNIES!
We finally get Christopher back in action, after all those episodes laid out on the slab! If you thought there was some sexual tension brewing Carpenter and the beautiful android Aki, this is your episode. We get the payoff.
The scientist who created the Dionysus Strain works in a laboratory he calls the “Fuckatorium.” You can’t even make this stuff up. And the cure for the virus is so obscene, Arthur actually turns to the screen and goes: “You gotta be shitting me.”
After Kane Hill, the rapport between Grace and Arthur is even stronger here. They are true allies and an effective team, even when white viral discharge is hitting the fan.
There are a number of scenes in which Alan Ritchson, who plays Arthur, shines. He’s amazing in this episode, which presents his hero cop with a problem he can’t punch his way out of. Nothing succeeds like scenarios where Arthur is out of his comfort zone, whether it be portraying Slink before a hostile crowd or getting groped by a sex zombie.
Grace has to put aside her usual no nonsense demeanor and gets all seductive and oddly romantic in one scene. It’s for the mission, but still…it plays very well.
Yum. That’s all I’ll say.
We learn where the Blood Drive vehicle engines came from, and something even weirder called a Blood Gate. It’s an organic portal that can be opened between two spatial points, allowing Julian to meet directly with whoever is running Heart by passing through the gory portal into the boardroom at Heart.
Now, it’s speculation time.
Ever since Episode 4 at Kane Hill, something has been bothering me. When Grace experiences the flashback to the nightclub with her sister Karma, we briefly see the former Blood Drive champion known as the Primo. He’s shown from the back, but goddamn if he doesn’t look a lot like Arthur Bailey. It’s easy enough to believe that Heart could mind-wipe the former Primo into believing he was an honest and moral cop named Arthur, but you’d think Grace would recognize him after she threw herself at him on the dance floor. And then there are Slink’s comments about Bailey being “someone else inside” and the police uniform being a “costume.”
It doesn’t quite lock together perfectly because you’d think the current racers would at least be familiar with the former champ’s face, but who knows? Something is up.