Race Day 10 brings us that most cherished and enduring movie genre: the Western!
After Slink killed the Heart Enterprises Ogre in “The Gentleman’s Agreement” and took control of the race again, he had Grace and Arthur secretly rerouted to pass through the desert town of Red River. It’s one of the closest populated areas to The Scar, the geological crack separating the continent of North America. It’s also one of the deadliest places you can go.
Arthur, Grace and the Scholar now ride together in Sexy Susie, after the death of the Gentleman and the destruction of his car. Arthur questions the fact that they are completely alone on this dusty highway while the other racers take a vastly different route. Meanwhile, Grace is in murder mode.
She looks into the camera: “I’m gonna kill you, Master of Mayhem.”
Seeing Arthur’s concerned look, she shrugs.
“What? The sixth stage of grief is Revenge.”
Personally, implant or no, I wouldn’t want Grace D’Argento after me.
For the first time in Blood Drive history, Sexy Susie gets pulled over for speeding by a real old-fashioned cop car. The sheriff who walks to their window doesn’t have a great deal of respect for Arthur’s former employers ContraCrime, the corporate controlled police force in Los Angeles, but he does have a request:
“I need help. Police help. There’s only one road and it runs right through Red River and I’m the Sheriff of Red River. Things starting to add up yet?”
Arthur: “Either we help you, or we don’t pass.”
As they debate a course of action, Grace again turns to the car’s camera:
Grace: “Too much of a pussy to kill me yourself, Slink? Master of Mayhem, my ass. More like Masturbator of yourself!”
Scholar: “Who else is he supposed to masturbate?”
As Arthur pulls away from the traffic stop and heads into town, the mysterious Sheriff Leon takes off his shades. His eyes are vacant, glimmering scarlet holes in his face. That can’t be good.
At Heart Tower, the lovely Aki wakes up in an empty bed. She begins searching the entire building for Christopher Carpenter; Arthur’s partner and her lover. But since he’s now keyed into her frequency, Chris is able to evade detection cleverly. He travels through dank, dripping hallways until he finds a secret exit to the outside world. Since the first episode, this marks the first time Christopher has seen the sun.
With a good-looking cyborg like Carpenter prowling Los Angeles, you best lock up your daughters.
In Red River, the group reaches a garage on the outskirts of town. They find a sign which bans all motor vehicles and are then hit with an EMP blast that disables their neuro-implants. The Scholar is the first to figure it out. Without power, the implants are useless. He has Grace use a switch blade to carve the device out of his neck and just like that, he’s free from participation in the Blood Drive race. And so are Grace and Arthur. At the garage, Scholar meets a female gear head named Terry and envies her rare vehicle, a
At the garage, the Scholar meets a female gear head named Terry and envies her rare vehicle, a nuclear-powered sedan called a Fusion. Because Red River has a ban on motorized transportation, it’s just sitting under a tarp.
It does make one wonder, though. Part of Old Man Heart’s motivation in funding the Blood Drive is to test out the new Blood Engines. If they work, think of the global economic implications: fuel in the form of human victims will be cheap as hell so long as you have the Blood Engine tech. Gasoline prices will plummet as cheap and easy to acquire blood fuel becomes available. Heart will become the worldwide leader in transportation technology. So this Fusion must have been the Blood Engine’s much costlier predecessor at some point because obtaining a nuclear core to power it can’t be very practical or cheap.
As Grace, the Sheriff and Arthur head into town on foot, The Scholar stays behind to help out at the garage. The Sheriff tells them that after the Scar opened up, people in town started getting sick and going crazy. He traced the problems to Red River’s power grid, which fed directly into the Scar. Once he shut down all access to electricity, things went back to normal. (Well, not normal, normal. Blood Drive normal.)
It turns out that several townsfolk are now evil and violent rebels due to exposure to Scar electrical power. Using electrical weapons like stun guns and cattle prods, they began a series of attacks that were hampered by the newly created EMP generator that shut down their gear. The Sheriff heard that a new rebel attack is coming and wants to recruit Arthur to stop it.
The Sheriff heard that a new rebel attack is coming and wants to recruit Arthur to stop it.
He gives them time to wash up at the local hotel, where the rooms are lit by candles and hot water for the bathing tubs is brought in buckets. During her soak in the hot water, Grace has a series of traumatic flashes of Karma being strapped down to a gurney. She climbs out of the tub and asks Arthur to have sex with her.
“You can’t fuck the pain away. I like you, Grace. But if sex is your drug of choice, I don’t want to be your fix.”
“Why do you have to over think everything, Arthur Bailey? Sometimes it’s fun to just…ACT.”
He refuses the offer.
In Los Angeles, Carpenter walks the graffiti covered streets. He finds a newspaper that features a headline about the city council approving blood-sucking fracking tubes for harvesting fuel from human hosts.
The city is desolate and broken. He encounters a hooded figure, who races off.
The Scholar is making the first tentative connections with Terry at the garage. She moved to the town 10 years ago, before the Scar formed. In the ensuing chaos, she lost her partner and now spends her time alone tinkering with machines.
Grace heads into a local saloon to find that they don’t serve booze, only espresso. A local ordinance bans alcohol. As the barista chatters on about sun soaked coffee beans, a bottle of whiskey slides down the bar to Grace. A very familiar, deep voice rumbles:
“I hear you wanna kill me.”
Julian Slink, top hat and all, sits several stools away.
“You’re gonna watch me drink this whiskey and when the bottle is empty, I’m gonna kill you.”
“That’s my girl.”
At the local police station, Arthur is shown an ancient map of the territory. He is shown the rebel power station, which is surrounded by electrical fences. He is to go in undercover and shut down the power so the Sheriff and his men can bust in. He loses the ContraCrime outfit and changes into Old West clothing.
At the saloon, Arthur enters to find Grace and Julian at a table, downing the whiskey. Bailey asks for help on the mission and Grace kinda blows him off in favor of taking her revenge on Slink. Arthur is convinced that something isn’t right about the Sheriff.
Christopher returns to his old job at ContraCrime. The place is completely destroyed and abandoned, save for a single ringing telephone. He picks it up and hears a woman begging for help as a monster roars in the background. Gang members suddenly burst into the station and Carpenter hides. His ocular implant activates, allowing Aki to see through his eye. She leaps out of bed and races out of the lab.
Arthur approaches the rebel hideout. He offers them water in exchange for an electrical charge for his portable battery pack, in order to power his car past the Scar, and is admitted. He discovers an entire society, with children playing and merchants selling and trading goods. These people are far from evil or insane. Arthur’s battery trap is successful. It drains the juice and shorts out the electrical fence. Leon’s men enter and savagely beat the civilians. The Sheriff calls for a gallows to be built so that every man, woman and child can be hung.
While he is being attacked by the gang in Los Angeles, we learn another function of Christopher’s eye as it extends a thin metal rod from his pupil into the forehead of an attacker. He dies seconds later when his head turns into a blood shower. Aki shows up and admits that although she wasn’t programmed to experience emotions, she has strong feelings for him. So what’s next? A long walk along the shoreline at sunset? A quiet dinner by candlelight?
This is Blood Drive, fool!
They have spirited sex on a debris covered desk at ContraCrime. During her orgasm, Aki’s eyes light up.
“Fistful Of Blood” brings many happy moments. No more implants, the Scholar finds a place to belong and a partner, Carpenter and Aki finally being emotionally truthful.
We get to explore what’s happening in society beyond the towns the race travels through. The population of Los Angeles has fled. But why?
Grace and Slink play 20 Questions For 20 Punches. We learn that Heart’s interest in Grace disrupts Julian’s planned narrative for his show. He doesn’t understand why they like her so much.
During a physical fight with Slink, his shirt is torn open, exposing his navel-free torso. Wha?
We learn why Julian rerouted Sexy Susie to Red River.
There’s a fantastic scene in which Slink is undergoing horrific physical trauma and is only concerned about his top hat being harmed. Colin Cunningham’s line delivery is brilliant.
The episode rolls back in time thrice to show simultaneous events from different POVs.
You can’t not root for the Scholar. The character has always retained his humanity despite the horrific times and unhealthy relationships. He has some great scenes, and actor Darren Paul Kent slays as always.
It’s a surprisingly romantic episode, as Aki and Christopher get serious, and Terry meets her soul mate in the Scholar. And even Arthur and Grace, in their own violent actiony kind of way, express their bond.
Slink once again points out Arthur’s ease with killing to Grace, and privately makes a very dark prediction for the future of Sexy Susie’s drivers.
Excellent episode, now with more Feels! It’s fun to see Julian in the field rather just on the stage or in the board room, and there’s great momentum behind the Aki/Chris subplot. The closer we get to the Scar, the weirder this crazy world becomes!