THE FADES S01 E03: The best thing I’ve seen on TV in ages

I can’t emphasize this enough – I think everybody should watch this show. It’s smartly written, beautifully acted, surprising, suspenseful, and even scary. It’s pure pleasure watching the relationships of the divergent characters develop as the complex plot unfolds. And what an utter delight it is when the story unexpectedly twists and spirals out in another direction! This is what good TV should be.

This recap is a total spoiler. You have been warned.

We start off with a bang.
Quite literally, too, as we discover Paul in his bedroom beginning his day jacking off while fantasizing a game of strip rock-paper-scissors with his hoped-for girlfriend Jay. His ecstatic culmination produces one heck of a surprising side effect, as wings (yes, wings) suddenly sprout out of his back. Golly.

(If this is what heaven looks like, sign me up.)

That Neil somehow survived last week’s brutal Fade attack and yet still has strength enough to stitch up his own severely wounded stomach AND argue with his cohort, the Dead Lady Vicar Helen is beyond gutsy. He’s such an unassuming-looking hero/mentor, which is perhaps what makes his strengths so surprisingly impressive.

You’ve got no mail.
Poor sweet Mac is disappointed to learn that his mum, DCI dad AND best friend Paul have all forgotten that it’s his birthday. History teacher Mark, who’s found an old photo of missing wife Sarah and Neil together and suspects the worst, pops up on the same morning at the DCI’s doorstep demanding that he investigate further, but Mac’s dad brushes him off. Mark does come across as a bit rambling and incoherent. I’d consider him number one suspect in his wife’s disappearance, too, if I didn’t already know that a Fade killed her.

Anna catches Paul and her best friend Jay smooching and can’t resist mocking them. Angered, Paul tries waving her off and telling her to shut it when his superpowers kick in POW! suddenly Anna’s lips meld together! At least temporarily. (If only that little trick were possible IRL, I know quite a few people I’d like to try that on.) When their kindly but clueless mum Meg, who does not really grasp the true nature of the changes in her son, hears about this incident from the quickly recovered Anna, she can only focus on the fact that her son finally has a girlfriend. There’s a lovely mum for you.

If only making people shut the hell up were really this easy.

Mac, who is in an understandable snit over his forgotten birthday, rebuffs his best friend when Paul shows up that night and tries sharing his no good, very bad day. Later Paul realizes the birthday gaffe and makes it up to Mac with touching humor and balloons, only to be interrupted by a seizure and a new apocryphal vision of a man approaching whom he does not recognize but fears.

Various Angelics converge to hold a little meeting with Neil and meet the new kid on the block. Neil promptly passes out from those still untreated severe injuries, but luckily Paul performs his first official laying on of hands resulting in a complete cure. Thus proving to everyone that he’s pretty dang special indeed.

He sees (and hears) dead people.
Neil visits his former best friend Mark and speak to him for dead Sarah, and explain about their role as Angelics. Mark is understandably disbelieving, first that his missing wife is truly dead, and second that her spirit is trying to communicate with him through Neil. He is eventually convinced when Neil tells him things that only Sarah could know, and they confab.

The other Angelics decide to capture a smaller weaker Fade to find out its limits, and so snatch little Fade Natalie who has been spying on Paul while he visits his girlfriend.  They are looking for the Fade leader, whom we have seen on and off again transforming into something possibly even more terrible than he already is.

I'll bet the stunt guy is thinking, "They don't pay me enough for this."

Mark is still trying to adjust to having the ghost of his dead wife hanging around the house when DCI Armstrong shows up to arrest him for Sarah’s murder. I’m guessing that the DCI will not be impressed by a supernatural angle to his investigation. Psych ward, here we come?

Things move fast in this show. Pay attention!
Girlfriend Jay initiates sex with our sensitive boy Paul, who fears a recurrence of the wing-sprouting episode of the morning. He decides to go with the flow because naturally he’s also a horny teenage boy. Apparently this first hookup remained wing-free, much to Paul’s relief. Later, in the midst of ice cream, horseplay, and immediately after gifting Mac a key to the house so that his best pal will always feel that he has someplace to go when things get tough at home with dad, Paul steps into the street and gets hit by a truck. Yow! Wasn’t expecting that!

Truck vs. human. Truck always wins. But is Paul dead or alive?

Dead Lady Vicar Helen walks off into the woods and finds her ascension point into the afterlife, and so departs this world in a shower of light. Neil watches, dismayed at being left alone again. While the injured Paul flatlines at the local hospital, out of the chrysalis the Fade leader emerges as a fully grown man, and we recognize him as the guy Paul saw in his last vision.

A lot of young people get naked in this show. Not that that's a bad thing. I'm just saying.

Is Paul now dead or alive? What exactly IS the former Fade now that he’s been reborn? And how many days do I have to wait for the next episode to find out the answers to these burning questions??

Cross-posted to


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