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Hex, seasons 1 and 2: an orgasm of tackiness

Hex, seasons 1 and 2: an orgasm of tackiness published on No Comments on Hex, seasons 1 and 2: an orgasm of tackiness

So I just finished watching seasons 1 and 2 of the BTVS rip-off British supernatural soap opera Hex.The first 6 eps, season 1, concern the seduction and ruination of budding witch Cassie by extremely boring fallen angel Azazeal. Despite the best efforts of her dead best friend Thelma, Cassie ends up boning Azazeal and having a son, Malachi. Along comes Ella Dee, a 500-year-old Anointed One, or slayer of archangels and their brats. Cassie dies trying to defend Malachi against Ella, who, by default, becomes the protagonist of season 2.

In season 2, Ella starts off kicking supernatural butt and making whoopee with Leon, who was a doltish lout in season 1, but apparently has grown some invisible attractive qualities by season 2. Azazeal's minion takes over the boarding school where all this is occurring and tortures Ella by having her flash back to when she was burned at the stake for witchcraft. Ella goes temporarily insane, but Leon and Thelma rescue her and restore her to her full powers. Ella takes the opportunity to kill one of Azazeal's especially annoying minions.

Meanwhile, Malachi, somehow having become physically 17 in 6 months, appears at the boarding school. Ella's supposed to kill him, but they end up having an angsty fling instead, during which Ella becomes his sex slave. You see — Malachi gains power by granting people's secret desires; then they become obedient demon chow. Somehow their fling grants Ella's one wish — to be normal and to have someone care about her.

Leon and Thelma again rescue her, but all is not well between the trio, for Malachi, in an attempt to control Thelma, has procured another lesbian ghost, Maya, for Thelma to fall in love with. Malachi goes around enslaving other students at the school. Meanwhile, Malachi's influence over Thelma increases, and Ella and Leon plan to kill Malachi by killing his slaves. Ella ends up vanquishing Maya, which makes Thelma mad at her, and Leon kills his friend, which ends up making him Malachi's slave. Yet again, Ella and Thelma rescue Leon from enslavement. Leon leaves the whole shebang in chagrin.

Finally, Ella goes back in time to kill Malachi when he was a baby. But she is mortally wounded. As she dies, she realizes that it's not Malachi who was her perfect match, but Leon. Who else but Leon should pop up at the last moment to save her by cauterizing her wound. Malachi and his hordes of sex slaves sacrifice the last unenslaved student at the school, which goes up in flames. The end of days arrives, but Ella, Thelma and Leon escape. The end.

Wow, just writing that plot summary makes me exhausted. Fascinatingly enough, Hex is full of incident, but it's all sluggishly paced. There are huge stretches of useless scenes, such as people creeping suspensefully, pornulous women screaming in pain from several different angles, weather passing over the boarding school, and, most annoyingly of all, the evil male characters just lurking on school grounds, smoking cigarettes in a manner that is meant to be menacing, but which comes across as silly and passive. Somewhere in season 2, I began to skip every other minute of each ep, and you know what? I didn't miss a thing! If judiciously edited, Hex could be a great 10-ep miniseries, not the meandering mediocrity it is.
Despite the fact that it's largely lush-looking drivel, there is something compelling about Hex. Like BTVS, Hex ends up focusing on a destined warrior. The character study of Ella is the most interesting thing about the show. Like Buffy, Ella comes from a long line of fighters. Like Buffy, Ella is also gifted with physical and magical strength, but her destiny and her powers separate her from her peers. Both Buffy and Ella are very lonely; they both yearn for friends, family and people to understand them. But Buffy differs from Ella because Buffy has a loyal cadre of friends — Willow, Xander, Giles and various hangers-on — and a family [Joyce and Dawn]. Buffy derives strength from her faith in her family and friends. They are her saving grace.

But Ella is different. She wants what Buffy has — friendship, security and love — but she hasn't found it. She has tried to satisfy her passion through killing various demonspawn, but that still leaves her unfulfilled. She tries to satisfy herself with Leon, but their love, based on tenderness and friendship, seems too dull and unexciting for her. She tries to satisfy her passion through sex, as represented by her crappy and wholly unconvincing fling with the block of wood named Malachi, but that also doesn't work. Only after she has tried and failed to fill the void in her heart does she realize that she actually really does appreciate the love she shares with Leon. Season 2 leaves her strengthened because Leon has literally cauterized the wound by her heart, a physical representation of the way that their love has helped her to stop dissipating her energy and desire.

Ella is different from Buffy because Ella doesn't run on strength; she runs on fear. She fears being alone; she fears not being like other people; she fears her magical destiny. Because she fears her core identity so much, Ella is easily manipulated…hence her relationship with the Block of Wood. Though a stalwart killer of demons, she's also incredibly needy, which makes her a social fuck-up as she blunders through her friendship with Thelma, her love for Leon and her crush on Malachi. She simultaneously exploits all three of them to try to force their approval, then hurts them, then abases herself trying to make it up to them. Her weakness is her neediness, her hopeless lack of love in her life. Because her desire for acceptance overwhelms even her destined path, her abject wishes for happiness always conflict with her duty, making her triumph as demon slayer always in doubt. Since she spends so much of season 2 either losing her shit or barely hanging onto it, one wonders whether she'll ever develop the internal strength that she needs to carry out her mission.

I don't like Ella that much. I wish she would stop whingeing, trembling and rolling her eyes and just buck up and start kicking ass. That said, when I view her as an intensely lonely character, flailing around in her attempt to find friendship, she becomes sympathetic, more sympathetic than Buffy, who always seemed impervious and uncorruptible to me.

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