Sunday, October 9, 2022

REVIEW: 'Let the Right One In' - Mark Proves He's Willing to Do Anything to Keep His Daughter Safe in 'Anything for Blood'

Showtime's Let the Right One In - Episode 1.01 "Anything for Blood"

After ten years away, Mark Kane and his daughter, Eleanor, return home to New York City, hoping to find a cure for a rare affliction. Their neighbor Naomi Cole, an NYPD homicide detective, tries to balance investigating a brutal murder at work with raising her son Isaiah, whose newly sober father has suddenly come back into their lives. Claire Logan, a brilliant scientist, receives a devastating call from her estranged father, summoning her home.

"Anything for Blood" was written by Andrew Hinderaker and directed by Seith Mann

Parents are just trying to keep their kids safe. They will do absolutely anything to achieve that goal. That's the overall thematic energy of this story. Every corner of the plot is connected through the interactions between parents and their children. Ten years ago, something happened that resulted in Eleanor and Peter turning into vampires. Since then, their fathers - Mark and Arthur, respectively - have been trying to find a cure. For Mark and Eleanor, they've traveled the world. They haven't been able to stay in one place for too long. They couldn't draw attention to themselves. They couldn't form any relationships outside of their bond. They had to rely on each other. Meanwhile, Arthur has the vast resources to keep his son safe while developing the research that can potentially heal him. The opening scene shows how he continues to fail in that endeavor. Peter witnesses the sunrise only to burst into flames. It's eventually revealed that he survived that moment. Moreover, Arthur calls his daughter, Claire, to come home and take on the mantle of this research. She absolutely hates her father. He always saw his children as the reason for unhappiness and chaos in his life. That seemingly changed when Peter was turned. However, he never allowed his daughter to experience that. She couldn't witness it. She was pushed away so he could be of service to the brother she raised. She was lied to. And now, she is expected to continue his pursuits despite her ethical objections to the harm he has produced throughout the world. That's the show delving into the harm of the pharmaceutical industry. It develops products and floods the streets with them before knowing all the toxic side effects. Addiction has risen throughout the population as people grow more desperate for their next high. They are continually chasing something even better and lasting longer than what they previously experienced. That's the parallel seemingly drawn to vampirism. Eleanor's body loudly projects when she needs to eat. It's noticeable to people around her. Mark is trying to offer her more independence. They have returned to New York City with the intention of staying. They can hide because the city is already experiencing an uptick in mysterious murders. They are innocent of those crimes. And yet, Mark is drawn to investigate because these murders could provide clues as to what happened to his daughter in the first place. He will do anything to keep her safe. He's also driven to understand the tragic turning point in their lives. The audience has a clue via a picture of Peter and Eleanor together at a camp. That's worth exploring. It also feels like the obvious starting point that these characters should already have some clarity over after ten years living this way.

All of this is done with the intention of reversing this transformation. People hold onto hope that Peter and Eleanor won't remain vampires for the rest of their lives. That thought comes from people who don't want to embrace the necessity of killing in order to keep them fed. Mark harms himself just to ease his daughter's appetite. Long sleeves help cover up the trauma on his body. People from his former life are happy to see him again. However, not much has actually changed. Throughout the past decade, Mark and Eleanor have become permanently stuck in place. They can't emotionally develop or mature. Instead, they are destined to forever carry this burden as is. That's true for Eleanor because she doesn't age. With Mark though, this journey has put such a toil on his body. He mourns the tragic death of his wife. He uses her name to convince others to help him. She's the noble one who would know what to do. She always offered a helping hand. She is no longer alive. Her memory lives on in Mark and Eleanor. Of course, Mark has to be more extreme with his actions. Any possible clue must be pursued no matter what. He has accepted whatever it takes to protect his daughter even if it comes at the expense of another family just trying to do what's best for their children. Frank experiences so much love and joy because his son, Isaiah, loves him. That gets him through every day even when he's struggling with his recovery. He maintains his sobriety. He's still selling drugs because someone offered him a good deal. His willingness to improve himself for the sake of his family was ultimately the action that made Mark slit his throat. Frank being a good guy despite Naomi's concerns made it too irresistible to kill him and deliver his blood to Eleanor. Of course, she doesn't have to make that same choice. She sees beyond her current suffering to acknowledge the humanity in others. At times, that's what Mark hopes to project onto his daughter. She needs to remain pure and noble throughout this experience. She can't taint herself by having to kill to survive. He will make that choice instead. He will subject himself to that torment. Eleanor still grapples with temptation. A magic trick is enough to pull her back to reality. Isaiah offers that immediate connection. However, his life is now destroyed thanks to Mark killing his father. He isn't aware of that yet. Instead, Naomi is concerned that her son doesn't have any friends and is getting bullied. She wants to prepare him for the world. It's an ongoing struggle likely made worse thanks to Mark's actions. Every parent wants their child to have a better life than what they had. And yet, that's not exactly true of any of the parents who are motivated by their children to take these extreme actions even when the world is much more complicated from the child's perspective. They each feel the pain. It's all an expression of love. That emotion turns toxic though. That's the current state of affairs as the series kicks off. It showcases the patterns everyone has accepted as necessary. Now, it's time to test those boundaries to see what makes them better or worse.