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Review of The Fades Episode 2

Neela Debnath

Paul and Mac 2 299x179 Review of The Fades Episode 2SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 2, series 1 of ‘The Fades’

With far more laughs and important character development, this week was a vast improvement on episode 1.

After last week’s hurtling pace, Mac’s re-cap at the start of this episode was useful, although it was slightly odd that he was directly addressing the camera and breaking the fourth wall. The pace of episode 2 was somewhat slower but there were still jumps in time that left the audience to fill in the gaps.

The major revelations of episode 2 were: Paul discovered he had the power to heal and could shoot lightening from his hands; the dead were feasting on people which gave them the ability to touch people – essentially transforming them from ghosts into zombies; Neil grew up in an orphanage which could be important later on, also he may or may not have died near the end of the episode; and Paul met Eric, one of the first to stop ascending, who told Paul that he was “special”.

Mac was even funnier this week and his teenage boy obsession with sex resulted in some great lines, while Paul’s character was developed through his struggle to balance his life as an Angelic with his social life. In the end he chose to live a double life like Peter Parker and Clark Kent.

‘The Fades’ is part of a growing trend of programmes and films that are starting to bend and break with the conventions of comic books. For example, E4’s ‘Misfits’ sees five teenagers imbued with superpowers yet who want nothing more than to get on with their lives. While Dave Lizewski in ‘Kick-Ass’ decides that life is too short and tells the girl of his dreams, Katie Deauxma, about his superhero identity; it is a problem which the likes of Peter Parker would have agonised over.

The series is more a homage to the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres and comic book subculture than a completely unique show in itself. All of these programmes are written with a full awareness of comic books and SF and so they have become almost pastiches of these genres. Part of the humour is derived from ‘The Big Bang’-style geeky in-jokes. Mac is constantly creating analogies or referencing ‘Star Wars’, meanwhile Paul attempts to explain his feelings for Jay (Sophie Wu who also starred in ‘Kick-Ass’) via Alan Moore and George Lucas. Perhaps this is the face of the next generation of superheroes?

Next week more strange things are afoot. Since episode 3 marks the half way point of the series, things are going to move even faster. Something happens to Paul’s sister, Anna (Lily Loveless) as her mouth seems to seal up. Paul on the other hand grows wings. Has this got something to do with him being an Angelic?

The Fades is on BBC 3 at 9pm on Wednesdays.

For more information about the series, click here.

Image credit: BBC

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  • spiralx

    I thought the first episode was fairly dire – depressing and fairly rubbish, so I’ve given up watching.  But yes:  the best (the only) good thing in it was the black best friend, Mac. He definitely deserves a decent series elsewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/craig_pay Craig Pay

    Intelligent writing for an intelligent audience. Just amazing. Loved all the geeky references. Relationship between Paul and Mac is touching. Paul’s mother walking in to find him cutting himself: classic, funny. Paul’s sister accusing Mac of his ‘need’ for Paul: subtle reiteration that the relationship between Paul and Mac is imbalanced.

    And Neela, enough with all the fence sitting. Do you like it or not? Do you think it has enough momentum to keep running? You say a major revelation was Paul discovering he could heal, but surely a greater revelation should be that he can’t do it to order? I’m predicting love is involved–he can heal others whom he loves, but not himself, and hence we continue to explore Paul’s self-loathing. But, well, I’m probably wrong!

    This isn’t Buffy. I’m loving the slow build, the clever writing and the writer’s brash disregard for killing off named characters.

  • Guest

    I already love The Fades.
    Now the Killing is over, it’s my small rodent guilty pleasure.

  • Knowles2

    I enjoy the show, both the premier, which established some of ground rules of the show and this second episode. The acting good, the story is good/brilliant. An I love the Star trek, Star wars, a couple of lord of rings jokes in there and other references to science fiction and fanstacy. 

    An it nice to see the BBC budget put to something original. Hopefully they will not go an destroy it like they did with Torchwood. 

  • Paedant

    But named characters aren’t killed off, they’re killed but then just carry on, although dead.

  • Richard Evans

    “break with the conventions of comic books” 

    “Science Fiction and Fantasy genres and comic book subculture”

    You mean ‘Superhero’ genre, not ‘comic book’ which is a medium, the content depends on the creator. Cartoonists like Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman and the Hernandez brothers barely write anything remotely near the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy. (Though early Love & Rockets had some SF stories)


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