After Bitten‘s “Bitten”, I’m Officially Hate-Watching This Show

 Since I’ve already devoted paragraphs upon paragraphs to the bad writing and acting choices of this show, I won’t do it again. Just know that those problems haven’t been fixed.The biggest issue that seems to befall Bitten is that there appears to have been no planning for this season. The writers and producers have a template already laid out for them with the source material, but they don’t seem to have considered how to adequately adapt it. It appears to be picking and choosing elements to include and throwing them into the show without trying to make them work in a televised format. 

I’ve started reading the book Bitten is based on, and I’ll tell you this: it’s not much better than the show.  It sort of is, if only because there’s more explanation for the way everyone interacts with one another and more insight into Elena, though Kelley Armstrong’s writing is quite possibly some of the worst I’ve ever encountered. It’s a relatively small something, the addition of more understanding into Elena’s character, but since the show misses this so completely, with Elena and everyone else, it’s much bigger.

“Bitten” answered the question of how Elena was turned, and I’m wondering who exactly was asking that question. It should have been a much bigger deal than the show made it, but the way it was tossed into this episode felt as though the writers and producers chose an episode by which this explanation had to be shared and were intent on sticking to it without ever building up the importance of this revelation.

In explaining the circumstances of Elena’s turning, Bitten also delved, or rather did not delve, into the Clay/Elena relationship. The flashback to Clay and Elena’s first meeting wasn’t as terrible as I anticipated. In fact, it was pretty nice, but like with previous flashbacks, Bitten apparently suffers from some confusion about the purpose of them. While they should have used the opportunity to develop the relationship between Elena and Clay pre-breakup, they settled for their first meeting, their second meeting and when they finally professed their love to one another.  Maybe this was their intention since Elena and Clay’s relationship is being chalked up to being essentially starcrossed.  Neither can explain their attraction to one another. Not even once they’re engaged can Clay formulate any reason for wanting to be with Elena or vice versa.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  Not everyone can articulate their feelings for other people that clearly, but the articulation became necessary when there was nothing to draw on otherwise besides some longing looks here and there.  Aside from an initial attraction, there’s no depth to Elena and Clay, and turning their relationship into something inexplicable and beyond understanding acts as a cheap and lazy device to avoid making it anything other than shallow.

Still, Bitten did best with Elena and Clay meeting as strangers, probably because there was no baggage that needed to be illustrated. Rather, they were both relatively blank slates who were immediately attracted to one another. It’s once the show tries to interact with their complicated past, made complicated because Clay suddenly bit and turned Elena (despite the likelihood of her death) that the show fails. It has no idea how to write an Elena and Clay who have a giant thing in their past that keeps Elena from fully trusting Clay again. Their interactions don’t have the nuance or the subtlety needed to display two people who were torn apart by one’s act of extreme selfishness but are still drawn together despite it.

The show can’t even write Clay and Elena as individuals so being incapable of writing them as a couple isn’t much of a stretch. Clay goes back and forth from brooding to barely-contained aggression. Flashback!Clay was quite the different person, being softspoken and gentle with Elena, and you’d think that would only ratchet up after he nearly killed her by turning her into a werewolf so all of his digs at her chosen lifestyle not only appear petty but also incredibly unfair considering he forced this life on her.  And through all of it Bitten has zero awareness of that fact. 

Elena’s character doesn’t fare much better, and this episode especially neglected her character’s changing feelings. One minute she was sadly admiring Pete’s ring and salivating at the chance of taking on the mutts then she was concerned about Clay, suspected of murdering a townie, and finally, she was bitter and leaving Stonehaven because she couldn’t stand what she’h had to do since she arrived. What happened to her not being able to leave until Pete’s killers were found and punished? It’s only at the episode’s end that the flashbacks were apparently supposed to stand in for some kind of reminiscence on Elena’s part as she’s reminded that Clay’s bite forced her into a life of painful transformations and dragging bodies through woods, and she can no longer stand to look at him.

It’s unlikely Bitten will ever salvage itself.  Watching all the episodes going forward is going to be more of a vague interest in seeing just how bad it can get.  Besides, it’s not like all the shows I review can be good, right? This adds some variety.

Tidbits

  • I thought about trying to come up with a way to make the title less redundant, but I decided that this show doesn’t try very hard so why should I?
  • Zachary Cain approached a paroled pedophile with the intent of turning him into a werewolf and setting him loose on Elena, one of his former victims. With Elena’s past as a sexual assault survivor now out there, the scene of Elena admiring a statue of a swan and the subsequent romantic discussion of the myth of Zeus and Leda was a huge error.  Zeus going to Leda wasn’t some romantic thing about him knowing she wouldn’t accept him in his real form. Zeus raped her, and there’s nothing romantic about that. If the show was trying to make some kind of connection between Elena/Clay and Zeus/Leda, I suppose it made one, if it’s trying to relate Clay biting Elena to a sexual assault. But if that was its intention why would anyone be rooting for Elena and Clay to end up together?
  • Phillip’s vodka storyline is now involving werewolves in the most ridiculous way ever. In what universe does showing a wolf (Elena) killing a coyote make for a successful advertising strategy for anything much less vodka?
  • No Logan this week which really put a damper on an already dampened episode.

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