After the goodness that was last week’s “Believe” Ravenswood stumbled in its followup in which Luke struggled in the aftermath of the séance and Miranda and Olivia bonded only to have Miranda flex her ghostly powers and apparently move on to the other side. Most of the issues were due to the timeline being so slow. It’s only been about a week since backdoor pilot and premiere so the events of this episode felt sudden. Though everything that happened could be happening, Ravenswood dropped the ball in providing the necessary context and character development to lead to these moments.
Olivia and Tess’ separation has reached epic proportions (and the whole school knows about it) even though it only happened like two days ago. Knowing about it, Luke was reluctant to connect with Tess by doing the school play, where they were cast as significant others, but they ended up kissing and enjoying it. I am biased, and all my past reviews will confirm this, in Lemy’s favor. Remy and Luke have had consistent chemistry and their relationship has been nice, lighthearted fare in this gloomy show. And I’m far more partial to Remy than I am to any other member of this group so watching her boyfriend kiss another girl didn’t do a lot to elevate my opinion of Luke especially when the reasons behind it were so flimsy.
Luke being overwhelmed with everything – from his father’s murder, his mother being a suspect and now the group being cursed – almost made sense. But it also didn’t. Since the premiere, Olivia had been the one struggling to come to terms with her new place in town and the turn her life took with her father’s murder. In contrast, Luke was secure in what was happening, pointing out the truth of his and Olivia’s old crowd not being on their side and wanting to talk to Olivia about the potential affair that could have encouraged Rochelle to kill Charles. Now their roles have completely reversed. Olivia’s not hanging out with the popular crowd but Luke is getting closer to Tess, Olivia’s the one insisting on finding the answers to Charles’ death and Luke wants nothing to do with it. Luke reaching this point would have made sense, but the execution was flawed.
The execution, however, was flawed. Luke couldn’t stand Tess three days ago, and now he wants to kiss her. He’s been staring at Remy in adoration since we’ve known him, but now he wants to try something different because she’s still searching for answers to the curse and the pact. Maybe this would have gone better had Remy and Luke had a single discussion this episode that wasn’t about Luke wanting to go somewhere and Remy cancelling on him to pursue answers with Caleb. There were plenty of ways this conclusion could have been reached, but Ravenswood is in a hurry to hit all the beats in preparation for next week’s midseason finale. But Remy and Luke aren’t officially over yet so we’ll have to wait until next week to see how far Ravenswood is going to go with this.
Also oddly placed and sudden were the arrival of Miranda’s romantic affections for Caleb. This wasn’t an unexpected occurrence, not with all the groundwork being laid out with Miranda and Caleb’s time-defying connection and all, but it’s so soon. I don’t feel anything for it yet because I’m still stuck back in Rosewood where Caleb was in love with Hanna, and not even the Caleb/Miranda friendship feels as organic and genuine as Ravenswood is telling me it is.
Despite that, Miranda’s attachment could make sense if other steps had been taken to make it make sense. If she was still disconnected from the rest of the world and had only Caleb for company, if that portion of her tenure as a ghost had been extended and more time had been devoted to Miranda and Caleb as a unit, this wouldn’t be unusual. Even if I did subscribe to the notion of Miranda and Caleb’s friendship, the sudden switch to romance on Miranda’s end is too sudden. With more context, Miranda tearfully writing an email to Hanna for Caleb (expressing Caleb’s love and desire to return home) wouldn’t have felt so weird.
Despite the failings of “The Devil Has A Face”, there were a couple of gems. Miranda and Olivia’s bonding was especially fun. In the group, the girls have only been related to the boys but not really to each other. Miranda’s spent loads of time with Caleb and Remy’s spent loads of time with Luke and Caleb, but this was the first time any of the girls had significant, one-on-one scenes together, and the beginnings of an Olivia/Miranda friendship were so fun that I hope it’s not forgotten. Olivia’s earnest sympathy at Miranda coming to Ravenswood for the express purpose of finding her family and dying instead was especially poignant, and the girls were cute and fun while comparing notes on Raymond’s creepiness and getting some answers.
Speaking of Raymond’s creepiness, it became known to everyone that he’s been collecting the hair of dead people, specifically the hair of teenagers who were killed. And it looks as though the hair is what’s keeping them bound to the house, and to the afterlife. After Miranda destroyed hers in a fit of ghostly rage, she was able to leave the property and find the specter of her dead mother who led her to the white light, which according to next week’s promo probably wasn’t a good thing.
Next week’s episode “Scared to Death” will feature an appearance by Hanna and I’m looking forward to it. Here’s to hoping the midseason finale will, if not provide answers to this curse, at least get all the characters on track.