The midseason finale, “Scared to Death” saw Miranda blinded by domestic bliss with her parents and the group getting some answers about the curse. It came as a shock that we’re at the midpoint not because of the few episodes that have aired but because of how little those episodes have accomplished. With only a ten-episode order for its first season, Ravenswood should have made better use of their time because the midseason finale had the same issue as last week’s episode in strange pacing and development. So I was left wondering when I was supposed to start caring about the things the show was asking me to care about. Though it’s obvious what points Ravenswood‘s trying to hit, it just keeps missing them.
Beginning with the positive, Remy was on the offensive after Luke’s cheating and confession in last week’s episode. Meanwhile Luke changed his mind about whatever it was he decided about Tess last week and spent the episode trying to apologize to Remy. The best part of this bad episode was Remy’s attitude toward him, unwilling to let him off the hook for what he did and not afraid to let everyone know it.
That is, until the episode’s end when Remy and Luke reconciled. If their issues were resolved in a single episode, why did they have issues at all? What was the point of Luke’s interlude with Tess if nothing came of it? Even Luke’s anxiety about the curse was set aside as he readily accepted the curse in this episode, and Tess didn’t make an appearance. The whole mess did nothing but create some drama, and all the time spent with Luke and Tess last week and with Remy and Luke fighting this week could have been better spent elsewhere, perhaps developing Olivia and Dillon’s relationship as it’s now been upped in importance.
Dillon’s apparent decency and sudden usefulness as he and Olivia reconnected (can you really reconnect with someone you’ve been disconnected from for like, a day?) should have been a hint that something was up. Dillon being around at all after four episodes of barely being a guest star should have made it obvious that he wasn’t all he appeared to be. And he’s not. He’s actually in league with creepy kid Max and a mysterious “he” trying to kill our mains. Dillon’s status as villain is both welcome and confusing. Welcome because Dillon isn’t going to be wasting screentime and serving no purpose except to create unnecessary drama (like Tess did), but confusing because I’m lost about why I should care. This revelation adds a thin layer of intrigue to his otherwise boring character, but if I compare this to PLL’s twists of shady significant others, this falls flat because of how little we know about Dillon and especially Olivia.
Onto Max who helped Ravenswood add itself to a long list of shows that utilize creepy children in its quest for scares. On the surface this seems like a good move. Cute kids on the side of evil is scary. Who isn’t disturbed by tiny little humans with tiny human voices who double as demons? But for Ravenswood it didn’t work. The addition of Max fell flat (especially when there’s already a creepy specter wandering around in the Veiled Woman who we haven’t seen since she ran our heroes off the bridge). Child actors are sometimes very enjoyable, but the actress didn’t frighten me so much as annoy me. That being said, there are very few shows who manage to include kids who don’t annoy me, and only Supernatural‘s Lilith-possessed girls ever hit the right creepy notes.
The only interesting thing about this whole saga were the two dead bodies the group discovered belonging to Thomas and Esther (whose names, I suspect, aren’t supposed to matter) who sacrificed themselves to bring back Caleb and Miranda, who they thought would be able to break the curse. Since it appears Thomas and Esther succeeded in their plan, Miranda and Caleb are the reincarnations of their former selves, there to break the curse after all.
So Ravenswood is now diving into a romance between Miranda and Caleb, as their former selves were very much in love and died on their wedding day. For a moment it looked like the show was going to acknowledge the absurdity of this sudden change in the Miranda/Caleb dynamic by emphasizing Hanna (with a guest appearance by Ashley Benson) and having Caleb explain – quite enthusiastically – that he isn’t interested in Miranda romantically, but then it went in the opposite direction and readily embraced this new facet of their relationship.
Miranda and Caleb’s connection was a huge part of the first few episodes as the two were instantly on the same page, but nothing about this bond was deemed supernatural or unusual. If it had, it would be easier to believe that Caleb and Miranda are being influenced by their past love which would make their strong relationship if not easier to invest in, at least understandable. Instead, we’ve been told that Caleb and Miranda just are very close to one another, and until the last episode there was no indication of it being romantic. Even for Caleb the idea hadn’t occurred to him until he died and met Miranda as a spirit where it just “felt right”.
Ravenswood seems conflicted about what they want to do with Miranda and Caleb. Whether it’s present them as close friends or as romantic partners, it doesn’t know. Caleb’s relationship with Hanna is still a factor, but does his love for Hanna pale in comparison to the apparent cosmic pull between him and Miranda? Or is Hanna Caleb’s new true love whereas he and Miranda still exist as soulmates, however platonic? Who knows? I don’t think Ravenswood does.
Ravenswood doesn’t return until January 7, and let’s hope it figures itself out in the meantime.
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