Settling into episode two, one of the key attractions that already leaps out at you is how still and silent this show is. The Others is built around atmosphere, and it's usually achieved through slow-paced steady cam, lingering still shots and just a faint scattering of a music score. It's even evident in scenes that aren't filled with foreboding and supernatural phenomena, like the brief scene with Mark at the hospital. It's an emergency room with a dying kid on a gurney, but it's still dark and moody and filled with quiet intensity. It creates something radical and distinctive compared to other series around, but probably sealed the show's fate in the long run, audiences too quick to change the channel and ignore something low-key and atmospheric.
Luciferous marks the writing debut of Glen Morgan and James Wong, genius genre vets best known for their work on the early X-Files and the first (and best) Final Destination movie. Their script, while featuring a hideous latex-mask monster at the end, is a lot more subtle than their usual fare, Marian moving into a new place and being naturally freaked by a strange presence in the wallpaper. The story opens with trademark spookiness (lights going out, things moving around) before descending into metaphor-mode, the demons in the wall attempting to lure Marian over to the dark side and away from the good power of the Others. There's gorgeous imagery all round, with the sinister lighting, rapid shots of the manifested monster, and that great closer with Marian tearing at the wall and being sprayed with blood as a result.
Elsewhere, the cast are working wonders as an ensemble. Marian and Elmer already have a sort of father-daughter friendship, and there's a peaceful quality to their scenes together. I also continue to enjoy the creative direction Mark is headed in. Like last week and the story about his dog, you naturally expect him to be able to 'heal' the dying kid at the start of the episode, only for it not to happen. It's another interesting undermining of his abilities, and strengthens the show's more human tone. At the same time, his relationship with Satori and their inability to touch without throwing off some kind of cosmic energy is fascinating, a love triangle also cemented by the similar connection between Mark and Marian, chemistry only with less violent results.
Luciferous takes standard ideas of distrust and identity and runs with them, creating something that's spooky and ambitious, as well as heartfelt and moving in its quieter moments. A
Guest stars Al Leong (Mr. Lee); John Aylward (Albert McGonagle)
Writers Glen Morgan, James Wong Director Mick Garris