TV: Bedlam 1.1

Three scary TV shows are premiering this month: Bedlam (Saturdays on BBC America starting 10/1), American Horror Story (Wednesdays on FX starting 10/5) and season two of The Walking Dead (Sundays on AMC starting 10/16). Every week I’ll post recaps shortly after each new episode airs. They’ll be a little different than my movie posts. I’m assuming anyone who’s reading the recaps has either already seen the episode or isn’t planning to watch. That is to say, *SPOILERS AHEAD.*

Every preview I’ve seen for Bedlam makes some variation of the statement, “It’s Melrose Place, but with ghosts.” Nail, head: hit.

But is it worth your time? Who knows. After the first episode I can definitely confirm the show is populated with good-looking 20-somethings and gross-looking ghosts, both occupying the same decommissioned psychiatric hospital. Let’s dig in.

Our story opens on a rainy night on a lonely English road. A young man stops to offer a soaked traveler a lift. The radio lands on a report of three roadside murders. The driver’s suspicions are apparently confirmed when his passenger ominously tells him, “You’re dead. You know that?” Ruh roh.

But hold the phone, all is not as it seems. The hitcher is some kind of psychic and he knows the driver is actually a dead guy who can’t move on after losing his family in a car accident. Clever! A newspaper article is enough to convince ghost driver to shuffle off this mortal coil. Psychic hitcher gets a pair of texts saying “Go to bedlam” and “Save Kate”. Gotta admit I’m a little in love with the idea of spirit guides communicating by text message.

Next we meet fetching realtor Kate and her dad, who are trying (and largely failing) to sell luxury flats in Bedlam Heights, a big residential building their family has owned since its first incarnation as a mental institution.

Before we get any further – Bedlam Heights? Really? Let’s look at the dictionary:

Bedlam: 1. a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion. 2. archaic. an insane asylum or madhouse.

No clue why units aren’t flying off the shelf. Nor can I explain why you’re having similar trouble attracting tenants to Herpes Gardens and Diarrheatown.

Kate’s dad gives her a birthday present – a cool ring with a big black stone – and promptly tells her one of the builders found it in a wall. How thoughtful. No sooner is the ring on Kate’s finger than a ghastly bald-headed lady in white gown appears behind her. She does not seem to want to be Kate’s friend. But enough spooky, let’s meet some more hot young things!

Dear god standard definition is awful.

We next travel to Kate’s flat in Bedlam Heights and meet Kate’s roommates. Wait, what? Her dad owns the whole building and she manages sales, yet she needs two roommates? Anyway Kate lives with Molly and Ryan. Molly’s friend Zoe is also visiting.

Molly likes Ryan but Kate thinks he’s batting for the other team. Molly is undeterred in her fervor. When Kate asks why she hasn’t made a move, Molly explains with this delightful anglicism: “He’s my flatmate, if he knocks me back I’m gonna be too mortified to ever leave my room.” Knocks me back! Here we get shot down but overseas it’s just a knocking back, nothing a nice cuppa can’t cure. I heart British TV.

Psychic hitcher is on his way to Bedlam and he’d better hurry. Back at Kate’s flat we learn two things in rapid succession: Ryan is not gay and Kate is not a very good friend. Also ghost lady is not a fan of sexy time. Or possibly just not a fan of putting misters before sisters.

Luckily before ghost lady – not to mention Kate and Ryan – can really get down to business, psychic hitcher bursts in, somehow now joined by Molly, to break up the party. Molly’s hurt,Ryan’s glasses are broken and Kate’s pissed at psychic hitcher, who happens to be her sorta maybe cousin, Jed. Happy birthday!

The next morning Kate’s suddenly all chummy with Jed and Molly accepts Kate’s thrift store ring as an apology. I know emotional impact is exponentially more transitory the hotter and younger you are but still, this is a lot for one night. Also, where the fuck did Zoe go?

FYI Jed’s an adopted cousin who just got out of the hospital. He sees ghosts. As you were.

Some strange business going on with computer monitors around the house, which Ryan supposedly fixed. They won’t do anything but make dripping sounds and run a screensaver picture of a canal. Ryan is a shitty technician.

A little more backstory on the building: Kate’s granddad started the hospital but he got shut down for abuse of patients. He died before he could be prosecuted. No way that comes up again, probably safe to forget it.

So they definitely just edited out the word “dick”, which makes me wonder what else we’re missing. Definitely any scenes with too much nudity or cursing, though hopefully not ones with important dialogue or plot points. Maybe we missed what happened to Zoe because it happened while she was naked or in the middle of a bout of Tourette’s.

She's trying to tell us something about a clown? Ohhhhh, drown! That makes more sense.

Kate has the ring on again. Molly took it off because it tried to drown her. Molly finds out that Zoe’s roommate hasn’t seen her since yesterday.

Suddenly Kate’s in a dream sequence in an unfinished hallway wearing a nightie. Kate’s wearing the nightie, the hallway isn’t wearing clothes. It’s a hallway.

And now Jed’s in the tub, fake drowning himself to get in the mood to bust some ghosts I guess. Looks like dead lady was drowned in the hospital. Never woulda guessed.

Get used to this. Jed does not own any shirts.

Okay the canal image on the monitors is getting ooooold. We learn it’s the location where Ryan’s younger brother died a year ago TODAY. Jed follows Ryan, who tosses a letter into the canal. Stalker Jed goes to steal it but dead bro seems to have gotten the message so that’s nice. Sad Ryan sits down for a pint all by his lonesome. I like his little sweater/button down combo. Jed joins him and they get along. Ryan does a nice job of showing he needs support but not pity. He tells Jed his brother was murdered and the punks who did it will be released from jail in three years or less. A few beers later, Ryan is a believer in Jed’s abilities.

Meanwhile ghost lady is following through on her promise to drown Kate. Jed busts in – again – and gets rid of the dead lady. Jed gives Kate the worst CPR ever, we see Kate’s boobies blurry patches where Kate’s boobies should be and…scene.

Epilogue: Jed’s on his way out but spirit texter sends him a spraypainted sign on the wall – no longer just “Save Kate”, now it’s “Save YOURSELF FROM Kate”. Creepy faces appear in all the windows and apparently we have our formula: every week Jed finds a new troubled spirit, saves one or more of the roommates from supernatural death, and they all figure out a little more about the truth behind the asylum. And possibly incest.

So what have we learned? Jed’s the medium. Ryan has the always useful tech angle (and a dead brother primed for a recurring part). Kate has the family connection and a hookup with management. What role does that leave for Molly? She’s the Winston of this group.

One Response to “TV: Bedlam 1.1”

  1. […] Bedlam Episode 1.1 – With rental prices being what they are, the only thing shocking here is that there are still any vacancies. […]

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