“First Blood” fulfills some worldbuilding duties while asking some interesting dramatic questions.
This recap of First Kill season 1, episode 2, “First Blood”, contains spoilers.
Picking up in that moment of confusion where we left off, “First Blood” opens with Cal watching Juliette slide to the floor, presumably dead. She has her first kill, she thinks, but at what cost? She runs, and cries, and cries while running. But when she gets on the nearest bus, she feels her neck for injury and finds none. Has she just murdered an innocent young girl?
First Kill season 1, episode 2 recap
Meanwhile, Cal’s family is awoken in the night by the rummaging of a creature they call a “shambler”, which looks like halfway between an alien and Mr. Blobby, though admittedly a version with very bad skin. Either way, it’s rendered in noticeably unconvincing PS2-era computer graphics and is looking for something specific – a Summoner, which is the little locket thing that Apollo brought home from the cemetery. The creature’s head is lopped off before it can do anything with the accouterment, but this is treated as a very big deal.
Oh, and Juliette is fine. She wakes up, pulls the stake out of her chest – the hole closes up in a similarly unimpressive visual flourish – and spots someone spying on her through the crack in the doorway. Uh-oh! Luckily, the police have already shut down the party, giving Juliette the chance to sneak out unnoticed. But she doesn’t manage to sneak into her own house unnoticed. Seeing the blood around her mouth, Juliette’s parents think she has achieved her first kill, which it’s easier for Juliette not to deny. The only problem is that there is a consecration ceremony on the first full moon after a Legacy’s – more on this term below – first kill, and Juliette has plans that day.
By the way, the police were at Noah’s party responding to the death of a 17-year-old girl named Ashley, whose liver we later learn was mysteriously excised in the same manner as a pattern of killings that the coroner distinctly remembers. Luckily, Elinor exhibits Jedi Mind Trick-like powers to convince the man that nothing he saw was remotely suspicious, covering up the Legacies’ ventures behind mundane officialdom obviously being a well-honed process (and probably why the family all have positions of influence within, say, the District Attorney’s office.)
Ashley’s death is convenient since Juliette’s parents think that’s who her victim was, but her father, especially, is worried about the nature of the death – the injuries suggest a level of violence that he’s uncomfortable with since he doesn’t want Juliette to become “like him”, just in case you needed a touch of deliberately mysterious dialogue. And at the same time, Cal is confounded by the fact that Juliette didn’t immediately turn into ash and dust when she was staked. In fact, they lock eyes in the school corridors, and neither of them seems to know what to make of the other.
A subsequent conversation suggests that Elinor’s twin, Oliver, is who her father was referring to earlier. In the same conversation, we also learn that Elinor’s mind-manipulation powers are unique to her, so she has been advised not to use them, and later, when Cal pursues Juliette to the school roof during a vigil for Ashley, it’s revealed in a fight between the two that Juliette’s blood paralyzes those who touch it. Weird!
Juliette can also fight. Cal suggests the vampires have been training to fight back against the hunters, but Juliette claims she was born like that – it struck me as a slightly corny tough-chick line at the time, but she doesn’t seem the type, so I’m not sure it was. It’d only be right for a teen-drama protagonist to have something special about her, right?
Either way, Principal Waters summons both to his office for being on the roof, which could represent a jumper or an active shooter, so both Margot, Juliette’s mother, and Talia, Cal’s guardian, are summoned with them. While Cal and Juliette still clearly have a thing for each other, it seems like the parents do, too. Weird again! And, it turns out, calculated, since when Cal returns home that night she finds her entire family, including her father, readying for action. Talia explains that the reason Juliette didn’t die when she was staked is that she’s a Legacy vampire, born vampires whose pure bloodlines stretch back thousands of years, perhaps even to the Garden of Eden. And it’s important for a Guild-trained house of monster hunters to make sure that every member of a Legacy family is killed.
This might well throw a spanner in the works of Juliette and Cal’s burgeoning relationship.