We've been following this project since it was first announced that an adaptation of Kelley Armstrong's novel Bitten was in the works. And now, here it is! Check back weekly for episode recaps from Jackie Lester the day after the show airs in the U.S. on SyFy (and remember that in Canada the show will be airing a couple days earlier, on Saturdays on Space). Catch up with recaps for episodes 1x01, 1x02, 1x03, and 1x04.
Note: This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Bitten, including last night's Season 1, episode 5, “Bitten.” Enjoy!
Elena sits fidgeting with a ring—one with a wolf motif, NOT the one sitting in a box somewhere. The pack has once again convened in the Stonehaven living room to discuss what they know to date. Nick is saying how Marsten and Cain “are coming at [them] with both barrels loaded” by not only creating a band of mutt-wolves to come after them but creating them from serial killers. They’re looking through the scrapbook Elena had uncovered in the last episode and highlighting some of the gory details. Jeremy says, with real feeling, “That’s enough.”
Elena puts out the idea that Marsten and the gang can’t be far away, with the number of killings they’ve engineered around Stonehaven. She thinks maybe they’re holed up somewhere between Bear Valley and Syracuse. Elena is raring to go get them but Jeremy is more cautious. He says he’ll “send word through Logan to Daniel Santos that [he’s] willing to talk.” Nick thinks it’s a mistake because Santos lies more than anything else. Jeremy says he wants to hear him out, knowing that he wants reinstatement into the pack and, at the same time, cannot be trusted. Clay offers the information that “the last Santos to walk through [their] doors tried to kill” Jeremy.
Jeremy says they need something to “smoke Marsten and his crew out” and Elena quickly jumps in and basically offers to be bait. She says she’s “the bitch that he wants.” Jeremy quietly says “No. We will find them together.” Elena bolts from the basement, shoving Nick a bit on the way out. Clay calls after her and then…
Flashback! (the first of many in this episode.) Clay, Nick, and Pete are entering a hallway in a collegiate setting. Nick is joking about the hot, polite Canadian girls at the school. Clay quips (yes, he really makes a joke here) about how “they’ll thank [Nick] for never calling them again.” Elena is waiting outside a door in the same hallway. Clay asks if he can help her and she tells him she’s waiting for “Dr. Danvers.” The guys rib Clay about this, Pete saying “he’s a bit of a brooder” (no kidding). Elena tells them she’s there to apply for a job as a typist, looking around as she says this like she’s trying to get rid of these guys. Nick asks if she’s “sure [she] wants to work for” the good doctor and she says yes, it will help pay for tuition. Nick (being a nosy SOB at this point) asks why her parents aren’t paying for her and she tells him they’re dead. Nick looks mollified (as he should.) Pete drags him off to look at something imaginary, leaving Clay and Elena alone. Elena, oversharing a little now because she still hasn’t uncovered the true identity of the doctor, assures Clay that she can get up to speed with whatever Dr. Danvers is working on. Clay hands her a hardcover (The Origins of Anthropomorphic Religions), saying reading it is a good start. While telling him that the fact that her parents are dead shouldn’t be seen as a sob story, she flips to the back inside flap to see the picture of the author: Clay. They both smile kind of shyly (which is very refreshing after all the dismal facial expressions of prior weeks) and Clay asks if Elena can come back the next day for a proper interview.
As she leaves, Pete and Nick tease Clay, Pete about the blush on Clay’s cheeks, Nick about needing to show the boy some tricks, calling Elena “a minefield [Clay] does not know how to handle.”
Back in the present time, the Sheriff and a deputy find Braxton’s truck in the woods (of course.) The deputy tells her that the location of the truck was called in by an anonymous tip (of course). The deputy further postulates that the scene is a bit like that of some “real Manson family business” nodding towards some blood on the seat. The Sheriff says maybe Braxton got drunk, hit a pothole, and shot himself, but figures that the cumulative effect of all the crimes speaks more to foul play. The camera pans the woods and lands (yet again) on the ‘private property’ sign belonging, no doubt, to Stonehaven.
Elena is fidgeting with the same ring. Clay finds her sitting in the kitchen. He tells her that she might be right about Marsten: “There’s a lot of cabins and warehouses between [there] and Syracuse.” Elena isn’t impressed with this because they’ve already received orders from Jeremy that prevent them from going to look. Clay comes up with a cover story so they can at least try which surprises Elena because it’s counter to Clay’s previous attitude about “go[ing] against Jeremy.” He says he would do it now but before they can discuss it further, they hear a vehicle arriving. It's the police.
Clay and Jeremy walk out to greet the Sheriff. Clay’s telling her that he hasn’t “seen Braxton since his dog lunged at Elena.” Sheriff says Braxton was heading there to “have it out with” Clay. Clay tells her neither the dog nor Braxton have shown up. The deputy tells them where the truck was found, causing Jeremy, once again, to ask whether they’re being accused. Sheriff Karen brings tensions down a notch by telling them that a trail of blood was leading onto the Danvers property; that he might be in the woods “injured or incapacitated.” Clay asks the Sheriff if she thought he would leave the truck near Stonehaven if he was the one that had caused harm to Braxton. Karen tells him “it suggests proximity” is all.
Karen warns that the tow truck driver is Braxton’s buddy and will surely spread word around town. She believes they will start “pointing fingers” at Clay (who didn’t help matters with previous public displays). Jeremy tries to be the voice of reason, suggesting the family team up with people from town to organize a search party. The family has detailed knowledge of the land, so if Braxton is out there, they’ll find him. The Sheriff leaves to “go round up some people.”
Jeremy and Clay step back into the house. Elena says right off that “this is Marsten’s doing”; he’d heard Braxton “running his mouth” so took him and left the truck at Stonehaven. Nick says it points the finger at the pack but Elena corrects that it’s pointing directly at Clay. Clay thinks “there’s a very real possibility that Braxton’s body is out there” and that the “mutts wouldn’t leave him alive to tell the truth.” Jeremy feels their best chance of “mitigat[ing] the situation” is for them to help with the search, allowing for a quicker response to it. It will also help to avoid further suspicions that might lead to a search warrant for the house. How long does it take to disassemble a wolf cage anyway?
Hunter #2 (we haven’t gotten his name yet but I believe it’s “Travis” from my IMDB search) makes an embittered joke about Stonehaven resembling the mansion from Skyfall. He sees Clay outside and says “no way” should he be helping in the search. Jeremy and Karen play peacemakers, the Alpha taking Clay into the house to avoid further issues and the Sheriff saying that the Danvers had gladly offered help, so basically suck it up. Karen dishes out instructions for the search while Elena looks back, watching Clay walk away.
Flashback! Elena is pacing outside Clay’s office, practicing the speech she’ll deliver to make sure she gets the job; Clay, inside, listens in with his finely tuned hearing. He anticipates her knock and opens the door. Elena comments on the packed boxes and empty shelves in the space ,which Clay says is more about not wanting to put in the work when he’ll be leaving again at the end of the semester. Elena sees a figure at the side and gives a little lesson about Leda and the Swan (Zeus) that she learned by devouring Clay’s book overnight. She tells him she “won’t take no for an answer” about the job but Clay does everything he can to talk her out of it. He asks her to spell a word that sounds like ‘cling-kit’ (but is actually spelled Tlingit). In response, Elena asks if it begins “with F U” because she knows he’s just playing games at this point. He must like her go get ‘em spirit because he tells her a bit about the word (like how to actually spell it) and gives her the job.
Back to present day. Clay is at the window, Elena looking back at him, turns around quickly. Karen is giving final directions. Travis tells Elena that he’ll be watching, “in case [she] decides to tamper with any evidence.” Elena says the feeling is mutual.
The view moves to a shot of a prison yard. A man is telling a prisoner that his old clothes might not fit him anymore. The prison official talks about provisions that will be made for the prisoner’s release, adding he “hates the thought of letting [him] out.” Victor, the soon to be ex-con, says he needed his time in jail to really learn his lesson, but he’s turning something over in his hand which seems to indicate he might be lying here. The official indicates through circuitous talk that Victor is a pedophile. Victor says he’s “done with all that” and now he is in love with ‘Amber’ whom he met through the internet.
The scene shifts back to Stonehaven and Elena walking through the woods carefully. We quickly switch to inside the house, with Clay pacing and being generally unhappy about being stuck inside (like a caged animal, perhaps?) Jeremy wants Clay there when Daniel Santos arrives, giving Clay more fuel for his rant. For some reason, Jeremy decides to compare whatever is coming up with Santos to when he first found Clay, saying he’d already be bitten and was “just this feral little boy, abandoned in the swamp.” It seems Jeremy had to sit on a tree stump for weeks before Clay would trust him (this scene totally doesn’t compute with the man in the shirt and vest, but we’ll go with it).
Jeremy asks Clay if he’s on a “metaphorical tree stump now.“ Clay says no, which seems to surprise Jeremy but I think Clay missed the whole point of the metaphor…and so did I. Jeremy reiterates about his decisions all being for the good of the pack. Clay understands this and equates it with his own decisions, which makes Jeremy feel they’re “on the same page.” Somehow, I’m not convinced though could be residual confusion from the tree stump thing.
Outside, Nick is in the foreground, Elena a little over to the side from him. Her phone rings. Diane is calling to find out when Elena will be back. There’s a bridesmaid down with appendicitis and Becky wants Elena to fill the spot. Diane makes everything seem like a crisis, although avoidable entirely if only Elena will agree. It would mean she’d have to come home right away though, which causes Philip to grab the phone for some extra persuasion. Nick, of course, tunes in to hear what’s going on. Elena is telling Philip that she’d be honoured to take up the duties as requested. They exchange ‘I love you’s’ and end the call.
Unfortunately, Philip forgot to ask Elena when she would be back and now has to explain this to his sister. Diane asks when the funeral will be, which her brother replies was a few days prior. She’s surprised Elena didn’t want him there, but he jokes about Diane not taking a date to their father’s funeral then ends the discussion by saying she’s starting to sound like their mother. Ouch! on a few counts for this strange exchange of dialogue.
Nick is looking at Elena, telling her he couldn’t help but overhear. She admits that Logan and Jeremy both know about Philip and now Nick does but not Clay. Elena says when she “left Stonehaven…[she]moved on.”
Flashback! Elena is telling Clay she wasn’t planning on spending their last few days at the school together by packing up his office. (She must have talked him into unpacking somewhere along the way.) Clay is indeed looking all broody, eying Elena more than he is working. She’s trying to cheer him up by telling him there will be another school, another typist and all that. He asks about what she’ll do, receiving the ‘I’m a survivor’ speech as an answer. Clay tells her he’s “not very good at ‘this’” though he can’t explain in words yet what that means. He tells Elena he isn’t ready to go, that he’s never felt the way he does before; he feels like he’s drowning. Elena admits to feeling the same way. Cue the kissing and disrobing, with a mere silhouette of Clay’s backside this time and Elena still wearing her funky combination of knee socks and boots as they entwine on the sofa.
Present day, Elena looks like she’s sensed something. The camera finds Braxton, lying of the forest floor partly covered in leaves.
Elena, speaking quietly, indicates to Nick that she’s picked up a scent; that Braxton is indeed dead. She’s looking around, her body language conveying the misinformation that she’s still searching like everyone else. Nick asks what the plan is and seconds later Elena pulls a fake ankle twist to set whatever she’s decided to put in motion. The nearby searchers, most notably Travis, come over to see what’s happened. Before he reaches them, Elena whispers to Nick to pick a fight.
Travis asks if Elena can walk on the injured leg. She tells him she’ll make it home anyway. Having shown a modicum of concern, Travis tries to wander off again, letting nothing deter him from finding Braxton. Nick tells him that the entirety of the search is because Braxton was trying to blame the family for the killings in town. Travis doesn’t take too kindly to the comment, considering his friend is still missing, and takes a swing at Nick. The rumble begins…
Well, not entirely a rumble, since only the two of them get involved and it seems to be using up all of Nick’s acting skills as he’s taking hits and pulling his own punches. It does draw attention away from Elena and once she thinks she’s in the clear, she takes off running. Karen and the deputy run to the fight and break it up, Karen deciding that it’s time to call the whole thing off.
Elena comes up on Braxton’s body and ponders a moment, probably trying to figure out what to do next. Resigning herself to what needs to be done, she starts to undress for the change and...
Flashback! This one is familiar, when Clay brings Elena to Stonehaven for the first time (like we’d witnessed previously in the “Prodigal” episode). She’s nervous, afraid Jeremy won’t like Elena (for whatever reason) but she’s already determined to spend the rest of her life with Clay. He tells her “Darlin’, I got you.” This time, the scene continues. Clay hasn’t told Jeremy they would be visiting nor has he mentioned the fact that he and Elena are now engaged. She tells Clay she doesn’t want to ambush Jeremy and sends Clay in to pave the way.
Elena waits outside, turning in circles to take in all the grounds at Stonehaven. She hears a noise (a wolf, not that she can tell yet though) and turns to see where it’s coming from. She hears another sound (the change happening). Before she can wander off to find the source, Clay comes back to tell her Jeremy isn’t home, motioning them towards the door. She asks if he’s sure it’s okay and he says “trust me.” From the trees nearby, we see Jeremy shirtless, popping a bone or two back into place post-change. He isn’t looking very happy.
Clay and Elena make it to the foyer where she admires a large wooden structure, a totem pole, or part of one at least, that she identifies as Haida. Clay talks about sleeping under it as a child. She asks if the figure on it is that of a bear. Jeremy, walking in from the other direction, tells her it’s a wolf. Clay makes introductions, Jeremy’s demeanor more wooden than the totem pole at the moment. Elena compliments him on the house (the room and a half that she’s seen anyway). Jeremy tells her to make herself comfortable and drags Clay off to make tea. Clay knows he dug himself in deep this time, while Elena encourages Clay to try to make things right.
Jeremy, busying himself on tea duty, calls the junior Danvers “Clayton” and asks if the rings they’re both wearing mean he and Elena are married. Clay clarifies that it’s an engagement only…so far. He tries to describe what he has with Elena, that he loves her. Jeremy tells him “we don’t get to love” (which is very, very sad, really.) The Alpha tells Clay that Stonehaven “is not for outsiders.“ Clay offers to take her to the city and just stay away from Stonehaven altogether. Jeremy tells him, ominously, that he “wishes it was that easy.”
Jeremy brings in the full tea service to Elena (a man’s version with mugs instead of china) and gives her a line that Clay had to leave to help a neighbour. She asks Jeremy about the isolation of the place, if it scares him. He can’t think what he would be scared of. Elena says she sometimes goes out into the woods and “sees…strange things.” Could she have seen Jeremy change? It seems likely with her questions though she isn’t freaking out like she probably should be.
She’s sipping away on her tea when a wolf walks into the room. Elena thinks it’s a giant dog. Jeremy offers a cautioning “Clay” to the wolf but Elena just says she doesn’t mind. She thinks Jeremy’s yelling to wherever Clay is because he “let the dog out.” Elena puts her hand out for the ‘dog’ to smell, telling Jeremy it likes her. In the meantime, Jeremy is slinking up behind Clay to make a grab for him. Just as he gets a handful of Clay’s fur, the wolf takes a big bite of Elena’s hand. Jeremy wrestles Clay away and asks Elena if the skin on her hand was broken. She tries to hide the injury but can’t for long; Jeremy sees the large holes in her hand. Almost immediately, Elena gets woozy and passes out on the Alpha’s shoulder.
Back at Braxton’s body, wolf-Elena gets a hold of Braxton’s arm (presumably in her teeth) and drags him away.
In Toronto, Philip is video chatting with the vodka client while watching a video…of a wolf (Elena) fighting off a coyote. Mr. Williams says a “board member…found it on the internet." The reason it’s come up? Mr. Williams wants to work the video into the campaign for his Estonian vodka. Philip asks for a little time to see what he can do to make it all work.
Clay and Jeremy look on as the search party clear out. Nick comes back looking much worse for wear because of the fight. Jeremy apologizes to Karen for Nick’s behaviour but she says she should’ve call in the state police all before now; she was just trying to “cut corners.”
Inside, Nick tells Clay that Elena is moving the body, confirming that Braxton is dead. Clay repeats his mantra for the episode that he “should be out there.” Outside, Daniel Santos arrives as the mass exodus is in progress. He says “did I miss the party?”
In the foyer, Jeremy is mentioning about the length of time since a Santos was in Stonehaven. Santos replies with “does my brother’s blood still stain the carpet?” He backpedals a bit though as Jeremy tries to diffuse the matter, Santos now believing his brother “got what he deserved.” Santos comments on the number of people there, but notices Elena isn’t. It seems she may have gnawed a little of his ear off at one time. Santos claims it was mistaken identity, he thought she was a hooker when Clay and Elena entered his hotel room back when it happened. Clay is trying his best to hold it together while Santos spouts his bull, but he has to turn away at this point. Jeremy having enough of Santo’s crap motions that they need to keep moving further into the house.
Sitting at a playground, Victor, now freed from prison, looks on to the children playing.
Over to a coffee shop, Philip and Mr. Williams are discussing a new direction for the campaign and product. Philip suggests “re-branding,” telling Williams that his research into Estonia led to his discovery that the translation of the word ‘wolf’ in Estonian is ‘hunt.' Williams likes the sound of ‘Hunt Vodka’ and even Philip’s (somewhat lame) tagline: “The thrill of the hunt.” Williams asks if they can get rights to using the video (though I’m still thinking that a wolf killing a coyote isn’t a great sell tactic, but whatever.) Philip says he’ll work to “track down the shooter” which is undoubtedly one of the Marsten/Cain gang.
Jeremy and the pack are now seated in the living room. He asks Santos about his idea of “realigning with the pack.” Santos uses the ‘young and foolish’ card when he left years before, following his family and believing his brother had “a right to being Alpha over” Jeremy. He says he wants “to make things right.” His pass back into the gang comes in the form of information about Marsten but he wants to wait for Elena to spill the beans.
Flashback! Clay looks on, with Jeremy close by, as Elena rests in the cage in the basement. He’s convinced she’ll make it but Jeremy thinks otherwise, especially because “no woman has ever survived the change.” Jeremy says the best they can do for Elena is to keep her company until “the change kills her.” Elena can hear all of this.
Later, Jeremy tries to give her water but she pushes it away, asking him what he did to her. She asks for Clay. Jeremy tells her that Clay has been sent away “for biting” her. Elena still insists that a dog bit her but Jeremy quickly tries to clear up this confusion saying it was, in fact, a wolf and the wolf was Clay. He tells her that he (Jeremy) was born into it and Clay was bitten, just like Elena has been now. Then he tries to cheer her up by saying she’s about to go through the first change and it will be “a world of pain unlike anything you’ve ever felt before.” He has the bedside manner of a painter, for sure. At least he apologizes though, right?
Elena is begging for help, but it looks like Jeremy has mentally wiped his hand of the whole thing. She begs again, this time looking him in the eye and he offers her help on how to cope with the pain, not to fight it, to let it pass through her. She has the foresight to strip off her dress, struggling with her bra clip as the bones in her back begin to move. There are some cool images of the change, her legs becoming hairier then bending into the shape of the hind legs of the wolf. Jeremy still looks on as the ‘change’ completes. He smiles proudly at her success.
Even later again, Elena is sleeping on the cot within the bars, wrapped in a blanket. Clay sits outside the cell, apologizing for what he’s done. Elena can’t believe he has the gall to even try; she says “I loved you. I trusted you,” and it looks like it’s game over for them. Surprisingly, she changes her tone and asks him to hold her. He unlocks the door to do just that, Elena falling into his arms, dropping the blanket along the way. After a very short embrace, she takes his head in her hand…and smacks it on the cage. Hard.
Flashing forward, Elena walks back into Stonehaven and receives a strangely formal greeting from Santos. She tells him to “get to the point.” Santos addresses Jeremy directly, saying again he wants “pack status” in exchange for what he knows, thehis reasoning is mostly about his own protection. He explains that “Marsten and Cain are building an army” and mentions a two to one ratio of psychopaths: the mutts versus Clay.
Clay thinks none of this is new information and doesn’t warrant what Santos is asking for. Santos then adds that the reason it’s happening is all because of Clay. While he and Elena worked together on mutt “policing,” Elena “brought some humanity” to the dealings. With Clay now doing the work solo, Santos (and apparently all of the other mutts) think that no lone wolf would be a match for Clay. Words like “brutal” and “vindictive” are used to describe Clay’s actions. This has made the joining of forces necessary in the mutts’ opinions.
Clay tries to negate any wrongdoing that Marsten is suggesting but Jeremy redirects the conversation, asking “if this is about Clay, why did they kill Pete?” The idea is that it would send Clay “into a blind rage.”
Santos pulls together a chess metaphor, describing Jeremy as the king (“thoughtful, methodical”) and Elena as the queen because “she can do whatever she wants.” His final comparison is of Clay to the rook, “stuck in a rut” zigzagging along, further describing Clay as “irrational” and “impulsive.”
Nick calls Santos a “slime ball” but Santos says what he “said comes from good intentions.” He asks again about reinstatement. Jeremy says they’ll think about it and asks Nick to walk Santos out. As Santos passes Elena, he repeats the idea that “the queen can make any move she wants.” Elena remains stony faced.
The others have cleared out, leaving Elena in her chair. Clay moves over to sit on the table in front of her. He wants to talk about her having to move Braxton’s body and says once more he “ should’ve been out there” with Elena. Once again, she isn’t taking any of his crap and tells him that “to protect [him] and the pack,” she “had to drag [the] dead body.” She lays it on even thicker by telling him that in order to not leave finger prints, she had to change and that’s “the one thing [she] hates the most.” Learning now that it all seems to be about Clay has definitely not made anything better. Clay hangs his head, then tells her he would take it all back if he could, right down to that bite we witnessed in the flashback. He tries to tell her that he did it because he loved her, his words not having near the impact as his somewhat breathy delivery does. It doesn’t move Elena in the least and she tells him she’s “going home.” She gets up and walks out of the room.
Flashback! There’s something partly eaten on the ground and Elena opens her eyes near it. She looks up to see legs moving towards her: Clay’s. She says “I’m so tired” and Clay understands this. She asks for him to let her die but he says “not a chance, darlin’.” He gives her a survivor speech and picks her naked body up, carrying her away while telling her that Jeremy will show her the ropes.
At the playground with the ex-con once again, Cain approaches and sits down beside him on the bench. They exchange laments about women after Victor admits he might’ve been stood up by his new girlfriend, Amber. Cain takes the conversation to a weird place as he mentions someone “pointing a finger…across a courtroom” at Victor. Victor is disturbed by this but Cain tries to reassure him, saying that he’s a friend. Victor suspects that Cain is actually ‘Amber’ in some internet scam, but Cain says he isn’t. Victor, still uncertain about Cain’s presence, says he’s “done with kids.” Cain says he’s there for the potential for payback. Victor goes full on pedophile by describing whatever he did to land himself in jail as “special” (which is only in his head, clearly.) Cain says these girls should feel the pain Victor has experienced, laying it on thick for this dirtbag, until he reaches the piéce de resistance: Elena Michaels. It’s a name Victor is familiar with, apparently. The two men exchange introductions: Zachary Cain meet Victor Olson, dirtbag meet psychopath. (Those terms are interchangeable with the way this scene played out, with many other derogatory comments also fitting these two).
Jeremy is once again making tea. Elena updates him on the whereabouts of Braxton’s body, telling him it will buy a few days’ time at least. Jeremy tries to give Elena props for helping Clay and, really, the whole family. She tells him she’s leaving to attend a wedding with the man she “loves and trusts.” She immediately compares this to how she once felt about Clay, discovering she was wrong to feel that way. (This might be a foreshadowing perhaps, though Philip is a bit too watery for deceit, I believe).
Jeremy tries to tell her “it might be time for…” but Elena cuts him off by saying he’s the one that restored her ability to trust. She says he’s “the closest thing [she’s] ever had to a father,” that she “came because he called”; it’s something she can’t say no to. She begs him not to call again.
She walks out the door. Jeremy looks down the hall after her. Clay falls in behind him, and Nick after that.
So, lots of background in this episode, but I’m thinking we’re still missing some info on the Elena/Clay front. They had to have reconciled to be able to work together for those years of mutt duty. Was it really Elena’s own reaction to what she did to Jose Carter that cause her to leave outright or is there more to the story of young love gone awry? What about the Williams connection to Marsten and the gang? Are you all with me on that score or do you have an alternate theory? What’s the general consensus for this episode? Too much searching in the woods or a good amount of the backstory we desperately needed?
Jackie Lester imagines a day when she can make a living as a writer. Until then, she reviews eclectic books at My Ever Expanding Library and lives in small-town Ontario with her daughter.