Archives

Bite Club–Season 1 Finale

This is the episode everyone was waiting for, not because it means the end to the show but rather because Stephen is finally caught and arrested.

One of the best aspects of this finale was that every character found out Stephen was the killer in a different way, so to honour this, I’m going to be reviewing the finale character by character, based on how each one of them found out.

Dan—Dan was the first to realise that Stephen was the killer when he interviewed Justine Harris’ neighbour and she told him she constantly saw a police van with a dog (Denver). This was of course after Dan’s card was found on Justine’s fridge by her sister, Lisa, the test on the bite mark to see whether it matched Dan was inconclusive, and he is suspended. Personally, I found the test being inconclusive too convenient and unrealistic.

Another way Dan puts two and two together is when he sees that Stephen abbreviates his goodbye texts the same way and it shows in the messages from Justine’s, Melody’s and his own phones. Which isn’t enough evidence to clear him or as Jim puts it to Zoe “It’s Dan’s smoking gun, I just don’t think there’s enough smoke.”

Dan then ends up going over to Stephen’s house to subtly interrogate him—asking him about the freezer, asking him why the serial killer would pick him to frame, and telling him the killer is a “biting, sadistic sociopath.” While Dan doesn’t manage to get a confession (that would be too easy and boring), he does manage to rattle Stephen enough for him to flush his trophy teeth down the toilet, which leads us to Amber.

Amber—Amber finally realises that Stephen is the serial killer and obsessed with her when she visits him, goes to use his bathroom and finds one of the unflushed teeth in the toilet bowl. While Amber tries to play it cool, when she realises Stephen is on to her, her fear gets the better of her, leading to him bounding and gagging her in his garage, with Denver sitting nearby. Interestingly, Denver turns against Stephen and bites him allowing for her to get away, but only briefly as she hides in Stephen’s bedroom. Zoe and Dan find and rescue her in the nick of time.

Zoe—Zoe ends up discovering Stephen’s the killer when Kate tells her that Stephen bit her, which later gives her the idea to match that bite mark with those on the bodies. Before she finds out they do match, she finds Pia’s earring on Stephen’s boat and just as she has the “aha” moment, Stephen attacks her from behind and takes off on the boat. Zoe tries to get the gun he took off her to shoot him and of course, doesn’t succeed, and she ends up jumping off the boat into the ocean to get away from him. He ends up shooting her in the shoulder and taking off, with Dan, after a few moments of panic, coming to her rescue, which provides a perfect full circle moment for their relationship and the trauma they experienced.

At the end of the episode, two months after arresting Stephen, it’s revealed that Zoe has taken time off, however it isn’t made clear whether her and Dan are back together or not.

Kristof—While there wasn’t really much of a focus on Kristof, he did tell Dan that Stephen was moved around foster homes as a child because he kept biting other children, which is information I felt should have been revealed earlier.

Stephen—While I’ve written this review character by character, based on how they found out Stephen was the killer, I’ll focus on what Stephen does based on the fact that he knows everyone is closing in on him.

Stephen breaks into Zoe’s home to find the tooth that Dan gave him and ends up running into Kate on the way out, which leads to her revealing to Zoe that he bit her. He also asks Claire to be his lookout when he breaks into Zoe’s locker, which I felt the team should have known about and some consequences should have been shown.

At the end of the episode, it’s revealed Stephen has been committed and is writing his life story up until the time he bought his first puppy. What his plans are after this, possibly to escape, aren’t made clear.

 

Overall this was a decent season finale, as all loose ends were tied up, however there were some key things that were left unresolved such as whether Zoe and Dan got back together, the consequences of Claire helping Stephen break into Zoe’s locker, and what Stephen’s next moves are. This could be due to the possibility of a second season, however whether the show has been renewed is yet to be established.

 

Bite Club–Season 1, Episode 7

As this is the penultimate episode of the first season with no confirmation of a second one to show itself, we should be reaching the end and the writers have decided to do this by having Stephen frame Dan.

The episode kicks off with the case of the week with a lifeguard (Toby) rescuing a woman caught in a rip and starting to drown. On the beach we see a mysterious blonde woman, who is later revealed to be Alice Clark, watching the lifeguard resuscitate the rescued woman successfully, only for her to suffer a seizure which kills her, which leads to the blonde woman running away.

We later find out the drowned woman’s name is Bec Phillips and she had ecstasy and rohypnol in her system, after the coroner finds a nightclub stamp on her arm, Zoe and Dan go to the bar where the bartender says he doesn’t remember her.

Over the course of the episode it’s revealed that the bartender sells ecstasy to patrons, and that the lifeguard who rescue Bec ultimately gave her the rophynol in bottled water to “rescue” her, not too dissimilar to fire bugs working as a firefighters who start fires to rescue people. Overall the case of the week was interesting with a good perp, but it wasn’t as thrilling as the progression of the serial killer case.

Kristof further profiles Stephen/the serial killer by adding that he deliberately sabotages a situation to get what he wants, which has been proven true with him so far, especially with his “jokes” to the staff about him being a suspect, and calling in a fake shark at the beach to “rescue” Amber a few episodes earlier.

When Jim and Dan reveal to the task force that Bob was dumped 10 minutes after being removed from the freezer, and frozen within 30 mins of being killed, and find an area of homes to search, Stephen knows that Jim, Dan and Zoe are only getting closer to finding out he’s the killer and decides to find another way of throwing them off—by framing Dan, which really started at the end of last week’s episode when he killed Pia.

Stephen’s way of covering up his tracks were logical but also too easy—he empties his freezer and dumps it in landfill where it’s destroyed, he just happens to find a stray hair from Bob’s head (which presents a continuity problem considering how meticulous he has been so far), and the search in Jim’s flat presents Stephen with the opportunity to both plant the hair in Dan’s freezer and the SIM card from Bob’s phone in the couch.

The fact that Dan had been planning on breaking up with Pia, went to her house and found the tooth on the floor and made the choice not to report it certainly didn’t help matters. Although Zoe and Dan’s discovery of Pia’s death by her body being pulled from a shark net from the ocean was well done and a great twist.

The episode ended with Dan being arrested for Stephen’s murder and while this happens, he covertly gives Pia’s tooth to Zoe, which he recovered at her home earlier. When Zoe finally unwraps the tooth in her car, she’s unsure what to think.

Overall, as a penultimate episode for the first season of a show with an uncertain future, I found it fell a little flat. While it was mostly solid, I feel that the writers are wrapping up the serial killer story arc too quickly, at the cost of continuity and flow. I’m looking forward to seeing the season finale and whether there will be a second season.

Bite Club–Season 1, Episode 6

I’m going to continue reviewing Bite Club character by character.

Case of the week—The episode kicks off with the case of the week by immediately showing the viewers the dead body of Simon Keynes floating in a pool. The murder weapon, a bloody rock, along with Simon’s phone are found straight away and the team go from there. Zoe and Dan notify Simon’s girlfriend, Olivia, who apologies to him whilst making the formal ID.

The eventual reveal of Olivia acting as Simon’s girlfriend to hide the fact that he was gay from his parents and that he was dating a closeted solicitor, John Martinotti, wasn’t all that surprising, however what was surprising was Martinotti’s suicide later in the episode. It added a nice twist to an otherwise predictable case, as Martinotti’s wife, Tricia, was revealed as Simon’s killer. The reveal of Tricia as the murderer wasn’t all that surprising either, but what made the reveal interesting was that Tricia killed Simon as she wanted to keep living the lie with Simon, when most people would want out of that situation.

Zoe and Dan—Zoe reveals to Dan and the rest of the team that her and Kristoff are going to Bora Bora to get married as well as go on their holiday. I felt like their interactions throughout the episode were awkward and forced until the moment Dan shows up at Zoe’s place and finally tells her how he really feels and they end up passionately kissing, until Kate interrupts them. Really, their interactions are no different to the previous episodes, however the exception is that Zoe admits to Kristof that she kissed Dan and he breaks up with her.

Stephen—The team make progress on the serial killer case when Claire discovers that Melody Gibbs and another victim went to the same rehab centre. Melody was being stalked at the time and her doctor at one point got a glimpse at him before transferring and then being killed in a hit-and-run. Of course it was revealed that Stephen was Melody’s stalker and that he would try to get rid of the doctor’s records, although interestingly he hid rather than destroyed the records and I wonder if this will bite him in the arse later on.

What was interesting about Stephen in this episode was that he was avoiding Kate’s calls and ambushes her and orders her to stop calling him. Why he is treating her this way and why Kate didn’t say anything to Zoe and Dan isn’t addressed or made clear.

Meanwhile he is also still following Amber, this time following her and Dan around. The episode ends with Stephen showing up at Pia’s place and ambushing her, strangling her whilst pushing her into her house. He’s obviously killed her but the final moments of the episode didn’t make this clear. I think killing someone close to Dan is going to be his downfall and it will be interesting to see this played out in the next episode.

Anna and Jim—There wasn’t much focus on Anna and Jim other than Martinotti’s explanation of why he kept his relationship with Simon a secret resonating with them, and Anna telling Jim later on that he should work things out with his wife.

 

Overall this was a good but not great episode with a predictable case of the week, but with solid progression on the serial killer case and character development on Stephen.

 

Bite Club–Season 1, Episode 5

Like with last week’s review, I will be writing this one character by character.

Zoe, Dan and Pia—This episode kicks off with Amber and Zoe swimming together with Dan and Pia (from the aquarium in the last episode who was recommending immersion therapy to Amber and Dan) watching them. When Pia is introduced to Zoe, clearly she is jealous, but won’t admit it. Zoe clearly isn’t happy when Dan lets Pia “dogsit” Mickey, and when it turned out he was poisoned, I did suspect Pia was responsible out of her own jealously, but this wasn’t the case as Jim realised he left snail bait out and concludes Mickey ate some of it. At the end of the episode, Dan weakly tries to persuade Zoe that Kristof isn’t right for her and fails, which leads to Zoe suggesting to Kristof that they get married in Bora Bora with a small wedding. Surprisingly, Zoe and Dan’s romantic tension wasn’t really focused on, in fact the case of the week was focused on more for once.

Stephen—As I suspected, Stephen has taken out his anger on his detective application on Anna by following her and Jim and blackmailing her anonymously with the footage. Anna and Jim’s inability to see that this was clearly an inside job (who else would know to email senior management and the commissioner and have their email addresses?) frustrated me. Interestingly, shortly after Anna watches the footage, she puts Stephen on the serial killer strike force and assigns him to work under Zoe.

The most interesting moments during Stephen’s subplot was his reaction during Kristof’s psychological analysis of him. He smile and eats cheese off his knife confidently until Kristof states that the serial killer has some sort of sexual impotency, which throws Stephen off enough to retrieve Cath’s phone number, which he had previously thrown in the bin. Their date goes well to the point where Stephen and Cath are passionately kissing in a parking lot and Stephen bites her on the shoulder (much like he does his victims) but Cath doesn’t seem to mind.

At the end of the episode Stephen calls in a fake shark alert whilst Amber’s surfing, which leads to her panicking and him coming to her “rescue”. Whether he’s doing this to scare Amber and why he felt the need to wear a suit wasn’t made clear, hopefully it will be, otherwise the scenes will go to waste and are just plain strange. The fact that he stole the shark tooth off Zoe and Cath’s house keys, put it on a chain and put on whilst staring at the strike force evidence made me wonder whether Cath will be his next victim.

A few things surprised me about the strike force’s investigation of essentially him—the fact that none of them recognised his voice in the 000 phone call he made, that no-one checked the bite marks for any matches (although the police force wouldn’t have a mould of his teeth and they haven’t suspected any police officers yet so I can give this a pass), and that no-one thought to investigate the remailer service.

Case of the week—The case of the week revolved around Brian and Leanne Morley who were stabbed to death on their yacht, whilst their son, Rowan, was stabbed but lived. Their other son, Trent, who runs the family business is a main suspect, especially when a boat registered to the business is seen next to the yacht on the night of the murder and a jacket with Leanne’s blood on it is found on the boat.

Later, Rowan confesses whilst in hospital after trying to commit suicide, which was of course too easy. It’s later revealed that Rowan’s girlfriend and Brian’s mistress, Emma Bailey (Jessica Falkholt—in what appears to be her last television role before tragically passing away earlier this year) was responsible. Whilst Rowan killed his father, she killed his mother and took Leanne’s necklace, which ultimately lead to her downfall.

This case of the week was the most interesting one yet and Falkholt put on a fantastic performance of the seemingly innocent mistress who is later revealed as a cold blooded murderer.

 

Overall this was a solid episode, with an interesting case of the week and progression on the serial killer case. This episode was in memory of Jessica Falkholt, who was a talented actress taken from this world way too soon.

 

Bite Club–Season 1, Episode 4

As I watching this episode, I felt it was best to do the review of it character by character.

Zoe and Dan—Zoe and Dan are investigating the rape and murder of Chelsea Willis, a woman who was set upon while on her evening jog. The case was interesting in more ways than one—both of the previous victims, Charmaine and Yuki, react differently to their attacks as Charmaine has chosen to reinvent her life and refuse to be victimised again whilst Yuki is afraid to live her life. Also, in the process of interviewing Charmaine and Yuki, Zoe and Dan discover that there are two perps, which is confirmed when a man matching Charmaine’s description is caught on CCTV using Chelsea’s credit card.

Another interesting aspect of it was the white van used in the attacks abandoned with evidence and one of the perp’s (Vincent) wallet and ID, and while Stephen and Jim are off investigating, the second perp, (Dean) attacks Claire and almost kills her, which Stephen witnesses without intervening until Jim does. Later Stephen brings her sunflowers and almost smothers her whilst she’s sleeping, but I’ll get to this later.

When Vincent is kidnapped and Chelsea’s husband is initially suspected, watching the live feed of Vincent being beaten reveals to Charmaine being the kidnapper and admitting that she hasn’t moved forward as much as she made out. To diffuse the situation, Zoe opens up to Charmaine about the fact that she isn’t as okay as she makes out and she’s still dealing with her trauma while Kristof, Jim and Anna watch the live feed. Overall the case of the week was interesting, and the kidnapper was a good perp as they weren’t obvious, random or predictable.

On a personal front, Zoe has accepted Kristof’s proposal, she agrees to share custody of Mickey with Dan and she ends up kissing him and then leaving. Clearly she’s not going to marry Kristof and her and Dan will get back together, the only question is how long the writers will drag this inevitable conclusion out.

Stephen—Stephen is all over the shop in this episode, firstly with watching Amber during her immersion therapy, then disposing of Bob down a drain, then witnessing Claire being attacked, then bringing her flowers and almost smother her whilst she’s sleeping, and then reporting Bob’s body to police on a burner phone.

In the midst of all of this, he arrogantly believes that he will become a homicide detective, to the point where he gently lets Claire down because it would be awkward for them to date and work together. When his arrogance his shot down by the news from Anna that his application has been put on hold, his anger intensifies. Who he will take it out on in the next episode hasn’t been revealed, although it will most likely be Anna. As I said Stephen is all over the shop and when he went to smother Claire, I questioned whether he just has a killing compulsion as it would explain why his MO’s and victims are random. Whether I’m right or not will be revealed in time.

Amber—Not much to report on the Amber front other than continuing to be stalked by Stephen but remaining oblivious to it. One interesting moment was convincing Zoe to do immersion therapy with her, especially after Zoe told her how she managed to overcome her trauma enough to go back into the ocean and Dan refused to.

 

Overall this was a solid episode as the case of the week had good but not excessive twists and turns, and Stephen is being developed further as a character.

 

Bite Club–Season 1, Episode 3

This episode marked a major improvement over the previous two episodes.

In my review of last week’s episode, I stated that Stephen is appearing to be an inconsistent character. This episode focuses mostly on Stephen, which provided the perfect opportunity for character development, which the writers certainly didn’t waste.

The episode kicks off with Stephen in a session with Kristof as he is applying to become a detective. In this session it’s revealed that Stephen grew up in foster care in England and that he came to Australia as a young man for a fresh start. Kristof tries to pry, especially when he brings up that Stephen had previously applied to be a detective and was rejected, but Stephen brushes him off. In the last few moments of their session, I thought that Kristoff might be suspicious of him.

Meanwhile the case of the week revolves around Marten Blumb, a dentist who was found dead in his car. It is later revealed that he had sexual assault charges pressed against him by his patients, and his dental assistant, Justine, was blackmailing him. In the process of the investigation, Stephen withholds evidence and then the testing of said evidence, which leads to him following Justine into her home and discovering that she was blackmailing Blumb with a video of him assaulting a patient. Stephen copies the video onto a USB and anonymously gives it to Zoe, but not before killing Justine.

His reasons for killing Justine aren’t made clear, which annoyed me, but then again, we’re yet to find out his motives for killing his other victims, so I’ll give it a pass. With Justine’s murder, we’re given an insight into his methods. He constantly has body bags with him, cleans up the scene and burns any possible evidence (e.g. clothes), he also takes the body to the police morgue and has it marked for incineration. Although the character is disturbing enough, another layer is added when he is casually drinking tea and eating biscuits next to the dead body. Interestingly, killing Justine didn’t have anything to do with his obsession with Amber.

I actually thought Stephen was going to get caught when Zoe and Dan arrived, only to be called away when it’s revealed Justine didn’t order the drug which was used to kill Marten. While I knew they wouldn’t catch Stephen in the act as it’s too early in the season for that to happen, I found being called away to be a cliche. Another interesting reveal in regards to Stephen’s methods is the fact that he kept Bob in the freezer, although why he chooses to do this (other than the possible obvious reason of an effort not to get caught) is not made clear.

Zoe and Dan manage to progress with their investigation into the serial killer when Zoe deduces that the killer takes the specific teeth as they would have identifiable features such as crowns. There was also a moment where I thought Dan became suspicious of him also, unfortunately, much like the moment with Kristof, this didn’t happen.

The outcome that Marten’s wife, Celia, killed him was okay. She wasn’t the most obvious suspect and she wasn’t random, but I thought it would have been better if it was one of his patients, making the wife the murderer is a little too predictable.

Meanwhile, in the background, Zoe and Dan set rules on being around each other as Dan expressed his desire for shared custody of Mickey and eventually took him out of Zoe’s yard without her knowledge. Kristof also proposes to Zoe at the end of the episode and she hasn’t given him an answer yet. It will be interesting to see this played out in the next episode.

Overall this episode was a major improvement as Stephen was finally focused on and developed, Zoe and Dan made progress on the serial killer case, and the case of the week was more interesting and less obvious than the cases in the previous two episodes.

 

Bite Club–Season 1, Episode 2

In all honesty, this episode was a let down.

In my review of the pilot, I said that the case of the week was a little too boring as the perp was obvious. This week’s case—-a man (Seth) being followed home after a night out and being stabbed to death—-wasn’t as obvious, but unfortunately when the murderer was revealed, so to was my disappointment, as the writers went too far in the other direction.

By investigating Seth’s online dating life, they find their first obvious suspect—-Marie Connors (Jacinta Stapleton). While Stapleton portrayed the unstable woman perfectly, I felt that the writing of Marie was a little inconsistent, although you could argue that someone who is mentally unstable would behave inconsistently, so I’ll give it a pass.

While Marie eventually reveals that she contacted the violent husband (Carl Jackson) to inform him of his wife’s (Anita) affair with Seth, it turns out Carl didn’t kill him, but it was some random man (Warren Adams) with blood lust that followed him home and wanted to know what it would feel like to kill someone.

The writers’ choice for the murderer not to be one or both of the two obvious suspects that they decided to focus most of the episode on, and instead pick some random man, was a huge disappointment for me. They built up Marie and Carl and yet the random murderer came out of absolutely nowhere. I questioned whether Zoe pointing all of this out to Dan was an inside joke or whether she genuinely as a character felt that way, I’d say it was the latter.

Meanwhile, in the background of the case of the week, Zoe considers transferring to a job in Canberra with the Feds, which Kristof points out that she’s doing because Dan has returned. Other than telling Jim and Dan, both of whom remark that they’d rather be dead than work for the Feds, it’s barely addressed until the end of the episode where Dan asks for her help in solving the serial killer case. Zoe hasn’t changed her mind yet but she also didn’t give Dan an answer.

Also in the background is Stephen stalking Amber—-taking pictures of her at an aquarium photo shoot, “helping” her find a unit to live in and throwing a plant across the room when she rejects his offer, and culminating in him stalking and kill Bob, a man who has been trolling her online. Much like Marie, Stephen as a character is all over the place but then again an unstable person usually is, but considering that he is the centre of the story arc, I can’t give it a pass. I know his reasons for becoming a killer will eventually be revealed, because they aren’t revealed yet, I can’t help but see Stephen as an inconsistent character and killer. That being said Monaghan’s performance was on point.

Overall this episode was disappointing as the murderer in the case of the week was too random and some of the characters are inconsistent. Hopefully these issues will resolve themselves with time.

 

 

Stray Observations:

-Dan’s shark attack injuries are explored a little further with the reveal of the massive scar across his shoulder.

-Anna is dating Jim, I wonder if this will cause problems down the track.

-Claire asked for Stephen’s help with rescuing a dog from the animal shelter, however it’s never revealed if she actually follows through.

-The man who Claire noticed standing on rocks whilst swimming in the previous episode is revealed to be Dan.