The Dresden Files
Title: â€œBirds of a Featherï¿½?
First Aired: 1/21/07
Meet Harry Dresden. Heâ€™s a scruffy, scrappy, wisecracking Chicago detective. He loves women, and on this day, heâ€™s been loving perky blonde diner waitress Laura. (A lot, as a matter of fact.)
Your average, everyday sort of guy, right? No… Harryâ€™s got secrets. For starters, heâ€™s really a wizard. He also has a disembodied sorcerer trapped in a flaming skull living downstairs. The biggest of his secrets, however, might just be that Paul Blackthorne, the actor breathing life into Harryâ€™s All-American he-man swagger, is in fact a very polished, polite, and proper Brit.
Setting the table for the returning Battlestar Galactica, this new series (based on the hugely popular books by Jim Butcher) opens with a convoluted — and at times, disjointed — episode. Ironically, Executive Producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe stated at the recent TCA Upfronts that this was not the seriesâ€™ intended pilot episode.
We flash back to Atlantic City, New Jersey, circa 1981. A young Harry Dresden thinks thereâ€™s a monster living in his closet. His dad, a struggling stage magician, gives Harry a magical bracelet that once belonged to his recently deceased mother, who was also a wizard. These flashbacks continue throughout the episode, showing us that Harryâ€™s powers are steadily building — to his dadâ€™s dismay and his sinister Uncle Justinâ€™s delight. These glimpses also tie in with several threads that are revealed as the drama unfolds.
In the present, Police Detective Connie Murphy (Valerie Cruz, late of Invasion) investigates the case of a woman who was skinned alive. She calls Drez, who tells her that the filleting points to an ancient Aztec horror known as a â€œskinwalkerï¿½? — a creature that can take the form of the victims it flays. Drez and Bob (former One LIfe to LIveâ€™er Terrence Mann) discuss a high-yield magic bomb that Bobâ€™s been developing since the days when he had a physical body.
Soon after, Drez bumps into waifish Scott Sharpe, a young boy whoâ€™s convinced there are monsters stalking him. You just know something is up with Scott, who conjures visions of creepy little Danny Torrance from The Shining, because heâ€™s constantly being followed by ravens. Like Drez, the boyâ€™s got magical powers. Drez scoffs and sends the boy away. Mistake number one. Number two comes when Harry enlists a bitchy secretary from the Council of Wizards to do some checking around on the lad.
The flayed woman, it turns out, is Scottâ€™s teacher, Ms. Timmons. The skinwalker decked out in her epidermis is waiting to pluck little Scott the moment his powers fully manifest. Sheâ€™s already worked her Ginsu knife on Melissa, the CoW secretary. Melissa rolls Drez over to the skinwalker, who’s working for Drezâ€™s sinister, walking-stick-carrying Uncle. More flashbacks, as Drez hangs upside down being interrogated by the skinwalker, show us that his dad and uncle almost came to blows in the past. Uncle Justin, Drezâ€™s dad reveals, is more concerned about the Councilâ€™s â€œridiculous shadow warsï¿½? and how he can utilize Harryâ€™s building powers than about Harryâ€™s well-being.
Scott is snatched from his bedroom by what we at first are led to believe is a black-caped menace. Turns out, all those ravens are avatars of the Raven Clan, a group that is pledged to protect the boy. Scott was one of their own, but like the famous cuckoo bird that lays its eggs in nests for other avian parents to raise, the RAven Clan has allowed the lad to be reared by normal human parents as part of his grooming for greatness. "Birds of a Feather" concludes with Drez tricking the skinwalker into opening Bobâ€™s boom-box weapon, thus ensuring Scottâ€™s safety.
This early, the magic seems more like a parlor trick. The Dresden Files has the potential to become the next Kolchak: The Night Stalker or The X-Files (it even occupies the former time slot once held by that creepy cult classic turned franchise cash cow), but it had better dazzle us. And soon.
Next up, Drez crosses paths with a cursed Egyptian artifact.
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