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Reading Room / Kindred: the Embraced Reviews

The News-Times

Television News

May 08, 1996



Season finale of Fox's vampire series 'Kindred: The Embraced'

By Kinney Littlefield

Orange County Register

Please, just one more bite. As veinsucking vampire shows go, the season finale of ``Kindred: The Embraced'' is good to the last drop. In fact, it's the best episode of the sexy Fox series so far.

Called ``Cabin in the Woods,'' this steamy season ender offers plenty of dangerous romance and cool vampire moves - and enough surprises to keep viewers craving blood all summer long.

For starters, vampire prince Julian Luna (Mark Frankel) and his paramour, newspaper editor Caitlin Byrne (Kelly Rutherford) - who will never win a Pulitzer for investigative reporting since she still hasn't discovered Julian is non-human - continue their sizzling pas de deux. They get it on in a rustic getaway in Sonoma, until some of Julian's undead enemies show up in the nearby graveyard where Julian was supposedly buried long ago.

These bad guys are from the Mafialike Brujah vampire clan, just drooling to spill Julian's blue-chip Ventrue blood. To survive, Julian is forced to reveal his vampire nature to Caitlin - well, briefly.

Unfortunately, how Julian maintains his relationship with a newly knowledgeable Caitlin, while staying true to his vampire vows, is the lone implausible note here.

You see, Kindred have the power to make humans forget. This power has been used before on Caitlin, and on Julian's human foe Detective Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell), by his not-so-human cop partner Sonny (Erik King). So, within this Kindred world, memory-erasure is valid, but it's also a way too-easy plot fix.

Still, Julian's psychological sway over Caitlin is one of the more intriguing elements of the show. From the beginning, the way he's played the withholding male to her yearning, trusting female has been annoying, unsettling, but riveting.

``Cabin in the Woods'' also proves why gothic ``Kindred'' is more than ``Melrose Place'' with extra-long fangs. ``Kindred's'' cast members are actors. Frankel, well trained on the English stage, knows how to speak subtle volumes without saying a word. As Julian's enforcer Nosferatu Daedalus, Jeff Kober is an intriguing mix of sensitivity and menace.

And guest star Titus Welliver, as new and corporately creepy Brujah honcho Cameron, is a fine, intelligent foe for Frankel's Julian.

Now if ``Kindred's'' producers could just make Julian's nemesis Kohanek sharper and bolder. Right now, he isn't enough of a threat.

Otherwise, ``Kindred's'' season ender is intensely seductive, making this one midseason series that had darn well better return in the fall - or I'll personally cast a vampire curse on Fox.

X X X

KINDRED: THE EMBRACED

When: 9 p.m. ET Wednesday

Where: Fox

X X X

(c) 1996, Orange County Register. Distributed by Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-05-07-96 1534EDT

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