Jeff and Will’s deep dive discussions on the sexy supernatural series Dante’s Cove conclude as they talk about season 3, episode 5, “Naked in the Dark,” which is the series finale.
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Will: Coming up on this episode, we wrap up our sexy supernatural summer as we discuss the series finale of “Dante’s Cove.”
Jeff: Welcome to episode 396 of the Big Gay Fiction Podcast, the show for avid readers and passionate fans of gay romance fiction. I’m Jeff, and with me as always is my co-host, my husband, the guy who recaps better than anybody else that I know. It’s Will.
Will: Hey there, rainbow romance reader. We are so glad that you could join us for another episode of the show.
Jeff: Have you heard about the free ebook Will and I have put together called “Happily Ever After?” It is full of reviews and suggested romance reads, whether you’re in the mood for contemporary, historical, maybe a holiday romance, we’ve got you covered. And you can get “Happily Ever After” when you subscribe to the Rainbow Romance Reader Report, which is the official podcast newsletter, that delivers to your inbox every Friday. To learn more, go to biggayfictionpodcast.com/report and subscribe today.
Dante’s Cove: Season 3, Episode 5 – “Naked in the Dark”
Will: All right. Are you ready to dive into what would actually become the series finale of “Dante’s Cove?”
Jeff: I am. It’s gonna be so much fun.
Will: So this episode titled “Naked in the Dark” was episode five of season three and served as the finale of that particular season, but would unfortunately also become the series finale as well.
Jeff: Which is really too bad. There was so much more story they could have told, but it’s also an interesting place to bring a stop to the series as well.
Will: This episode is titled “Naked in the Dark.” Now I’m gonna ask you, what do you think that means?
Jeff: I was thinking about this after we watched it, and not only either the least sexy episode of “Dante’s Cove,” potentially ever, nobody’s really hooking up here because, you know, there is danger running around. The whole episode basically takes place in the dark, but that’s also not uncommon for “Dante’s Cove” episodes. I really don’t know because there’s not that much nudity in here either. There’s a little bit. But it’s one of the more non-sequitur titles that they have. What are your thoughts on it?
Will: Well, aside from the fact that there is an actual character who shows up naked and it is in the nighttime, we’ll get to that in a minute. The episode titles usually aren’t that on the nose and I’m not sure that’s what they’re referring to. Maybe naked means vulnerable and darkness means the House of Shadows, and the upcoming fight. I’m not 100% sure what they’re we’re going for.
Jeff: Yeah. Usually, they’re a little more easy to decipher. This was an oddity. I like your idea of it being like the whole House of Shadows and, you know, all kinds of vulnerability. As we learn, there’s all kinds of opportunities that our heroes kind of misread the signs that are happening. So that may be part of it too. I don’t know.
Will: When last we left the citizens of “Dante’s Cove,” people were getting laid and all hell was breaking loose. And as you might recall, Grace and Diana ran to Michelle’s. And Michelle pops out at the closet and is all like, “I’m the shadow demon.”
Jeff: You’re not much off from that description either. And the closet’s a big deal. We’ll find out in this episode too. It’s not the first time people can be popping out of closets.
Will: And since Diana is the one with the knowledge and Grace is the one with the power, which she got back in the last episode. Diana takes her sister’s power and uses a spell to cast the House of Shadows out of Michelle. So, okay, here we go. I’ve got opinions about what’s going on in this particular episode.
Jeff: Me too.
Will: And right off the bat, I’m a little bit stunned. I really don’t even know what to say. In preparation for these talks about these classic episodes, I’ve been watching them twice. Once I take notes, and then I watch them with Jeff, and then we sit down and we have a discussion. And when I was looking at this episode again in like the first time in over a decade, like I said, there really aren’t any words. I am willing to forgive a lot when it comes to “Dante’s Cove,” but this particular sequence and the special effects they use, and I use the term special very generously here. It’s also very cheesily rendered.
Jeff: And that’s true not only for this sequence, I thought all the effects in this episode were very cheesily rendered.
Will: Magical sparkle fingers have been featured prominently in this particular season but in this episode especially, it all comes across as so remarkably chintzy, the visuals of Diana and Grace using their power to release Michelle from the stranglehold of the House of Shadows. I can only describe it as like a Windows 95 screensaver.
Jeff: You know, I didn’t have so much issue with the sparkle fingers. Although there were some distinctive differences in how they have looked before, I have questions about that too that we’ll talk about when we get a little further in. But the effects around casting the demons out of Michelle and how that always looks when they do this, that to me was very Windows 95 screensaver. It’s like maybe it’s because we’ve seen how demons are cast out in “Supernatural” and how awesome that looks all these years later. But I wonder if we were watching these the first time we’re like, “God, that was chintzy.” Or if we’re like, “Ah, that was cool” because of the time. I don’t know, but it really did not hold up well over time.
Will: Yeah. Bless them for trying. Although I’m not sure they were trying very hard.
Jeff: It was the end of the season. They may have run out of money.
Will: So now that Diana has taken the power from Grace, she bids the demon shadow to enter her which leads to more special effects.
Jeff: Yeah. Those are the ones that I thought were really horrible, smoke and green light.
Will: Which leads us into the other moment in this particular scene that literally just left me speechless. Let’s say, actress Thea Gill is making some choices this episode.
Jeff: Oh, boy. And they start here and only get weirder.
Will: I just don’t know what to say. Obviously, Diana finds the power of the House of Shadows orgasmic. Okay. I’ll give that to her. But now that she has this demon power inside of her, she does this weird, sexy thing. And I’m using the term “sexy” super loosely.
Jeff: All the air quotes. All the air quotes.
Will: And I’m going to use an extremely dated reference in order to describe this. I don’t know if you ever remember in “Laverne and Shirley.”
Jeff: Oh, my.
Will: Shirley’s longtime boyfriend was Carmine Ragusa and whenever Shirley wanted to talk Carmine into doing something, she would act sexy in order to manipulate him. And when Shirley acted sexy, she would kind of do this like bouncy, shaky dance, and she’d kind of pout. And that’s what Diana is doing here. She’s doing the Shirley Feeney, sexy dance and I’m like, I don’t even know what to think.
Jeff: Boy, I had not even put it down that path. And now I’m not gonna be able to unsee that.
Will: So Michelle and Grace are incapacitated. And with the demon inside her, Diana struts away.
Jeff: Okay. Now, before she struts away, let’s talk about my problem with this scene because Griff shows up here looking for Grace because he was told that she went with Diana. And, of course, we know that Griff knows that Diana’s been whammied by the tea with the blood in it from earlier in the season. He shows up here apparently not ready to actually take an action. He is stopped by Diana as soon as he walks in the door. He didn’t come in with any defensive posturing at all. And he is supposed to be this big Tresum council guy who can take care of everything. He’s already stripped power from Diana. And he shows up here like, “Hey, I’m here to help. And I’m being totally unprepared to do anything.” It’s like, Griff, what are you doing? Why are you being stupid in this moment? Has Grace like erased your tactical mind or something? I don’t know. It was really strange to me.
Will: So now that Diana has the demon power inside of her, she struts on over to H2Eau. And I guess because she has demon power, that means she gets a costume change? She’s now wearing this silky red dress with this retro Madonna shabby crinoline overlay.
Jeff: Actually exactly what it reminds me of was not Madonna so much, but Pat Benatar in the “Love is a Battlefield” video.
Will: Oh, that’s even better.
Jeff: Slash, mix that a little bit with like a low rent Stevie Nicks impersonator and I think you’ve got what she’s wearing. It’s a choice. And I wonder whose closet it came out of.
Will: So Diana walks into H2Eau and there are four employees there who we have never seen before. And they are cleaning up after their shift. And suddenly, I assume because of the proximity of demon energy, these four employees, they go berserk and they start murdering each other. Ambrosius is in his office and he’s like, “Hmm, whatever, could that be?”
Jeff: “Why are people screaming out there?”
Will: So he goes to check and he sees his dead employees. And Diana comes over to him, or more accurately, she slinkily saunters over to him acting sexy.
Jeff: Is that what that is really?
Will: And like I said, it’s a choice. In this moment, what it reminded me of is a 13-year-old girl who watched one R-rated movie and figures she knows exactly what the birds and the bees is all about. That’s what it reads as. It’s a very silly and juvenile version of what being sexy is. It’s like at this point I don’t even know what’s going on.
Jeff: We need Thea Gill to come talk to us.
Wil: So Bro is like, “Oh, no, Grace was right all along. The House of Shadows is coming.” And Diana is like, “Baby, it is already here.” And she tries to give him a kiss of death and that doesn’t quite work, so instead, she raises the employees from the dead and they’re about to tear him limb from limb, when he quickly does an incantation and he zaps himself out of there.
Jeff: Poor Ambrosius. At least he took the book with him, something, because he did fetch the book from his office. Yeah. So she could kill people, and reanimate people, and suck the power out of people. She is one badass demon moving around “Dante’s Cove” slinkily.
Will: In the morning, Toby and Adam go to Michelle’s place to get a feel for how the whole situation is shaking out.
Jeff: Why did it take them so long to go? I mean, Grace and Griff and Diana were gone for a long time and so they finally decided to show up?
Will: The place is in a shambles and there’s nobody there. But suddenly Adam is possessed and he tries to kill Toby. And from this moment we learn that when it comes to demon possession on “Dante’s Cove,” people first get a brain ouchie similar to brain freeze and then they try to kill someone. That is basically the sequence of events.
Jeff: But the oddity here is at least to me, you know, Diana was in close proximity to the people at H2Eau. She doesn’t seem to be here, but there is something in the closet. Are all the closets now possessed in “Dante’s Cove?”
Will: Well, Adam is actually sucked into the closet. And my theory is that for whatever reason in “Dante’s Cove” at this particular instance, closets are the gateway to hell.
Jeff: Very “Poltergeist.”
Will: Because earlier, Michelle pops out of the closet for no specific reason.
Jeff: Yeah. She’s hanging out.
Will: So that’s where she hangs out, which she was. But demons are now causing general chaos.
Jeff: Yeah. This was all very throwback to “Poltergeist” for me because, you know, the houses in “Poltergeist,” those closets were not good places.
Will: Toby tries to see save him but fails.
Jeff: And manages to escape the brain ouchie.
Will: Barely. Kevin is witnessing the general chaos going on in the Cove.
Jeff: Meaning some very, very, very, very, very bad fire special effects. I think I could have done those on my Commodore 64.
Will: Yeah. I understand the show had limited time and money to work with, but really some of these effects shots are on par with the movie “Birdemic.” Like someone at some point took the footage and used Microsoft Paint in order to create some effects. I mean, it’s obviously not particularly effective, and I think it’s taking away from what they’re trying to do and what they’re trying to convey in the story. I mean, the only other choice they might have gone with is finding some stock footage of general mayhem, but then again, that stock footage may have cost just as much as the effects they ended up using. Who’s to say?
Jeff: I think I would’ve just generated my own general mayhem than knowing I needed a fire effect somewhere that I might not afford. And maybe they didn’t know they couldn’t afford it until they were, you know, doing all the post and they just started running out of money. Who knows?
Will: So Kevin rushes back to Grace’s house. And Grace and Trevor are there and he tells them about all the murder and mayhem going on. When Toby stumbles up the driveway, he has a brain ouchie. The House of Shadows is trying to take him over and Grace hilariously says that it’s just best to kill him. But Kevin saves the day with his knowledge of Tresum, casting the Shadows away.
Jeff: You wanna talk about people who remind me of like 13-year-olds? He’s the 13-year-old boy who could be like, “I could do this. I’m a big boy.” And he will do this more than one more time in this episode.
Will: Yeah. Let’s take a moment to discuss character arcs at the end of all of this.
Will: Because there are things to discuss. So the whole “Dante’s Cove” gang rallies together and they go inside and trying to decide what to do next. Ambrosius strolls on in and he reports that Diana is on the rampage, and they are all the next on her hit list and they’ve all got to stick together, whether they like it or not. Grace suggests that they all go to Griffen’s estate. It’s a Tresum stronghold and is the safest place to fight off any attacks by Diana. So they all pile into Brit’s pickup truck and they head on over there.
Jeff: One of the best images of the entire season is Bro hanging out in the back of the truck with everybody else. He couldn’t even get a seat in the cab for this little trip over to Griff’s. It just cracked me up because of the kind of sporty cars he is usually seen in.
Will: Meanwhile, Michelle has been keeping tabs on Diana from a safe distance as Diana wanders through the Cove, creating more death and destruction. At Griff’s place, Kevin is all gung-ho and he’s ready to go knock some heads. But Griff tells him that his youthful power and untried magic will do more harm than good. Brit is watching over Elena who’s still suffering the effects of being attacked by Michelle in the last episode. Bro is trying to gain insight into the House of Shadows using his copy of the Sun Book and it just isn’t working. Trevor just happens to be strolling by and has the copy of Grace’s Moon Book with him, and after an oopsy-daisy, the two books Voltron into one mega book of Tresum power.
Jeff: Nobody saw that one coming. It’s like, “Hey look, a new deluxe special edition.”
Will: So Bro and Grace are leafing through the pages of, as Jeff mentioned, the special edition, and there is a privacy that tells them the key to stopping the Shadows is a virgin. And Ambrosius is like, “Great. We’ve got Grace.” And she’s like, “Well, actually…” And it’s like, oh, great. Now they are well and truly fucked.
Jeff: I love the looks that pass between Grace and Griff here. It’s like, “Huh. We did that.”
Will: Diana turns day into night and stumbles very, very slowly towards the estate. Griff is all like war has come and it’s certainly taken its sweet time. Diana is in no rush.
Jeff: I finally figured out. So after we watched this episode and even during it I’m like, “What does this remind me of?” And it’s like the horror movies we see today where they will create people who are being scary in their movements but it’s herky-jerk like there’s missing frames from the film or something. And that’s kind of what she’s doing here. It’s transitioned from this kind of sexy dance that you were talking about earlier into this very herky-jerky kind of thing that I think is supposed to be very scary and actually does scare me in modern horror movies but here just looks like what are you doing? Why did you make this choice? Is this your choice, the director’s choice, somebody else’s choice? It’s very strange.
You also bypassed possibly the best line ever in “Dante’s Cove” history when they’re dealing with the virgin problem because Bro very appropriately says, “Well, this is Dante’s Cove. We are screwed because there are no virgins here” essentially is what he says because, of course, everybody on “Dante’s Cove” gets laid 24/7. I almost wondered if it was like an ad-lib because it was so spot-on perfect. I could just imagine it sprouting from the lips of the actor in that moment.
Will: Everyone is battening down the proverbial hatches when Brit and Grace have an argument about magic versus practical weaponry.
Jeff: Because she’s a scientist. She wants to go in with the stabby knife.
Will: Brit doesn’t believe in or has never taken part of any of the magical shenanigans that have happened. It’s then that they realize that the prophecy’s meaning of virgin is untouched or uninfluenced by magic. So with Griff as their Tresum master and Brit as their virgin warrior, they might actually have a chance of defeating Diana and the House of Shadows.
Kevin is still all, “I wanna use my magic too.” But they dismiss him and he’s all like, “Nobody ever lets me do anything I want.” So he stomps off and he encounters a clearly possessed and very naked Trevor who is being controlled by Diana trying to win Kevin over to the dark side.
Jeff: Why exactly was he stripped? He was in shorts and a t-shirt previously. Did Diana have her way with him along the way when she possessed him? I don’t get it.
Will: So here’s the thing. If it were me, I might not be down with the whole dark side thing. But if the whole sales pitch came wrapped up in a naked and glistening Reichen Lehmkuhl, then I might at least hear him out. That’s one of the few things that makes sense to me in this episode.
Jeff: Fair enough.
Will: So in this particular instance, Kevin believes him.
Jeff: Silly boy.
Will: He lets Trevor into the house so that Trevor can give him a special demon blow job. Like what?
Jeff: And his eyes are all fluttery when he is talking to Trevor and it’s just so weird.
Will: It’s here in my notes that I wrote that the show might be treading very close to self-parody because we’ve got nudity, and sex, and danger, and we’ve got demon blow jobs. And I think when it comes to “Dante’s Cove,” camp is one thing. But when that camp turns in on itself, it’s like I don’t know what we’ve got. At any rate, Toby looks out at the front window and sees Kevin running to confront Diana on the front lawn.
Jeff: And this is where I’m confused. Well, one of the many places I get confused. So like if Trevor was sent to bring him over to Diana’s side, somehow in there, Kevin shook that off to go mount an attack. I feel like there’s a missing scene here somewhere.
Will: Obviously the demon blow job wasn’t very good. So he throws some magic fireball, sparkly fingers at her and she tosses them right back.
Jeff: And even better because they actually knocked him down. All she does is kind of laugh.
Will: She drains his baby warlock power, and Griffen and Grace come to his rescue. They use their own magic sparkly fingers to momentarily interrupt her feasting on Kevin’s power so that Ambrosius can then drag him out of harm’s way.
Jeff: The look on her face and the motions that she made and the little wiry noises when they managed to shut her down for a moment were absolutely hysterical. More great choices by Thea Gill.
Will: Michelle shows up and she’s all like, “I can help too.” Her resurrection is what started all this in the first place. To stop Diana, she needs to die. Griff and Grace are all like, “Sure, sweetie, that’s great. But we’ve got a real plan that we’re working on.” Diana, all twitchy and whacked out, walks in through the front door, and in classical villain fashion, she monologues about her motivation which essentially all boils down to “I’ll get you my pretty”. She zaps Griffen, pew, pew momentarily, incapacitating him.
Jeff: Once again, what is he doing? Where are his powers?
Will: Grace and Bro frantically recite the ancient inscriptions on the prism box, which as you’ll recall, Brit dragged out of the ocean several episodes ago. The house trembles as everyone is trying to cast spells. Brit who you’ll recall is a scientist tries to use a knife on Diana, it doesn’t work.
Jeff: Well, duh, because Grace is like, “Come do this thing now,” telegraphing exactly what’s about to happen. It’s like, why, why did you do that?
Will: Michelle is like, “Give me the knife. I know what to do.” So she stabs herself and dies at Diana’s feet, which in combination with Bro and Grace’s in incantation, unlocks the box. Diana shrieks in true Wicked Witch of the West fashion and dissolves into a ball of digital smoke, gets sucked back into the box, and Grace and Bro slam the lid shut. I hope they had a lock nearby.
Diana is defeated and the sun comes out. Brit mourns the loss of Michelle but is happy to see a fully recovered Elena. Ambrosius comforts Kevin who has just awakened after his battle with Diana, and Bro breaks the news about Toby. Because you see, I had forgotten to mention that during the aforementioned brouhaha, Toby was sucked into a closet as well. Silly boy heard Adam or thought he heard Adam through the closet and decided he was gonna go into the closet too. Trevor wakes up from his experience outside and he’s totally naked and he’s all like, “What happened?”
Jeff: Such a bro moment.
Will: It’s so…
Jeff: As in frat bro, not Ambrosius just to be clear.
Will: It’s like tonal whiplash. You have this moment of comedic nudity juxtaposed against all this like death, and sadness, and reckoning of what has just happened.
Jeff: Well, he doesn’t know what happened. He just knows that he’s nude outside. Like he hasn’t been nude outside at Grace’s house before.
Will: Griff and Grace prepare the box prism to be sent to the Tresum council for safekeeping. Grace asks Griff if he would ever consider leaving the council, and he says would need a pretty good reason to do so. And it’s then that she takes his hand and places it on her abdomen. And it’s kind of like how’s this for a reason? Inferring that he is gonna be a proud papa.
Jeff: Aw. It’d be interesting to see how that pregnancy goes since Grace is like two and something years old.
Will: Back at Ambrosius place, he and Kevin lounge languidly in the nude.
Jeff: But they’re not in the dark. So this doesn’t tie back to the episode title either.
Will: The mood is a bit melancholy. Kevin is understandably grieving the loss of his friends and former lover, but at least they have each other. Kevin declares his love for Ambrosius and as Bro and Kevin make sweet, sweet love, we can see the reflection of Toby and Adam trapped in the shadows of the mirror, unable to communicate with our world.
Jeff: I wonder if they could have been seen if Bro and Kevin actually looked in that direction. It’s very Superman Phantom Zone this mirror with them going, “Hello? Hello?”
Will: And that my dear, listeners, brings us to the end of “Dante’s Cove.” Griff and Grace have a secret love child on the way. Kevin is willingly back in Ambrosius’ arms, And Toby and Adam are trapped in an alternate plane, the world of Shadows.
Jeff: We could do a radio play with that kind of voice you just laid out there. So you wanted to talk about character arcs.
Will: Yeah. Let’s take a quick look back and give some of our thoughts on what happened to the characters during the third season. First up as Ambrosius played by William Gregory Lee, he started the season with seemingly everything he wanted. Kevin under his spell, he became the owner of H2Eau. But once Kevin broke away, there was sort of a creepy single-mindedness in his pursuit of bringing Kevin back under his control that kept him from realizing the danger that was in the Cove. Here’s the thing, when I first watched these episodes all those years ago, I remember this more as a love triangle between Kevin, Toby, and Ambrosius. And I feel like back then I considered all of them heroes and watching it during the second go-around, Ambrosius is definitely one of the villains of the series.
Jeff: I think I would slightly disagree with that, especially with the third season arc. I feel he was definitely a villain in seasons one and two. And you’re right that there was kind of a love triangle there, but he was the villain side of it because he was determined to get Kevin at all costs partly because of the Aspirant thing but partly because he also just wanted to have Kevin in his bed. I think in the third season there’s this interesting arc that actually plays out for him because he goes through those moments of I’m gonna set him free. I’m gonna let him go and we’ll see what happens because he was ready to take that bracelet off.
But Kevin did what he did to get the power and to break himself free, which sent him into kind of in that jealous rage. And I think as we get to the end of the series and the season, I think Bro’s more chill now. I think he’s seen really the potential destruction of himself and of Kevin and of everything and he might be in a more chill place. Because when they’re in that bed, he’s even like, “You’re free to go.” He’s willing now to let him go and Kevin makes the conscious decision to stay. So I don’t quite view him as the villain. He just got that really massive jealous streak in the middle of everything because of the kind of betrayal that Kevin dealt out.
Will: The incomparable Tracy Scoggins was Grace. And if we take a look back at season three and her memorable return to the Cove, I think Grace has spent the majority of the time in this particular season trying to figure out what the particular danger that was coming to the Cove was. And once they did that, she was able to come up with the plan to combat it.
Jeff: I like her arc, not just through the season, but through the series. I feel like she’s very often cast as the villain in this. She certainly has her centuries-long issues with Ambrosius. But even in some of her moments where she’s kind of catty with the residents of the Dante and everything and, you know, slipping Van up as her Aspirant, really this season she was helpful. I mean, she was trying to figure out what was going on, how to fix it, how to save the Cove. Because even when she, you know, got her fancy catsuit in the last episode after she and Griff hooked up and she said, “The bitch is back,” she was never really a bitch even after that and now she’s gonna be a mama and she’s got a man who I think Griff might actually love her. I wish there was more because I would love to have seen kind of how that could have manifested itself in the future seasons.
Will: Grace’s sister, Diana played by Thea Gill, after the finale of season two, the Solstice, she’s kind of sidelined during this season. She really didn’t have a whole lot to do primarily because Griff entered the picture and took away her power. So she kind of just sat around in her house.
Jeff: Drinking spiked tea.
Will: Drinking that spiked tea leading us here to the final episode. So if I really had to guess, I think the choices that she made here in the finale may have been the result of not having anything to do for the rest of the season.
Jeff: “I’m gonna go out big.”
Will: And boy, does she ever. Let’s just talk about going over the top on “Dante’s Cove.”
Jeff: It’s not easy to do.
Will: In order to accomplish that, you really have to go over the top. So kudos to you Thea Gill. If we were handing out awards for making choices, I think you would definitely be the winner.
Charlie David as Toby. Aside from the unfortunate highlights at the beginning of the season, I think the character of Toby sort of drifted in and out of the narrative. I don’t feel like he had a particularly strong presence in this particular season. Of course, there’s the never-ending drama between him and Kevin, but because he’s one of the few non-supernatural characters on this particular show, he kind of just had to watch and react to stuff that was going on around him. Granted at the beginning of the season when Kevin was to his mind clearly with Ambrosius, that left the door open for him and Adam, which is an interesting development. So in terms of the characters of who had the most impact in this particular season, I probably put him in the like midrange.
Jeff: Yeah. Once he stopped fighting for Kevin, which was like his primary thing in seasons one and two, it really left the door open for him to become just another resident of the Dante/Grace’s house because he wasn’t really that interested in whether or not Kevin would get out of Ambrosius’ clutches or any part of that whole thing. He might as well have been Trevor or Adam at that point, just kind of the being the people who react to everything and maybe try to help solve problems when they come up. It was an interesting shift in the character for being so prominent for so long and then to shift into the role that he found himself here.
Will: Gregory Michael as Kevin. I think this is interesting because in season three, Kevin spent the majority of his time learning magic on the down-low in order to get out from Ambrosius’ clutches. But the way he ends up doing that and expressing his newfound power is kind of childish making him far less sympathetic than he has been in previous seasons. There’s more than one moment where he’s like stamping his foot saying, “Take me seriously.”
Jeff: “I’m a witch. I’m a witch.”
Will: Yeah. In terms of likability, I don’t think this is Kevin’s strongest season.
Jeff: Especially when he gets out from under Ambrosius and stamps his foot to Toby like, “I’m free. Take me back, damn it.” Now, I do have a little bit of a trouble with what Toby did to Kevin in immediately switching over to Adam when the opportunity opened. I understand the whole second chance lifelong friend thing between Adam and Toby. Kevin made it clear despite the fact that somehow Toby didn’t hear it that he was working to get away from Ambrosius and everything was kind of just a front of, you know, making it look like they were happy.
So I thought that pivot in the love stories that were trying to play out was different but, you know, Kevin still stamped his foot, tried to use some magic on Toby even, you know exactly what Ambrosius had done to him and it was like, “Dude, this is not the way to win Toby back and makes you look like a terrible person.” So yeah, Kevin’s arc was not particularly good. And he even here at the end, I don’t know if I were Ambrosius if I would take him back.
I think you’ve got two people here like, “Well, we’re kind of the best we’re gonna do here. So yeah, you can hang out here and yeah, I love you.” And, you know, on they go until the next, I guess person comes along for either one of them. I don’t have faith that they’re on a way to an HEA in this particular moment.
Will: Let’s talk about the other character in this weird ungainly quadrangle of love. We’ve got Adam played by John Fleming. Now, of course, Adam’s primary purpose is to walk around without his shirt.
Jeff: Which he did right up to the end.
Will: But I think overall, he had of interesting things to do. There’s the blossoming romance with Toby, classic friends-to-lover kind of trope. We kind of played with the idea of him relapsing with his saint addiction. Overall, Adam may not have had a huge impact on the storylines going on in season three. I still think he had some interesting stuff to do.
Jeff: Yeah. And he had a decent arc as well, not some of these rocky arcs that others have had. I feel like even going back into the first season, his arc as a character is pretty intact and is a decent journey to be on across three seasons.
Will: Let’s talk about our beloved “Dante’s Cove” lesbians. Kicking things off with the return of Michelle now being played by Jill Bennett, this is an interesting case of, I’m not sure how really to assess her particular character arc since she has spent the majority of the season possessed by a demon.
Jeff: I felt really bad for her at the end when she realized as Michelle all the crap that she’d done.
Will: I suppose it was an actress that must have fun to play.
Jeff: She made better choices.
Will: Now, let’s not be judgmental. Not better, just different. Better, better. It’s all better. I think Jill Bennett was a lovely addition to season three. And, of course, we’ve got one of my favorites, Michelle Wolff, as Brit. “I’m a scientist.”
Jeff: Can I just tell you, all of you that when that particular are seeing cropped up in the previously on “Dante’s Cove” that unfurled in this last episode, Will might have cheered that she got to say that line, “I’m a scientist.”
Will: Yes. In the official “Dante’s Cove” drinking game, you take a shot whenever there’s full-front nudity or whenever Brit mentions she’s a scientist.
Jeff: It’s important to remember that.
Will: You will be plastered very soon. Yeah. I don’t know what to say. I just really like Brit. In a way, her character kind of is the storytelling glue of several different threads in this particular season. She’s sort of the nexus of what several people are going through.
Jeff: Yeah. She’s got her own little love triangle between Michelle, who she doesn’t know is possessed for a long time, and Elena. She is the person who’s been on the outside of so much of the magic across the seasons that she can try to hold onto her “I’m a scientist” thing to be like the grounding of all this. She holds onto this even while she’s helping to hold the closet door closed when clearly there’s no science involved here. So kudos to you for that, for trying to hang onto your scientific integrity. And she plays it well. She grounds a lot of the stuff that she’s in, I think, which is really nice.
Will: Jenny Shimizu joined the cast this year as Elena, Brit’s girlfriend who has to deal with Brit’s wandering eye and how it concerns Michelle. I like Elena and I think it’s amazing that they increased the lesbian representation on the show this particular season. But overall, she didn’t really have a whole lot to do other than to have conversations with Brit to like, “Hey, remember, I’m your girlfriend.”
Jeff: “And I deal with antiquities.”
Will: And then eventually be sidelined by Michelle’s demon attack.
Jeff: I felt bad for her because she was sidelined for two of five episodes, essentially. She got attacked pretty early on in episode four. We see a lot of her laying prone trying to be, you know, healed, and then she pops up at the very end of episode five going, “What happened?”
Will: I guess it’s sort of like when a character in a soap opera goes into a coma and they have to just lay there as the story plays out. You don’t have much to do, but I don’t know, at least you’re getting a paycheck.
Jeff: That’s right. And you were in Hawaii.
Will: Exactly. Also this season, Reichen Lehmkuhl joined the cast as Trevor.
Jeff: The new pretty boy who I guess kind of became Grace’s helper.
Will: Well, I think you’re right. Throughout the season, Trevor just serves as sort of the lovably sexy but slightly dim go-to guy if your character needs to talk something through. He helped Grace out a little bit in the season, but otherwise, other than being naked, he really didn’t have a whole lot to do.
Jeff: He did not.
Will: It would’ve been interesting to see if “Dante’s Cove” moved on to season four, if they would’ve kept Trevor as a character, and if they did, how he would’ve evolved because really he’s still a blank slate. They could have done anything.
And last but not least, let’s talk about Jensen Atwood as Griffen. So, aside from being insanely hot, I think Griffen was a really nice addition to the cast for a lot of different reasons. Jensen Atwood is really interesting and appealing. And the character of Griffen, I think, was a really necessary counterpoint when it comes to the magic storyline that was going on in season three. I think in previous seasons we both commented and outright complained that we don’t exactly understand what Tresum is all about and here in season three, we finally kind of get a more complete picture. Griff is a member of the Tresum council, so he’s like some sort of fancy pants, grand poobah, which so as a character he has some control over the situation and all the weird nonsense going on between Grace and her sister, all the stuff that’s going on with Ambrosius.
Jeff: Yeah. He tried to bring order where there was none and essentially come and be like, “Okay, you three need to chill with the shenanigans that you’re doing.”
Will: “All go back to your proverbial corners and let’s just take a breather for a second and let’s figure this out.” That’s not how it shaped out, but…
Jeff: Yeah. He was trying to undo and sort the Libra Solstice stuff when the House of Shadows thing came up. And I have to imagine if we’d gotten into a season four, that his role in that kind of line would continue. And he probably would’ve had to move to the Cove because, with this whole baby thing, I think he would’ve had to have left the council because there were hints that this baby would’ve never been allowed otherwise.
Will: So all in all lots of great actors, some interesting choices, and a lot left for fans of the show to think about. As we’re left hanging about the fate of several different characters, answers to several questions that we unfortunately never got.
Jeff: I was thinking after we watched this episode that it would be really great for some author to come along and novelize the first three seasons, smoothing out some of the issues caused by time jumps and by just poor continuity in general, but then move things along to other storylines, what would’ve happened with Grace’s baby? Do they get Toby and Adam out of the mirror? What happens next? I wouldn’t wanna see the story of those first three seasons changed in said novels, but smoothed out and maybe expanded upon a little bit more. But yeah, that’s what I would like. It’d be really fun to see that come about.
Jeff: And now for the very last time, I can tell you that if you’d like to check out “Dante’s Cove,” you can find all three seasons streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Will: This episode’s transcript has been brought to you by our community on Patreon. If you like to read our conversation for yourself, simply head on over to the show notes page for this episode at biggayfictionpodcast.com.
Jeff: Now, what did you think of that final showdown and that very sad cliff hanger we got left on? People stuck in a mirror. It’s not nice. Let us know your final thoughts by leaving a comment on the show notes.
Will: All right. I think that’ll do it for now. Coming up next in episode 397, we’re gonna get you all caught up on what we’ve been reading recently.
Jeff: Get ready for us to do some major damage to your TBR. We’ve got a lot of books for you to add.
Will: On behalf of Jeff and myself, We want to thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you’ll join us again soon for more discussions about the kinds of stories we all love, the big gay fiction kind. Until then keep turning those pages and keep reading.
Big Gay Fiction Podcast is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more shows you’ll love at frolic.media/podcasts. Production assistance by Tyson Greenan. Original theme music by Daryl Banner.