The Dresden Files

Season 1 Episode 4

Rules of Engagement

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Feb 18, 2007 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

Write A Review
out of 10
216 votes
  • Who's Zoomin' Who? A Missing Persons case seems to go very wrong, & Harry shows off lots of magicks and learns that maybe, True Love really is the answer.

    The case is initially presented as a young woman, Nikki Slovak, seeking the whereabouts of her aunt's ex-lover, Donald Primko, who has absconded with all the ducats. After Harry locates the body of a rather…crispy…critter that may be Primko, he smells Hellfire in the air, and suspects something far darker is really going on. Turns out the lover actually belonged to the young woman, who is not Nikki after all, but Caryn Harris; and the body was Primko's, but tied to something called a hellion! Hey! New demon type of the week! and I learn that hellion neophytes or protoges are Hell Spawn. Primko is apparently Hell Spawn. Spawned from the dark magick of Sirota, who we meet tossing Caryn's apartment, in search of Caryn's boyfriend. Sirota decks Harry, disappears Harry's little magic wand thing that I barely got to see at all, escapes by jumping out of a window, and vanishes into thin air! Dang! That magick sure comes in handy!

    We meet Morgan, a member of the High Council (everybody's governed by somebody, right?) with whom Harry consults about the involvement of the hellions. We learn some subtleties about the council, hellions and the politics of the light and the dark side of magick. Said politics seem to work similarly to those here in the regular world, with a plethora of strange bedfellows.

    We learn more about magick and see some very cool spells involving Bob and handkerchiefs. We also learn that Primko was sent to kill Matthew Jacobs, also a hellion spawned by Sirota, and the real boyfriend of that lying Caryn.

    Anyway, now that Harry knows that he and the hellion are tracking Hell Spawn, he wants to protect Caryn (who's been arrested for the murder of her boyfriend) from unwittingly endangering herself by joining up with Matthew. This is when the job gets sticky: what's a hero to do when the damsel in distress stands by her man and declines to be saved? Well, after you regain consciousness, you regroup, reconnoiter, and confer with known allies.

    More magickal lore: the hellion/Hell Spawn connection seems to be via a necklace-like chain of sins which binds the spawn/slave to the master hellion. The hellion must, however, have possession of said sin chain in order to wield his power and control. Or something like that. There is a lot of lore to grasp here, and I think I'm gonna have to read one or two of the Dresden Files novels to understand more clearly.

    In the end, the transformative power of love (and a bits 'o magick and tricks) is highlighted in this episode. Harry, Morgan, Bob, Matthew and Caryn all conspire to dupe Sirota into believing that Matthew is dead so that he'll stop hunting him. This was pretty awesome. An interesting visual of religious allusion occurs during the transformation ritual: after the chain of sin is broken (repentance), Matthew goes through this transformation (redemption) and is wholly human again (resurrection). More interesting was that there was a delay between the ritual and the actual demon leaving his body. And that process looked beyond painful. Be warned…