I’ve been enjoying Metal Hurlant Chronicles since it started airing on SyFy. I think this has been my favorite episode to date. The story is a fairly simple one; a young woman named Jen (Michelle Ryan) wakes up in a living room that she doesn’t recognize with her family’s neighbor, Mr. Davis (James Marsters). As she demands to know what is going on, Mr. Davis informs her that a few hours ago, there was a warning of a nuclear attack, so he knocked her out and brought her to his bunker. After he locked them in, the missiles landed and have destroyed almost the entire population of Earth. The two of them are essentially the last humans in existence.
Jen is suspicious and wonders if the whole story isn’t a huge hoax, but Mr. Davis assures her that the bunker is reinforced to protect against radiation, and that since the attack landed, the radio stations have gone static. However, he hasn’t yet scanned for any potential survivors. Jen takes over that job, and sadly never hears any responses. Days pass, and Jen still has no luck making contact with anyone else on the radio. In between searching, Jen and Mr. Davis start to talk, and she learns a lot about his life and past, including what happened to his wife.
Mr. Davis’ wife was beautiful and intelligent, but was also paranoid. She got worse and worse, so Mr. Davis built the bunker that he and Jen are currently residing in for her. Sadly, Mrs. Davis ended up overdosing on the medications she took for her phobias, which left Mr. Davis as a widower. Upon learning this, Jen declares that her father’s belief that Mr. Davis is a creepy old man is wrong. The two continue to talk, and Jen ends up spilling some food on her skirt. She gets upset, but Mr. Davis lets her know that she appears to be his wife’s size, and he still has her clothes.
This is where the episode really starts to get creepy. Jen finds a gorgeous black dress that belonged to Mrs. Davis, and wishes she could wear something similar to her prom, but then realizes she won’t have a prom because of the nuclear obliteration. Mr. Davis suggests that he dance with Jen, and she takes him up on his offer. While the pair are swaying together, Jen becomes emotional over realizing the depths of her loss, and looking to get past her grief, she kisses Mr. Davis, telling him that she wants to feel something other than sadness. Though Mr. Davis has reservations, he gives in to the kiss, and the couple end up sleeping together.
Of course, nothing can end happily, so the next morning, Jen discovers a box of photos that feature her in various displays of partial nudity while searching for some tea. She freaks out, and Mr. Davis attempts to explain that he is in love with her and the nuclear war is real, not a trick he used to get her into bed. Jen doesn’t believe him, and flees.
As I said earlier in my review, this has been my favorite episode of Metal Hurlant Chronicles to date. It definitely had the feel of classic Twilight Zone episodes, and though the twist at the end of the story (which is not revealed here) is predictable, it was well done. “Shelter Me” was terrifying for me, especially since it is a situation that could potentially happen for real. James Marsters stole the show, and his performance as Mr. Davis was fantastic. I’d love to see him in more mainstream roles where he plays characters similar to this. Michelle Ryan’s performance at the end of the episode, post twist, was heart wrenching and highly effective. Her extreme emotion was one of the most real things in this episode of Metal Hurlant Chronicles. I hope many future episodes are just like this.
What did you think of the episode? Did you find it realistic? How would you react if you found yourself in Jen’s position? Let us know in the comments!
Metal Hurlant Chronicles airs Monday at 10/9c on the SyFy Channel. Watch full episodes on SyFy.com.