What They Say:
The twins struggle to keep a secret from their mother.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The further I get into the See the more I enjoy it, exploring the world as it stands, the different paths that the main sides have taken that have put them where they are, and the time advances that we get as well. Some of it’s not as noticeable as it should be but that’s less of an issue overall than what it is that the series is trying to present. I love how we get some really unusual customs out of the dam folks as sex and religion has always intermingled in ways that should make us feel uncomfortable. Their overall design and decay is fascinating as well, especially with Queen Kane far more focused on bringing back Jerlamarel. And I like the smaller focus of Baba Voss and the Alkenny in that they’re simply trying to live their days in this pretty safe little spot without any big worries to focus on. There are dangers all around and they’re intent on surviving it their way after suffering so much.
The passage of time in this series really is the awkward part since some of them don’t look like they really age, such as Queen Kane or Baba Voss. And this is world where it feels like they’d show some aging as time went on. When we get Tamacti Jun returning to the dam and to the queen, he’s there to finish out his tour and he looks like he’s definitely aged some. Amusingly, as the tax collector, he returns with little funds as he had to put the tributes into keeping the force going while searching for Jerlamarel. And at the same time his quest to find Jerlamarel has seeded that name throughout the lands, giving it power that it did not have before. I loved the way Kane handles all of this happening and the interpretations of it all combined with his subservience in knowing how it has all played out, right down to Tamacti knowing he’s failed and that he will take his own life for it.
With the years having gone on, we see how the kids are dealing with the world and living with those who cannot see. Haniwa, now played by Nesta Cooper who was fantastic on the Travelers series, has been absorbing so much and sees the way the world can change. There’s a lot to like as she introduces the bow to her father and how it can take down a turkey for some food, but she talks about a scale of it that’s worrying because it upsets the balance of how the people live off the land. She sees all the potential of the knowledge she’s getting from the books but hasn’t learned to balance that against its dangers yet. Kofun is a bit better with this, trying to get her to not be quite so imperious with her knowledge, reminding her that they weren’t given all of these books in order to build weapons and mass destruction. That she’s talking about bombs to destroy cities while having now just mastered the bow is incredibly worrying.
Events are changing on both sides in interesting ways beyond this. With the Alkenny, the inbreeding that’s going on is something that they’re aware of when a new birth goes awry. The elders know it happens to groups that avoid the festivals and communing that goes on and causes the blood to thicken when it needs fresh new blood. While Haniwa knows that it’s just genetics it’s something that can’t be easily fixed since they’re trying to keep the two kids secret. With them seventeen now, they definitely want to see more of the world as they’ve figured out where they are and know all the things they want to go and see. But a betrayal from years ago is resurfacing as a bottle that Gether put out about this place has finally made its way up to Queen Kane, revealing where they all ended up thanks to Jerlamarel before. And that times nicely in being discovered just before Tamacti is about to sacrifice himself for his failures.
Of course, the kids end up following the large group that heads out to the festival and you get some hints that Maghra may be aware of it. With some tension between them after some poor choice of words from Haniwa, that may just be a bit of sensitivity. I like that with those two traveling from behind we get to see the world through their eyes as well, such as the ruins of a theme park. But they also get to see some real horrors, such as at the encampment where a Witchfinder believes they’ve found some that can see and burns them at the stake. That’s more than Haniwa can handle watching, almost revealing themselves, as she sees people being killed for no real reason. When you can’t see the flesh burning but can hear it, how much different is it in the end? It’s chilling and makes a big impact on both of the kids, hopefully making it clear exactly just how harsh the real world is outside of their protective enclave.
While we see a little bit of the dance at the festival that helps to spread fresh blood among the tribes, it’s also an opportunity for more nefarious types as some slavers have captured a good group of people for their own needs – including Kofun. What I like is that while they’re hauled off and Kofun is kept largely gagged, we see Haniwa bringing her parents along with Paris to go after them since she can properly lead the way and find them. Having seen that moment earlier in the episode where she pointed out that she could kill most people easily and they’d never know, there’s potential for that here as well – though a slavers den will be a bit more protected. What’s really interesting is that once there, Haniwa is ready to go in and do what’s necessary. But it’s Baba Voss that insists upon it because he knows the place as he fathers before him were slavers – and he was one as well, for a time. That’s unsettling as hell for the others to hear but it’s exactly what’s needed at the moment.
It’s a fantastic sequence to see how Baba Voss fights in this open environment, one that Kofun helps out with at least a little bit, but it’s being made clearer that Kofun is one who will never be good with the violence of the world. But for Jason Momoa, he really get to shine here in going up against this group in a way that feels more brutal than anything Game of Thrones did – while feeling authentic to the situation and how it would unfold as he sense all the small sounds in order to know where to strike. Though you know Kofun and Haniwa must have seen much about this world that the others hadn’t in how they’ve survived all this time, a situation like this is far different than the killing of an animal and the like. And that it becomes a baptism in the killing of other people for Haniwa as well really makes this a journey that they took which has radically changed who they are. Which is likely for the better because of what the world will continue to throw at them.
With things about to change in the next episode as we get to see just what’s around the corner for the Alkenny, I doubt we’re going to get an episode where everyone just hangs around and shoots the breeze for an episode. Though I’d love one with Haniwa and Kofun teaching them all various things that would help them. There’s a lot to like with this episode in what it expands and shows us of this part of the world and how the various survivors have adapted to find ways through rituals to keep the tribes going. The big action at the end is quite brutal and gory in a way that I’m not sure would have been completely expected by the first episode but was certainly telegraphed as likely at some point. I won’t say I enjoyed it but it was very well-executed and plays out beautifully visually in how it would unfold.
Streamed By: Apple TV+