In this episode, everyone is saying goodbye. But not everyone’s business is done.
Let’s discuss Tremontaine.
Stories are drawing to a close in this penultimate episode, but at the same time certain threads of tension are being drawn tighter, ready to snap – and by the end, they certainly seem to have done that. Add to that the beautiful way with words that is the Tessa Gratton stamp upon this story, for me, and I have become a mess of feelings yet again. It’s also already proving difficult to will myself to write this review now before I crack open the final episode, so let’s get on with that!
Something has to balance all of the upheaval and the pending change in the City, and that something is the gloriously chaotic yet stalwart entity that is Riverside. There’s something wonderfully intriguing about the raw, unpolished fierceness with which these people live – from their joy to their grief, their loves to their hates. No matter what’s going on around them, or happening to them, that core of what they are, what their home is, never changes. Even when all of it appears to change. It’s been the one constant throughout this entire saga, and I have fallen completely in love with it. Even while it scares me a little bit.
But I still have nagging questions about the Salamander and that whole mystery and they’re probably not really going to be answered, are they. Darnit.
(I know, I know, we’ll see. But. Darnit!)
Doing It For Themselves
Elsewhere, in a counterpoint to all of the stubborn refusal to bow to change that is characteristic of Riversiders, everyone’s preparing for a new life, or to return to one that they’d left, having been very much changed themselves.
Diane, Kaab and Esha are the collectively feminist powerhouse we both need and deserve, and even though they’re parting ways I love the thought that they’re moving on having changed their lives, and are very possibly about to change their political worlds, for the better. Even if it may not really look that way on the outside, especially in Diane’s super-sneaky case…
Their scene together in this episode was note-perfect, because it shows both the depths to which Diane has allowed her relationships with both of these women, not to mention with Octavian Perry, to change her, and the renewed strength she’s found to carry on being the Duchess Tremontaine we all know and love. Yes, I said love. I have long since set fire to the funeral boat of my hate for Diane, and I don’t even miss it. She’s awful, but she’s glorious. Long may she reign.
Elsewhere, my heart is also full of fierce joy for the ending that it seems Rafe and Reza are about to get (assuming that nothing goes horribly, personally wrong for them in the finale I AM LOOKING AT EVERY ONE OF YOU, WRITERS, DON’T YOU DARE). After a very frank, utterly magnificent conversation in which Mino points out all the ways Rafe could be happy in Chartil that don’t even have anything to do with Reza directly, and also that (surprise, surprise) he’s being ridiculous about all of it, Rafe sees her point and decides to go with his lover to the home that his mind and his heart both deserve.
I WILL SAIL FOREVER ON THIS SHIP EVEN IF IT BURNS DOWN OKAY.
And let’s not forget my darling Micah, because I haven’t. Her turn in this episode is very low-key compared to all the rest, but it’s no less precious to me because it perfectly captures how Micah has also changed over the course of this story, even if she never got as much of a dramatic role as the rest of the cast. The City has changed her just as significantly as it has changed everyone else; our precious cinnamon roll has begun to learn how to read people without needing to have their thoughts and their logic explained aloud to her. She’s learned to socialise, though she’s still the same Micah that everyone who knows her loves, and I honestly could not be happier or more proud of her. She and Joshua are going back to her home in the country to teach children, and it’s perfect, and my heart is so happy about it. TURNIPS FOR ALL.
What Else Is There?
Well, let’s not forget the Tullans. Something in this finale has to be the source of spectacle, tension and drama, and it looks like Kaab’s old enemies have grabbed that ball and run with it. Given the literally explosive final scene in this episode, I’m fully ready for a no-holds-barred showdown and damn it, I want to see Kaab win. I swear, if she doesn’t get to have her prosperous future after all this I may just riot. The same goes for Rafe and Reza, who seem positioned to be the ones most immediately in harm’s way now. IT WILL NOT STAND.
That thread of tension I mentioned is so damn tightly wound now, I can’t stand it. So I will settle for saying I absolutely loved this episode, and I’m going to sign off so I can get to the end.