In this episode, some things are won, someone is lost, some … thing? … is set in motion, and I’m getting a really bad feeling about all of it.
Spoiler alert, because there is a LOT to talk about here.
Let’s discuss Tremontaine.
Everything Is Politics
Diane makes her move to *ahem* win over Octavian Perry, only to get a little more than she bargained for. Octavian is not a man for subtleties, by his own admission, so when he realises what Diane’s immediate game is … he actually responds pretty well.
Diane’s happy with him, at any rate. But I suspect the fact that he turned out to be so in control of himself might send her plans awry at some point later. Diane IS satisfied with her progress, and Octavian Perry doesn’t seem to be anything at all like the troublesome men she’s had to deal with in the past, but I don’t know. Diane is feeling utterly confident again for the first time in a while, but any time any character does that, something messes up their plans.
Well, Maybe Not Everything
RAFE AND REZA. FINALLY.
It only takes a bit of a scare, in which Reza worries that he might lose Rafe to a bout of the fever and sickness that’s been killing people in the City during all this foul weather, for the realisation to strike that he’s been a fool about his feelings and the only thing left to do now is act on them, before it’s too late.
Rafe, too, comes down off his misguided high horse and admits that he doesn’t want Reza to leave without having resolved matters between them.
Resolution is a beautiful thing, for sure. Also, and maybe I’m reading too much symbolism into this, but when Rafe speaks to Reza while wearing Chartili-style clothing to replace the rain-soaked things he was wearing before, my little shipper brain went “Ooooh is Reza going to offer to take Rafe home with him IS RAFE GOING TO SAY YES?”
I just get excited easily, OK?
But seriously, I hope he does. It’s tropey as all heck, but if anyone deserves to be able to finally swan off into the sunset with the man he loves, after all he’s been through, surely it’s Rafe Fenton. Right? It certainly makes sense as an ending for these two if there isn’t time to build a suitably dramatic ending any other way, and I have a very strong feeling that there will be enough dark fate in store for various others to balance that scale…
Watch The World Burn
… Or drown?
WHAT. IS. EVERLY. DOING.
Things are getting weirder and weirder in Riverside, with the Salamander now discovering some sort of machinery, deep down in the belly of the island, thanks to that key Arlen gave them last week. Something that could open the island up somehow, apparently? But for what purpose? I DON’T KNOW HOW ISLANDS WORK, YOU GUYS.
I still feel like I’m flailing around for answers here instead of making solid guesses, but whatever is going on, it appears to have tipped Everly over the edge into a kind of madness?
And here’s where I need to stop the bus for a moment, because I need to make some kind of sense of this plot line, and it’s becoming very difficult. We now have more or less half a season to go, and I get that this is the point in the formula where Things Are At Their Darkest before we start to come out the other side (side note: lovely touch with the turning weather there, yes I noticed that and it’s quite ironic), but this plot …
I get that the Salamander is set upon dragging things in the other direction, that they’re intent upon causing chaos in an effort to keep chaos from simply falling on Riverside’s head. Which is fine(?) if someone else is capable of handling the ‘order’ part of that equation. Is that someone Tess, though? I feel like she’s reacting to things more than taking direct action, and I’m not convinced that she’ll be able to do whatever it is Everly thinks she can do. I AM SO CONFUSED BY ALL OF THIS.
I want to just let go and enjoy this ride, I really do, but that ticking clock is only getting louder and so are my doubts. ARGH.
Hail and Farewell
We need to talk about David Rook.
I’ll be honest – prior to this episode, I’d been getting a bit irritated by his sub-plot. With his driving need to bring Francis Salford down for Saabim’s murder, among others, he’s been disobeying Kaab’s orders to steer clear of him and leave that vengeance to her. It practically had “This will not end well” written all over it – and indeed, it does not end well for Corporal Rook this week. When he oversteps and inadvertently shows Salford his hand, Salford responds accordingly, and this should have been a tragic moment. I should be saddened and outraged, and … I’m not, quite.
This seems to have been written in a way that was intended to paint Salford as a cold-blooded killer, and Rook as a passionately driven man seeking to prove himself to the family he’s been loyal to for years. It shaded in some of Rook’s personal story, and I get a better picture of him now, but the problem is that a) I’m not sure it matters much at this point, and b) the part where Salford is painted as The Villain feels a bit pointless too. I mean, we already knew what he was capable of. The greedy merchant wants more of what he’s got, and he’ll kill to get it. I’m more concerned with the bigger issue of the inevitable clash over the bridge being built through Riverside than I am with why Salford wants more of what he’s already got.
To be fair, the part where someone seems to be targeting people who are connected to the river project through Salford, and using his general MO of poison to take them out, is intriguing. Is he actually killing these people? And if so, why is he risking damaging the project that will make him more money?
But, again, there’s only so much time left on the clock and I’m not seeing the endgame yet, and this is a bit stressful. I criticise because I care, but ARGH!
I’m actually a bit more interested in what this handling of Rook’s storyline says about Kaab.
Consider, for a moment, how this particular plot would look if the gender roles were reversed. Kaab is in a position of power, and has important political decisions to make concerning her family, and their place in the City. Someone loyal to Kaab has important information regarding a threat to their power/the man who murdered one of their own, and is outright dismissed or overlooked before they can explain what they know. Then that Loyal Spy turns up dead, and it’s all very tragic, and We Will Bury Him As One Of Us and this is straight-up fridging a minor player to motivate a key character, or invoke sympathy. The only difference is that the character being fridged is male, while the one being motivated is female.
There’s something to be said for the sly cleverness of that trope inversion. I only wish I felt like it mattered more. David’s death was beautifully written, and I’d expect nothing less from Tessa Gratton at this point. I just don’t feel the impact as much as I think I was meant to.
But ye gods and little fishes, I hope it opens Kaab’s eyes to how ignorant she’s been where Rook was concerned. There’s a line during his POV scene where he notes that people are being murdered and Kaab doesn’t care because they aren’t Kinwiinik, and THAT definitely struck a chord with me. If Rook had brought her news that someone (possibly Salford) was still killing her people? I don’t think ‘the right time for vengeance’ would be her priority anymore. But who cares about some random City folk, right?
Damn it, Kaab.
So all in all, a bit of a mixed bag of emotions this week. Things are getting more tense for sure, but I’m beginning to struggle to see the endgame taking shape even though I know the broad strokes already. But at least there’s some hope for a happy ending, for Rafe and Reza. Right?
*Looks at the writers* Right?!